Bringing home a new pup can be one of the most exciting times of your life. However, some new pet parents may not account for how fast some of the excitement can wear off and be replaced with the stress of caring for and training this rambunctious little fur ball. We’re firm believers that all dogs are adorable, but that cuteness can come with some sleepless nights and stress on top of your other responsibilities and schedule.
Whether you’ve just welcomed a new dog into the family and are feeling drained (and maybe a little regretful), or are thinking about doing this soon and are worried, you’re not alone. There are ways to get through this.
Before we go any further into what puppy blues are and how you can cope with it (and even turn it into something positive), socializing for both you and your new pup are a great way to reduce stress -- and maybe not even need the rest of this article. We have plenty of information on how to do this and its benefits here. These are important activities that all new dogs should do, but if there are concerns beyond that, read on to understand more about what you may be feeling, and why it’s important to not let things snowball out of control.
So What Are the Puppy Blues?
Puppy blues, puppy regret, or puppy depression is a sad or frustrating feeling after bringing a new dog home. It is completely normal, and can sometimes just be part of the process of bringing home your new best friend! It can affect anyone, even experienced dog owners and people bringing home older dogs, so don’t worry. There’s plenty of help and similar stories out there.
Puppy regret can hit the day you bring them home or several weeks later, so there’s no exact timeframe that works for everyone. If you do feel yourself getting frustrated more easily, feeling overwhelmed, thinking about if you’d be better off without your pup, or other similar thoughts, you should read on and know that it’s temporary. This anxiety is because you love your new fur ball and want the best for them, but it can’t always be smooth sailing.
How to Get Through This
Will it last forever?
Puppies grow up, lose energy, and become better-trained quicker than you might realize, so keep in mind that they will be more of a best friend and less of a project as time goes on. Almost like an investment, the difficult times you invest in now will result in a better-behaved dog that trusts you more in the future.
If you work and have to spend time away from your cute companion, they can get bored and resort to behaviors that end up making messes for you. If that sounds like your situation, check out more in-depth help on that. Sometimes you just need to take a deep breath, even when you’re still catching it from chasing them or running out the door carrying them so they don’t use your floor as a bathroom, which brings us to the next suggestion.
Crate train for alone time
Crate training is a great way to not only start training, as mentioned above, but also gives both you and the dog some alone time to breathe and relax. This also creates boundaries and can help reduce some destructive behaviors your pup could have that might lead to lots of headaches for you. If you want an easy place to start going about training in a more positive manner, we have a guide to using food rewards the proper way to create good habits for them that will hopefully help get you through the blues and on to the sunshine quicker.
Try a dog walker
Similar to crate training, a more immediate way to get alone time and relief from stress is to enlist the help of a dog walker and take out two birds with one stone. This way you can do some work and focus on other things for a little while and when your bundle of joy returns they’ll be too pooped to do anything but nap. However, every dog is different and will need different amounts and types of exercise. We have more information on that subject here if you think just a walk isn’t enough to tire your puppy out and get them the exercise they need.
Talk to someone
Like with any other emotions or mental health topics, opening up or reaching out to someone usually benefits you and can help get some weight off of your chest. Try talking to a friend, family member, or even a vet, who can provide input or has experience with the process of bringing a new puppy home. And who knows, maybe they’ve gone through the same thing and had particular habits or activities that really helped them. Even if you talk to someone who’s never had a pet before, they might give an outside perspective that could help you.
Understand that they’re not trying to upset you
We can all agree that dogs are incredibly cute and can often look like they understand exactly what we say to them as if they were our child. However, you have to remind yourself sometimes that your puppy genuinely isn’t trying to get on your nerves or be a pain to deal with and usually won’t understand why you’re angry with them. Because you basically have a child now, you have to remember that and try to reinforce the positive behaviors rather than punish and stress any more than you need to about bad behaviors.
Getting a new puppy is a lot of work
Your parents weren’t kidding when they said taking care of a dog is a lot of responsibility, and you shouldn’t blame yourself or the pup for how difficult and stressful it can be. This is especially true if you have other responsibilities like a job or other people you need to take care of during the day. As an adult it may seem like we’re better-suited to bring home a new fur ball that just eats, sleeps, and bounces off the walls, but there’s a lot of stress we already have on our plates and while pups can be incredibly rewarding, there are going to be challenges and frustrations.
On that note, if it’s been months without improvement and you feel like you just can’t see things getting better for either of you, giving your dog back up is something to consider. If you can’t provide a healthy life that a young dog needs, there is no shame in giving them back to a shelter who can do what’s best for both of you and find another home. This should only be a last resort though, changing homes repeatedly can be very stressful and harmful for any animal and you should try your best to get through the first few months to see if you can find a way past these feelings.
Trust Us, It’s Worth It!
There are a lot of causes and potential solutions to new puppy depression and we hope that these recommendations help someone out there so they can get back to enjoying time spent with their new best friend. Remember, it’s a lot of work, but you’re not alone and it will be worth it when your adorable pup understands what you expect from them and can be your best friend or child where you both give unconditional love and loyalty to each other.
we got you.