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Hi, all,

I am a first time dog owner. I've lived with a dog before but he was an adult and was not the owner and the primary person in charge of the dog. I have a 14 week old Cavalier. He is a quiet, sweet tempered dog who sleeps well in his crate at night. He is well behaved and loves people and other dogs. He does not destroy my property and he does not bite. He is playful and affectionate and listens pretty well during training. He has potty training accidents but I know that's normal and we're doing out best to be consistent about potty training. I'm working on crate training during the day and he does take 2-3 naps. He is by no means a star in Puppy Preschool because he really wants to play with the other puppies but he is catching on.

I had puppy blues on the 3rd day of bringing puppy home. I have had him over a month. I lost 9 lbs in the first 2 weeks and have been crying uncontrollably and irrationally. I talked to my family and friends about how I feel so my husband and kids (school age) have been rearranging their schedules to be with the puppy. We hired pet sitters to give me a break 2-3x/week while everyone is busy with work and school. I'm not attaching to the puppy. He feels like work. He feels like a burden. I feel like I can't focus or concentrate in the house so even getting dinner ready is difficult. I feel like I'm trapped and won't be able to get on with my life until he is an adult and I don't know how much longer I can take this. With all the help I'm getting, I'm not crying everyday all day anymore - just some of the time - but then I feel numb and things I used to enjoy are no longer enjoyable or have any appeal to me. And then everyone else who has written about puppy blues has talked about how much their puppy bites them, pees on the floor, chews their things but my puppy has actually been quite good and low maintenance so I don't know why I feel so overwhelmed and burdened by him.

My husband and kids love him. How long did it take you to attach to your puppy/dog? I am worried that caring for the dog will make me resent him and that won't be good for either the puppy or my family. I'm having horrible thoughts of returning the puppy so he can go to a home where everyone loves him but I never thought I would be the type of irresponsible, immature person to do that to a dog. I feel at fault because I am the one who did all the research and found the breeder and brought him home. I researched breeds and caring for a dog for over a year and thought I was ready for the time and work involved but I thought I would enjoy it rather than feel this intense sadness and anxiety whenever I'm with him. Is this typical puppy blues? Will this pass? Or is this a sign that I am really not cut out to be a good dog owner? I think I could care for him but I'm not sure if I could give him the love that he deserves. Please help. I could use advice and a fresh perspective.
 

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You have the perfect puppy based on the behavior and temperament that you described. Your husband and family are helping you. You have a pet sitter coming to the house 2-3 times per week to help with the puppy. To summarize what you wrote, you sound like someone who has a lot of support when it comes to caring for the puppy if I’m reading your post correctly.

I find it highly unusual to lose 9 lbs in 2 weeks and cry uncontrollably just because you have a new puppy at home, which makes me wonder if that’s the only thing going on in your life right now. I don’t expect an answer, but maybe that’s something you can answer for yourself.

As for bonding with your puppy, I usually bond once I develop a routine with the puppy and we start to speak the same language, meaning the puppy knows what I want and I know what the puppy wants. It can take some time, even though I had one dog I bonded with within minutes of meeting him.

What is different in your life now that you have the puppy that upsets you so much?
 

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This isn't really something I feel like I can definitively answer without being you. But bringing a pet into your life is a HUGE change, and you are in the middle of- essentially- reorganizing your whole life, everything is changing. So, to my mind, this can still be "puppy blues", as this can be the result of the change, which doesn't necessarily have to be bad.

However, just know that there is absolutely nothing immature, irresponsible, or mean about returning/rehoming a puppy, in fact, it's the exact opposite- it shows that you are mature and responsible enough to recognize a problem and find a solution, and are caring enough to do what is best for the dog, your family, and yourself.

Perhaps you aren't ready for a dog at this point in your life, and should wait. Perhaps you would do better adopting a sweet adult dog from a rescue. Perhaps your family just won't be a dog family, and you could get a different pet, or dog-sit for friends.
Or perhaps you and this dog simply haven't settled in, and you will adjust eventually. If you are the primary caretaker, perhaps it's be better to switch that over to your husband or a responsible child, or at least divide it more evenly. If your kids are old enough, they could do most of the work. The older they are, the more they can take on. If they're younger, they could at least do some of the play and training. One great thing for kids to do is play hide-and-seek, they hide, and call the dog. In fact, this is a good game that you could play with the puppy, to help encourage a bond.
 
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I always adopt adult dogs. I caved and got a cute, well-bred puppy two years ago. I immediately remembered why I always adopt adult dogs.

Puppies are hard to bond with despite being cute. There is a ton of anticipation building up to acquiring one, then you get it and they just sleep and poop (best scenario) or destroy things and poop (more common scenario). They take and don't give back. The ratio of fun to responsibility is hugely skewed in favor of responsibility. Adult dogs have your back; puppies have your shoes. Now that my pup is grown up, I'm very glad I have him, but I don't think I'll be doing that again. It's like having a baby, minus the giant oxytocin infusion that compels your love and attention.

The good news is that your puppy will not be a puppy for long, and that you have plenty of people willing to contribute to the puppy-raising effort, so he'll be fine and you'll be fine even if you don't currently enjoy his company much. Cut yourself some slack on being the perfect puppy raiser, and cut him some slack on living up to expectations, and you'll enjoy one another much more, or at least get through this rocky period.
 

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Puppy blues are totally normally. I work full time with dogs as my job, I know more about behavior and puppy raising than most, and I still find raising puppies hard emotionally. I always lose weight too! That said, 9 lbs in two weeks sounds a bit extreme. It may be worth talking about your struggles with a doctor or a therapist to get a non-dog related angle on all this.
I bonded immediately with all three of my puppies. But the first few weeks or months can be brutal. Years ago though, I got a perfect little dog who was a young adult. She had no issues but I just didn't bond with her. I ended up rehoming her to my then roommate and it was a happy ending. I had her for a few months but who knows, I might have bonded with her if I waited a bit longer. I have no regrets though. But I do empathize with the feeling of just not clicking with a dog. It's a hard place to be and I hope whichever route you take, that you find a peaceful resolution for yourself and your puppy.
 
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