I get. We all get it.
The first day, weeks, or even months of getting a puppy can be incredibly stressful.
Some freshly baked dog owners ask themselves what happened with the cute little pup they’ve visited previously.
Surely, this can’t be the same pup who’s turning your house upside down.
Or can it be? Could this really be the pup your breeder selected so carefully for you? Is something wrong with you?
No worries, if you’re keeping in mind a couple of ground rules, are consistent with your training, bonding, and so on, you’ll be fine.
Puppy blues is real though.
Let’s dive into what you can do and how long it lasts until your pup will get easier to handle.
How Long Before Having a Puppy Gets Easier?
Having a puppy gets easier once they hit 4-5 months of age because that’s when puppies are usually potty-trained, can focus for longer, and have settled into their new home.
Right now you may think your puppy is the personification of the devil and that this behavior won’t go away.
But having a puppy will definitely get easier.
I’ve gone through this with my female Rottweiler puppy and the truth is, in retrospect, nearly every puppy does some things really well.
It just gets lost in the moment when we’re upset with one particular training issue.
However, you have to be disciplined with your puppy and set up all the house rules, as well as basic obedience and bonding to make sure your future will look brighter.
The first weeks are crucial for training and socializing your puppy and if you invest the time and energy now, it’ll pay off a hundredfold in the future.
Don’t set up bad habits. Prevention is so much easier than fixing behavior issues.
Also, while there definitely are easier and less easy (to put it nicely) puppies, it’s almost never as bad as we think it is.
Repeat that mantra.
It can always be worse. It’s never as bad as we think it is. Trust me, it helps.
How Long Do Puppy Blues Last?
Depending on whether or not you’re a first-time dog parent, puppy blues can last for a couple of months.
Usually, puppy blues goes away when we’ve got used to the new life of getting up in the middle of the night, scooping up poop accidents inside the house, and handling a little beast on the leash.
At the latest it’s going away once our puppies show progress.
If you stick to your training schedule and positively reinforce your pup during socialization and everything that comes with it, you’ll be surprised at how quickly a puppy can turn 180 degrees.
Once a puppy calms down a bit and is not as excited anymore about everything, it usually takes the edge off and pet parents can relax a bit more.
Every puppy is different and while mellow 8-week-old puppies do exist, others are still struggling with 6-month-old pups.
At What Age are Puppies the Most Difficult?
That really depends on what you’d describe as “difficult”.
Potty training is definitely the most difficult right out of the gate with your 8-week-old puppy.
However, puppy biting can get significantly worse when your puppy is a couple of months older because that’s when the teething phase often starts.
Other puppies start testing their boundaries with 4-6 months even more than they did before.
Now it’s your job to gently guide them through their mental and physical growth phase to teach them how to be good canine citizens.
Do Puppies Get Worse Before They Get Better?
This can definitely happen.
Right after bringing your puppy home, he might be timid and only start challenging your dog parenting skills once he’s a couple of months older.
However, this does not mean they’re getting overall worse, just that some aspects can seem more challenging.
Is it Normal To Regret Getting a Puppy?
As long as you’re not seriously overthinking your choice, simply mulling over your life’s decisions isn’t a bad thing and that includes getting a puppy.
Try to be introspective and really ask yourself why you got this puppy and whether or not you have the knowledge, time, and financial resources to take care of this animal for the remaining 10+ years.
If you know the reason why you got that pup and you can answer all the other answers with yes, don’t feel bad about thinking you went in over your head.
This is just the initial stage and as long as you still love your pup and consistently train him, it’ll turn out fine.
You’ll soon enjoy the fruits of your labor with a wonderful and loyal canine companion on your side.
Do Dogs Know When They Misbehave?
Whether or not dogs know that they’re misbehaving depends largely on the training they’ve received.
Dogs who haven’t been taught a certain behavior or command don’t knowingly misbehave, but rather they don’t know what they’re asked to do.
Sometimes, there’s a disconnect between what we think we taught them and what was really taught.
If you have strong communication with your dog, you can quickly tell whether or not your dog really got that command down.
Be patient with puppies, their focus isn’t as developed as that of adult dogs.
However – even when knowing what they’re asked to do – if dogs are distracted by something interesting, then that will get their attention.
Your attention turns towards the biggest reward, right?
That’s how dogs act all the time.
Make sure you have an interesting reward and be exciting and you’ll have an easier time training your pup.
How Do You Know if a Puppy is Dominant?
Puppies are rarely “dominant”.
The dominance theory itself is outdated, for puppies as well as for adult dogs.
But there definitely are more challenging dogs than others.
Some even sleep in their food bowls.
In case your dog seems challenging to you, ask yourself whether or not you’re really clear with your commands and expectations.
Miscommunication is more commonly the case.
As mentioned puppies don’t have the most developed focus so they may seem “dominant” when they’re trying to block out your human commands.
Why Do Puppies Go Crazy at Night?
The first night with your puppy may be one of the most challenging.
It’s the first night away from your dog’s siblings and mother.
While some dogs are particularly tired from a stressful day, others are just getting started at dawn.
Even if your pup would be tired, they’re sleeping nearly 18 hours per day which means they have plenty of time in the evening to recharge.
Make sure you have your crate training in place and check what you can do if your pup won’t sleep through the night.
How Do You Discipline a Puppy for Biting?
Giving a verbal correction and counter-conditioning your dog to do something else is usually the way to go.
If you’re playing with your dog and he bites, don’t quickly pull your arm away to make it a game.
Instead, you can just say your given queue, stop the play, get up and leave.
Positively reinforce instances where your pup displays good behavior.
Read this for more puppy biting tips.
How Long Does it Take for a Puppy to Bond With You?
That really depends on the individual but generally, puppies bond pretty quickly with you in a matter of weeks or months.
I mean, they’re following your actions and even commands from day one so they have to have some trust in you.
However, the really strong bond is usually forged during socialization where your dog will really sense whether or not you’re true canine guide material.
The more trips you go on, the more positive interactions your dog has, and the more confident he feels inside the house, the better your bond will be.
Don’t worry, a bond can develop over time and canines are so awesome in that respect because they’re loyal and trust you if you treat them fairly.
Is Raising a Puppy Harder Than a Baby?
The mother of all questions.
Everybody says something different, especially if you ask freshly baked mothers/fathers or dog moms/dads.
In my personal opinion, raising a puppy may seem more difficult during the first months, but a baby needs care for a much longer period and also needs far more complex learning, stimulation, and more as time goes on.
Once you’ve trained your puppy the basics, you’re golden.
Of course, training is a lifelong process but half a year, one year, or two years into it you’ll have an incredibly strong bond with your dog and a clear understanding between the two of you.
Your dog is (hopefully) a good canine citizen once he’s an adult but for babies, this takes far longer and there can be so many missteps along the way.
Another thing that makes puppies a difficult undertaking is that we often approach them from our human standpoint.
Once we get rid of anthropomorphizing our dogs, it’s much easier to actually understand how they tick.
Let me know if you’re currently struggling with your pup or what your experience has been like in the comments!
Friday 10th of February 2023
Hi Danielle, this article speaks volumes to me. Puppy Blues describes it to a tee. I feel like I just turned our entire household upside down with our 11 week old puppy. Our beloved dog of 11 years passed away 2 months ago. It’s been too quiet and we miss her terribly. It was my idea to adopt again, and my husband and I were in agreement that we should get a puppy. I’m a parent of grown children and even have a grandchild but feel completely unprepared and unqualified for this beautiful, adorable baby shark. :(
Saturday 11th of February 2023
Hi Déjà, I'm sorry about your dog's passing and totally understand the desire to fill the void that our dogs inadvertently leave. In nearly every case where getting a pup wasn't an impulse decision, puppy blues will subside before we know it. Keep training your pup and stay patient and you'll soon reap all the benefits!
Saturday 21st of January 2023
Thank you for this article. We have had our pup for about 1 week and it has been a rollercoaster. She has mostly been great, but she has had a few days where just nothing has gone right and she has been irritable, bitey and I have just felt so out of my depth. I hope it improves soon
Sunday 22nd of January 2023
Hi Nicole, stay patient and consistent with your training and socialize your pup. You'll soon see a lot of improvement. Enjoy the rollercoaster, the puppy time is over too quickly (at least it was for me, in hindsight).
Best to both of you, Danielle
Thursday 22nd of September 2022
Thanks for the article. I am struggling a bit with my new pup; he seems to have a totally different personality after 2 pm! He is a well-behaved 3-and-a-half-month-old; he sits, stays, fetches the ball and is charming. Then he turns. He barks incessantly and bites me and my son. I am walking him 3 times a day and this stops the behaviour while we are out, but as soon as we get home in the afternoons he turns!
Thursday 22nd of September 2022
I'd try to find out what it is after 2pm that seems to make him turn. Has he slept and is active again? Back from a walk? Left alone? There's almost certainly a reason and maybe it's related to (mental) exercise. Walking is great but puppies need loads of socialization as well as mental stimulation, maybe your pup is not tired enough? Barking is normal, some dogs will do it less as they age, others learn it gets them what they want or they just like doing it, every dog is different. Biting isn't unusual either, it can seem pretty bad but as long as there are no wounds or signs of aggression, it's a totally normal part of growing up to be a good canine citizen, assuming you start training bite inhibition and so on.
Saturday 12th of March 2022
Thank you for your article. Before getting my mini aussie with my boyfriend, I 100% acknowledge there is such thing as puppy blues and losing sleep. A few days closer to picking up my pup, I got so anxious with all the expectations I wanted to back out and just lose my deposit. My boyfriend really wanted to get a puppy his whole life and I did too, we are financially stable and I stay home 24/7 where as my boyfriend works a 9-5 job so I took the leap to go through with our puppy.
Fast forward, he is currently 9 weeks old now, he is 99% potty trained and knows how to sit, down, hold, come, stand and etc, he is very smart. I give him all my attention. Just a week with my pup, I get depressed because I do miss enjoying time with myself and my boyfriend. I'm in university and sometimes when I need to get my school work done I can only get it done if he is sleeping or when my boyfriend comes home, I get frustrated because he wants to play after playing. As funny as it sounds, I miss showering or using the washroom in peace but my puppy does NOT want to be alone, or he will whine and bark. I have tried crate training, he does not like it at all after feeding in the crate, giving water, playing games in the crate, leaving the crate next to our bed. We decided he is a puppy so he needs attention constantly just like a human child so we allow him to sleep in our bed because he does not bark and whine at night.
My boyfriend and I are losing so much sleep, my boyfriend has to drive a lot at work and if hes not getting enough sleep he's not doing his job properly, therefore most of the time I take care of pup by myself which is extremely difficult.
My point is, he is still in his puppy stage and I have a mantra where I tell myself "this puppy phase shall pass", I just miss my normal life with my boyfriend before we had a puppy. Will things get better in the end where he actually sleeps through the night and we get proper sleep? I have a cat and I did lose a few days of sleep as my cat was adjusting to his routine and I was good to go. But having a puppy is a complete different story. I need help.
Sunday 13th of March 2022
Hey Vicky, so if your pup is 9 weeks old now that'd put you in your second week with him (assuming you got him at 8 weeks), right? If so, it's impressive that he's already potty trained.
Your pup will, sooner or later, almost certainly sleep through the night. Some pups do it after a week or two while some may take 2-4 weeks or even a couple of months where they get up but it definitely gets better. Most dogs fall somewhere in the middle.
However, your pup will still need physical and mental exercise even as an adult. If it's only about sleeping for you, that will get better. But the time you need to commit daily of 1-2 hours spent on walks, additional playtime, training - that's here to stay.
In regards to crate-training, check out this article. While some can ditch the crate (I did pretty early on), most should just pull through. Crating your dog for a short period will allow you to go showering, use the washroom in peace, etc. All puppies will whine and cry. Just do your best (positively introduce crate, exercise and feed before, only crate for a short amount at a time) and let the puppy whine assuming he doesn't need to go potty or has a medical issue. The crate is also great for letting your pup stay alone although some dogs are great with that and don't need the crate at all. You can still decide once you're at the crossroads of where to put him when left alone.
Monday 22nd of November 2021
I feel this. All of this. It's been almost 13 years since I've had a puppy. I wanted a 2yo.... Had two picked out and they were both adopted. Then puppies came up, but they wouldn't be ready for 6 weeks. I told myself ok this is ok, I've done this before and if I'm not meant to do this another dog a couple years old would definitely come up over the course of 6 weeks, but it didn't. So I got the puppy. I live on my own and work full time. My first pup was so much easier. Some days I wonder what did I do. Others I'm like woah the pup is learning... this is going well, and then we're back to omgosh can I send you back? I hope it balances out soon. It's making me feel bi-polar.