Post-puppy depression is a real thing, here's what to expect according to an expert

Puppy tugging on leash
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the Instagram post cited below.

Who doesn’t love a new puppy? 

When you're bringing him a puppy for the first time suddenly, everyone’s your best friend!

You’ve bought plenty of the best puppy toys, you’re sending pictures to countless friends and relatives, your neighbor ‘conveniently’ drops around for a quick chat, and everyone in the house (except for maybe the cat) just can’t get enough of your new arrival. 

So why do you sometimes feel anxious or frustrated? 

It’s common to feel a little bit down not long after you get a new puppy – once the initial excitement of the first few days has worn off. It’s so common, in fact, that it has a name – the ‘puppy blues’. 

And award-winner trainer Lisa Burton, of Listen Dog Training, has shared all you need to know about them in a recent Instagram post. 

There are a range of emotions that you might catch yourself feeling when you bring home that new puppy. You might begin to feel overwhelmed and anxious, realizing that you’re responsible for your pup’s health and wellbeing for potentially the next decade, or maybe longer. 

And you might feel isolated, too. As Burton puts it, “New puppies require constant supervision, direction, and support, which means your freedom has disappeared… and you have no idea when you’ll get that back.” 

This can be particularly true if, for example, you’re the one at home with the puppy all day while everybody else is at work or school, in much the same way that a parent of a newborn who’s at home all day might feel lonely. 

While you might feel guilty for it, don’t beat yourself up if you experience feelings of frustration and resentment, too. You’re in the middle of toilet training, you might not be getting as much sleep as usual, and you have an energetic young being who likes to bite and chew your home and yourself. It’s understandable. 

But there are two things that, according to Burton, it’s vital to keep in mind. “Everything you are struggling with now is temporary,” she says, while “All the problems your puppy is presenting are solvable.”

So what can you do? 

Burton recommends getting your pup used to being apart from you as soon as possible. Use a crate, a puppy pen, or a baby gate – and plenty of reinforcement and enrichment – to show your dog that they can cope away from you for little amounts of time.

Prepare yourself for your dog teething, too (you might find these five top teething puppy tips useful). The teething stage can last for a few months, so keep many natural and safe chews to hand to keep your pup happy – and stop them from chewing other things!

And, stick with it! It might be stressful now but, as Burton says, “Know that putting in the hard work early makes life easy later.”

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Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.