Concerned About 'Puppy Depression'

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Concerned About 'Puppy Depression'

This is a discussion on Concerned About 'Puppy Depression' within the New Additions forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi. I've been lurking here for a while because I'm considering a puppy and I'm pretty confused by the concept of 'puppy depression'/'puppy blues'. I've ...

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Old 03-01-2016, 01:07 AM
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Concerned About 'Puppy Depression'

Hi. I've been lurking here for a while because I'm considering a puppy and I'm pretty confused by the concept of 'puppy depression'/'puppy blues'. I've read a ton of threads discussing it, but they're not helping.

This is a major concern for me because I already have clinical depression. I think getting a puppy would help. It would give me a reason to get out of bed, and even more importantly to get out of the house. It would also provide me with the exercise companion I desperately need for both my physical and mental health. I've certainly seen getting a dog help other people.

But then I learned about 'puppy depression' and became very concerned. I cannot wrap my head around why people are depressed by a perfectly normal puppy. Is it just lack of sleep? That would make sense, but won't be an issue for me because my mom will watch the puppy while I sleep (we have opposite sleeping schedules).

I've never had primary responsibility for raising a puppy, but I grew up with a lot of dogs (including one of my own, though I was too young to be responsible when we got her), and watched my mother raise up three puppies, so I don't think I'm completely idealistic and naive. Sure, puppies have their super-annoying moments, often related to chewing something you really didn't want chewed, but I wouldn't call that 'depressing'.

Is it possible growing up with lots of dogs on a working farm has left me with a puppy-depression-proof perspective? It does seem like a lot of the people who are all stressed and depressed over their perfectly healthy new puppy think the puppy is made of delicate china or something, like a small mistake is going to ruin it for life. I know that's not how it actually works.

The puppy can't make me feel trapped either because I already work from home and never go out anyway. It will give me more opportunities to go out, not less.

I know no one can guarantee me that the puppy won't make me more depressed, but I'd really like to know why this happens to other people, and if you think it's likely to happen to me.
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:16 AM
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My suggestion is to adopt an adult dog. Rescues can help match you with a suitable companion. A rescue will be housetrained, have basic manners and may also be trained to walk on leash. Puppies are wonderful but a lot of work. It can be very stressful at times from lack of sleep which leads to lack of patience. Greyhounds are a great companion breed:
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Old 03-01-2016, 09:54 AM
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You could even start with a foster and see how it goes.
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:00 AM
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I think you are correct in that some of the "puppy blues" comes from having unrealistic ideas of what life with a puppy will be like and how much work is really involved. That said, "puppy blues" can even effect experienced, knowledgeable dog owners, probably because they are accustomed to well behaved adult dogs.

For instance, I did not have puppy blues by any means when I got my pup last year, BUT l I had forgotten what it was like to walk a dog with no leash manners. Ugh, aggravating! However, we got to work and now he walks like a champ.

You sound like you have a great set up for a dog, between you and your mom bring home almost all the time. I think you should evaluate if an adult dog would suit your needs just as well (in which case I think a rescue greyhound would be ideal). Or, would you be genuinely disappointed if you missed out on the puppy phase?

I was considering adopting a 2-3 year old dog but my husband really wanted the full puppy experience so we got a 9 wk old pup (fine by me!). However, I think a slightly older dog would have been easier and just as loveable.
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:18 AM
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For many, I think think "depression" might be a misnomer. I would say that "anxiety" more commonly affects new puppy owners. Here's just one recent example:

Like others, I might suggest that you consider adopting an adult dog from a rescue group that fosters its dogs in home settings.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:20 AM
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I would strongly suggest you do what I should have done -- foster an older dog, just to see how it goes. One who is happy to hang out with you and not be too demanding.

Puppies are a LOT of work. They require constant attention and diligence. They are cute (which is probably a good thing), but even that starts to wear thin after awhile. They don't listen (because they don't know better), they have more energy than you might expect, they bite/mouth/teeth on you and your belongings, they get into lots of trouble, they almost always seem to have diarrhea until their intestinal systems mature a little, they pee everywhere because they have no bladder control until about 6 months (and it took both of my small terriers much longer than 6 months to understand about housebreaking), they whine and bark sometimes all night, etc. So pretty much the only thing they have going for them is their cuteness. At 2 am, cuteness isn't really going to help a whole lot.

I'm already wishing my almost-1-year-old would just get the whole puppy thing over with already. Thankfully, it is temporary.

I will say that I was very depressed over the loss of my father when I decided getting a puppy would help. And it DID help in that having Cobber -- a puppy that I had to watch constantly, play with constantly, walk constantly (or so it seemed) -- kept me from being a depressed slug on the couch. But I gave up all my freedom, all my me time, all my relax-on-the-couch-and-watch-tv time. It was a very rough year, and honestly, it did not fill the void that losing my father had caused. If anything, I was a lot MORE depressed once I got my puppy because I spent every waking second dealing with the puppy so I felt even more cut off and alone than I had before getting the puppy -- couldn't just go somewhere, couldn't just meet a friend for coffee, travel, read, etc. Thankfully, Cobber grew up and my therapist and I worked successfully on my depression, but I would never again think that getting a puppy would help with depression. I really think that's not a good reason.

Again, if you're sure you want the benefits of a companion dog, trying fostering first, and not a puppy With perfect hindsight, that's so what I should have done!
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Old 03-03-2016, 08:12 AM
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I've sort of rationalized it as being similar to post partum. All your excitement, nerves, anxiety, builds to a breaking point - lack of sleep I'm sure doesn't help. I've known people to get the blues even when adopting an older dog because the anticipation, the um idea(?) of what the want doesn't match what they got or are dealing with. For me, I had it bad because my pup wouldn't stop chewing on me - she's a lab mix that needs something to do with her mouth - and she wasn't anything compatible to my last dog who was basically a cat in a dog body. Once I got over it and she started bonding to me things got better.

That being said, not everyone gets it, I'm unlucky to have the awesome generalized anxiety disorder, just lost my dad, my last dog passed too, was trying to finish school, and get a job. Ideally I should've waited. Raising her at that time was a little overwhelming. I love who she is now, but I'm much more prepared to raise a pup now then I was 3 years ago.
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Old 03-03-2016, 08:07 PM
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Old 03-03-2016, 08:08 PM
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I have experienced this and with puppies its cause they often seem like they are on a mission to kill or injure themselves....eating bad things, jumping off furniture, stairs, running into walls...climbing baby gates and falling off the other side (was that just me?). You can't relax with a puppy on the loose. It can be emotionally and sometimes physically draining. Then the crying at night, odd but apparently normal behaviours that make you worry something is wrong with puppy, worrying that puppy isn't eating enough or too much, worrying about the right food, did they eat part of that toy, etc...
Puppies can be worry, annoyance and stress wrapped up in an adorable furry package! I think that's where the depression/blues come from.
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Old 03-13-2016, 03:32 PM
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I am 6 weeks in with my puppy and feeling it badly. I love Echo, but picked her up at the wrong time from the wrong breeder. I would have been much better off going for an adult dog. Do you have a professional helping you with depression? It might help to ask them what they think.

I have chronic anxiety and depression, never raised a puppy and am socially isolated after moving country. I didn't go out much before but I resent not having the freedom I had previously. I'm having trouble with the sheer amount of things I need to teach her she draws blood when tantruming (my trainer is helping!), and I really miss being able to put things down without worrying she'll eat/destroy them. That said, I now know a bunch of my neighbors, am learning a huge amount about dog behavior, and have an awesomely cute puppy.
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