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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm 31 years old, and my husband and I just got a 3 month old puppy mix. I grew up with dogs and this was totally my idea. I knew it was going to be hard and exhausting, but I thought I wanted to have the experience of raising a puppy. When we met her, I thought she was the absolute cutest thing. But from the moment they actually handed her to me to take home (6 days ago) I have felt almost nothing but anxiety.

I think I was vaguely prepared for the logistical difficulties. She's not potty trained at all and we live in a building that makes it very difficult. She wants to chew everything in sight. We are crate training and use a puppy play pen. We're doing puppy classes and she's very smart, learning her training very quickly. We separation training is also going well. But I think what stresses me out are the following:

1) I don't think I was prepared for the feeling of being so completely needed by another living thing.
2) I have to watch her so closely and she consumes so much of my time, I don't feel like I have any time for myself.
3) I'm constantly second guessing everything I do, and worrying that I'm not good enough.

I've been asking support from friends and family and they're stepping up but can only help so much. My husband works long hours and is gone most of the day, but also doesn't particularly like having her around.

The end result: I'm so anxious that I'm incapable of enjoying my puppy. I don't love her. I kind of hate her. But I also know that I feel this way because the anxiety is making it impossible for me to feel anything else. She makes me so anxious that the very smell of her makes me nauseated. When she looks at me, I feel this hollow pit in my stomach. Worse yet, she's already a slightly anxious dog and I know she's picking up on my anxiety and negativity. She won't even go outside...

I don't know how to house train a dog who's too scared to be outside, but then she totally shreds her puppy pads.

Adding to all of this is that I'm self-employed, working from home. So it's like being a stay at home mom. I give myself two breaks every day where I get out for about 2.5 hours each.

The point is. I *think* I'm doing everything I can. My psychologist says these are classic symptoms of a puppy version of postpartum depression,that they will pass. I'm seeing a psychiatrist soon to try and get some chemical assistance.

The question I put to this forum: I've seen that there are a couple threads of people talking about these types of feelings, but what I'm desperately wondering is how long do y'all feel this way?

To those who've felt the post-puppy blues or whatever, how long did you feel that way? And how long did it take you to start feeling stable, and normal? And when did you start to love your little one? I know there's not going to be any standard answer, but I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Thank you, in advance, to everyone who responds.
 

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I started feeling anxious about my puppy a couple of days before I got him. It's a huge change for anyone's life. Merlin was 7 weeks old when I got him. (He's now a little over three months old)
The first two weeks hardeste hardest. I cried a lot, yelled a couple of times, and started doubting I could handle having a puppy. Part of that was that I've never raised a puppy before and all the crying he was doing was new to me. I was also extremely sleep-deprived, whuch only made my emotionality worse.
About about three weeks, things got so much better. We both figured out a schedule that works well. Honestly, now I can't see myself without him. I can't wait to start taking him outside more, walking him on a more regular basis, training with him more, etc.
I had to learn to adjust myself and my own reactions, tok. When I get frustrated I tend to lash out verbally, which is terrible for a puppy because they don't understand why I'm screaming at them. I'm to a point where I'm usually handling situations like his crying with a calmness I didn't know I had.
Anyway, I would say give it a few of weeks, especially if you've only had the puppy for a few days. It's a lot of work, as you've stated, but you'll soon learn that having the puppy relying on you for everything will strenghten your bond, as will the training you're doing with your pup.
Good luck! Keep us updated and post pictures : )
 

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Also, I completely understand the frustration with puppies shredding puppy pads. I've made an indoor potty-area for my puppy (puppy pads enclosed by an exercise pen) since I live in an apartment. His favorite oasstime seems to be ripping up the puppy pads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Also, I completely understand the frustration with puppies shredding puppy pads. I've made an indoor potty-area for my puppy (puppy pads enclosed by an exercise pen) since I live in an apartment. His favorite oasstime seems to be ripping up the puppy pads.

haha. We've got the same set up. And shredding her pee pads is quickly becoming Lily's favorite pass time as well. We try to redirect her to other toys or give her something to do. But when boredom wins out, puppy pads are the target. I guess I might just have to learn to accept this quirk. Though I'm going to try teaching her the Leave It command and see if that helps.

Thank you so much for your story and support.
 

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You're so welcome!
I just started putting two layers of puppy pads down. Merlin doesn't shred them all, just a couple, so the extra layer helps ensure he always has a place to go.
You and your puppy will get more in sync as time goes by!
 

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I was a bit of a mess when I got my puppy who is now almost 11 months. This to shall pass. For me, I think the problems mainly stemed from me not getting enough sleep. By 4 months that was a lot better and now I have just learned to laugh and deal with his teenage antics. It does get better. Just give it some time and try to get rest when you can.

I have never used puppy pads. I was just very very vigilant for the first 2-3 weeks and my puppy was trainined. I live in a house with a yard though so that makes a huge difference. So, I have no puppy pads advice just have heard it can make the process take longer to train them.
 

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For the first two weeks, I am kind of sickeningly in love with any new dog (adult or puppy). I want to do everything RIGHT and I want to be GOOD and I want to really set them off on the right foot. I get this weird combination of extremely happy/attached and extremely stressed/anxious. And then at around day 10-15, I suddenly hate the dog. I don't want to be near them, I don't want to look at them, I don't want to touch them, I don't want to feed them, I don't want to take them to potty. If I could click a cosmic "undo" button that would take the whole experience away, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I feel trapped by them and angry with them and all sorts of unpleasant emotions. I don't use aversives in my training, so I know that I'm entering that hate-time when I hear myself shouting at the dog, usually for something either (a) completely benign or (b) that the dog hasn't been trained to do correctly and has no idea that it's wrong. It's like my patience-meter just completely runs out.

Then, just as suddenly, I'm fine and everything settles into a fairly normal routine.

For me, the pattern is usually about two weeks of obsession/perfectionism, three days of anxiety/hate/repulsion/avoidance, and then I settle into a normal level of attachment. This is remarkably consistent for every dog I've ever brought into my home: adults or puppies, mine or fosters or dog-sitting. I have even started marking it on my calendar when I bring home a new foster dog so I'll know that it's "just that time" and that the dog isn't actually to blame and that it always gets better.

If you want to see exactly how not-alone you are, search the word "overwhelmed" on the forums. <3 We've all been there. It sucks, especially because of how much it makes you second-guess yourself, but it does get vastly better.
 

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Y'all could try setting up a litter box for them instead of using puppy pads. Get a large, low, tote (like the kind that slides under the bed) and fill it with sand type cat litter. As long as the pup doesn't decide it makes a nice digging place it should work great and you won't have shredded puppy pads.
 
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Thanks for the suggestion, Rain! : )
I had actually originally thought that's what I'd try to do, but lack of proper supplies around town and conflicting information online made me shy away from it. I think I'll go out and look around for what I would need for that.
 

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I was very anxious and stressed when we first brought puppy Chase home. Puppies are time-consuming, very energetic, and sometimes can be quite frustrating. I always loved him, but wasn't sure if I would do it again if I had the choice. I realized early on that these feelings were mainly anxiety. I already have panic attacks, and was so afraid of not doing things right/of him growing into a monster because I didn't train him up right.

But, things got much better. Chase and I are quite bonded now. From the beginning he chose me as "mommy" (which at first was like "OMGOSH RESPONSIBILITY I'M NOT READY FOR THIS) and now I am really beginning to enjoy it. We've had him five weeks now. I still second-guess myself often, but not nearly as bad. I can shut him in a puppy-proof room for an hour or two when I've reached my limit, and he is sleeping through the night.

I know it's hard, but try not to resent puppy. It's just a puppy, that's all it knows how to be. Little by little, it will adjust to life with people. :)

Ps. Taking puppy for nice walks or playing fetch (even in the house) helps keep the energy manageable, and lessens destruction. Chase usually needs one semi-long walk, and a few games of fetch a day.
 

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You're certainly not alone. As Inkii said, search the forum for "overwhelmed" or "new puppy" and you'll see that most folks have a period of feeling completely in over their heads by a tiny furry critter.

When we first got Katie, I was exactly the same way. I don't think I slept the first 4 or 5 nights as I worried something terrible would happen during the night. After a few weeks, I relaxed a little and started to feel more confident in my ability to care for her. It gets easier.

1) I don't think I was prepared for the feeling of being so completely needed by another living thing.
I don't think anyone truly is and I'm not sure it's even possible to be prepared for this aspect of dog ownership. You're definitely not alone here. :)

2) I have to watch her so closely and she consumes so much of my time, I don't feel like I have any time for myself.
Two ideas:
Can you put her in her crate or pen with something like a Kong when you need time to yourself? I soak Katie's food in water and use that for Kong stuffing when I don't have anything else (freeze the Kong for longer enjoyment :) )

Can a friend or relative take her for a few hours once or twice a week? I think sometimes just knowing you have a backup plan helps.

3) I'm constantly second guessing everything I do, and worrying that I'm not good enough.
I think that's natural. I know from experience that there is such a thing as too much research! Puppies are resilient creatures. Be mindful of keeping her safe until her vaccinations are finished and make sure she has plenty of positive encounters with a variety of people, places, and things, but otherwise, don't fret. The training advice here is great! I'd recommend Paul Owen's
book; he has a very gentle and reassuring tone.

Hang in there, it gets easier. :)
 

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I felt that level of anxiety for about 1 month, and then it slowly started to decline. I couldn't sleep, cried every night for about a week. I still feel anxious (and my pup is 9 months old) but it's not what it was. I think I finally started to love him at about 3 months old, took me a month. I felt the same way as you, especially about my time. In fact, I often still feel that Theo takes up a lot of my time, especially regarding training. It was hard to get used to something being so dependent on me, and also being so responsible for his safety and well-being.

Hang in there!!! It does get easier. Eventually you'll get your routine down and things will feel more structured and normal.
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks everyone! Really appreciate all the support and your stories definitely reassure me. Lily really is such a good dog and so smart. It helps that she's learning fast!

Anyone else have a city dog who didn't like going outside? How did you help them learn to like their walks? I've been trying to give her treats whenever she walks nicely. Been thinking about trying to take her favorite toy out.

Thanks again!
 

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I have seen fake grass at a pet store that is on a tray (antimicrobial) and the puppy could go on there! You may have to surf the internet for it to see who distributes it. Also, those magic mushroom treat dispensors are wonderful! So worth the price.
Feelings, I dog sit and everytime a new dog comes I have the same type of feelings, am I doing ok...remember, NOTHING has to be perfect! It will take a while but the puppy blues do pass...and yep, you nailed it, an all consuming feeling that is overwhelming! Thinking of you and know you will look forward to many joys with your pup. I think the feeling of getting a new puppy is more overwhelming than having a baby!!! Seriously.
 

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Anyone else have a city dog who didn't like going outside? How did you help them learn to like their walks? I've been trying to give her treats whenever she walks nicely. Been thinking about trying to take her favorite toy out.
A friend had a dog who was scared to go outside after hearing fireworks going off, he refused to step outside the door and was terrified out on walks, we used Kikopup's method below to help their dog overcome his fear :)


Kikopup's videos are amazing and well worth checking out too :D
 

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By the way, I went out and picked up a fake-grass patch today (I've only had it for a couple of hours). So far Merlin is fascinated with it. I sprayed a potty-training sptay to help encourage him to go on it and so far we've had success. You should seriously consider it, if your pup is still afraid to go outside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
By the way, I went out and picked up a fake-grass patch today (I've only had it for a couple of hours). So far Merlin is fascinated with it. I sprayed a potty-training sptay to help encourage him to go on it and so far we've had success. You should seriously consider it, if your pup is still afraid to go outside.
I'm curious. How do you clean the grass?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm having one of those nights where I could use a reminder of why I'm going through all this stress and exhaustion. I'm so tempted to give up... What are the best things about having your dog?
 

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I'm having one of those nights where I could use a reminder of why I'm going through all this stress and exhaustion. I'm so tempted to give up... What are the best things about having your dog?
Katie loves to snuggle up to me at night. She keeps me warm and I feel loved.

Her eyes light up when I talk to her. Her eyes light up and her tail wags a mile a minute when we train. Her eyes light up, her tail wags, and her mouth forms a huge grin when she figures out the trick.

She amuses me several times a day with cute behaviors - like when she digs up her squeaky ball only to bury it again.

She keeps me active and young feeling.

She gives me kisses when I feel down (that could be a bad thing depending on your perspective, but I think it's the thought that counts).

She's the reason I don't come home to an empty house nor do I wake up alone (my husband is there, but he's snoring away when we get up).

She makes me laugh multiple times a day.

She's given me a new appreciation for snow.

Hang in there, it gets easier.
 

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I'm curious. How do you clean the grass?
I just got it today, so I haven't gotten that far yet. When he poops I pick it up and flush it. The instructions say rinse ir off with water and use a mild soap to wash it. I'll probably try washing the grass with dish soap once a week along with sanitizing the tray that holds the pee.
Theoretically, the grass is supposed to be antimicrobial and odor resistant, but we'll see about that. I have a cold right now, so I can't exactly smell very well.
 
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