Puppy Blues: A Comprehensive Guide to Coping

Last updated on: Jan 15, 2024

By: Stephanie Dunne

Girl meditating with a puppy during puppy blues

Everyone who gets a puppy might, in moments of despair, ask themselves, "Why did I do this?".

Being a puppy parent isn't easy, especially if the pup has a stubborn personality. Here are some thoughts to keep you grounded during challenging times and help you navigate the hurdles.

What Are Puppy Blues?

The term "puppy blues" refers to the feelings of overwhelm, frustration, and anxiety that new puppy owners often experience. It stems from the challenges of adjusting to the responsibilities of caring for a new puppy, coupled with the puppy's behavior issues and training needs. This emotional state is akin to what new parents feel, marked by exhaustion and self-doubt.

How Long Do Puppy Blues Last?

The duration of the puppy blues varies from person to person. Typically, it can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. As you and your puppy settle into a routine, and as the puppy matures and becomes more trained, these feelings usually diminish. The key is patience and consistent effort in training and bonding with your puppy.

How Do You Deal with the Puppy Blues?

Dealing with the puppy blues involves a combination of self-care, realistic expectations, and patience. It's important to take time for yourself, ensuring you're not neglecting your own needs. Engaging in activities you enjoy and seeking support from friends, family, or puppy training classes can be beneficial. Remember to celebrate small victories in your puppy's training and behavior, and understand that setbacks are part of the learning process for both of you.

Allow Your Puppy To Be A Dog

Sometimes, pet parents have sky-high expectations for their furry friends. You've prepared extensively for your pup's arrival, reading about training and creating the perfect environment. But then, the puppy still doesn't listen, still chews on your shoes, and still pees on the carpet.

It’s best to try to embrace the fact that a puppy is just like a small child. Everything is fun and exciting to them, they haven’t yet learned to control their impulses, and they don't always know when to hit the brakes. Let your puppy enjoy a happy childhood. Engage with them as a cheerful friend, always ready to join in the fun and help them discover new things (but you can sneak a bit of positive reinforcement or redirection in there, too!).

Be On Your Dog’s Side, Don’t Fight Against Them

New pet parents often wonder how to deal with unwanted dog behaviors. We suggest first looking at the situation from another angle: trying to understand the root cause of such actions. Puppies don’t bark non-stop just for fun or go potty out of spite. Every behavior has a reason.

Maybe your puppy is overly excited, causing them to bark, or perhaps they haven't yet figured out where their potty spot is just yet. By identifying the real reason behind problematic behaviors, you won't need to battle with your dog.

Trust Your Gut, Not Just Outside Advice

You'll come across varied opinions on how a dog “should be” and what they should or shouldn’t do. For instance, "dogs shouldn't sleep on the bed" or "the dog shouldn’t enter the house before their owner." We advise you to rely primarily on your own feelings regarding these matters, not what others insist.

Do what feels comfortable for you, and set rules without being influenced by others' opinions, even if they come from a well-known expert or showman. Always validate any strict prohibitions or recommendations and seek the actual rationale associated with them.Rules are important, but they should never be cruel or baseless. Implement them methodically and calmly.

Remember: You Need a Break, Too

When getting a dog, our lives often revolve around them, and we quickly sink into routines. That's normal—but don't forget about yourself, your friends, and your hobbies and dreams.

Hyper-focusing on your dog can lead to anxiety that may not be easy to shake off later. You might project these emotions onto your dog and both of you become irritable. Don't aim for perfection in everything. Your puppy will be content with basic comfort and attention. If you need personal time, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Let someone watch over your puppy while you enjoy some solitude.

This Too Shall Pass

Yes, puppies are challenging. They drain a lot of energy and patience. There might be times when you feel overwhelmed, possibly even regretting the decision to get a dog. This phase is something almost all pet parents go through. Think about how many people have already been in your shoes!

You simply need to push through and try not to take it too seriously. In a few years, you'll look back on the experience with a warm smile and maybe even a hint of nostalgia. As your puppy grows stronger, matures, and grows up, things will change. Soon, you'll see the results of your hard work and the endless patience you've shown.

Though, of course, your dog's teenage phase might still give you a run for your money. But remember: that phase will pass, too!

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