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The 1,000,000th "Puppy Blues" Post

4300 Views 19 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  OtterKin
Hi everyone! I am a first time puppy owner (33 years old) and am experiencing what seems to be the "puppy blues." I am at the end of my 5th day with Eloise (11-weeks, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel). She is gorgeous and seems so smart! I absolutely adore her when I'm in the moment, but I can't keep from thinking, "Am I really ready for this?" or "What have I done?"

I know the problem with my anxiety is ME, not the puppy. She is great and so eager to please. I am probably starting slower than everyone else and am only tackling one thing at a time (it seems). We are working on potty-training and I know it will not happen overnight. I take her out at least 8 times a day (including twice overnight) and she hasn't had many accidents inside the house. She is not loving her crate and whines a lot when I put her in it at night. (Time of whining varies, but has been anywhere from 5 minutes to 25 minutes.) This BREAKS my heart. I ignore her, but it's awful. I don't want to put her in because of it. I do it because I know she's safe and just has to get used to it. I also know that she will eventually grow to love it. But the minute she whines, all of my logic goes out the window and all I think is that I'm a bad mother...

Also, I can't get the nagging "What-ifs?" out of my mind. What if I take her to the vet and she has a major medical problem? (I'm by no means rich and can't afford a sickly dog.) What if she swallows something when I can't see her? What if she actually never does learn to love her crate? (Btw, only using crate training until she is potty-trained fully...I am expecting to keep her in the crate for a few more months.) What if she turns out to be aggressive towards other dogs? What if she has separation anxiety? What if her teething stage proves to be a permanent chewing problem? Etc, etc, etc.

I certainly don't resent the puppy and know that what I have done with her so far is above and beyond what some others do. She seems happy. I also realize that it's only been 5 days. Coupled with lack of sleep and appetite (on my part), I am overthinking everything and seem to have a few anxiety attacks a day.

I don't really know what else to say. But, for example, we had a really good night (minor whining, no accidents) and morning. I left her in the bathroom (with the crate barricading the door (but available for her to climb in if needed) with her doggy bed and toys. She whined when I left and I was unable to get back to her for 6 hours. I fully expected that she would poo and pee on the pads, but she held it in. I was amazed. We then took a nice little walk, I let her hang outside for a few minutes and then we spent 30 minutes playing before I had to put her back inside the bathroom to go back to work.

Really, something to be proud of! Instead, I am now at work, with the anxiety kicking in again. I dread going home. What if she has had an accident in the 4 hours since? How long is she going to whine in her crate tonight? How many hours of sleep am I going to lose due to whining or my anxiety? Will she ever be able to just hang out in the house without being crated or in the bathroom? Does she hate me? Why is she shaking so much when I take her out for her nightly (1 am and 5 am) potty? Etc, etc, etc.

I don't know what to do anymore. I am trying to take it a day at a time, but I feel like my family and friends are over my own whining! I just need some reassurance. Please help!!
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Totally normal feelings!! I have never raised a puppy myself, but I have heard how stressful and difficult it can be, it would be strange for you to feel peachy and wonderful! You know you already care about the puppy, and that's why you're so worried something could happen to her.

It's kind of hard to admit but after I adopted my five year old rescue dog four weeks ago I thought I'd made a terrible mistake. It's a huge commitment and I actually didn't feel very attached to her the first week or so. Re-thinking your decision to get a dog is completely fine! At five days into my new dog I was really stressing out and even thought I wanted to return her. Three weeks after that, I would never considering returning her or getting rid of her in a million years!
I have never bonded with a puppy before they were about 4 months old. Because they're terrors and work and I"m not somebody who gets uber attached super quickly. Stubborn, determined, yes, but not emotionally involved.

I've never regretted them long term, but yeah. Those first couple of months are killer.
Hey there, totally normal feelings!

I was going to get a puppy 8 weeks old from a breeder, a Bernese Mountain dog. LOVED the breed wanted a male. Then this rescue that I had put in an application for a month prior and told them to call me if they found the perfect match, called me. I went to the foster mom's house and saw this little bundle of lazy adorableness. She climbed immediately onto my lap and licked my face and stared at me. My mom and the foster mom were talking and I just tuned everything else out, this was IT, I thought, this puppy is the one.

She was (thankfully) 3.5 months old when I got her, but the whole time, especially the first week where she ended up being far more energetic than I would deem to be my compatible match, I kept thinking, "I should have waited for the breeder's puppies. I could have gotten a male. He would have been a big lazy guy guaranteed."
But even when I wanted the breeder's puppy I kept having anxiety knowing that I'd never be able to get through the puppy stage. I don't HATE puppies. I love other people's puppies, because I can just go in and play with them and leave when I'm done. When it's mine I'm stuck with it ALL THE TIME and I can't get away from it, I can't even spend that much time with a person how am I supposed to do that with a tiny creature that bites my hair and pees on my floor?
What happens if I do something wrong? If I get it from 8 weeks old and it grows up extremely fearful of people with beards and top hats, that's MY fault. People will KNOW it's my fault.
I'm only 19, what if I want to go to school again? What if I want to travel? What if I have 13 babies all named James and they're allergic to dogs?

I kept doing that until I realized it was irrational and cutting into my valuable sleep time. I'm still impatiently waiting for the day she's all grown up and I don't have these puppy restrictions going on, but I no longer stress like I used to. You'll get it too.

I calmed down a LOT when I got into a routine. Your puppy just needs to settle into hers, once your in it you'll be fine. Give it a couple months to truly set into a routine.
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You're doing great - just focus on the what's happening now, celebrate the successes, and face the what ifs if they ever happen........
Seriously the first few weeks are the worst - it will get easier as you get a routine established.
I was a first time puppy (really, any dog) owner two years ago. It was a scary big commitment. I've always had cats, but they're less riding on a cat in terms of manners and socialization. I felt like it would so much easier to permanently screw up a dog than a cat. My best advice is to find some puppy classes and take her, see if you can find some puppy socialization groups and go to those too, and if you're worried about medical bills, look into pet insurance. It can be very helpful! As far as the puppy nonsense... this too shall pass. I cried nearly daily with my puppy he was such a monster shark piranha, and he's a sweetie as an adult.
Thanks everyone! Your posts are refreshing and reassuring. Glad to know I am not the only one "in the boat." I really appreciate the comments and feedback.
i got Romeo at 8 weeks and i did not think i would live through it. he swallowed (or tried to at least) everything, chewed everything and has taken forever to potty train.

his only saving grace was his ability to sleep through the night without wanting to go potty.!

its scary - i hear exactly whaere you are at. then you wake up one morning and realized you lived through it!
I adopted an adult dog and still felt like this for the first few weeks. It's totally normal. She hated her crate and I had terrible anxiety every day while at work. I also hated being alone with her because I didn't know what to do with her and stressed at every move she made. It gets a lot better! I didn't bond with her for at least a couple of months. Now, I'm in love and couldn't imagine life without her. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!
I completely understand! Most of the time I'm madly in love with our puppy, but - especially now as he's becoming a "teenager" - there are times when I wonder why this ever seemed like a good idea. Especially when he does things like bark to come IN so he can pee on the carpet instead of the deck. Recognizing that no dog is perfect as a puppy, and that there are steps I can take now to help his manners and socialization, have really been helpful. I've also been reading everything I can (Karen Pryor's Reaching the Animal Mind and Patricia McConnell's For the Love of a Dog have been two of my favorites so far), and - since I can't find any classes that would accommodate my current work schedule - watching training videos online from people like Emily Larlham (kikopup). This forum has also been invaluable, even just to reassure myself that others have tread this path before me, and seem to have ended up with lovely dogs instead of four-legged man-eating land sharks.
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I love this quote: "No amount of warning can truly capture the pure torture that is owning a puppy for the first time". I too had the puppy blues. Now I look back at pictures of him when he was 5 lbs, and wonder how could this little bean have made me cry every day?? Hang in there & yes, training & socialization are key to happiness!
If you can get through the first few months you will bond with this dog. Just hang in there. Ive always wanted a ckcs you are so lucky!
I don't believe any amount of warning is even enough for someone that has already had a puppy! I'm on my 4th puppy as an adult spanning 28 years & my 6 month old pup still frustrates me! I keep thinking just another year or so & she will be normal! She really is good except when she goes crazy biting. She stopped doing this for a month or so after her teeth came in & now she is just a brat! Hang in there.
Where is her crate? If you put it right next to your bed, close enough to stick your fingers in the crate, usually there isn't any whining. Some puppies take a little longer to develop independence and personally I don't think there's any rush to get them sleeping away from the humans. Make them feel as safe as possible to start with, then when they get a little older you can move the crate further away and eventually to where you want her at night. But to stop the whining, the crate should be right next to you.

Some puppies need to pee a LOT. Obi had to go outside every 20 minutes while he was awake for the first 6 months, then every 2 hours until he was 12 months old. Then it all just clicked and now he's fine for hours (up to 12 hours on occasion).

But as everyone else has pointed out, it's completely normal to feel overwhelmed. It takes a few weeks to get into a routine that works for both of you, and until then it feels a lot like hard work and isn't all that much fun. I didn't really like Obi for the first 2 months I had him, but then he started to mature a little bit and the training started to work and now he's the perfect dog for me.

Just remember to take LOADS of photos, because they grow up so fast. I thought I took plenty of photos of Obi when he was little, but when I look back at his photos, I wish I'd taken a lot more. For my next dog I will take loads of photos every single day, and video everything and every training session. It's so much fun to look back at that stuff.
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I hated my puppy until he was almost 5 months old. He was a terror and needed constant attention or he would destroy everything within his reach. He was a big biter of toes too. Yes, I cried a lot. Once he grew up a little we became 100% inseparable and now we are best buds. He looked like just a little potato when I brought him home. But he was an evil potato. And keep in mind that when you are sleep deprived, everything seems worse than it actually is.
If your pup is sleeping at night don't wake her. Enjoy your rest. If you hear her get up, then take her out.
I hated my puppy until he was almost 5 months old. He was a terror and needed constant attention or he would destroy everything within his reach. He was a big biter of toes too. Yes, I cried a lot. Once he grew up a little we became 100% inseparable and now we are best buds. He looked like just a little potato when I brought him home. But he was an evil potato. And keep in mind that when you are sleep deprived, everything seems worse than it actually is.
If your pup is sleeping at night don't wake her. Enjoy your rest. If you hear her get up, then take her out.
beware of those evil potatoes!
i also just want to add that there were several days when i cried because i could not take the destruction this adorable puppy was reigning down on our house, he destroyed everything and anything he could and he was SO SMALL! even after we got through the puppy stage, he was forever stealing stuff like my iphone, which he chewed.

after he was about a year and a half, we got a trainer, just for a home visit, he spent a few hours with us going over some basics and i tell you what, it was a night and day difference, immediately. he stopped destroying everything and only destroyed about 1/4 of the house. lol, doesnt sound like a lot, but it really helped.
Very normal feelings! The first year is the hardest and then things get much better. My puppy is now 14 months old and he's a well behaved, polite, house trained happy boy. but man, those first few months, phew!
Hang in there!
Take it one day at a time - or even one hour at a time! It's a huge life adjustment and schedule change. I promise it's normal, and worth it, and you'll get through it. :) I remember watching many sunrises with my now-3-year-old dog, when I first adopted him, and having those "omg what did I do?" emotions.
I'm right there with you! 2 days in and in the regret stage. I went through it with my now 2 year old dog, so I know it will pass, it's just so darn hard to be sleep-deprived and feeling regretful. No one wants to regret their puppy, but the lack of sleep and the disruption to our previously calm routine has me grumpy.
You mentioned being afraid of health problems- which is a valid concern I feel with a Cavalier. I also cannot afford big vet bills, so I insured my older dog (and I will enroll the puppy here soon). Check out Pet Plan, in my research I liked them the best. I believe it's about $25 a month for my plan, which is $200 deductible but 100% coverage with a $20,000 cap. I then have Care Credit to cover the deductible. Molly is 2 years old, and it's already paid for 5 months of itself and for me, the peace of mind is so very reassuring. If you can afford $25 a month, to me it's a no-brainer. Does not cover routine care however, but will cover genetic issues if no signs were exhibited at time of enrollment and chronic problems if there is no break in coverage. They have cheaper plans too with a lower yearly cap.
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