New Puppy Blues? Here’s How to Handle Them
You saw the “Puppies for sale” sign and you decided to fulfill your dream of pet ownership.
It is both a rewarding and exhausting process to own a puppy – but you knew this before you invested in a lifelong partner. What you didn’t know was just how exhausting it truly is to own a young dog.
Lately you have begun to have feelings of regret.
“Did I make a mistake?”
“Am I ready to own a dog for 10+ years?”
The good news is that these feelings are normal, and they have a name. These feelings are colloquially referred to as the “puppy blues” and they are temporary.
Signs and Symptoms:
You may be wondering if the “puppy blues” are what you’re experiencing. Sure you’ve got some frustration, but can it be classified as “puppy blues”? Signs that you may have the puppy blues include feelings of helplessness, anger and frustration, exhaustion, regret, buyer’s remorse, anxiety, feelings of being overwhelmed, resentment towards your dog, and feeling a loss of your freedom/time.
Symptoms that you may have the puppy blues include sleep deprivation, agitation, irritability, abnormally short temper, and erratic behavior towards others (not towards the puppy).
Tiredness during the early stages of dog ownership is an unfortunate and inescapable side-effect of the relationship. What matters most is how you deal with tiredness and how you can work to improve your, and your pup’s sleep. It is recommended that you and your pup sleep in separate rooms to maximize your potential for quality sleep. As tough as it may be to hear your puppy whine and cry during the night, these nights are necessary.
It is important to have your puppy sleep in a crate during the early stages to ensure that they are in a safe, contained, and controlled space. It is not inhumane or cruel to confine your puppy to a crate; in fact it is the safer way of treating them. Puppies are unpredictable and curious. Without the proper measures in place, they could hurt themselves and your property.
In order to maximize your sleep, try the following things:
- Get a source of static noise. Something like a fan, sounds of nature, etc.
- Keep your puppy’s crate in a room away from yours to cut down on the noise.
- It is OK to have them sleep with you the first night or two, but after that it is time for them to sleep alone.
- Have a regular sleep schedule.
- This will help potty train your puppy to know that at a certain hour they will go potty.
- This will also help you track your sleep quality and make changes as needed.
Another crucial element to dealing with the “puppy blues” is setting and managing expectations. According to FidoSavvy.com with a puppy you can expect to:
- Afford equipment, food, training and health care (The Cost of Owning A Dog)
- Spend time on potty training… and cleaning up the inevitable messes.
- Be woken up once or twice a night for potty breaks, possibly for weeks
- Spend time daily working on manners and basic obedience.
- Invest time and money in formal obedience classes.
- Have your belongings chewed or damaged (even after puppy proofing).
- Stay home because your puppy can’t be alone for long periods – even when you want to go out.
- Feel worried or anxious about your puppy’s health/diet/behavior
Puppies are new to the world and it is your role to acclimate them to this wonderful world in place of their mother through training and attention. Understanding these expectations will help you cut down on feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed.
The final element to dealing with “puppy blues” is knowing when, and not being afraid to ask for help.
Many of your friends, family, and neighbors will be so happy and excited to meet and play with your puppy. Don’t hesitate to ask someone if they can take your puppy on a walk for you in the evening so that you can relax; if even for only an hour. These moments of down time will help preserve your sanity and energy levels so that you can focus on raising your puppy with the care it deserves.
The next time you see the “puppies for sale” sign, don’t be surprised if it feels like more than you bargained for.
By knowing the signs and symptoms, understanding the importance of sleep, managing expectations, and asking for help you will be able to combat the “puppy blues”; be it with your puppy or that of someone you know.
For more stories and to take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone, check out this link to forums discussing puppy blues.