Compassion, Patience and Positive Training Result in Tod’s Successful Adoption
There is a popular belief that having two different-colored eyes signifies a unique power. While this pop-culture notion may or may not be true, those who have met Baypath alum Tod can attest to his special ability to capture your heart in the blink of an eye.
Discovered as a stray in Garland, Texas, at just one year old, this big boy spent more than seven months waiting for adoption in his home state before venturing to Massachusetts in search of a fresh start.
A typical one-year-old, Tod was full of energy and eager to learn. Despite Baypath staff’s best efforts to keep him occupied during his shelter stay, this handsome youngster frequently displayed signs of kennel stress including his reluctance to go back into his kennel, inappropriate chewing and barking and whining.
While some dogs manage to adapt well to the shelter environment, others find it truly overwhelming. Enter foster care – a life-saving, essential resource for many of the dogs we serve. Unfortunately, due to a full foster roster and an overall decline in adoptions, Tod remained in our care for four long months.
Animal Care staff did everything possible to keep this active boy engaged and happy, including training, enrichment, doggie play dates, swimming and even regular ice cream field trips! A room used for meets was designated for Tod to use during his time at the shelter where a staff member or volunteer would spend time with him, take calls, and, most importantly, offer companionship and attention.
Despite our best efforts, Tod’s frustration manifested into undesirable behaviors, such as jumping and mouthing staff and volunteers. Witnessing Tod struggle at the shelter was challenging, but our dedicated team refused to give up on him, doing everything they could to promote his adoption. Recognizing that Tod would thrive in a structured environment, Baypath offered a pre-paid training package to help him develop into the wonderful dog we all knew he could be once given the chance.
After meeting Tod, the Levesque family welcomed him into their home. As with any dog transitioning into a new environment, the ‘Rule of Three’ adjustment period is essential to understand. The ‘3-3-3’ approach is a general framework new adopters can use to know what to expect from their new furry family member with the understanding that all dogs are unique and will have different reactions to experiences.
The First 3 Days- Decompressing
In the first three days being at their new home, it is natural for a dog to feel overwhelmed. Timid dogs may even take longer to warm up. Your pup is learning about their new surroundings, such as where they will be fed, where they can and cannot sleep and where to relieve themselves. Don’t be surprised if they have accidents (even if they are potty trained!) or if they don’t eat much at first.
The First 3 Weeks – Learning the Routine
After three weeks, your new dog will likely become more comfortable and show his or her true personality. They will learn your routines and should see less ‘accidents’ in the home. Your pup now understands that they are in their forever home. Expect them to play more, maintain a feeding and drinking schedule and possibly show behavioral issues. This is an excellent time to establish boundaries and begin teaching basic commands with positive reinforcement and training.
The First 3 Months – Settling In
Your dog will know this is home! He will become more comfortable and will begin to play more and establish a trusting bond with his or her owners. They likely have formed a routine they are accustomed to. It’s important to introduce your dog to new experiences, including other animals and dogs, to help them continue adapting to new surroundings.
The Levesque family provided Tod with a comfortable environment and time to decompress and settle into their home. Our staff and Director of Training and Behavior Beth MacLeod provided consistent support and communication to ensure a smooth transition.
To evaluate Tod’s adjustment to his adoptive setting, our team monitored his transition using the ‘Rule of Three.’ As demonstrated in the diagram below, Tod exhibited many of the typical behaviors expected of a typical dog in a new home. The Levesque’s utilized our complimentary training package and enrolled Tod in No Monkey Business Dog Training, a facility that specializes in positive reinforcement training.
During training sessions, Tod’s owners learned how to improve various challenging canine behaviors. Their hard work and dedication to science-based training over many weeks paid off, as evidenced by Tod’s reduced reactivity toward other dogs, curtailed jumping and mouthing, improved impulse-control and increased ability to settle independently.
A hearty congratulations are in order for Mr. Tod Levesque – Official No Monkey Business Dog Training Graduate! The entire Baypath team also celebrates the Levesques’ inspirational commitment to training and working collaboratively (and patiently!) with their beloved new addition.