72 Hour Free Pass

72 Hour Free Pass


Like I mentioned on Monday, being rehomed (or finding a forever home) is a very turbulent experience for dogs.  Their whole lives get turned upside down and the often don’t know which end is up.  Besides a two-week timeout, I think there are a few other important things to do/keep in mind when brining home a new dog, but perhaps one of the most important is a 72 hour free-pass.

I have been reading a disturbing number of stories about dogs being adopted and then returned just a day or two later in the last few weeks.  Some of the things the adoptive families said upon returning the dog, “Didn’t listen,” “Peed in the house,” “Barked at neighbor,” “Stole food from my toddler’s hand” (yeah, I’m serious), and “Wouldn’t settle down.” It drives me nuts… you had a dog in a new environment with people he doesn’t know–why should he listen to you, he doesn’t even KNOW you.

I couldn’t imagine having a dog for 24 hours and then returning him for almost any reason.  The dog, at that point, should be managed pretty strictly so he can’t get into much trouble.  But, even if the dog has more freedom, I firmly believe they should have a 72 hour free pass.  Shy of the dog seriously attacking a person or another dog in the home (*again they should not yet have free access to the other dogs), their behavior shouldn’t result in them being returned.

About 24 hours into his stay here, Linus (formerly Dewey–it just didn’t fit him), started resource guarding while in his x-pen.  He would give a very deep/low growl if one of the dogs or cats got too close and gave a half hearted lunge/bark once.  It wasn’t about a toy, or food, or what not but was about the space.  He did this about 4 times within about 12 hours.  There are many people who would have overreacted to these grumbles and promptly returned the pup to the pound.  This impulsive decision to return a dog is quite unfortunate because many of these dogs will settle in and the behavior will be resolved.  In the last nearly 24 hours, we haven’t had a single incident of growling and I dont’ expect it to be much of an issue as he continues to settle.

What I would suggest to new adoptive parents or foster parents is to 1. manage the dog’s world for the first little while  and 2. give the pup a 72 hour pass for non-dangerous behaviors.  Within the first few days a house trained dog may have an accident, a friendly dog may act scared of people, a dog-friendly dog may be worried about the resident dogs, or a dog may resource guard–their behavior in the first 3 days is not necessarily indicative of the dog’s temperament or behavior as a whole.  Manage, manage, manage, and ride it out as the dogs learn the routine, the schedule, and learn to trust their new people.


IMG_6191Nothing terribly new or exciting on the Linus front, other than he is RIDICULOUSLY cute, extremely easy to live with, good with the cats, is definitely feeling more comfortable wit everyone in the household, and is a bit of an escape artist.


My game plan of going very slow with him to introduce him to everyone was a total BUST.  Just a few hours after I finished Monday’s post, I had him in an x-pen in the living room with everyone because he seemed to really want to see and be near the other dogs.  They were being relatively calm so we rolled with it.  This boy has been out and about with all the dogs and cats while off-leash for almost two full days now (with breaks, time-outs, and crate time).  He is just an absolute pleasure to live with right now (knowing full well that he will change as he gets settled in) and is so easy.

His world is still very small and I’m sure things will change when he starts exploring the big scary world but so far he’s been an absolute pleasure.

Although temporary, his world will expand a little bit today as he needs to go to the vet.  He is fighting a yucky infection at his neuter site.  Poor guy was probably licking/chewing at it while at boarding/shelter.  Due to the holiday we couldn’t get in to the vet until today so he’s going to be in for quite the surprise.  I am relatively sure he will be WELL over threshold but he needs to get on antibiotics and potentially pain medication (though since he hasn’t been allowed to bother the area, it appears to be less tender).  To keep things as low stress as possible, I’m going to be bringing the highest value food I can think of, putting on a DAP collar, and hoping for a short waiting time.


If you would like to help sponsor Linus’ care or have items you think the rescue could be able to use, please visit their donation page for information on how you can help!




If these CRAZY cute pictures aren’t enough, I discovered that Mr. Cutie-Pants has the coolest “Goldfish” shaped spot on his side…


  1. My Gracie was adopted and returned a few days later for being “too energetic”. Which is hilarious to me because she’s a seriously lazy dog.

    My experience with her was that she was super shy, and it took her a long time to trust. It’s been nearly five years since I adopted her and she is still a little jumpy at times. If I’d based my opinion of her on those first few days, I might have returned her as well – except I knew how well she got along with Scout, and that’s why I chose her. (That and that she was so sweet and fluffy!) So she stayed.

    At any rate, I’m very glad her previous adopters didn’t keep her, since she found her way to me. But I have to wonder how much that experience set her back when she came home with me.

  2. Tena,

    🙂 All dog owners should read your blogs, but new dog owners should especially read Two Week Timeout for New Dogs and 72 Hour Free Pass. In fact, these two posts should be included in every new adoption packet – right on the top!

    Some people may be lucky enough to take home a “perfect” pup from the get go, and others may already be knowledgable about the process. But some adopters need this type of guidance so they can understand what may happen and start off on the right foot. After giving the dog some time to settle in, they may find that they really do have the wonderful pet they were expecting!

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