Adjustment period for newly adopted pets and how we can help

Ivory - Rule of 3s - adjustment period post

At Great Plains SPCA, we take pride in offering a lifelong, full-circle approach for pets and their human companions with our three-pronged approach: prevention, adoption and retention. Amidst the hardships of the last year, we are frequently getting asked if our retention rates have fluctuated. Our return rate is 7.3% and luckily has not increased due to the pandemic.

However, when we do see pets adopted and subsequently returned, it is often because pets are expected to be perfectly acclimated to their new home within a short period of time. That’s where the Rule of Three comes in.

The Rule of Three revolves around the concept that it takes time for new pets to adjust to their new home. More specifically, you will see progress in your pets’ acclimation to your home within 3 days, 3 weeks and 3 months.

Rule of Three When Adopting

3 Days: Within three days, your new pet is slowly opening up, learning your routine and figuring out how they fit in.
  • Your pet may be feeling overwhelmed or anxious, may not be comfortable enough to show their true personality and may test boundaries.
3 Weeks: Within three weeks, your pet understands they are yours and what their place in your home is.
  • Your pet is feeling more comfortable, getting used to your routine, showing their true personality and displaying new behaviors.
3 Months: Within three months, your pet is an official established member of your family.
  • Your pet feels comfortable in your home, has built trust and a true bond with you, is set in a routine and understands your expectations. It’s important to note that bumps in the road may still surface after three months and that continued consistency, routine and training will support your pets’ long term success in the home.

Whether you are a new pet parent, know someone who has recently adopted or are considering adopting, we hope you will find this information useful!

Have questions about a pet’s adjustment period or overall behavior in the home? The Great Plains SPCA Behavior and Training Team offers phone, email and in-home consultations to the public to support pets and their human companions. Email behaviorteam@greatplainsspca.org to get started.

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