Hello everyone! Today, I figured I’d share my experience adopting a shelter dog!
I adopted Fox, a four year old Chihuahua, back in September. It is now a little more than three months since I’ve adopted him and I figured it was time to share a bit about how that has gone for us.
Adopting a Shelter Dog
I will say that the shelter did their best to manage expectations of adopting a dog, but I still wasn’t as prepared as I thought! I do think I underestimated how hard it could be. One helpful thing that the shelter gave me was a flyer for the “3-3-3” rule. Basically, that means that the dog will spend 3 days being highly stressed and unsure of their surroundings. Then, 3 weeks in, they will start to finally show their true personality and behavior problems will show up. After 3 months (although experts are starting to think it may be closer to 6 months), the dog will be completely familiar with their new home and family, as well as settled into the routines of the home. Each dog is different though so time lines can vary!
Fox was pretty terrified his first few days. He hadn’t been at the shelter for long but he did still find the process traumatic of course, since his family had left him there. Even so, he was clearly a spoiled pup. He immediately threw a little tantrum over not being allowed on the couch, begged at the table and would bark if he didn’t get anything, and so on!
After about three weeks he did seem to really be getting the hang of it and did seem to like us! His grandma quickly became his favorite as she regularly feeds him people food. He loves hanging out with his grandpa too. And he hangs out the most with me so while he doesn’t love being told off when he’s naughty, he does want snuggles from mom quite often. We also started training classes around this time and he was not a fan, but was doing relatively well! It didn’t seem like his old family had done very much training at all though, since he was so bad at it.
Just before the three month mark we suffered a major set back. Fox got annoyed by my dad and bit him! Due to this, he is now regularly seeing a behavioral vet (or, as I like to call her, his therapist).
Now, three months in, he is much more comfortable. He will go into his crate on his own for bed, loves to hang out with his grandparents, and will get bored during work with me. I am incorporating puzzle games and more training for him per his therapist, but it is still slow going and we do not have a real bond yet. It’s kind of sad since I did expect to have one by now, to the point that I considered taking him back to the shelter thinking he was unhappy and that he didn’t want to be here. The therapist assured me that it’ll develop in time but since he has had several homes in his short little life (this is at least his third but we don’t know about his early years), that he may have trouble believing this is his actual forever home. This just goes to show that while the 3-3-3 rule was a great guide, it just doesn’t always ring completely true and it’s really up to the dog.
I do love my Fox and I do think he loves me (although it’s questionable sometimes LOL), so we’re working on it. He is loving working with his clicker and doing simple commands so clearly the therapist is onto something. He does not love the puzzles because he isn’t too good at them yet, but hopefully he can figure it out soon. I also want to get him into dog day care to get him more used to other dogs and right now he just tends to bark at them like a crazy dog. Oh, and he hates walks so I have to force him to walk which is so weird to me??? Otherwise, he loves to look out the window so I set up an ottoman for him to sit on to watch the outdoors, and he has learned not to bark out the window at the first sign of movement. Since he isn’t fully potty trained yet he also has restricted access to the house, which is weird to get used to but it is what it is. Oh and he is overall a very sweet little dog. He has his issues, but don’t we all? In the end he just wants food, snuggles, and plenty of warm blankets, so I think he’ll be the goodest boy in time.
So that’s my experience so far adopting a shelter dog! Any more tips would be greatly appreciated and I’ll be sure to update from time to time! Being a single dog mom is hard but so nice as well.
Thanks for reading!
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