You have just welcomed a gorgeous new puppy into your home and everything should be perfect – but nothing is going right. You feel overwhelmed, exhausted and helpless.
Becoming a puppy parent is not an easy task, and often the struggles are not discussed enough.
Award-winning Positive Puppy Expert and Founder of retrievable Ali Smith is on a mission to change that.
She wants to reassure dog owners that the ‘puppy blues’ do exist and that it is completely normal to feel low.
“Puppy blues is something a lot of people go through, and yet it’s not talked about,” Ali said.
“It happens to dogs of all ages, and whether you’re a first time owner or not.”
Talking about his own experience with Indy, a German Shepherd, Ali said: “I struggled a lot to bring Indy home, even though I knew it was everything I wanted.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t feel a bond with him, he was there from the beginning — that’s all. It felt overwhelming.
“My anger was at its worst and I felt more than once, as if I had to take it back. That I had made a bad decision.”
Ali describes her experience of puppyhood as “heartbreaking, frustrating and exhausting”.
To help other puppy parents out, Ali answers some all-important questions and shares six top tips for owners struggling to cope.
What are puppy blues?
“Simply put, it leaves feeling low, overwhelmed, anxious, sad and/or helpless soon after getting a puppy,” Ali explained.
The puppy blues can completely eat you up and make you struggle to bond properly with your new puppy.
Who gets the puppy blues?
Anyone can get the puppy blues.
“A lot of people get it, they don’t classify it as such, or they experience it to some degree,” Ali said.
“It seems to have a greater impact on people who are more isolated and who have less support systems (a partner, for example), but it also occurs in very busy families.”
Why do you get puppy blues?
There are many reasons why a new owner might experience the puppy blues.
It could be a drastic change in lifestyle, sudden responsibility or extreme pressure.
“As for me, I have a tendency to depression and anxiety — so it’s no shock that I experienced it,” Ali said.
“But it’s not just people who suffer from anxiety or depression, it’s much more than that.
“It can even be the culmination of a bunch of little things because your whole world seems to revolve around this cute, fluffy puppy you know you’re meant to love.”
Can You Get the Puppy Blues With a Rescue Dog?
Yes, You Can Get Puppy Blues With a Rescue Dog. Not knowing a dog’s past experiences can make it more challenging.
“Similar to a puppy, there is a huge learning junction between you and your new rescue,” Ali explained.
How long do puppy blues last?
Everyone’s experience is different.
This can be up to a month or two, but it depends on a number of factors, such as: sleeplessness, cutting, need and communication.
Ali assures, “Ultimately given time, training, and some natural behavioral development, the puppy blues go away.”
Six top tips to help you and your pup get through the blues:
1. Remember It’s Limited
It will end! Over time, there will be tiring focus and sleepless nights.
2. Brush up on what to expect
Knowing what to expect when you get a puppy can really help you prepare.
Ali’s Pupdates Work week by week through puppyhood.
3. Make Sure You’re Crate Training
It’s important to organize your puppy and have his place.
4. Take Time for Yourself
Enjoy some ‘me time’ and squeeze in a little self care – it will make all the difference.
5. Build a Structure
Make sure you have a routine and structure for your new puppy’s day.
6. Build a Support Network
Whether it’s your mother, your best friend or a paid professional, having someone there to support you will help.
For more information on puppy blues and other canine topics, see retrievable ,