I’ve longsince been fascinated by the puppy blues, having been through it myself.
I truly think it’s a thing we just do not speak about enough.
Whilst I understand anything to do with mental health is slowly overcoming a stigma, as is the emotions regarding our bond with companion animals, it’s something we deserve to know more about.
As a consequence! If you’re reading this. Could you spare 2 minutes to answer some questions about the puppy blues and your experiences with it? I’d love to try and create a truly wonderful resource for new puppy parents, and i’d love to find out just as much information about everyone’s experiences as I can.
Thank you so much for your time!
If you need extra resources on this, check out the following from me.
What Is The Puppy Blues?
The puppy blues is equivalent to post-partum depression in new mothers or fathers, but for new puppy parents.
It can feel like:
- A general low mood
- Easily frustrated
- Like your failing
- Like this was the wrong decision
Which can lead to thoughts of insufficiency, to feeling like you’re not enough, can’t do this and consequently to the idea that you may need to return your puppy to their breeder or rescue, surrender them to a local rescue, or rehome them.
This is likely not the case, it’s actually more of a struggle to adapt to a new, young, and somewhat tough to communicate with puppy.
It’s often due to the change in lifestyle, sleeplessness, worry, apprehension and other things.
My Experience With The Puppy Blues
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.
I am a dog person (No duh to look at me now, huh?), I always have been. More often than not there has been a dog in my life, even if that dog wasn’t my own. I used to walk racing greyhounds, I used to train the neighbours dogs, I used to do anything I could to be around our canine friends – because I knew I wasn’t allowed one in my own home as my Mum was already under too much pressure when I was young.
So, naturally, I resolved that as soon as I could get a dog? I was going to. And, by gosh, I did. And I’d been researching the dog of my dreams for years. A German Shepherd.
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. Like I was never going to make progress.
I met a lot of resistance too, my Mum (who was scared of dogs, and particularly German Shepherds, who is now Indie’s #1 fan, ironically!) basically told me that she would stop coming to visit me now I’d gotten a dog. She felt totally betrayed. Which made me pretty indignant, but also pretty emotional.
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.
Luckily, the now-Mr.-Rebarkable, convinced me that it was a phase, that it too would pass. But at the time I just didn’t think I was cut out for it. I didn’t think I could raise a puppy.
For me? The worst of it was the first week. After that? There were peaks and troughs after that first week, it’s not as bad. I found Indie became a whole chunk more manageable after I got the majority of my sleep back.
For me and Indie, this was around the week after he came home – though I will say this may not be the case for you. Indie is a large breed dog (so bladder control tends to be easier), he is smart, his breeder had made a start, and his akita-side is very inclined to cleanliness (it is an odd fact that some dogs are naturally cleaner than others! Super weird, but totally true).
Need More Help?
If you’re feeling out of your depth? Honestly, get help. I can either help you with training in 1 to 1’s, or if you need a cheaper solution, consider the pupdates. They were made to help you through this. They’re the thing I wish I had had to help me get through 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!