Congratulations on your new family member! Bringing a new dog into your home – and your life – is a big commitment with many benefits and joys. We are thrilled you have decided to take this step.

Starting your relationship with your new dog is fun, and quite the adventure – but it never hurts to be prepared! With that in mind, we’ve packed this post full of resources to help you and your dog adjust to your new lives together, including behavior advice from Joybound’s award-winning team. If you ever have questions regarding your dog’s behavior, please feel free to call the Joybound behavior line at (925) 296-3159 or email us at [email protected].

When you’re ready, we would love to hear about how your new furry friend is settling into their forever home. You can update us by emailing [email protected] or by submitting your story and photos. This is only the beginning of even more great things to come!

Now What?

The First Things to Do

  • Call Trupanion at (855) 355-6243 within 24 hours to take advantage of their immediate coverage enrollment and waived fee for your new pet.
  • Call your local VCA Hospital and make a free wellness appointment within 14 days of the adoption.
  • Joybound will register your pet’s embedded microchip with with the information provided at adoption. When you receive confirmation, create an account, and update your information as needed.
  • Read through this blog post. Call or email our behavior help line if you have any behavior questions: (925) 296-3159 or [email protected].


  • Get down on dog level and remove hazards or anything unsecure.
  • Secure outside areas of your home so your new companion cannot escape. Be sure to check for loose boards or fence gaps that may not be visible behind landscaping.
  • Update your Emergency Plan to include your pup.
  • Gather essential supplies: food, toys, food & water dishes, training treats, potty mats, crate, etc…

The First Day

  • Stay home.
  • Keep your companion close to you.
  • Visit the potty frequently (every 30 minutes.)
  • Offer praise for good behaviors.
  • Limit visits from other people or animals and activity as your new pup adjusts. Let them get used to you and your home, otherwise you may overwhelm them.

The First Week

  • Keep your companion close to you.
  • Slowly introduce your new pup to people, places, other animals and things in their new environment.
  • Take your companion to their first veterinarian appointment.
  • Enroll in a training or socialization class.
  • Get any other supplies you need from the Joybound Boutique or your local pet store.
  • Apply for a dog license in your county.

The First Year

  • Renew your dog’s license. Keep microchip information up to date.
  • Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for care.
  • Update us on how your dog is doing by emailing [email protected]. We want to see photos!

Important note about returns: It can take a week or more for your new pet to acclimate to your home. Returns are by appointment only and when space is available in the shelter. If you decide your pet is not the right fit, please complete a return request.

The 3-3-3 Rule

We know that adopting a new dog can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, we also know that it can be overwhelming and stressful for both the dog and the new owner. That’s why we recommend following the 3-3-3 rule when bringing home a newly-adopted rescue dog.

The 3-3-3 rule provides a set of guidelines for the initial three days, three weeks, and three months after bringing home a new dog. The purpose of the 3-3-3 rule is to support the dog in adapting to their new surroundings and establish a strong foundation for a long, happy life with their new family.

3 Days

In the first three days, your dog will be…

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • May be scared and unsure of what is going on
  • Not comfortable enough to be themselves
  • May not want to eat or drink
  • May be shut down and want to curl up in their crate or hide under a table
  • Testing the boundaries

3 Weeks

In the first three weeks, your dog will be…

  • Starting to settle in
  • Feeling more comfortable
  • Realizing this could possibly be their forever home
  • Figured out their environment
  • Getting into a routine
  • Letting their guard down and may start showing their true personality
  • Behavior issues may start showing up

3 Months

In the first three months, your dog will be…

  • Finally comfortable in their home
  • Building trust and a true bond
  • Gained a complete sense of security with their new family
  • Set in a routine

Keep in mind that each dog is different, and some may need more time to adjust than others. By following this rule, you’re setting your new dog up for success and laying the groundwork for a fulfilling life together. You’ll also be able to detect any behavioral concerns early on and address them before they escalate. Dogs thrive on routine and consistency, so they need time to get used to their new environment and develop trust with their new family.

Dog Body Language

In addition to barks, whines, whimpers, and growls, dogs rely on quite a bit of nonverbal body language to communicate. Canine communication through body language encompasses a variety of distinctive techniques to express emotions and intentions. This can lead to plenty of human-dog misunderstandings! Sometimes, dog body language is simply unfamiliar to the new guardian. At other times, it may be in direct contrast with what that same signal might be expected to mean to a human. But once you learn how to understand what you dog is trying to tell you, you’ll find you have a far more satisfying relationship with your furry friend.

Here are some examples of dog body language, courtesy of Lili Chin of

Tips for Dog Guardians

The Perfect KONG®

A KONG is a nontoxic, dishwasher-safe, enrichment toy with a hollow center. By filling this hollow center with food, you can use KONGs as a useful enrichment tool for your dog. They’ll have to work to get food to come out by shaking, pawing, rolling, nibbling, or licking. The effort dogs make to get their treat from a KONG toy eases boredom, reduces destructive behavior and lessens… (Read more)


Housetraining is all about teaching your dog the right place to eliminate and rewarding them for doing so. Sounds simple, right? Well this process takes time and repetition. Be patient and remember, the dog knows how to eliminate. We simply need to teach them where elimination produces the best rewards. Even if a dog has a history of housetraining in their previous home, they will likely… (Read more)

Crate Training

Dog crates come in a wide selection of styles and sizes. When choosing a crate the most important consideration is your dog’s size. The crate should be just big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably. A crate that is too large may result in… (Read more)

Doggie Manners

Did your parents ever say “Say Please” to you?  Well, they were probably hoping to teach you manners and how to be polite with adults and peers. This is one of the goals for our dogs, and they can sometimes benefit from learning to say “please” as well. Some trainers call this… (Read more)

All About Enrichment

Dogs need mental and physical stimulation. If you don’t supply an appropriate outlet, your dog can find countless ways to entertain himself. Chewing the coffee table down to stubs, digging up the petunia bed, engaging in lengthy tail-chasing sessions, shredding your clean, nicely folded laundry, or barking and howling at noises, real or imagined, will all… (Read more)

Resource Guarding

Some puppies and dogs don’t like to share things they value with other dogs. This might include food, treats, chewies, or their favorite bed. This is actually quite common behavior, particular in multi-dog households. And when you think about it, it’s pretty normal behavior… (Read more)

Separation Anxiety Prevention

Separation anxiety describes dogs that experience anxiety when their owners leave them alone. The anxiety can manifest as a wide-range of behaviors from whining and panting to destruction of doors or windows, or even self-mutilation.  It can be distressing and frustrating to have an anxious dog, but with proper management and training, separation anxiety can… (Read more)

Dog-Dog Introductions

Most dogs look to us to give them cues about how to behave/react.  If we walk casually up to an approaching dog rather than pausing and tensing up, our dog is more likely to be casual about the meeting too. When introducing two dogs to each other it is very important to be as calm as possible. Dogs are… (Read more)

Dog-Cat Introductions

When bringing a new dog into a home with an existing cat, taking a few precautionary measures and a bit of preparation can mean the difference between a future of peaceful inter-species cohabitation and years of strife… (Read more)


Muzzles may not be the most appealing piece of dog gear to own, but it may be one of our most essential pieces of equipment when properly used. The popular view of dogs in muzzles is that those dogs must be dangerous, but the reality is that those dogs are safer amongst the world than those not wearing one. Most of us are aware that all dogs can bite, just like… (Read more)

Poisonous Items

While our pets are pretty resilient, there is a surprisingly large number of common foods and plants that are toxic for our furry friends! If you catch your pet in the act of eating anything on this list, please contact your veterinarian… (Read more)

More Helpful Resources

Resource Center

Contacting Joybound’s Resource Center is the first step to get qualified for Joybound’s assistance programs or connected with other resources in your area. Our team offers guidance and share services to need help with pet-related issues including keeping or re-homing a pet, lost and found animals, available low-cost services, and more.

You can reach the Resource Center at (925) 256-1273 ext. 450, (800) 567-1273 ext. 450, or online.

If an animal has a medical emergency, please call your veterinarian for immediate assistance. Most communities have an emergency veterinary clinic — please consult a search engine or directory to find this information.

Pet Care & Behavior Library

Joybound knows lives are enhanced by strengthening the bonds between humans and animals, and we’re dedicated to helping people keep their pets happily in their home. The online Pet Care & Behavior Library consists of articles and factsheets addressing common topics on the day-to-day training and care of pets.

Our online library is constantly updating, so be sure to check often for our most up-to-date information.

Dog Training Classes

Our dog training classes have received recognition from Bay Woof, Yelp, Nextdoor, and even Diablo Magazine’s “Best of the East Bay” as a premier location to train alongside your furry friend. We have a variety of engaging group training classes that will take your bond with your dog to the next level.

For both shelter animals and public classes, all of Joybound’s dog training is done via positive reinforcement methods. Remember, a well-trained dog is a happy dog!

Emergency Preparedness

Emergencies come in many forms and may require anything from a brief absence from home to a permanent evacuation. Preparation is the key to success, and each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe.

The Emergency Preparedness page on our website offers tips for setting yourself up for success when disaster strikes — including what to put in your pet go-bag!

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Goliath receiving medical treatment


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