Getting a puppy is exciting! You're bringing a cute little furball into your home to call family. The first day you take home a puppy is one of the most anticipated and exciting. However, after the first week or so, having a new puppy could become one of the most tiring and stressful. Your new life could start to feel overwhelming.
We want to tell you, you're not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Many new puppy owners have described puppies as an even bigger challenge than a newborn child, with many dog owners struggling to keep up with a puppy's vigorous energy. When a puppy's frantic energy and destructive capabilities become nearly unmanageable, many new dog owners go through a phase of regret called the "puppy blues" - which is far more common than you may think.
With the pandemic and worldwide lockdowns, many people have adopted puppies as a way to keep themselves company during this trying time. Unfortunately, thousands of puppies are being rehomed after their owners trudged through a case of puppy blues. So what can you do if you are struggling with puppy blues?
"Puppy blues" are a result of a dog parent becoming overwhelmed or regretful from their decision to bring home a puppy. Anyone who has owned a puppy knows that they are a handful, especially in those first few weeks. Similar to postpartum depression in new parents, puppy blues may motivate some regretful thoughts.
"I wasn't prepared to adopt a puppy."
"Should I give my puppy away?"
"I shouldn't have adopted my puppy in the first place."
These are all thoughts from dog owners who have been through the puppy blues. If you've adopted a puppy, chances are that you've experienced these thoughts too!
While puppy blues are definitely painful to go through, they are not uncommon. According to studies by the PMC, 10% of adopted pets were rehomedwithin 6 months of bringing them home. Though it's most common in new puppy owners, all dog owners are susceptible to feeling some regret when they take home a new furry friend.
There are many reasons as to why a new dog owner may be feeling regretful about their new puppy. Each dog parent is different from the next, but here are a few of the most common causes of puppy blues:
For the first few months of being rehomed, a puppy will experience some anxiety and potty-training issues that may cause them to wake their owners up constantly. Puppies whine and cry when they are anxious, have to go potty, or want playtime, accounting for a major loss of sleep for the pup's new owner.
Many new puppy owners have their own expectations of what taking care of a puppy will entail. (Get it?) Despite having watched videos and read books for preparation, many pet owners are overwhelmed by the major responsibilities of owning a puppy.
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The concept of another living being relying solely on you is something many dog owners don't consider before adopting a puppy. Having a puppy constantly looking toward you for guidance, food, and stimulation is oftentimes overwhelming to pet owners.
After the initial adoption fee for a puppy is paid, owners will realize that a puppy needs a lot more than food and water. Vet bills, crates, treats, and toys are all essential costs that come with taking care of a dog. After an owner invests a sum of money into just adopting or purchasing the pup, they may be surprised by the expenses of taking care of the pet.
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Puppy blues, while incredibly common, are viewed as a shameful thing to confess. If an owner experiencing puppy blues communicates their remorse to a friend or family member, they may be misunderstood as an irresponsible pet owner. For this reason, many owners going through puppy blues fail to find emotional support.
Luckily, the puppies blues usually reside after the owner has gained control over the situation. When puppies turn one year old, they usually begin entering their adult phase, where owners will find that they made it through their puppy blues! During puppyhood, however, many owners will be looking for some relief. Here are a few things you can do to minimize your puppy blues:
Humans and dogs both thrive when they follow a routine. The earlier you establish a routine with your puppy, the earlier you both will know what to expect on a day-to-day basis. Once a routine is established, you will notice that your puppy behaves less rambunctiously than before!
When puppies are allowed free roam around the house, they will undoubtedly destroy something without supervision. To prevent damage to your possessions, invest in a baby gate or designate a specific room of your house to your puppy. After you completely trust your puppy in one room, you can expand their reach to other rooms around your living space.
Training your puppy is not only essential for their upcoming adulthood, it's also great for bonding with your pet and mentally stimulating them. Binge watch some videos or invest in a training class, and your puppy will learn to behave as you learn to guide them. Once your puppy learns what's right and what's wrong through training, many aspects of puppyhood will grow easier.
No matter what you may be feeling, talking to someone for help is always a great idea. By communicating with someone you trust, you'll start to learn that your struggles are valid and your pup isn't hopeless.
It's easy to fall into puppy blues when you dwell on the money and sleep loss brought by a puppy. Instead, think of the fun times you've had with your pup! Rather than grumbling over the pillow your pup ripped, reminisce over the time you cuddled on it. Puppyhood is full of beautiful moments, even when stress and frustration start to pile up- always remember that!