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Puppy Blues – When Do Puppies Get Easier?

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.

Important notice: There is something I want to show you that will change the way you interact with your dog. Check it out here.

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.

My 8-week-old female Rottweiler puppy sleeping on a lap.

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.

Six white and brown Bulldog puppies together on the couch.

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 disconnect between what we think we taught and what was really taught.

If you have a 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 dogs know what they’re asked to do, if something more interesting is distracting them, 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.

Rottweiler puppy sleeping with head resting in the food bowl.

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 see 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 do 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 is harder 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, two years, three years and by now you have an incredibly strong bond with your dog and a clear understanding between the two of you.

Your dog is a good canine citizen and has good manners 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 anthropomorphising 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!

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About Danielle
I am the founder of PawLeaks where I share weekly tips on dog training and behavior. Sharing a passion for dogs and helping owners to solve problems through understanding canine behavior and modification is my number one goal.

Michelle Von

Tuesday 10th of August 2021

Thank you for writing this, it's helping me feel less insane. I've had a puppy for 10 days and since day 1 hour 2 I've been feeling regret about my choice to get a puppy because every task is a struggle. Do you have any tips on how to stop my puppy from eating grass? Every potty break she spends every second trying to eat grass (although she does go potty thankfully) and I hold her leash so that she can't jerk her head down to eat it (while not choking her) but she doesn't understand why I won't let her and we both end up frustrated.

Danielle

Wednesday 11th of August 2021

Hi Michelle, thanks and I'm glad you found the article helpful! Eating grass can happen due to many reasons but with pups, it's just curiosity most of the time. You might want to rule out medical issues (is she vomitting a lot?) and nutrionital deficiency because they often resort to eating grass then. Other than that, just keep her away and teach her "leave it".

Trust me, if you did your research and are ready to work on training, etc. you'll not regret getting a puppy. For first-time owners it's completely normal to have second thoughts but now that my Rottie is an adult, I wish I would've enjoyed her puppy time even more :).

Since you're a new puppy owner, head over to this page for a membership with a couple of eBooks, puppy templates and more. Maybe you'll find it helpful too :).

Cheers, Danielle

Shania Advincula

Monday 7th of June 2021

Hi Danielle!

So I am currently a college student living on campus. I have anxiety and depression and really want an emotional support animal to help me through. But a few months ago I got a border collie puppy. BIG mistake. He had too much energy and gave me more anxiety than i already had. I ended up giving him to my uncle. I swore off puppies forever! But then I saw a beautiful goldendoodle online. I knew that this breed were really good for being trained as emotional support animals or service dogs. Well I got her! Our first night went well. She slept through the night. But as I watch her go to the bathroom this morning I just get this overwhelming feeling to cry!! It's summer but I start school and work in the fall Did I make another huge mistake? should I give her up? I really wanted a calm emotional support animal. please help

Danielle

Monday 7th of June 2021

Hi Shania,

I don't know your exact circumstances and only you can evaluate whether you're up to the task of raising this pup or not. That being said, birnging a dog into your life is a serious decision and if you decide to give her up, I wouldn't advise you to get a dog in the near future since it only creates stress for everybody involved (I'm guessing you don't have infinite uncles who are willing to take the dog and can properly care for them).

Every breed can be great emotional support, yes, but only with training. Unless you buy a trained adult from a certified organization, you'll need to socialize your pup, exercise her, read up on the best diet & care, and then start the real training from there. It's a lot of responsibility for sure.

Maybe you just have the puppy blues as stated in the blog post. If you fulfill the following criteria, you should be fine: - Do I have enough time to care for my dog and will that not change in the future (i.e. dog being your priority)? If you're away for 8 hours and can't organize somebody to exercise her, it's not a good choice. - Do I have the knowledge about socialization, puppy biting, house training, etc. to raise a good canine? - Do I really want a dog in my life and all the baggage that comes with it (1-2 hours exercise per day, bonding, moving where your dog is allowed, less vacation unless you can take the dog, etc.) - Was this a split-second decision due to a cute puppy online or do I really love dogs?

If you can answer all this with yes, your dog might give you the support you need to. However, please understand that the dog has no mission in life to serve humans. She only does it freely if you invest the time in raising her properly. Bonding can actually benefit your mental health but only if you commit to it. While Border Collies might be more demanding than Goldendoodles, they're definitely no couch potato either.

Cheers, Danielle

Marcy Bienvenue

Monday 3rd of May 2021

Thank you for this article. I have been wondering if we made a mistake and feeling guilty about that because he really is a good puppy. Some of our challenges have been our cats. They are basically living upstairs right now because the puppy lunges at them whenever they come downstairs. I think it will be better after potty training is done too!

Danielle

Monday 3rd of May 2021

Hey Marcy, everybody makes mistakes, raising a pup is no exception. As long as your trying to stay calm and consistent with the training, everything will be fine. Nothing is worth scratching the bond we have with our pups, that's important to keep in mind :).

I actually have an article on how to introduce cats, maybe that helps?

Cheers, Danielle