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Explaining The Puppy Blues And 6 Expert Tips To Help You Through It

April 9, 2021
April 9, 2021

You’ve just got a puppy, you should be over the moon, but you’re feeling down…

You can’t explain it, but nothing’s going right. You’re exhausted, and puppy just seems to not stop.

I know what you’re going through, I was there! Honestly. Everyone was full of compliments for my puppy, and thought he was marvellous (and he was!) but I just didn’t feel it. It has a name though, and it’s called the Puppy Blues.

I went through Indie’s early puppyhood totally on my own, which meant all the toilet breaks that I had to give him through the night had to be me. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel a bond with Indie, that was there from the get go, it was just so much. It felt overwhelming.

Lack of sleep was getting to me, and I couldn’t understand why he was so tough. My temper was frayed at best and I felt, more than once, like I was going to have to take him back. That I’d made a bad decision. 

Does that ring a bell for you too?

Do not feel alone!

Honestly, you’re really not alone, and it can truly feel that way. 

A lack of sleep, not knowing what to do even after everything you’ve read means that you can easily feel overwhelmed, especially if the puppy is largely your responsibility. Feeling totally unsure of what you should do for the best? Is tough. 

It’s a little like Post-Partum depression – except that obviously you didn’t give birth to this fluffy little pupper – in a way that makes it worse though! In a way. You likely haven’t had nine whole months to prep for this. Though, unlike post-partum, your boss is not very likely to be sympathetic with this one. And to be honest? Jo Public just doesn’t understand it. Similar to how they don’t understand depression (or didn’t until a light was shining on it… hold up…  let me grab a torch/flashlight…), you likely won’t get a sympathetic ear unless you know someone who has gone through it. 

This is where I wave at you and go “Hey, Ali here… I know what you’re feeling”. So, let me help you through this, because I’ve been there.

Does Everyone Get The Puppy Blues?

Yes, to some extent – but it’s definitely more consuming for the likes of me and you than it is for others – but please do not feel like this makes your feelings any less valid. Puppies are hard work. They will test your patience and there’s zero way of efficiently communicating – other than learning to understand. So it’s totally understandable.

What Are The Puppy Blues?

Well, simply put, it’s feeling low, overwhelmed, anxious, sad and/or helpless shortly after getting a puppy and wondering whether it was the right thing to do. The puppy blues can be totally consuming, and you can feel like it inhibits your ability to bond with your new, gorgeous puppy that everyone told you was going to be your new best buddy for life.

Now, you know (logically speaking) that you didn’t just see the puppy in a shop with a label that said “HALF OFF! TODAY ONLY” and you bought that little puppy on an impulse, you’ve considered this (to some degree) for a long time.

So… why do you feel this way?  

cute corgi puppy in mum's mom's arms - but is she really feeling that smile? Or is she nervous or anxious behind it?

Who Gets The Puppy Blues?

From my experiences talking to all of you wonderful puppy parents, it’s the people who care in abundance. I don’t want to say “too much” – because that’s not possible. It’s those of us who crave success and it’s those of us who may struggle to not be in control at times.

It seems (from informal research) that it affects women more than men, but that could just be down to biological programming.

Is The Puppy Blues Normal?

Fairly normal, yes. Lots of people tend to get it, they just don’t necessarily categorise it as such, or they experience it to a lesser degree.

It does seem to take greater effect on those who are more isolated and have less of a support system in place (e.g. a partner), but it happens a lot in super busy families too because there’s potentially a lot to be done, and a puppy is simply adding to that responsibility.

Why Do You Have The Puppy Blues? 

For me, I have a predisposition to depression and anxiety – so not a shock that I experienced it. I’m also an utter rat-bag when I’m tired. Managing your mental health when you’re exhausted is no joke – but that’s not always the reason behind the puppy blues. It’s not just people who are prone to anxiety or depression, it’s more than that.

Sometimes it can just be the drastic change in lifestyle associated with getting a puppy and suddenly having a hugely dependent creature in your life, having them break things, chew on things, then add in the associated sleep deprivation with toilet training… It can even just be a culmination of a bunch of small things as your entire world begins to revolve around this adorable, fluffy puppy that you know you’re meant to love.

Now. I want you to read this bit carefully.

The Puppy Blues Do Not Mean That You Don’t Care About Your Puppy.

Ali Smith

It’s not that you don’t care (because you’re biologically programmed to, sorry, and especially if you’re female, it’s why dogs bonded with us in the first place!) but it’s that you care a lot. You’re worried you’re failing, and no one can tell you otherwise.

And it’s not wrong to want to get it right. Okay? But puppies don’t play to a plan, nothing living does. So you have to roll with them.

Is The Puppy Blues A Form Of Depression?

I cannot say this as a mental health practitioner, or researcher, but I can say it as someone who has experienced both.

It’s very similar. It’s got the same all consuming-ness that depression has, and it’s not a very nice place.

However, because you know the root cause of your depression? Tackling it isn’t as tough as depression was (at least for me), confusing and frustrating, but much more manageable. But if you are struggling? There are people who can help.

Can I Still Get The Puppy Blues If My Puppy Is 6 Months (Or Older?)

Well! This one becomes a fine line, and my answer here is it depends.

This usually applies to when puppy first comes home, whether that’s 8 weeks, or 8 months – it’s to explain the period of adjustment that you and your pup go through which initially is packed full of moments that just do not align – aka miscommunication.

This can actually happen for any new dog that comes home, be they a puppy, or a rescue that is older.

However – it’s also true that your puppy will likely go through a rebellious stage around the ‘teenage’ bit. We come into fear phases, and we come into the potential “I know better than you” phase (that’s not an official one, but it does feel that way, which gets bundled into “Teenager”.

This can be very frustrating, but usually isn’t quite the same as the puppy blues, if this sounds more like you? Try How To Survive A Problematic Teenage Puppy – 7 Tips From A Professional!

Can I Get The Puppy Blues With A Rescue Dog?

Yes.

Similarly to a puppy, there is often a big learning junction between you and your new rescue (thank you for rescuing by the way!), and it can feel pretty rotten too. Especially seen as you wanted to give a dog a second chance… and now it feels so tough.

Need Help?

How does simple, week by week guidance from an award winning trainer sound?

Again, it often comes down to communication, but with a rescue dog, you often have the added burden of The Past. Where sometimes this is known, and other times, it is not. But no matter what trauma happened to your new woof, you won’t communicate in the same way their old family did. So they essentially have to re-learn language, though they have some foundation this time.

It’s good to note though, that the 3-3-3 rule works really well to guide you in what to expect from your new addition.

Do The Puppy Blues Go Away?

Yes, eventually given time, training and a few natural behavioural developments. It most certainly is a finite period. So please don’t panic! It’s just a case of managing it in the right now. Your puppy will grow into a fantastic dog, and do you know why I know that?

Because you care enough to be reading this.

How Long Do The Puppy Blues Last?

It’s a really difficult thing to say, and consequently, I’ve explained the variables for you over in another post: How Long Do The Puppy Blues Last? With 5 Tips To Help.

But the short version is how long the following last:
❓Sleeplessness
❓Biting
❓Communication
❓Neediness
❓Training

Can Anyone Help With The Puppy Blues?

Yes. You absolutely do not have to go through this alone – though you can be a part of the solution.

✅ You
✅ Your Friends & Family
✅ Me.
✅ Your Doctor
✅ Your Therapist
✅ Charities

If you want more guidance on this check over here in 7 People Who Can Help With The Puppy Blues.

Learn from my experience

These tips come from my experience, and they’re there for you. To help you through this, okay? You can do this. You don’t need to give puppy back. You went into this with your eyes open and you’re just feeling a little wobbly.

Wobbles are normal, okay?

You’re allowed to be unsure and you’re going to get things wrong. Don’t aim for perfection. Perfection is the biggest target that you cannot set yourself. You want practical, not perfect. Trust me.

Anyway! Aside from knowing what you’re going through, you want to get through the puppy blues. Below are my tips on how to help you and your puppy get through this puppy blues phase.

Puppy blues getting you down? We know that feeling, and gender doesn't matter either

1 – Remember it’s finite.

Crate training, routine implementation, the sleepless nights and the huge focus on puppy will decrease over time. You only get this with this puppy once, so try and enjoy it. It will end. If you need to cry? It might just help. You have to feel what you have to feel – and this will come to an end. They become easier, I promise.

2 – Brush Up On What To Expect

Knowing what to expect when you get a puppy is huge. Because let me tell you? Expectations vs reality with a puppy? Is often some of the biggest chasm of difference that ever happens to a person.

It’s bloody hard to raise a puppy. The communication, the sleeplessness, the mood, the exhaustion etc? It’s hard. And there are minimal resources on what will actually work.

What does exist now? Is my programme. Pupdates.

I’ve got metrics in there, I’ve got what to expect, when to expect it, and you get all of that info before it’s going to happen so that you’re prepared. It’s the product I really wanted when struggling with the puppy blues, so, go check it out, it’ll help take the anxiety out of this process for you.

3 – Make Sure Your Crate Training Is On Pointe!

Getting your puppy settled in at home, and having their own space is so very important and can be so handy for helping with the puppy blues – because if there’s a space where your puppy is happy to be alone? It means you have even 5 minutes for yourself. So make sure that your crate training is working.

If you need guidance on this? Check The Rebarkable Crate Training Information Center! for all of my resources on crate training.

Adorable daschund puppy, but is mum mom feeling depressed down or anxious due to the puppy blues?

4 – Take time for you.

Like the advice they give new mothers and fathers, try to squeeze in some time for you. For example, you could take a nap! Settle puppy into their crate and close your eyes. You’re certainly exhausted because the little one is crying or howling at night. 

Alternatively, a time for a bath, where you can relax. Or go get your nails done! Sorry, I know they’re a bit girly – or – maybe go to a bar with your buddy and watch some football? There’s a lot of options for “Me time” – that’s great to help you with the puppy blues!

5 – Cranky Puppy Plans

Make sure you have a routine in place. make sure there is a structure to your new puppy’s day. Check out our post on Creating a Routine for your Puppy – because it’s really important to segment the day so that you’re making the best routine for them – if you don’t? This stage can be totally rotten, because if your dog isn’t getting the right level of exercise, or sleeping properly himself, it can make him cantankerous, which is really not going to help the situation. Chews can be a life saver. 

6 – Build A Support Network

Whether this is your mum, your best friend, or a paid professional like the dog walker I mentioned, even a trainer! Particularly a trainer if there’s something that’s bugging you senseless.  Sometimes having someone there to help you, to become your back up when you just need a break – that’s fine! Honestly, and do not feel guilty about that – that’s an order, ok? Feel ok. You need to take time for you.

cute spaniel puppy sleeping next to mum mom but is she feeling down or anxious due to the puppy blues?

Caveat inbound…

Now, if you’ve had something going on for a little longer? If it’s been festering for a while… Or if this starts extending for a longer time, please make sure to go seek professional help. There’s nothing to be ashamed about, seek help, feel better. No one deserves to be in that hole and talking to a professional is one of the best ways of dealing with it in my opinion.

You can find help in the US from Mental Health America.

In the UK look for Mind or The Samaritans.

In any country? Talk to your doctor, they’ll know what to do.

This needed to be said.

This did need to be said. I promise you, if you post about this in a facebook board – you will not be alone! Talking can help too. And, if you can? Try talking to dog people, because mental health is a tough enough subject to talk about, let alone when it involves an animal.

Last big thing? You can’t be everything to everyone all the time.

I promise you, if you prioritise yourself for an hour, even if that means you have to get a dog walker in once a week to hang out with your pup (which they are gonna LOVE doing! Hanging out with puppies was one of my favourite things to do when I was a dog walker!) whilst you go have a bath, go to the pub or similar is going to help.

Honestly,

if you are genuinely feeling down about this?

Oh! And don’t take it out on your puppy – even if you’re feeling totally overwhelmed. Remember you brought them into your life and they’re learning to live with you, too. 

If it helps? Let me know. If you’re struggling, let me know! I’m happy to talk and help if I can. Email me. Honestly, I’ll reply. 

If you have 2 minutes….

Can you help with a little research into the puppy blues?

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021’s worlds’ best pet blog!

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77 Comments

  1. Taylor Morrissey

    This was a lifesaver today. Day 3 with my puppy and I’ve cried twice. So many helpful reminders. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Hey Taylor! I’m glad this helped (but sorry you cried!) – How are you and puppy getting along now?

      Reply
  2. Haley

    This is exactly what I needed to read. I got a new puppy two weeks ago. I also have a 1.5 year old dog as well. And I’m on my own. It has felt absolutely overwhelming at times. But then I see how well they get along and it feels worth it. So glad to be reminded the stress won’t last forever!!

    Reply
    • CArolyn Crew

      Me too. I actually went thru pod 10 years ago and this feels the same. I have a constant stomachache and am very anxious wondering what I got myself into

      Reply
      • Ali Smith

        Hey Carolyn, you may find our pupdates really helpful – they’ll keep you ahead of the game with regards to what’s likely to happen with puppy – and we’ll do it week by week!

        Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Hey Haley! Thanks for responding – it helps for others to know they’re not so alone. Hope you and your two are getting along better now!

      Reply
  3. Tina

    I’m so pleased I found and read this. I’m feeling guilty for all of my time our 9 week puppy is taking up and that I’m not getting to spend much time with my husband and children. All previous routines have gone out the window and I’m completely overwhelmed. Life was going swimmingly and has now been turned on it’s head! This is a reminder of why we got a pup and that the hard work now will pay off!

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Hey Tina! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. I know puppies are tough – and if you’re still feeling overwhelmed? Our pupdates launched yesterday might really help!! They’ll help you normalise and you can come share in the group about how you’re feeling and how it’s going!

      Reply
      • Bronwyn Everett

        I’m currently sat here crying for reasons I just don’t understand.. I’m finding being a new dog owner so hard and overwhelming.. I haven’t cried this much in a very long time.. this article helped and made me feel less guilty.. this whole experience has made me feel like I’m a bad person.. I do love the bundle of fluff but feel so overwhelmed all at the same time but I’m going to take on your advice and remember why I brought this bundle of fluff home

        Reply
        • Ali Smith

          You’re not a bad person Bronwyn! It’s not easy to bring in a whole other species! You’re learning each other, okay? Give yourself time – and if you need to chat, I’m here.

          Reply
          • Sally

            Ali thank you for writing this! We just got a 7 week old puppy and the first week I was crying at the oddest things just sitting there. The feeling of guilt, sleep deprivation, things not going well all the time made me so anxious that I even puked one of the nights. Reading your article warmed my heart and made me realized I am not alone and this soon will pass. I can’t wait to spend great times with our new dog soon 😁

          • Ali Smith

            Far from alone (as you can see by all of these comments!). Sorry to hear you were unwell, but once things settle down? You’re going to be a very happy puppy parent. If you need any guidance? Drop me an email!

  4. Ross

    Got a 7 month old German Shep pedigree last week and he’s a handful. This did help, I can’t stop him from following me everywhere though, almost feels like he has separation anxiety, I’m worried he’s too old for the crate, thus I’m struggling to get any time to my self 🙁

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Ahhh, Shepherds are bred to be your shadow! He’s not too old for his crate that’s for sure, but he definitely can learn to feel safe when he’s apart from you. How is he if you put a physical barrier between you?

      Reply
  5. Nique

    I needed this. I just got a Labrador retriever 4 days ago & I also have 3 children of my own. I’m so use to having a daily schedule & now all of my time is spent with the new puppy and I haven’t had a good nights sleep. It’s only been 4 days and I’m so down. I have my own small business so I work from home but since he’s been here I haven’t touched my business at all. I definitely feel like I got him at the wrong time. I’m hoping things get better & fast.

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      I know the small business life Nique! There’s never a right time, but give it a little time – you’ll get there! And if you need help? Just shout.

      Reply
  6. Brenna

    Thank you so much for saying this. You’ve just validated everything I’ve been thinking/feeling since I got a German Shepherd puppy 9 weeks ago. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I’ve done some hard things!

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      No problem Brenna! It can feel like an uphill battle, and as a fellow GSD owner, I totally get it. If you need any support, do check out our updates, they’re there to help you through!

      Reply
  7. Houston

    Wow, thank you so much for this post. Finding out you’re not the only one with these feelings is comforting. Just got my 4 month year old Bullmastiff Shepherd 3 days ago and she’s been a handful, but it will get easier! Thank you so much again Ali. You are a God’s send.

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Awwww No worries Houston! I really want this post to help, and if you need more? You know where to find me (Also, Bullmastiff shepherd?! I need pictures!)

      Reply
  8. Rachel

    Wow thank you for this Ali!! We picked up our 8 week old golden Indy 2 days ago, and I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed and anxious since. I grew up with Golden’s and have wanted one for the past 5 years but was waiting for the right time, so this feeling really caught me off guard. I am absolutely a perfectionist by nature, and I want so badly to make sure we’re doing everything right….and instead I just feel wobbly.

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Awwww, you have an Indy?! Thats how mine was meant to be spelled, I think. I grew up with two goldens, and the younger was my very best friend in the whole wide world.

      Puppies are definitely tough! if you need help? Just shout, or check out the pupdates, I’m here for you!

      Reply
  9. K

    I recently adopted an Indie, he’s about 8 weeks old. Everything was going well until the last couple of days where he’s started biting me and I can’t seem to distract him long enough with a chew toy. He keeps biting my hand, really hard as if trying to break skin. I’ve tried everything, I don’t know if it’s because of the new multivitamins and calcium supplements we’re giving him. Feeling really lost.

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Ahhh hey fellow Indie Mum! Thanks for adopting. Try a toy? Like a squeaky toy and keep making that toy more fun than it is to bite you, biting is normally a desire to play? So engage that! Oh! and sign up to the pupdates – they’re really good (even if I do say so myself!)

      Reply
  10. Laura

    Thanks for this! I needed to read this this morning. Only day 2 with my 8 week old puppy and despite his sleeping great last night I struggled to sleep at all due to feeling so anxious!
    I’ve been wanting a dog for so many years and always going on about it to my family that I feel like I can’t complain now he’s here!
    It’s my first pup so definitely an adjustment but so happy to know I’m not the only one feeling like this and that it will get better.

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      It’s really tough because you just don’t know what to expect! But I can help with that, have you checked out our pupdates?

      Reply
  11. Linda

    I just got a 2 month old puppy myself and the first night was so difficult. His whining and crying accelerated my anxiety and I felt like I’m not bonding with him. I keep feeling like I’m failing my family by bringing him in.

    Reply
    • Linda

      Is it possible to feel anxiety every time my puppy makes a sound? like anything just a small whimper. I have them in my room so they don’t feel too much anxiety being alone the first night but I feel like hearing the puppy is only giving me more anxiety. They aren’t really sleeping all that much either for a 2 month old. I left the crate unopened after he calmed down a bit and he hasn’t voluntarily left the crate. I believe he is so smart but he hasn’t gotten the ropes down.

      Reply
      • Ali Smith

        Sorry, what ropes do you mean? it is definitely possible to feel anxious when puppy makes a noise! Because it’s hard to understand.
        Do you have more than one puppy?

        Reply
    • Ali Smith

      It can definitely be tough Linda, how’re you doing? Email me, let’s chat because I know it can become easier.

      Reply
  12. Patrick ross

    This made me feel a bit better reading this. I’ve always wanted a puppy and I finally Pulled the trigger. My relationship ended 3 weeks ago and I got The puppy a week ago. I feel Completely overwhelmed and even more down about the relationship and the puppy lately. I know it’s temporary but it’s so tough rn. I’m sleep deprived !

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re physically and mentally exhausted. Try and take some time for you to recharge and please make sure you’re eating well too!!

      Reply
  13. Grace

    Thank you so much for writing this, I’m very low and unable to sleep because of how much my brain is buzzing. We’re on day 4 and just struggling to get her routine down, causing a lot of upset. I really feel very overwhelmed even though I did all the research and have cared for friend’s dogs.

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Yep, I know that feeling Grace! It does go, I promise. The routine will come, it’s all about patience and consistency. Try and get some sleep. It will really help!

      Reply
  14. Laura

    Reading this post and all of the comments definitely made me feel a bit lighter, so thank you so much! I am on day 5 with a 6-7 mo Border Collie mix rescue pup. I definitely have the blues, and one big hurdle is that so does my partner. We are definitely leaning on each other, much like we did when my soul-dog was sick and after she passed. But, on top of this dog obviously not living up to our previous dog’s perfection (poor thing, how could he at this point? or ever?) i’m just trying so hard to be strong for my partner. I hate to see him feeling this way, and just want to be the best I can for both him and the puppy. I’ve seen some posts that say in 4-5 months i’ll feel better, but that is a long time to feel this way…

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Hey Laura, thanks for replying, it’s always tough when a new dog comes home, especially after you’ve had such a wonderful woof! Just don’t forget, new collie will be wonderful too – just different. Breathe, take some time, and remember the 3-3-3 rule!

      Reply
  15. Charlotte

    It’s so reassuring to read this and know I’m not alone. I’m on day 3 with my 5 month old Macedonian rescue, and I feel so anxious and upset with a constant stomach ache. He’s so timid, howls day and night and is only just starting to warm to us, and won’t let us take him outside so I’m just constantly cleaning up after him. I feel overwhelmed and my house is just a mess with a constant dog poop smell even with all the candles! I know it will get better but it feels so far away at the moment, and I’m getting cabin fever being inside constantly. Taking each day at a time!

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      First, thanks for rescuing.

      It’s so tough when they first come home. Please don’t feel alone. And if you want to chat, please ping me an email (make sure to include a picture of your new rescue!)

      Reply
  16. Becky

    Thank you so much… I needed this. I thought maybe I was going crazy with how I’ve felt since we got our new puppy a week ago. I even had a few awful thoughts that maybe we should give her back… and then I felt awful about feeling that way. Thank you for helping me feel like I’m not alone.

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Definitely not alone Becky! It can be really tough to deal with the exhaustion, swift change of lifestyle. I’m glad this helped you to feel less alone, but if you do need to chat more? Feel free to message me!

      Reply
  17. Shaila Bano

    I’m so grateful you wrote this. I only discovered the phenomenon of “puppy blues” AFTER rehoming my puppy many years ago (to a great home, she loves her new mom so much and is thriving), but in all my researching on how to prepare for a dog, no one ever talked about puppy blues. I felt broken, like something was wrong with me. I’m definitely prone to anxiety, so it should have been no surprise I would be prone to puppy blues. I was also overwhelmed by not being in control, like you said, paralyzed with not knowing how the rest of my life would look like (even though I never knew that even without a dog!). My mind was flooded with fear. Also, I think I’m used to always playing hostess when a new person (or animal) is in the house, so I never relaxed and felt like I had to be there to constantly entertain her or tend to her every need immediately.

    Now I’m on the precipice of trying again, adopting a rescue, and trying to prepare to work through the big feelings. Reading this really helps. Truly. I love dogs so much, it’s been a childhood dream to have one of my own. I have so much love to give, but I have so much shame around the first round of puppy blues and feel so embarrassing to talk mention or explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it. Thank you so much for writing this piece and reminding me how anxiety/exhaustion plays tricks on the mind and how there’s no shame in taking some alone time when there’s a new dog in the house.

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Hey Shaila! Wow what an experience! I am really happy that you’re trying again, but please don’t feel shame for being overwhelmed the first time around. It’s easy to feel that way and I’m sure that you now understand a little more?

      How prepared do you feel this time around?

      Reply
    • Lee Ann

      I feel ya Shiela, myself as well. I gave up at 3.5 weeks. I felt so alone, and my helpful dog mom friends were all saying “hang in there”, but they had partners and other dogs to help each new dog enter the pack. I was out of my mind with depression and anxiety, and felt this must be a bad match if I felt that way, and I needed to hurry and rehome him before any more bonding took place – for both of our sakes. I rehomed him and a week later, found this blog. I don’t know if I will ever feel worthy again, and will always be unsure of my doggo raising skills. (And I just saw my pup of 16 years cross over the rainbow not 3 months ago!!). What a heavy and mind altering experience. Love and Healing Prayers, LA

      Reply
      • Ali Smith

        If you ever want to chat before you consider getting a new puppy, I’d be more than happy to help.

        Reply
    • Lee Ann

      Thank you for sharing your experience Shaila 😉 I too just ran across this page and all you lovely people a bit too late. I rehomed my wonderful rescue Brodie (3+ month old Doodle mix) just a week ago, after 3 + weeks of feeling the walls had closed in on me…yet small leaps daily in his training. I don’t know what is worse – Knowing we possibly could have made it through the puppy blues, or if it was truly a poor fit. He was so full of spunk and so smart and OH was he a Cutie Pie! I loved him dearly but was struggling to allow any further bonding, because I felt very early on that we may need to rehome. I’m devastated I could not hang any longer in the blues phase, and felt I was not “enough” and maybe had become “too old” to raise a puppy. (I am 60). I was completely overwhelmed and frought with sadness, fear and exhaustion. I wish I could have found this place just a couple of weeks sooner 😉 Glad you were able to take the leap again. This gives me hope for another try ~ Best, Lee Ann

      Reply
  18. Becky

    I’m so happy to have found this. I’m a wreck and debating going to therapy because ever since we picked up our bundle of joy, which we had planned for months, I’ve been a blubbering mess. I’m exhausted, crying over everything, unsure if we made the right decision. I keep going through all the worse case scenarios in my mind. And to top it off we aren’t too familiar with the breed we have so my anxiety is up just not knowing the “right” way to train her. I’m in rough shape and it’s really nice to know I’m not alone.

    Reply
  19. Gary

    Thanks so much for posting this. It’s really great to know I’m not alone in my feelings of wanting to give up our 11 month old Vizsla and I feel a little less silly explaining the reasons why my anxiety and depression have been triggered again.

    We did so much research before getting a Vizsla, knew what we were getting into, knew working dogs could be tough and wanted a dog to get us more active. What we didn’t think about was me. I didn’t think for a second that something I had wanted for two decades would trigger this in me, but here I am. When we first got her as a puppy, I was instantly overwhelmed and wanted to give her back to the breeder to end my constant anxiety. I was able to push through this with help from friends and my partner but it has returned again at 11 months old. I find myself obsessing over her training as she has regressed a little in some aspects and I find it so hard to remember all the things she is doing so well and how well trained, balanced and happy she is.

    Recently, we found a great doggy day care where she goes once per week. It gives me a break, mid week when she starts to get quite full on and tires her out for a day or two afterwards. It’s helping to give me the space I need to fix myself and to make sure I don’t start turning my frustrations to our lovely pup.

    Thanks again for the article.

    Reply
  20. Amy

    Thank you so much for this! We have had our puppy home for 4 days (he is a cockapoo and is nearly 9 weeks old….I cried last night and again this morning worrying that he didn’t like me because he is bitey and that I’ve definitely failed! Dramatic I know! I took myself off for a walk and a coffee to get some perspective and came back feeling so much better and read your story and can relate to it on so many levels! I still feel wobbly but so much better after reading I’m not alone! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Hey, sometimes? If it’s a coffee you need? Go get that coffee!! Simple things can really help! And don’t be ashamed, okay? You’re human and we have emotions.
      If you need support, you know where I am!

      Reply
  21. Danielle

    Thank you so much for this piece. I am 9 days into having our new puppy (13 week old Italian Greyhound). This is my first dog, something I have wanted my entire life and spent a decade convincing my husband, who is not a dog person, that a dog will enrich our lives substantially.

    I feel quite fortunate in that he has picked up toilet training for the most part (something I was prepared to really struggle with) and seems to love his crate as long as we are in the room or has a Kong with something yummy inside it. He sleeps through the night…I literally have no reason to complain and to feel puppy blues right? I find, however, that each day is an emotional rollercoaster.

    It is the best in the morning, when he has just been fed and is feeling sleepy and cosy and worst in the late afternoon when he has boundless energy, overtires himself and refuses to rest. I feel overwhelmed in these moments, when he forgets his manners completely and I am constantly redirecting his attentions away from furniture, feet and his bedding. I also am finding the level of attachment difficult, with him whinging the minute I am out of sight. I have been doing this more regularly to get him used to some alone time and he is getting better when left alone in his crate, but it still causes me anxiety, feeling held hostage by this adorable little gremlin.

    It helps to read so many people who have the thoughts that I do in these moments “What have I done to our family?”, “Will I ever be able to have a shower that lasts longer than 5 minutes again?”, “How will I ever get any work done?”, “What if he doesn’t get better?”, “Maybe I’m not cut out for this after all.”

    I’m trying to take things one day at a time now. If I want to cry, I cry and I remind myself that we are still all getting used to our new normal. I am absolutely terrified of the unknown and the things that I can’t control. I have to cut his nails for example, even this freaks me out so much! The positive is that this is bringing my husband and I even closer as he can see how hard it is on me and is looking after me even more than usual, I’m truly grateful for his support.

    Take care of yourselves everyone!

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Hey Danielle, thanks for commenting. It’s really nice to hear from you.

      I get the fear, and the lack of control and the emotional roller coaster! It’s not easy. But it’s not forever. Thanks for you response, and if you need more help? You know where I am!

      (and with the claws – most vet techs will do this for free, or it’s a nominal fee at the groomers — or you can actually teach him to do it himself with a scratch board!)

      Reply
  22. Anne

    Thank you all for being so reassuring!
    We just adopted our 1.5 year old (lab/hound/??? we have no idea what breed he is) Max. He’s already been through 2 foster homes, Its been 2 days and its literally giving me panic attacks. I have a panic disorder and worry this will get the better of all of use and we wont be able to keep him. I think the hardest thing for me and my husband right now is that he is glued to one, or both of us. He has sever separation anxiety and we are unsure if we will even both be able to leave the house together again. He has to sleep in our room, which is not a problem but he is only sort of crate trained but we dont know if its ok to just lock him in there at night or if it will do more harm.

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Not a problem Anne! Seperation anxiety is a. tough one, but it is totally something you can overcome with training.
      Have you checked out our Home Alone article? It’ll be like that but a little more intense!

      Reply
  23. Kristy

    Thank you so much for this post. 1 week into our 9 week old lab and I cry almost every day. I’ve wanted a dog my entire life but never realized it would be this draining. I read into every little thing and constantly think something is wrong or wonder if we’ve made a mistake getting him. This was very reassuring to read and I know I just have to keep up the hard work and it’ll all pay off.

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      You’re definitely not making a mistake!! You’ve got this Kirsty, and don’t forget, if you’re worried? Let’s chat!

      Reply
  24. Julie

    Thank you so much for writing this. No one ever told me that this existed (it really should be a preface in every puppy raising book!)

    I wanted a dog all my life. At 30 I finally achieved my dream and got a Belgian shepherd Grœnendael (my forever favorite breed).

    I knew it would be hard work but I was prepared for it.

    I got her when she was 4 months. She’s in her fear phase but she’s great really. She slept through the night immediately and almost no trouble during the day. She does not really bark, does not bite, loved me immediately (I think). She’s really smart (learned « sit » in 1 day).

    An easier dog would be hard to find (even if she has a bit too much energy in the evening.. she IS a puppy after all).

    And yet… sometimes (ok almost all the time really) I just want her gone. Cannot sleep, cannot eat, feel sick all the time. It’s been a week now and I just keep thinking I made the worst mistake of my life…

    I simply cannot love her.

    Please just tell me, at what point do we know what is puppy blues and what is just too much and a real mistake and you just have to accept that your dream should have stayed a dream and that it does not work for you in reality?

    As I write this, I am sitting on my couch and she is calmly sleeping at my feet. I am shaking from anxiety for NO reason. Everyone I know tells me it will pass but no one seemed to have lived through panic attack when looking at their puppy sleep peacefully T_T

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Hey! First, I’m really glad you’re reaching out, though I am sorry that you’re struggling.
      You totally can love her, and I’m betting you already do! It’s just hard to feel it because of the huge change and responsibility that she represents.
      Some of it is the lack of sleep (try and find a way to sleep!) and if you need me? [email protected] – come chat. It may help <3

      Reply
  25. Lisa

    Hi,glad to read this, I am a single Mum who just adopted a 14 week old pup and am feeling exactly as you describe. I lost my 14 year old dog in March and said I would wait a year but I was feeling so lonely that I adopted this pup. Now I am very much regretting my decision- I can’t leave the room without her barking and crying and if I put her in her crate even with us in the room she cries and barks constantly. I feel I have taken on too much and am feeling quite unwell with anxiety at this massive commitment. Is it better to say now rather than move the dog on again in a month or whatever? Feeling very guilty

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      It’s always tough when you’re on your own, and even more so when you’ve just lost your old dog – so sorry to hear that.
      Do remember that rescues take a little longer to settle in, it’s hard work for them too.
      Try and be patient, if you need to chat? Drop me an email, I’ll always respond – and try not to feel guilty, you’re giving her a chance! In a months time, she’ll be a different puppy!

      Reply
  26. Daphne

    Thank you SO MUCH for this post! We just got a rescue 4 year old mini pinscher/mini dachshund mix. He’s such a good dog but very attached to me. This is day number 6. I’m trying to encourage him sit with my husband or kids, which he will, if he can keep a close eye on me. He howls when I leave him (only up to 2 hours thus far). I had a camera on him and he howled almost the whole time. I was elated when we brought him home, so excited to have another dog after our first passed away at age 12 almost two years ago. I hit day 3 to 4 and felt that anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach, then had a full blown panic attack, wondering if I made a big mistake. (I’m prone to anxiety anyway, especially when I feel overwhelmed with everyone needing me but I’ve had it under control for some time now.) I felt ridiculous because I wanted a dog the most out of everyone in our family! I’m getting better, but having trouble eating at times and still get those racing thoughts. I feel bad that he cries the whole time I’m gone, but I have to leave the house for errands, appointments, etc – I have a 5 and 10 year old. Your post confirmed that I need to give it time. This poor little guy has been through a lot and I’m sure he doesn’t want someone else to leave him. My hubby keeps telling me he will adjust to our family over time. I keep telling myself that. Thanks for your post! Helps to know these feelings are normal and I’m not alone!

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      of course! I know it’s tough! Have you checked out the piece on helping your puppy be confident when alone? That may. really help!!

      Reply
  27. Aiden

    I had no idea this existed, I felt so badly that I was struggling with my puppy, knowing i’m not alone gives me hope

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      I’m glad to hear it aiden – if you need help let me know!

      Reply
  28. Anne

    I cried like a baby reading through this because I finally felt understood. I’ve had my (first ever) puppy for 4 days and it’s been a challenge, especially considering my history of anxiety and depression disorders. After wanting my own dog for as long as I can remember, feeling so dull and sad now that I have it was totally unexpected. I hope that it really does get better as everyone says and that we’ll be able to develop that unique bond I’ve always dreamed of.

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      oh Anne! Whilst it wasn’t meant to make you cry, I’m glad it helped you normalise the process.
      It’s going to suck for a bit, it’s going to be kind of crappy, but, with a little time, effort (and some training!) you’ll have the best dog in the whole world. It’s worth it. I promise.
      If you want to chat? Ping me a message, I’d be more than happy to help x

      Reply
  29. Sam

    After 15 years of wanting and waiting for our pup we finally got our boy almost 2 weeks ago, and I am struggling! I feel so overwhelmed and I have never experienced anxiety like it!! Not even with my actual babies! I am panicking at every little thing, he’s nearly 10 weeks now and into everything (labs right!?) I feel like I can’t take my eyes off him because he’ll be eating/doing something he shouldn’t. I’m not sleeping as I’m so worried about him at night even though he’s fine, and I’m terrified of going back to work in a couple of weeks and leaving him. I’m so glad I came across this page, I feel a bit better knowing it’s not just me! So thank you!

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Hey Sam! Definitely not just you! As you can see, lots of people experience this, and yes, labs are very inquisitive. Keep checking out the blog – it’s full of great stuff for new puppy parents!

      Reply
  30. Carolyn

    I do feel a bit better after reading this. My golden pup is 10 weeks old and just a bundle of nonstop energy. Luckily she takes to her crate well but the minute she’s up it’s like from zero to 100 immediately. I have been feeling so anxious and then guilty for feeling anxious. I wanted this pup so badly. I’m worried that I’m not training enough (she knows come – sit – down – shake – wait) so I know that’s not true. But she’s into EVERYTHING. Sometimes I feel like I’m just chasing her around saying “no”. I try to redirect with toys which sometimes works – but not always. My husband is a huge help and of course, isn’t anxious or worried about anything which makes me feel guilty. I quite often just feel like crying.

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Hey Carolyn, I’m really sorry to hear that. Young puppies are really hard work. Try and make sure she’s getting enough sleep and you’re taking time for you. Routine is so incredibly important.

      If you can find structure that suits you both? It will help.
      And if you need help? I’m here to help! Whether it’s my DIY program, Pupdates, or if you need a 1:1 online. Just let me know!

      Reply
  31. Lydia

    So happy to find this. We have just welcomed our first very young pup for 27 years and I am regretting it: he is a normal 11 week old pup, sweet and cute, but the responsibility is really getting to me. Tummy aches, headaches, fatigue. Our 10 year old collie we have had for 3 years curls her lip at him and totally ignores him, and our cat is now spending most of his time outside. I am an anxious person, but life was going smoothly, even as we endure lockdowns due to Covid, but he has turned life upside down. I feel a bit like I did after childbirth post natal depression decades ago. I will try and get through to the other side, and knowing others know these feelings is a comfort. Thank you

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Hey Lydia, thanks so much for your comment, I am sorry you’re struggling with this though. Puppies are hard work, and it’s easy to forget how much they turn our lives upside down.
      If you ever need a chat, or help, let me know! I’d be happy to help.

      Reply
  32. Lydia

    Thanks Ali

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Any time, Lydia, I hope you’re doing okay.

      Reply
  33. Tasma

    Finding this and knowing I am not alone has definitely put me at ease. I have a 7 week old American Staffy and a 7 month old German Shepherd x Bull Arab that myself and my partner have just gotten. I am getting into a routine with both of them and after having them both for nearly 2 weeks the puppy blues have definitely arrived. I didn’t actually know what it was and thought I was going insane or acting weird. Ever since I got the puppies, I have been stressed, overwhelmed and I have been feeling like there is so much to do; but there isn’t. And that I regret getting the 7 month old. Apart from my normal jobs that I do at home, feeding them and getting them set up for the night is around 30 min – 1 hour extra and feels like hours worth. The blues have especially been hard with the 7 month old. He’s jumping up, digging, chewing on things he shouldn’t be chewing, ripping up clothes, and the list goes on. We are taking him to obedience training which I think will be good for him. He has learnt alot since we have gotten him, but he is more listening to my partner than to me and it’s making my irritability go nuts. I have grown up with dogs most of my life and I know he is currently in his “terrible two’s” stage so hopefully once he gets to 8 months he should calm down a bit, as they say. From doing research and reading, I know it should go away, and that I can hopefully make it through. But thank you for this article!

    Reply
    • Ali Smith

      Hey Tasma, it sounds like you’ve very much got your hands full! It’s very tough to juggle two young dogs and working in this manner.
      It sounds like your 7 month old may be bored – have you considered trying a good doggy day care for him?
      I feel like this might be of help for you too!
      Obedience training is often best in weekly classes? If you need help picking the perfect puppy class that should help! And lastly, if you want my help? I’ll definitely be able to assist!

      Reply

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