Struggling with the Puppy Blues? Tips to Help You Cope

Most people have heard of baby blues, but are surprised to learn that new dog owners can also suffer from puppy blues. In fact, Karen Digiovanni, a foster volunteer with Friends of Wayne Animals (FOWA), NJ tells adopters that bringing home a pup is just like bringing home a new baby—it disrupts your life.

“Puppies are cute and adorable and people think this will be so much fun, but then reality kicks in when they realize how much work is involved,” said Digiovanni who has been fostering rescued dogs for more than 13 years, including more than 100 puppies.

Along with a loving pup come sleepless nights, bathroom accidents in the house, chewed furniture and shoes, and behavior issues like nipping or incessant barking or whining. There’s always going to be some frustration when you bring home a pup, but understanding this in advance and being prepared can help the process go more smoothly.

First and foremost, you’ll need lots of patience and understanding as the newest family member learns to adjust to life in your home. Training doesn’t happen overnight—it takes time and work. Remember, your new puppy may have been separated from siblings and will need time to adapt to life without them.

At FOWA, volunteers are all about setting pups up for success in their new homes. That’s why they will only adopt pups to households where someone will be home most of the day and prefer not to place them in homes with very young children.

How to alleviate the puppy blues:

Establish a routine

It’s important to establish a routine from the beginning. The advantage of adopting pups from rescues that rely on foster homes is that the pups are already on a schedule and training is underway.

“I crate train all of our puppies and recommend that our adopters continue to use crates when they take them home,” Digiovanni said.

The crate should never be used for punishment—instead think of it as a playpen that will keep your pup safe when you’re not able to supervise her. A crate is an invaluable tool when it comes to housebreaking, say experts at the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT).

Housebreaking is all about being consistent. The pup has to go outside immediately after waking up, after every meal and anytime he seems restless or is smelling around the room.

The APDT offers the following housebreaking tips:

  • Pups should be removed from the crate once every hour or so. They can go for longer but the more opportunities you give the puppy to be reinforced for going outside, the quicker they will learn.
  • When you take your pup out of the crate, run outside immediately with the pup on a leash.
  • Try to always use the same area of the yard and give a cue such as “go potty.”
  • If your pup eliminates, give her a treat, praise her and go back inside.
  • The pup doesn’t have to go back in the crate immediately as long as you are free to watch her 100 percent of the time. After about an hour, you can put her back in the crate and restart the whole process again within the hour.
  • If your pup doesn’t eliminate when you go outside, return her to the crate for about 10 minutes and then take her back outside again.

According to the APDT, if you are consistent with this pattern, your puppy will quickly learn that if he holds his urine and feces until you take him outside, not only will he get relief and be able to eliminate, but he will get a treat as well. As your pup starts to demonstrate that he has learned the rules, you can slowly replace the treats with praise, petting and playtime.

“Whenever a pup in my care has an accident, I always blame myself,” Digiovanni said. “Either I didn’t take him out often enough or I missed a signal that he needed to go out.”

pupincrate

There may be sleepless nights but hang in there

Some pups will need to go to the bathroom once or twice during the night. Others may cry just because they want to be taken out of their crates. When this happens, you need to wait it out and eventually the crying will stop and the pup will settle down for the night.

“Some people get frustrated and they bring the pup into their bed because they want the crying to stop,” Digiovanni said. “When you do this, the pup will always cry to be taken out of the crate and that’s a habit that can be hard to undo.”

Go for a walk

Pups need exercise to release energy, and if they don’t get enough then they will get into trouble. Basically, you need to exhaust your puppy by walking, running or playing. A tired pup is a happy pup!

Puppy-proof your home

If you don’t want your puppy in a particular part of the house, you need to gate it off. If you have good rugs in a room where the puppy will be allowed, consider removing them until your pup is completely housebroken. Put any houseplants out of reach. Don’t leave shoes, bags or clothing laying around. From the pup’s point of view, everything is a toy.

Training is key to success

Start with training right from the beginning and establish rules. If the pup is not allowed on the couch or bed, make sure everyone in the house sticks with those rules. It’s important to make time to socialize your pup and APDT experts recommend puppy kindergarten or obedience classes. These classes offer a wonderful opportunity to practice obedience skills while meeting and greeting new dogs and people. Other puppy owners can also be a support group as you learn to adapt to life with a puppy. Once you get past the housebreaking stage and your pup settles into a schedule, the rewards are huge.

“There’s nothing like coming home to a dog or a puppy—they are always so happy to see you,” Digiovanni said.

Related articles:

 

 

Photo credit: Thinkstock

65 comments

Glennis W
Glennis W4 months ago

Tahnk you for caring and sharing

SEND
Glennis W
Glennis W4 months ago

Great info Tahnk you for caring and sharing

SEND
Glennis W
Glennis W4 months ago

Interesting Tahnk you for caring and sharing

SEND
Glennis W
Glennis W4 months ago

Tahnk you for caring and sharing

SEND
Marie W
Marie W7 months ago

Thanks.

SEND
Lesa D
Past Member 9 months ago

does anyone remember the Puppy Uppers skit from SNL ages ago...?!?!?! LOL!!!

SEND
Lesa D
Past Member 9 months ago

thank you Vera...

SEND
Chrissie R
Chrissie R9 months ago

Didn't you know that you were getting a puppy?? And the responsibilities that come with it?

SEND
Barbara M
Past Member about a year ago

Thank you

SEND
Marija M
Marija Mabout a year ago

Tks for posting.

SEND