Once the euphoria of getting a new pup diminishes and the shenanigans, pee puddles, and hidden poop bombs become daily occurrences, many owners start questioning the decision of becoming dog parents – was it a good idea, are we ready for the responsibility, will we be able to keep up with the tasks.
Is It Normal To Regret Getting A Puppy?
So, is it normal to regret getting a puppy? Yes, the temporary feeling of regret and decision questioning after getting a new puppy is a common issue many dog owners experience. In fact, the problem is so common it has its own scientific term – puppy blues. Puppy blues stem from the overwhelming responsibilities and challenges the new puppy entails.
In this article, we will explain how and why puppy blues develop. We will also give some tips for overcoming the problem. Finally, we will help you understand that there is no shame in questioning the getting a puppy decision, and you should not feel guilty.
Is It Normal To Feel Sad After Getting A Puppy?
In terms of responsibilities and challenges, raising a puppy is similar to raising a child. Therefore, it may seem like stretching the concepts, but puppy blues is like the canine equivalent of developing postpartum depression.
Before going further, we need to emphasize that it is normal to feel sad after getting a puppy. Not all new parents will feel sad, but many will, and that is normal.
We are constantly exposed to movies, cartoons, and commercials where puppies and dogs behave impeccably. Even if they are naughty, their shenanigans are fun to watch. This concept is ingrained deep into our minds and sets an illogical expectation that our personal experiences will be similar.
Yes, getting a new puppy means tons of kisses and cuddles, hours of laughing and entertainment, playing games, and having fun together.
However, (and this is the part movies and commercials do not portray) it also means mopping pee puddles and scooping poop (or stepping on them), replacing destroyed furniture pieces and shoes, and waking up for potty breaks.
Expecting the first scenarios while neglecting to acknowledge the latter will likely set you on the puppy blues road.
Puppy Blues – Reason And Contributing Factors
As mentioned, puppy blues stems from unmanaged expectations and overwhelming responsibilities. Although there are many contributing factors, the following triggering causes are most frequently reported.
The burden of being responsible for someone else’s life
As already stated, raising a puppy does not differ from raising a baby. They both depend on you for fulfilling their basic needs and are 100% dependent.
The greatness of this task can be scary, especially for first-time parents. Even if you have read about the responsibilities, things can be different once you find yourself facing them.
Challenges associated with sleep deprivation
It is no secret that puppies cry a lot (especially when left alone at night) and need to pee frequently. Combine the crying with the frequent potty breaks, and you get sleepless nights.
Over time, the lack of proper sleep can lead to sleep deprivation. Not all people handle sleep deprivation well.
Unrealistic expectations and inability to manage the situation
The aforementioned movies, cartoons, and commercials really are to blame. When considering getting a puppy, you were driven by the unrealistic concept portrayed in idyllic situations.
In real life, things are never perfect – they are good moments, but there are also bad ones. And although temporary, those bad moments can sometimes impact the overall experience.
These are the top 3 causes of puppy blues. However, there are many other contributing factors, including:
- A new puppy represents a long term financial commitment
- Some puppies have excessively attention-seeking personalities
- Taking care of a puppy increases the everyday workload
- A puppy can sometimes equal destroyed shoes and furniture
- The kids and the new puppy may not get along.
How Long Does Puppy Blues Last?
Sadly, there is no universal answer to this question. Every persona and every puppy is different, thus making the longevity of the puppy blues phase variable.
Generally speaking, puppy blues go away once you gain control over the situation. Over time, as you start building confidence and realize you can manage the everyday tasks and challenges, the puppy blues will diminish.
The process can be slow and gradual, or it can happen overnight. Usually, the puppy blues phase does not last for more than three or four weeks.
The Different Phases Of Regret From Getting A Puppy
The puppy’s development is marked by several important milestones that can coincide with the puppy blues onset or resolution. Here is a short timeline of what to expect and when to expect it.
Week 1 to week 3
The first few weeks are the hardest for both you and your puppy. You are both pushed into an unknown experience and situation and forced to find a way of living together. You need to get familiar with one another and slowly learn what is acceptable and what is not. On paper, this seems much easier than in practice.
Week 4 to Month 3
This period may come as a relief considering with proper potty training; most puppies will be housebroken at this point. This does not mean there will be no accidents, but your puppy will know where to and where not to perform its toilet needs most of the time.
Plus, the puppy will start understanding some basic commands, learn its name, and respond when called upon.
3 months to 4 months
This period marks the receiving of the final vaccines and the begging of the socialization period. Your puppy will be allowed to go out, make new friends, and, most importantly, play with them.
Playing equals tiring, and we all know the old saying – “a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.”
4 months to 6 months
At this point, the recent breeziness and lightness of challenges may start fading as the teething phase sets in. Teething is uncomfortable or even painful and will make your puppy irritable and prone to chewing. Biting and nipping are also common issues.
6 months to 1 year
This period is popularly known as the puppy’s teenage years. Teenagers are hard to manage both in the human and animal world. The teenage phase can be quite frustrating because your puppy knows the commands and understands them but simply chooses not to obey.
Over 1 year
Congratulations – if you have reached this point, things can only go for the better from now on. After entering the adulthood phase, your dog will start behaving the way you imagined. It will be well-mannered, socialized, less inclined to shenanigans, and more willing to please and obey.
A Simple Guide For Managing Puppy Blues
We understand that every situation is different, but the following coping mechanisms are simple to implement and efficient:
- Remember that puppy blues are temporary
- Be more realistic before creating an idyllic image of the puppy parenting experience
- Be open to new management strategies (there is no shame in seeking help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist)
- Find a good support system for yourself (friends make good listeners)
- Make sure you have enough “me time.”
- Never punish your puppy for the way you feel (your feelings are your responsibility)
- Letting go is always an option (not an easy one, but sometimes holding on can do more damage than letting go for both you and your puppy). It goes without saying that you will need to ensure a loving new home for your puppy in this situation.
Getting a new puppy is the beginning of a fantastic adventure. However, the accompanying responsibilities can sometimes be challenging or even overwhelming. It is normal to start asking whether getting a new puppy was a good idea in such times.
Puppy blues is a common and widespread condition. The good news is, it is temporary. Before you know it, your mischievous puppy will become a well-mannered (and seldom naughty) adult dog, and you will reflect on your doubts with a smile. Instead of spending time on regrets and doubts, try enjoying every moment of your dog’s puppyhood.
Finally, the best way of preventing puppy blues is to manage your expectations. It would help if you accepted the fact that getting a new puppy is not always going to be fun and cuddles. Sometimes, it will be all about cleaning, sleepless nights, and shoe shopping. And that is completely fine – it is all part of the extraordinary puppy parenting experience.
Is it normal to resent your puppy?
Yes, it is normal to feel resentment. However, the resent is not focused on the puppy itself but instead on the responsibilities that come with it. It is comforting to know that puppy blues is a widespread condition. In fact, almost every dog parent has questioned the decision to get a new pup at least once.
Do people get puppy blues?
Puppy blues or puppy depression is something many people get after expanding their families with a new canine member. Puppy blues are more likely to occur in first-time dog parents as experienced parents know what puppy parenting entails and better manage their expectations.
At what age do puppies get easier?
In general, puppies get easier at one year old and as they grow older. However, the puppyhood phase is marked by certain events that can trigger behavioral challenges. Therefore, it is safe to say that puppies get not just easy but delightful after the age of one. At this point, they are potty trained, well-socialized, and eager to please.
How long until puppy blues go away?
The average time is about two weeks, but they can last longer. There is no way of saying how long the puppy blues will last. It depends on the person – how quickly he/she manages the expectations and exerts a certain amount of control over the situation. In some people, the puppy blues last several days, and in others, up to a month or two.