What is The 3-3-3 Rule for adopting pets?

At Birdies Doghouse we know that adopting a new dog (or cat) can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, we also know that it can be overwhelming and stressful for both the dog and you the new owner. That’s why we recommend following the 3-3-3 rule when bringing home a newly adopted dog.

What is the 3-3-3 rule for adopting a dog or cat? If you are new to Adopting a dog or cat keep in mind it can be a challenge for both you and your new furry friend. But, The “333 rule” is a guideline often recommended for adopting a dog/cat. It suggests that it takes approximately 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months for a newly adopted dog or cat to adjust to their new home and show their true personality. Here’s a breakdown of what each phase entails…


First 3 Days (Day 1-3):

  • Initial Adjustment: During the first few days, your new dog may feel stressed, confused, or anxious as they adapt to their new environment.
  • Establishing Routine: Focus on establishing a consistent daily routine for feeding, walks, and potty breaks.
  • Bonding Time: Spend quality time bonding with your dog through gentle interactions, playtime, and positive reinforcement.

*** This is NOT the time to start training or reprimanding!


First 3 Weeks (Day 4-21):

  • Building Trust: As your dog becomes more comfortable, they’ll start to trust you and their new surroundings.
  • Training and Socialization: Introduce basic training commands and gradually expose your dog to different people, animals, and environments.
  • Establishing Behavior Patterns: Your dog’s personality and behavior patterns will start to emerge as they settle into their new home.


First 3 Months (Day 22-90):

  • Full Adjustment: By the end of the third month, your dog should feel fully adjusted to their new home and family.
  • Solidifying Bonds: Your bond with your dog will continue to strengthen as you spend more time together and navigate various experiences.
  • Ongoing Training and Care: Continue to reinforce positive behaviors, address any challenges that arise, and provide ongoing care and attention.



In summary, The 3-3-3 rule is a guideline for transitioning a rescue dog into its new home and helping it to settle in. It suggests that the first three days should be used for adjusting to its new surroundings, the next three weeks for training and bonding, and the first three months for continued socialization and training.

While the 333 rule provides a general timeline for adjustment, every dog (and cat) is unique, and the timeline may vary depending on factors such as the dog’s age, temperament, and past experiences. Dogs and cats are just like humans and develop their own personality! It’s essential to be patient, understanding, and supportive throughout the adoption process, allowing your new companion to settle in at their own pace.