It’s all new for your puppy.
Regardless of the age of your dog or the level of training, there is a Decompression Reality for a new dog, in a new place, with new people.
There is an old adage called the 3-3-3 Guideline (3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months) Although I’m not a fan of these kinds of timetables for a living, breathing being, I do agree that there are stages to decompression. I’ve read about these phases in lots of trainer’s books like Pat Miller’s works. I’m not one to prescribe HARD AND FAST timelines because I know that maturity in a relationship takes time. For one dog more time in these phases, for another dog, less time in each phase.
After training 6000 dogs I can promise you that settling DOES HAPPEN. And there are specific things you can do to help your dog through the transitions.
We send our clients home with a strict 14 day RULES TO LIVE BY precisely because it helps you ease through decompression phases effectively.
There are phases. They do pass. It does take time.
Phase 1: Shellshock
When your dog first comes home to you, it’s overwhelming. Your dog may be closed off and reluctant to interact, have accidents, be more whiney & bark, and not eat or drink like normal. Some won’t even eat at all! Or maybe your dog will exhibit other inappropriate behavior. This is usually the phase when you will experience some potty accidents. How many accidents? For Puppies, 3-12 is within the range of normal For Dogs: 3-8 is within the range of normal.
Decompression and De-Stress requires lots of structure and healthy boundaries. Don’t suffocate your dog with affection. Don’t push the relationship. Don’t force it. Be calm. Be fair and firm. Be steady. These leadership qualities help your dog settle through the shellshock phase. This is the time for the most structure!!!
Phase 2: Settle In
Your dog is now getting more comfortable in your life together and the initial stress is easing. She is starting to show her her true personality. If she was reluctant or hesitant in the first phase, she is now opening up and coming out of her shell…maybe even too much with some new behaviors emerging…and not always the good ones. We always suggest you start with tethering your dog.
Then by week three, there is ROAMING WITH RULES! That means, your, leash is on and dragging around the house and you have line of sight with your dog. Wherever he is, he must be within your line of sight. No free roaming yet! This settle-in phase requires lots of supervision and management, much more than you think you need.
Phase 3: Rest of her life
Now, you have both truly bonded and forged a trusting relationship that is safe, sane and civilized. Your rhythms have synched. You know each other’s ebbs and flows. You have entered that phase where you say, “IT WAS SO WORTH IT”. Understanding the phases of decompression and de-stress is so important.
Trust the process in our Pillars of Pack Leadership. It works. It the exact steps necessary and proven to ease you and your dog through each of these phases.