Help - I hate my puppy!
Having a new puppy in the house is generally predicted to be a happy time; full of endless fun, games, and cuddles - and for many this is true. However, there can be a darker side to the arrival of a new puppy in your home, which not everyone is prepared for. As a result the owner may feel exhausted, panicky, resentful, or just completely overwhelmed by the responsibility of a new puppy. Feeling resentful of a new puppy is more common than you think.
Common problems with a new puppy
- The puppy keeps weeing and pooing in the house, even after they have just been taken outside.
- The puppy whines and cries whenever they are left alone or are in their crate.
- The puppy won't settle when you want them to.
- The puppy keeps nipping and biting your hands and ankles.
Why you might be stressed by your new puppy
- You have never owned a puppy before. Either you have never owned a dog before getting your new puppy or have only had older dogs before getting your new puppy.
- You are grieving the loss of an old dog and you think that the new puppy will never by like your old dog.
- You feel that your new puppy is not living up to all the behavioural expectations that you had when you brought him home.
- You have read too many books or manuals on raising perfect puppies (relax - these don't exist!).
- You feel your puppy is harassing or upsetting other dogs you may have (relax again - it nearly always works out between them in the end).
- Your new puppy is a particularly challenging breed or breed combination. Be aware that how manic, energetic, challenging, destructive, bitey, or chewy, a puppy is can all be down to genetic factors. So do your research on breeds well before you get your new puppy.
- If you are particularly house proud, you may be frustrated by the mess that the new puppy is making of your house or garden.
How you can cope with your new puppy
- Don't have really high expectations of your new puppy - all puppies are individuals and learn at different speeds.
- Understand that a young puppy has only just left its mother and what they need most is warmth, comfort, security, and a calm atmosphere - not an owner who is always stressed and pulling their hair out each time the puppy wees on the floor or when the puppy chews the carpet.
- Set daily activity and rest time routines for puppies from day one, which they soon get used to. Not only do young puppies need lots of sleep to grow properly, but owners also need sufficient daily breaks from their puppies, in order to stay sane.
- Understand that puppies are usually at their most manic when they are most tired, and will keep on going as long as they are being stimulated.
- Seek advice from a behaviourist if you feel that the puppy's behaviour is getting out of hand or dangerous and you really can't cope with the new puppy's behaviour.
- Similarly, stick to the same morning and evening toilet routine with your puppy. It's a good idea to let your puppy out just before you go to bed and then first thing in the morning so he learns to hold his bladder. He may have some accidents at first, but this is normal.
- Realise that when time passes the bond between you and your new puppy will slowly grow and strengthen. You won't necessarily love your puppy straight away and this is normal. One day, buying a puppy might be the best thing you ever did!
Be honest and get help!
- Too many owners try to suppress or deny their feelings of hate or annoyance towards their new puppy, because they feel guilty about them. Not only will they not get the help they need but there is also a higher chance that their suppressed negative feelings will be targeted on to their puppy in some damaging way.
- So it's important to understand that anxiety, resentment, and panic, are pretty common feelings when you bring a new puppy home as your whole life will change and the puppy will be demanding. It is OK to accept these early feelings, which nearly always change with time, but also critical to get professional help if you continue to feel that you can't cope with your puppy.