Surviving the Puppy Blues

Puppy blues is a term that might not be in every new pet owner’s vocabulary, yet so many find themselves unexpectedly living through it. It’s that swirl of emotions, the cocktail of exhaustion, frustration, and anxiety, mixed with the unconditional love you feel for your new furry friend. It’s a phase that catches many off guard, but it’s as real as the wet nose and wagging tail of your new puppy. 

Understanding, acknowledging, and addressing the puppy blues isn’t just about making life easier during these early days; it’s about laying the foundation for a lifelong bond with your new companion. Navigating through the highs and lows of new puppy ownership is essential to maintaining your own mental health and being able to care for your pet.

Understanding Puppy Blues

Puppy blues, in essence, are a cluster of emotions that can encompass feeling overwhelmed, regretful, or even questioning your decision to adopt a puppy. These feelings can surface unexpectedly after the arrival of your new pet, often catching you off guard. It’s like you’ve prepared for everything – the bed, the toys, the food – but not for the emotional tidal wave that follows. 

Symptoms can vary widely; you might find yourself feeling unusually tearful, irritable, or just perpetually tired. It’s a bit like having a cloud of worry following you around, even when your puppy is just innocently napping or playfully wagging its tail.

But why does this happen? Well, bringing a puppy home is a monumental life change. Your routine gets flipped on its head, your sleep might be interrupted by midnight whimpers or bathroom breaks, and your free time suddenly revolves around training, socialising, and simply adjusting to this new normal. It’s a lot, and it’s okay to feel like it’s a lot. It’s not a reflection of your capability or love for your puppy; it’s just a natural response to a big change.

Strategies for Coping

When the puppy blues strike, it can feel a bit like you’re lost at sea, but there are plenty of life rafts around to help you stay afloat. Here are some strategies:

  • Structure and Routine: Puppies, much like humans, thrive on routine. Establishing a structured day can help both of you. Regular feeding times, potty breaks, and play sessions can bring predictability and a sense of control.
  • Take Breaks: It’s okay to take a moment for yourself (mostly true for dogs that are energetic like Miniature Dachshunds or Chihuahuas). Use your puppy’s nap time to just breathe, have a cup of tea, or indulge in a hobby. It’s not selfish; it’s necessary.
  • Connect with Fellow Pet Owners: Sometimes, just knowing you’re not alone can be incredibly comforting. Join local or online pet owner groups. Sharing experiences and tips can be both enlightening and reassuring.
  • Set Realistic Expectations: Remember, perfection is an illusion, especially in puppy parenting. Missteps are part of the journey. Celebrate the small victories, like a successful potty break outside or a moment of calm during playtime.
  • Physical Exercise: Both for you and your puppy. It’s a natural stress reliever and a fantastic way to bond. A tired puppy is a good puppy, and exercise can bring a sense of calm and achievement to your day.
  • Mental Stimulation for Your Puppy: Engage their brain with training sessions or puzzle toys. It’s not just about tiring them out physically; a mentally stimulated puppy is less likely to find mischief.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Sometimes, you might need a bit more guidance, and that’s okay. Puppy classes, trainers, or even a chat with your vet can provide support and reassurance.

Building a Bond with Your Puppy

While the puppy blues may get you down, you should remember to build a bond with your new pet to remind yourself why you’re going through all this stress. 

  • Quality Time: Spend time with your puppy without distractions. Whether it’s a cuddle session or focused training time, let them feel your undivided attention.
  • Learn Their Language: Dogs communicate mostly through body language. Understanding their signals (like a wagging tail or pinned back ears) can help you respond better to their needs, strengthening your bond.
  • Consistent Training: Training is about more than just commands; it’s a dialogue. It builds a language that only you two understand, reinforcing your bond and providing your puppy with a sense of security and structure.
  • Patience and Compassion: Recognize that your puppy is just a baby, still learning about the world. Patience in their moments of learning and compassion for their mistakes can deepen your connection.
  • Routine Health Check-ups: Caring for their health is a form of love. Regular vet visits, vaccinations, and attention to their dietary needs show your commitment to their well-being.
  • Play and Exploration: Discover the world together. New experiences can be bonding, and play is a universal language of love for dogs and humans alike. 

When to Seek Help

Sometimes, the waves of the puppy blues can feel overwhelming, and it’s important to recognize when you might need a helping hand. If your feelings of stress, anxiety, or sadness are persistent and start to seep into other areas of your life, it might be time to seek professional help. 

This could be in the form of a mental health professional for yourself or a professional dog trainer or behaviourist for your puppy. There’s no shame in seeking help; it’s a sign of strength and the love you have for your puppy.


The puppy blues are a testament to the profound change a new furry friend brings to your life. Remember, it’s a phase, and like all phases, it will pass, leaving you with a bond that’s worth every moment of doubt or worry. So, breathe deep, cherish the cuddles, laugh at the mischief, and hang in there because the worst will pass. They’re a puppy, not a problem.