Post Puppy Depression

Post Puppy Depression. Yes, post puppy depression is a common experience for many people.

You do all the research that you can think of, the breed you would like, find a breeder or rescue that aligns with your values, and even buy the bedding, collar and lead for your new puppy. Some people wait years to welcome their dog into their family, and the excitement levels are at an all time high when the day finally comes to bring your pup home.

So why would people experience depression from welcoming a new gorgeous puppy into their lives? Firstly puppy’s can be hard work! There can be sleep deprivation, particularly in the first few weeks of toilet training. It can be overwhelming to know what is the right thing to do with your puppy and especially when there are some vets suggesting to not take your new puppy out until they’re fully vaccinated and then science and trainers suggesting the opposite in order to help your dog with it’s socialisation, (you can see how we raised and socialised our dog Zooka by following his facebook here).

You place a tremendous amount of pressure on yourself to raise your puppy well and give it the best possible start to life, and this pressure and level of expectations for our pup, can lead to post puppy depression.

I have a friend who was dealing with depression and one of the ways her doctor described it to her when she asked why is she suffering from depression. The Dr described her onset of depression was due to her continuing to try and do her best, trying different approaches for success, yet the feeling of no matter what she attempted, she simply wasn’t getting the results.

If you liken that to your new puppy I am sure you could draw some similarities.

If your puppy continues to nip at you and you feel as though you’ve tried everything and yet your pup continues to use you as a pincushion or when you take your puppy out to go to the toilet, you stand there for up to an hour waiting for your pup to go only to decide that your pup doesn’t need to go so you walk inside and within 40 seconds, your pup pees on the floor. These are just some of the difficulties new dog owners face.

Then you have the comparison syndrome where people come out of the woodwork telling you how easy their dog was to train or that their pup was toilet trained with 1 week.

Post puppy depression was brought up as a topic in the private forum for our K9 Crew members recently, and in my ongoing research I have heard of people “simply sitting on the floor crying”. I am sure exhaustion certainly plays apart. If you’ve gone from having a lifestyle where you had no dependants with a level of freedom to having a dependant that you are now responsible for everything to raise and train your pup appropriately. That can be a major change to your lifestyle and one that can quite a bit of adjustment.

It’s important to recognise any feelings of sadness or being overwhelmed as early as possible. If left it can cause resentment and may even leave you asking if you even like your puppy which can enhance a negative cycle and feeling of being overwhelmed.

So set yourself up for a better time by acknowledging some of the difficulties that you may face prior to bringing your puppy home. Speak to different dog trainers before you get your pup and get referrals from friends to find the best one for you. Remember your dog trainer should always support you and help guide you through the phases your puppy will go through.

So what can you do to be better prepared and reduce the chances that you get the puppy blues and Post Puppy Depression?

  1. Don’t use comparisons. All dogs are different, even if you’ve had the same breed before. It doesn’t mean that you new pup is “dumb” or “stupid” it’s simply different. As people we don’t like being compared to our siblings or others so don’t fall victim to comparison syndrome.
  2. Crate train your puppy. This helps with toilet training, sleeping and independence training. Having your puppy learn to settle and be independent not only sets your pup up for success but also gives you time to do something you enjoy like read a book or go for a walk etc.
  3. Celebrate the small stuff. Remember you’re learning at the same time your dog is. Every win is a great win when it comes to training your pup.
  4. Find a qualified trainer that make you feel good and offers you support. It may sound strange that I say “makes you feel good”, but I know a number of people that have been berated and brought to tears from “trainers”. Your trainer should be a valuable resource of information for you and should never make you feel bad.
  5. Have fun with your puppy. Whilst your pup is always learning, it’s important not to get stuck in the training, training, training head space. Play games and have fun
  6. Set realistic goals. If you control your level of expectations leading up to bringing your puppy home, you will naturally reduce the level of pressure you are putting on yourself.
  7. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask your dog trainer for help. Having a trainer come out to your home can be an invaluable help when you get your pup.
  8. If you are feeling overwhelmed be sure to speak to friends, family or a health professional.

So enjoy the journey, celebrate the wins and never feel ashamed for asking for help. If you would like some help, please feel free to contact me via email: info@thek9company.com.au or reach out to me via facebook here.

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