Are you suffering from puppy overwhelm?
Please believe me when I say that you are not alone. It is very common to suffer from the ‘puppy blues’ but things do always get better.
You may have spent months preparing for your new furry addition but when the time comes and reality hits it can be a very daunting time.
Some people think that a tiny pup can’t have too much impact on your life. However, from the moment he arrives, he is totally dependant on you. Even tiny puppies can be noisy, destructive and hard work at times.
There will be times when you just pray for him to go to sleep. Then before you know it, he is awake and full of beans again.
A young dog needs feeding 3-4 times per day, something you must schedule your life around. He may cry at night time or if you leave the room. He will get under your feet when you are trying to do chores, sometimes literally hanging on to you by his little, sharp teeth. You will have to get up at dawn to feed him and let him outside.
The constant cleaning can really get you down. A puppy’s bladder is tiny so he has to urinate (and poo) very often. Sometimes you wonder how so much can pass through such a little body! There will be days when you feel like you have mastered the house training, then the next day it is back to square one!
You can’t just sit with a cute puppy on your lap. He is stabbing your fingers with his little, needle-like teeth, chewing your clothes, trying to jump off the chair, scratching your neck with his claws and sucking your hair.
Just a simple task like having a shower can be overwhelming. How can you leave the puppy alone for a few minutes without him hurting himself or creating mass destruction?
Then there is the guilt. Are you doing everything right? are you a good dog mum? have you bonded? are you being too strict? The questioning and self-doubt can be overpowering.
I haven’t painted a very nice picture, have I?
Unfortunately, every word is true, but there are loads of tips you can try to make things better.
Here’s a list of things to help in your first few weeks with a new puppy.
1 Take some time off work or bring your puppy home when your schedule is calm. Avoid Christmas, when you are moving house, weddings, birthdays etc make sure you will be able to give the puppy loads of your time.
2 Invest in a crate and stair gate so that you have a place of safety for your dog if needed. It doesn’t have to be forever but in the first few weeks, it will make your life so much easier.
3 Put away expensive possessions, again just for a short time. Put the Persian rug in the loft until the puppy is properly housetrained.
4 Don’t leave new shoes, trainers slippers on the floor, your puppy will chew and no one wants little bite marks in their Loubitons.
5 If you drop something on the floor, pick it up….. a tablet, tissues, batteries, letters, jewellery, kids toys, food etc. This sounds crazy but it could prevent an expensive trip to the vets… because puppies eat everything.
6 Don’t assume that your puppy will be house trained in a couple of weeks. Stock up on antibacterial wipes and invest in a good sturdy mop and bucket.
7 Put houseplants up high where the puppy can’t reach, not only will it make a terrible mess if tipped over, some plants are poisonous to dogs.
8 Establish a routine, dogs love to know when things happen and it makes them feel secure.
9 Tidy electric cables, phone chargers or cords well away from your puppies reach.
10 Everyone loves a puppy and you will have your fair share of visitors queuing up for puppy cuddles. Explain that young dogs get tired easily and ask friends and family to phone first so that you don’t get overrun with visitors.
11 Store medication, household detergent, and bleach in high cupboards.
12 Don’t feel that you have to give your pup complete freedom to go in any room of the house. It’s ok to restrict the pup to a couple of safe areas at first.
13 Don’t ever think that you have a naughty puppy and don’t listen to anyone who says that their pup is an angel. A healthy puppy is naturally mischievous and boisterous, it is natural and why we love them.
14 Remember that your puppy will chew, so it is best to have a good array of dog toys that are designed for teething, to offer as a distraction.
15 Praise good behavior and ignore bad. Your puppy wants your attention, only give it to him when he is good. If the pup does something that is wrong, simply remove and distract.
Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself, do your best for your pup, don’t expect too much and keep in mind that things will get better.
Everyone loves a cute, furry puppy but they are hard work. The weeks of ‘puppy overwhelm’ don’t go on forever and everyone forgets just how difficult it can be at first. Before you know it the puppy will be a fully trained, adult, household pet and you will wonder how you ever lived without him.
Also remember, the weeks fly by and the puppy develops physically and mentally at a very fast pace. So don’t get caught up trying to be the perfect puppy owner, enjoy every single minute because they don’t stay babies for long.