New dogs need time to adjust. The rule of thumb is four to twelve months. It does not matter if the dog’s background was bad or pretty good, nor does it matter that your home is wonderful. Change is stressful for most dogs. It will take four months for them to begin to think they might not be going anywhere and during those four months, they will experience some level of stress hormones chronically circulating. Be patient, but not permissive. Set boundaries, but allow for mistakes. Don’t expect perfect results with your training … stress impedes the ability to learn.

Dogs will reveal more of their true nature as those first four months unfold. After that, it can take up to a year for them to be fully settled in. (It takes longer for dogs with abusive backgrounds or for those that have had multiple homes).

Many times I have given this advice to new clients and many times they call me at the four month mark and said, “Wow, I am so glad I had that realistic time frame to work with, because it really did take four months.”