You might have wanted a puppy for years, perhaps ever since you were a kid, and now that it is finally here – you don’t feel the way you thought you would.
You feel stressed, sad, and depressed, and you find yourself wondering if you have made a terrible mistake.
You did everything to prepare:
- Got a all of the suppllies to give your puppy a great start and help your new dog to feel safe
- Read everything you could find about puppy care
You were sure you were ready. You were 100% sure.
Having your own dog was your life-long dream, but now you are wondering if perhaps you weren’t cut out for it, after all?
Believe it or not, this is a very common feeling and many new dog owners (not just puppy owners) experience something similar to postpartum depression after bringing home a new furry family member.
The phenomenon is known as puppy blues.
Puppy Blues Explained
After bringing your new puppy home, many dog owners find themselves regretting or questioning the decision to get a dog.
I know I did.
Suddenly, you’re homebound in a way you weren’t before, and you can no longer just run out for a coffee with friends or take a spontaneous trip.
Instead, you find yourself having to plan your days around the puppy, leading to a sense of lost freedom.
I know after I brougth my Dachshund puppy home, I felt overwhelmed and like I couldn’t do anything for myself – all of my time was occupied and I found it hard to eat or take a shower.
Having a puppy is hard work, and it does come with an inevitable lifestyle change.
As a result, it is not surprising that so many people come to experience something comparable to what new parents of human babies feel.
Puppy blues can set in right away, or after a few days or weeks.
It often hits unexpectedly and overwhelmingly – pulling out the rug under the feet of new dog owners.
Symptoms of Puppy Blues
Puppy blues can present itself in various ways, but it tends to be a mix of negative feelings towards the concept of puppy ownership or the puppy itself.
Symptoms of the puppy blues include feelings of:
As these symptoms set in, it is common to want to give up, but it can be comforting to know that you are far from alone and that the symptoms don’t tend to last very long.
Having puppy blues is normal, and it does not make you an unsuitable dog owner.
According to affected dog owners, it is almost like a strong case of buyer’s remorse; you wanted something so bad until you decided to get it, and then, suddenly, you don’t want it anymore.
You find yourself regretting your decision to get a dog.
Possible Cause of Puppy Blues
Sometimes, the cause of puppy blues is the result of an inability to solve an issue.
It could be that potty training isn’t going quite as you had expected, or perhaps the puppy is chewing up the whole house!
It could also be caused by sleep deprivation, if the puppy tends to cry at night or if the pup needs to be taken out frequently.
Having had certain expectations, only to discover that the puppy isn’t meeting your expected goals, could lead to a sense of failure, and feeling inadequate as a dog owner.
However, more often than not, the puppy blues don’t have an obvious cause.
You could have the sweetest, smartest, and most well-behaved puppy, and still, develop puppy blues!
It is believed that the reason for this is the loss of absolute freedom, as you come to mourn the freedom you didn’t realize you had until you lost it.
There you are, suddenly in charge of the well-being of a living creature, and it takes a while to get used to such a responsibility.
Preventing Post-Puppy Depression
If you still haven’t gotten your new pooch, then you can use knowledge and preparation to combat puppy blues and prevent it from happening.
The better prepared you are, the less likely it is that the arrival of your pup will throw you into a black hole of regret.
Three reminders to help prevent the puppy blues:
- Lower your expectations
- Don’t blame the puppy
- Know that you are not alone
Try not to expect too much of yourself or your new dog, especcially the first week after you bring your puppy home.
It might take longer than expected for your puppy to be potty trained, and the dog could potentially chew up your favorite purse or hiking boots!
The point is, it’s okay. All dogs are different, and they learn at their own pace.
Most naughty puppy behavior is temporary, and sooner or later they tend to grow out of it.
Cut yourself some slack – you are probably doing much better than you think.
Secondly, don’t forget that your puppy is not to blame for your feelings.
Dogs don’t misbehave to annoy their humans, and most of the time, it is just a question of being patient and learning how to communicate better with your dog.
There is no guarantee that the puppy blues can be avoided, but the more you know about it, the less lonely you will feel.
Also, you will have the comfort of knowing what you are dealing with.
You are not the first, nor the last, to question your decision to get a dog.
Overcoming the Puppy Blues
By the time you decide to do a Google search for the puppy blues, chances are you are already experiencing symptoms.
If you are feeling numb, hopeless, sad, regretful, frustrated, or regretful shortly after getting a new puppy or adult dog – you may already have it.
The most important thing to do when you have puppy blues is to remember that your dog is not to blame.
It is not the puppy’s fault, nor is it yours, and it is simply something that happens to many new dog owners.
Reach out for support. Look for dog-related groups on social media and write a post about your feelings.
It might seem scary to admit that you are struggling, especially when you thought the puppy would make you happy, but you are guaranteed to get support from others that have experienced the same and gotten through it.
The one thing to keep in mind is that in most cases puppy blues is only temporary.
It probably doesn’t feel like it, but puppy blues tend to fade away somewhere between a few weeks and a few months until you can barely even remember having felt overwhelmed.
Give it time.
It Gets Better
While having a dog isn’t for everyone, most cases of puppy blues are not permanent, and it is worth hanging in there for a while.
Someday, that dog is going to be your best friend, and you won’t be able to imagine your life without him.
Your dog won’t always pee on the carpet (but for now, you probably want to be prepared to remove pee stains from your carpet), wake you up at night, and bite your hands until you look like you’ve been in a fistfight with Freddy Krueger.
Someday, you will miss all that.
Knowing that it is likely going to get (much) better can be incredibly comforting when you are suffering from puppy blues, and the best reassurance you can get comes from other dog owners.
Talk about what you are feeling because just like someone might reach out to help you – you sharing your struggles may also help someone else with theirs.
Raising a puppy is incredibly hard work, especially in the first few weeks and months, and it often means losing sleep and feeling exhausted.
The sensation of having lost your freedom, and missing the carefreeness of life before the puppy, is normal. It likely won’t last, and soon you will see why life is so much better with a dog.
All the hard work will be worth it in the end, and the best thing you can do for yourself and your puppy is to ask for help if you need it.
Ask a friend to come to watch the puppy for an hour or two so that you can take a break, or talk to others who are likely to understand your struggles.
Have a cup of coffee, close your eyes, and count to 10.
Everything is going to be fine.
It is okay to have regrets, and it is okay if puppy parenting isn’t what you thought it would be.
It is okay to admit how hard it is.
No dog owner gets everything right and no dog owner is perfect, but you are perfect in the eyes of your dog.