It’s truth time! Having a puppy is exhausting for everyone in the first weeks or even months, but it can be especially challenging for first time dog owners and pet parents who are not physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared.
Do you think you’re the only one who feels like having a puppy is exhausting? Well, you are definitely not alone.
You finally got that cute little puppy you've been dreaming of. You did all your research, bought all the supplies, and even puppy-proofed your house. But now that your puppy is home, you feel overwhelmed and anxious. Welcome to the world of the puppy blues.
What are the puppy blues? Puppy blues are a real thing, and it's more common than you might think. It's that feeling of sadness, anxiety, and stress that can come with taking care of a new puppy.
You might feel like you're not doing a good job or not bonding with your puppy like you thought you would. It’s also a lot of work, and you’re not getting much sleep. And you can’t stop worrying about your new pup.
It's okay to feel this way, and it's important to know that it won't last forever.
I was surprised that I got the puppy blues with Lucy since I’ve had dogs all my life, and I don’t remember ever being so overwhelmed. Is it my age? My new puppy? Is it like childbirth, where you forget the pain as time passes?
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, know that it's normal and that things will get better with time. Don't be afraid to ask for help or support from friends, family, or a professional trainer. Remember to take breaks and prioritize your own self-care. You got this, and your puppy loves you no matter what.
Yes, having a puppy is exhausting, but there are plenty of ways to cope with the puppy blues to minimize your overwhelm, frustration, and fatigue. And the good news is that this stage doesn’t last too long. You’ve got this!!
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Here are some tips and tricks to help you deal with the puppy blues:
Having a puppy is exhausting because it has its fair share of challenges - especially in the early weeks. One of the biggest challenges is the time and energy it takes to care for a puppy properly.
I had forgotten how much time and attention a puppy needs. I had all these visions of hugs, cuddles, playing, and companionship - but it was more like chaos, cleaning, and crying (both of us).
When I got my previous puppy, Luc, I worked full-time and had a lot of help from friends and family. With Lucy, I was retired and was with her 24/7. So, I never got relief from all the puppy responsibilities. If I had it to do over again, I would definitely ask for more help!
Training a puppy requires consistent effort and patience. Potty training alone can take several weeks or even months. And that's just the beginning.
You'll need to teach your puppy basic commands, like "sit" and "stay," as well as more advanced commands, like "heel" and "come." All of this takes time and energy, and it can be frustrating when your puppy doesn't seem to be progress as quickly as you'd like.
In addition to training, puppies require a lot of attention and exercise. They need to be fed several times a day, taken for numerous walks, and given plenty of playtime. . If you work outside the home or have other commitments, finding the time to give your puppy the attention and exercise they need can be challenging.
One of the most common reasons having a puppy is exhausting is that you don’t set realistic training expectations. Being realistic and prepared is the key to getting through this challenging phase as easily as possible.
It’s normal for a young puppy to have excess energy, create sleepless nights, and have potty accidents. You don't get upset when your human child takes months or years to learn how to walk, talk, use the toilet, and know what’s expected, right?
Behavioral challenges are normal for puppies, but many new dog owners get stressed and overwhelmed when their new puppies don’t have good manners right from the start.
So, how do you set realistic expectations?
An area where expectations are critical is training. Why does training look easy for everyone else’s dog?
Having a puppy is exhausting and frustrating for many people because their expectations are out of whack. But you can shift your expectations to make life easier for you and your new dog.
In addition to training expectations, it’s also important to be realistic about your commitment.
Time: First, owning a puppy requires a significant amount of time commitment. Puppies need to be trained, exercised, and socialized regularly. You should expect to spend at least an hour a day training, playing with, and exercising your puppy.
Also, puppies need to be taken outside to go to the bathroom frequently, especially when they are very young. This means you'll need to be available to take your puppy outside every few hours, even in the middle of the night.
Energy: You’re sleeping less and have a lot more on your plate, like cleaning up lots of accidents, walking many times a day, playing with and training your puppy, socializing, grooming, and keeping an eye on her 24/7.
To ensure you don’t deplete your energy, make sure you take naps, eat healthy food, exercise, and get help if possible. You can also manage puppy energy by providing plenty of physical activity, mental exercise, and mitigating destructive behaviors by providing chew toys, keeping them confined to small, safe areas, and making sure they get plenty of sleep.
Money: Then, there’s the financial commitment. As discussed above, most people aren’t prepared for how much this tiny puppy will cost. Going in with realistic financial expectations will reduce your stress.
House training a puppy is one of the biggest challenges you'll face as a new puppy owner. It takes time, patience, and consistency to train your puppy to go potty outside.
Creating a routine is one of the most effective ways to house train your puppy. Take your puppy outside first thing in the morning, after meals, and before bedtime. Praise your puppy when they go potty outside and avoid punishing them when they have accidents indoors. Accidents will happen, but with time and consistency, your puppy will learn to go potty outside.
Behavioral training is another challenge that comes with owning a puppy. Puppies can be very energetic and playful, but they can also be destructive. Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective ways to train your puppy. Reward your puppy when they exhibit good behavior, such as sitting or staying on command. Avoid punishing your puppy for bad behavior, as this can lead to fear and anxiety.
Another important aspect of behavioral training is socialization. Socializing your puppy with other dogs and people is crucial for their development. Take your puppy to parks, pet stores, walks in the neighborhood, or puppy socialization classes to help them learn how to interact with other dogs and people.
House training and behavioral training are two of the most important aspects of puppy training, and by creating a routine and using positive reinforcement, you can help your puppy learn good habits and behaviors.
Health Care Responsibilities
When it comes to your puppy's health, regular vet visits are crucial. For puppies, it's recommended to start with a series of vaccinations, typically beginning at 6-8 weeks of age, followed by additional shots in the following months.
Ideally, your first vet visit should happen within the first week of bringing your puppy home. After that initial visit, regular check-ups every 3-4 weeks during the first few months are advisable.
As your puppy grows, you can gradually space out the vet visits to around every 6-12 months for routine check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive care.
Remember, every puppy is unique, so consult your vet to establish a tailored schedule based on your dog's specific needs.
Preventive care is also crucial for your puppy's health. This includes regular grooming, dental care, and parasite prevention. Regular grooming helps keep your puppy's coat healthy and free of tangles and mats. Brushing your puppy's teeth regularly can prevent dental problems while parasite prevention can protect your puppy from fleas, ticks, and other harmful pests.
Your vet can advise on the best preventive care practices for your puppy. It is important to follow their recommendations and schedule regular appointments for preventive care.
Balancing Life and a Puppy
Let’s face it - in the early days and even months of living with a new puppy, it’s all about bonding with your dog, teaching basic behavior, and keeping them alive. Having a puppy is exhausting in these early days, but now you know there are things you can do to minimize the fatigue and overwhelm.
When you have a new puppy, it can be challenging to balance your social life. You may find that you have less time to spend with friends and family, as you need to devote time to training and caring for your puppy. It's important to communicate with your loved ones and let them know that you may not be as available as you used to be.
Here are some tips to make sure you don't miss out on important social events:
Balancing work and a new puppy can also be challenging. You may need to adjust your work schedule to accommodate your puppy's needs, such as taking them for walks or letting them out to go potty.
To balance work and your puppy's needs, consider the following tips:
Good news: Your puppy sleeps a lot, giving you much needed relief. And the puppy blues will morph into full-out unconditional puppy love.
Today, I can’t imagine life without Lucy. My only regret is that I let exhaustion and overwhelm rob me of quality fun and bonding time with Lucy in the beginning.
My hope for you is that you don’t make the mistake I did. Instead of focusing on the chaos, the sleep deprivation, and the mess, focus on the laughter, the cuteness, the cuddles, and the unconditional love.
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