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Getting Through the Puppy Blues

By Bailey Coldwell

You have prepared for weeks, months, maybe even years for your new dog. Maybe you are a brand new dog owner or maybe you have had numerous dogs throughout your life. Regardless, change is hard. Change isn’t just hard for the dog; change can be hard for owners as well and you are not alone. 

There’s a lot on your mind. You want to crate train, leash train, potty train, and teach your new puppy cues. You want to socialize your dog to people, other dogs, planes, trains, and automobiles. You are trying to figure out how much to feed your dog, when they need to get their vaccines, and you are also trying to likely work, be a parent, or remember to eat. Simply put, you can be overwhelmed. 

Something that I often say to new owners is that it is better to be slow and successful, rather than speedy and stressed. We want you and your dog to be enjoying yourself. If you are feeling overwhelmed, this energy is going to transfer to the dog. Therefore, it is better to do something fun for both of you if you are finding that something is stressing either of you out. In addition, we want to make sure to end things on a success, to help the puppy want to come back to it later. What does this mean? Say you have a training session that is just not going well with your puppy. You are getting frustrated and your dog is just not getting it. Go back to an easier task and then “throw a party” for your dog, meaning reward them heavily. We don’t want to avoid a hard task. We just want to take that task at a pace that will be successful for you and your dog. 

A helpful reminder is that we want puppies to fit into our lives, versus change our entire lives for the dogs. We often hear of owners canceling appointments, having a lack of personal care like showering, and never leaving the home. It is important for you to continue to do the activities and routines that you enjoy, sometimes without the puppy. You need time to recharge and your puppy needs time to learn to be without you. When the days can seem long and nights even longer with a new puppy, you want to make sure to step away and go do something for yourself. This can be a lunch date with friends, a walk without your puppy, reading a book, or taking a nap.

Our online programs are unique and worthwhile. YOU are becoming the trainer and therefore, the results are going to take you and your dog far. You are going to learn how to problem solve and understand your dog. And you can do this in multiple ways. You can either follow our programs in the exact order on our website OR you can skip around to programs and topics that are the most important for you at that moment. It is better to start somewhere, than not start at all because you are overwhelmed by the content. 

Not all two dogs are the same. When puppies are biting, jumping, barking, and chewing everything up, it can be easy to compare your dog to the neighbor's dog or the random dog you see on social media. But I can guarantee you that your dog is doing something more successfully than, what appears to be, the perfect dog. I am a dog trainer and my dogs are not perfect. I recently got an 8 year old rescue dog who is still nervous of my husband at times. I have a 6 year old dog who barked at my roommate and woke my toddler this morning. Dog training is always a work in progress. I”t is all about identifying the problem behavior and setting the situation up for success next time. For example, my husband is working hard at doing the small and fun things with our rescue dog such as feeding him, using a calmer voice, and playing with him. Meanwhile, I am going to work harder on rewarding my other dog for hearing my roommate walk around the home, before she barks. 

You aren’t perfect, your friends aren't perfect, your children aren’t perfect. So don’t strive for perfection when it comes to your dog. Strive for anticipating and noticing a problem behavior and having the confidence that, with our support, you know how to best handle the situation. 

Dog training takes time and consistency. You can be doing everything right and just need to give it more time. Similarly, you might be giving the dog time, but need to increase how consistent you are with the training approach, which is what we are here for. 

We as your dog trainers are here for you. You always have the opportunity to email us, set up one on one video calls or phone sessions with us, join our classes and courses, listen to our podcasts, and be active in our forum and group pages. 

Remember how you felt on the first day of your new job? Your first date? Your move to a new city? Scary, nerve wracking, and sometimes you might have even felt crazy. But soon, this new experience became normal. It didn’t feel new and overwhelming forever. You are now a pro and love the new life you have built for yourself. The same is true with this new stranger of a dog that just came into your home. Be kind to yourself. 


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18 comentários

Also needed to hear this. While I wouldn’t say the first months with my human baby were easy, it was a cakewalk compared to the first months with a puppy, while also working full time running a medical practice and being a single mom. I have had so much guilt over not loving this experience. My puppy just turned 4 months (got her at 10 weeks) and I’m just recently starting to truly enjoy her. Despite all the prep and planning I did before getting her, the first weeks I think I was the worst version of myself I have been in my adult life. I thought I might have a nervous breakdown. I truly felt I had made …


I'm in my 10th week of "New Puppydom" and it has been A LOT. I too thought: "How hard can this be?" HARD. I keep telling my older dog: She'll grow up and she won't be so crazy," but I think I'm really trying to reassure myself too! What has helped so much is Baxter & Bella - posts like this and hearing the trainers say -- "don't expect this behavior til this age," or "yes, 40 minutes for a puppy to go between peeing is normal!" It helps a LOT. I spend a lot of time training Maggie, but some days, she is just not into it. And on those days we just PLAY -- we'll…


29 de fev.

Thank you for this timely post.!


Thank you for this. Perfect timing as last week I had a complete meltdown. Everything in this post happened to me, recognized it and asked my husband to step in more to help reduce my stress.


This is such a fantastic post and the timing is perfect. Thank you for your wise words of encouragement! We are 7 months down the puppy path and it has been...a lot. Much more than I expected, even with all the advance planning and prep I tried to so diligently do. It is overwhelming to try to do *all the things* at one time, but you've given me a great reminder to slow down, enjoy it more, and everything will come in time with patience and persistence. Thanks Bailey!

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