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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.

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.

Vicky

Saturday 12th of March 2022

Hi Danielle,

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.

Danielle

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.

Cheers, Danielle

casey

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.

J

Monday 1st of November 2021

We are one week in and I've already counted the days until our puppy is 4 months old and six months old. (Things are supposed to be better then, right?) Our last dog was an adult rescue and the absolute best dog ever. This cute little biting, chewing, potty, potty, potty monster is exhausting but we're hoping he will be tied for the best dog ever soon...very, very soon.

Lyn G

Thursday 28th of October 2021

I’m so glad to have read this when I did. I got my female Rottweiler/ PitBull mix puppy in September. This is my first time being a dog mom. She is 4 months now and I have had so many worries especially about her biting/potty and resulted in me getting the puppy blues. I can never dream of giving her away but sometimes it gets so tough that I think those intrusive thoughts but I immediately feel so guilty.

I thank you for your article and reading my worries. I don’t feel so alone anymore! (Especially since we basically have the same dog!)

So glad I clicked on this. It was meant to be!

Danielle

Friday 29th of October 2021

Hi Lyn, glad this article was helpful :). Puppies can really be a handful but keep in mind to stick to your socialization, potty routine, and training and you'll be rewarded. Trust me, every first-time dog owner went through some of the stages depending on how difficult that puppy was and whether or not they researched and had help. We forget that struggle quite quickly though :).

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