Getting a new puppy is an exciting time! But with all the cuddles and cuteness comes a fair amount of hard work too.
Some owners may start to find things a bit overwhelming could even regret taking on a puppy in the first place.
You will be pleased to know that most puppies do get easier with time and all the efforts you put in will eventually pay off.
In this article, we will try and help you through some of those negative feelings, explore the basics of puppy behavior as well as give you some tips and tricks to help you enjoy your dog’s puppy years again.
What Are The Puppy Blues?
The puppy blues describe the feelings that some owners may have when struggling with their new pet.
Some people describe it as a sort of post-partum puppy depression. It’s usually a combination of feelings including anxiety, stress, and sadness.
You may also be worried that you are letting your pup down in some way.
The first thing to realize is that you are not alone! Many people have these same doubts when taking on such a big commitment.
The same questions and thoughts come up time and time again such as:
- Did we make the wrong decision, is a dog right for us?
- I feel like an awful owner, we just can’t get anything right.
- Maybe we weren’t ready for this responsibility.
- I didn’t realize how much work was involved, can I take my puppy back?
Many of these feelings do pass with time, with things generally improving as your puppy grows and learns.
You must always seek help if you are struggling though, and by reading this article you have taken a great first step in confronting your feelings.
How Long Do The Puppy Blues Last?
It is very variable as to exactly how long the puppy blues last, as well as when they might start in the first place.
For many owners, it is when the excitement of your new puppy joining the household starts to fade and the reality of your new commitment kicks in.
This could be within the first few days, weeks, or even months of having your pup.
Many owners have a bad day (or two or three!), but for some, this feeling can drag on over weeks or months.
If your feelings towards your pup are continuing to become negative, then it’s important to address why that might be and what you can do to help improve the situation.
What Can Cause Puppy Blues?
There is usually a combination of reasons as to why the Puppy blues occur, rather than one single factor.
This creates a perfect storm that begins to affect your feelings towards your new dog and your developing bond.
Let’s look at some of the possible causes of puppy blues as well ways you can tackle each problem.
Unrealistic Expectations About Puppy Ownership
Problem – From the outside, owning a puppy looks like lots of fun! Who would not want a cute pup to cuddle and play with?
But what you might not have known about is all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.
Things like house training and obedience are important skills that take time and effort.
– Social media also plays its part in this, with many pups having their own Instagram or Facebook pages.
But these rarely tell the whole story, only the edited highlights.
Instead of comparing your life to theirs, why not start meeting other fellow dog owners and share your real-life experiences and worries?
You will soon find that their pups are just as imperfect as yours!
Struggling With Training
Problem – You might be struggling with your puppy’s training, and this can cause stress.
If your pup just does not seem to be getting the message it could lead to frustration on both sides.
First-time dog owners may be worrying excessively about whether they are doing things right as well.
Solution – The solution to this is to take your pup to training classes!
You will not only get some great advice and help, but you will have the chance to see other puppy owners making mistakes too. Everyone is learning!
If you are feeling self-conscious about your training abilities, then maybe consider one on one training sessions instead.
Once you build your confidence then you will probably start to enjoy the training process!
Pup Is Destroying Your Belongings
Problem – Your puppy is chewing your shoes, books, cushions, and anything else he can lay his teeth on!
This can create feelings of resentment and anger, as well as sadness when another of your favorite shoes gets destroyed.
Solution – Puppies explore the world through their mouths and teething around 4-6 months of age can make your pup even more likely to chew.
Understand that it is part of normal puppy behavior and start storing your possessions out of reach or in cupboards.
Make sure your pup has plenty of dog-safe toys to chew on, and that he is getting plenty of mental stimulation through games, play, and training.
Keeping him busy and tired, will help to curb any destructive behaviors during his downtime.
Problem – Sleep deprivation is well known to negatively affect mood – many new parents can relate to this!
Just like babies, puppies are also prone to waking up at night which could mean you get woken up too.
Many dogs grow out of this as they mature, but it can be disruptive and tiring in the meantime.
Solution – There are some practical steps you can take to help your pup settle more easily at night.
- Ensure your pup has a cozy, draught free bed
- Some young pups may benefit from a cuddly toy to snuggle with
- Calming appeasing pheromones can be helpful
- Make sure your pup has been outside just before bedtime
- Give your pup plenty of attention and stimulation in the day
Problem – Some owners may start to have financial worries about their puppy.
Maybe things are already more expensive than you have budgeted for?
All those new toys, good-quality diets, vet bills, and training classes could be causing you stress.
Sadly, many owners jump into buying a cute puppy and don’t factor in all of the ongoing costs.
Solution – You can help smooth the budget out by looking into things like health care plans with your vet (usually a way of spreading the cost of your preventative treatments like parasite treatment and vaccinations) and considering pet insurance to guard against unexpected vet bills.
Start shopping around for toys and accessories online, even buying second-hand (as long as there is no dangerous wear and tear).
Problem – Some owners don’t realize how much time puppies require!
Walks, training, play, and grooming all place demands on our day, on top of work and family life.
While we can’t conjure up more hours in the day, there are some measures you can take to help take the pressure off.
Solution – Get all the family on board with caring for your pup!
Perhaps the kids could be in charge of playtime and get involved with small tasks like measuring out food for mealtimes.
Maybe your partner could walk the dog in the morning, and you could do the afternoon or evening walk?
Maybe you could get keen neighbors or friends to help too.
If you can afford it, then dog walkers or sitters are a great way of giving your pup the interaction he needs if you need to go out to work.
Feeling Alone With Your Worries
Problem – It’s easy to feel like you are the only one with the puppy blues, but many owners struggle with their puppies, albeit to varying degrees.
Solution – Try and speak with fellow dog owners, either online or in-person at training classes or while out walking.
While some owners might claim it’s a breeze, you are bound to also come across some that are struggling, just like you.
Don’t be afraid to speak to your vet or dog trainer about your feelings too, in case they have some advice for your situation.
If you think your feelings are part of a wider problem though then don’t be afraid to speak to your medical professional.
Is There An Age Where Puppies Are Most Difficult?
Puppies are like children; they go through phases!
You might get through one difficult phase (such as sleeping through the night) only to hit another (like over-boisterousness and nipping).
This leaves many owners wondering ‘at what age do puppies get easier?’
Each dog is different, and its breed and personality can play a part in this as well.
A notoriously clever breed such as collies and poodles may pick up their training fairly easily, but others could take longer.
Many people do seem to struggle with the adolescent phase though, which again does depend on the breed, but usually starts around 5-10 months.
Things should settle as your pup matures.
What To Do If You Are Struggling With A New Puppy
Let’s summarize some of the practical steps you can take if you are struggling with your new puppy:
- Seek help with your training from classes or a one-on-one dog trainer.
- Reach out to other dog owners, and step away from unrealistic social media profiles.
- Get all of your family on board with your puppy’s care.
- Give your puppy the optimum conditions for sleep.
- Make sure you can meet your puppies needs for walks and interaction, enlisting the help of neighbors, friends, or dog sitters if needed.
- Ensuring enough mental stimulation will help reduce destructive tendencies in your pup, as will providing them with their own dog-safe toys.
- Start budgeting for your puppy’s care by looking at money-saving health care plans with your vet, pet insurance, and shopping around for their accessories.
- Seek help from a medical professional if your feelings are slipping into depression and part of a wider problem.
Above all, it’s important to realize that many of these quite normal feelings of worry and stress do pass.
You and your puppy will bond and understand each other better as time goes on.
Is Getting A New Puppy Worth It?
Speaking to most new dog owners, despite their difficulties, the answer is usually yes!
The rewards usually outweigh any negatives in the longer term.
Having a dog gives you companionship, responsibility, and a much-loved member of the family.
Despite the advice in this article, some owners may genuinely still feel that they have made the wrong decision in taking on a puppy.
If that’s the case, there is no shame in considering other options.
Sometimes re-homing your puppy or taking it back to the breeder is the best answer, if you are unable to meet his needs.
It’s better in the long run that he finds his match with a new owner than for you both to be unhappy.
Getting a puppy is an exciting time, but it is also a big responsibility.
If you feel like you are suffering from the Puppy Blues, then it’s important to realize these feelings are quite common.
Hopefully taking some practical steps will help improve things, as will some patience and time as your puppy matures.
Always seek help if you are struggling, as putting the time and effort in now means you will have a lovely furry family member for years to come!
What’s the worst puppy age?
Different people find different ages trickier than others, but commonly people seem to struggle with the 5-10 month period.
The hormones are starting to kick in around this time as they head towards adolescence, and their increased size and boisterousness can be tricky for some to handle.
Is having a puppy hard?
Puppies do involve a lot of time and effort, so you should try and account for this when deciding whether a dog is right for you in the first place.
You can help improve things by following some of our practical steps and seeking help, rather than letting problems get worse.
When does puppyhood get easier?
Many owners might wonder at times ‘when does having a puppy get easier’?
Puppies go through phases, some owners may find things get easier once they have been potty trained, others may not find things improve until their pup starts to mature at 18 months+.
There are a lot of variables, including your dog’s personality, breed, your approach to training, and whether you can meet their needs.