Puppy Blues – When You Regret Getting A Dog or Puppy

It’s normal to second guess yourself after adding a new puppy or dog to the family. It’s a lot of change!

The initial excitement wears off after a few days and you’re like … what the hell have I done? I can’t do this!

I went through those emotions with our puppy Remy. He was a very good puppy but it’s just the stress of normal puppy training + lack of sleep + loss of freedom + trying to manage my senior dog’s health issues & some resource guarding. Plus Remy can be a very wild puppy!

Second thoughts about getting a puppy

I told Josh I wouldn’t get a second dog if I could go back in time. That’s an awful thing to say but I underestimated the amount of work and stress a puppy and a senior dog would be. It’s nothing to do with Remy, really, it’s about having a second dog in general right now. (And right now a dozen people are thinking, yeah, coulda told you so!)

But … as with most people I’m 100 percent committed to both dogs and making this work. I wanted a running buddy. I wanted a dog who can go hiking and to the beach and to training classes. Remy is exactly what I wanted. He’s an awesome dog!

It’s just that life never goes as smoothly as you imagine.

When you regret getting a dog or puppy

If you’re second guessing yourself about your new dog …

These are normal feelings.

If you’ve recently added a new dog or puppy to your family and you’re wondering if you’ve made a mistake, just know that others go through the same feelings. At least I have and I’m an experienced dog person whose life pretty much revolves around dogs.

You make adjustments. You get creative. You work through the problems.

I recommend:

  • You make sure to set aside time for yourself away from the puppy for a few hours a day
  • Get help with dog care whether it’s hiring a dog walker, hiring a dog trainer or taking the pup to dog daycare a few times a week
  • Recruit other family members to take on more puppy tasks or ask friends for help at times
  • Get control of serious problems early
  • Invest in dog training. Invest in dog training. Invest in dog training!

What else would you add to this list?

*If you would like to receive our down-to-earth, weekly dog training tips, Click Here

When you regret getting a puppy

If you’ve truly made a mistake and regret getting a dog …

It happens. See my post on Returning a rescue or shelter dog for some support. You are not alone. That post gets new comments every week.

The bottom line: Only you know if it is truly in the best interest to re-home or return the dog.

Sometimes it’s just the wrong match. This particular dog is not right for you, and that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with the dog and there’s nothing wrong with you.

Sometimes the dog has issues you just can’t deal with. It’s not your fault. Maybe the dog has some serious separation anxiety and can’t be left alone. Maybe he’s aggressive to your other dog or to your kids.

And probably the hardest of all …

Sometimes it really is YOU. You made the mistake of getting a dog when you truly weren’t ready.

I can’t tell anyone what to do, but despite the stigma out there with returning or “giving up” a dog, it’s not smart to just put up with a dog for the next 10+ years if he’s causing you, your family or your other pets that much stress or even danger.

This is not a good situation for you or your family, and it’s not a good situation for the dog either.

What I’m trying to say is second guessing yourself about adding a new dog is normal. Usually any “doubts” are just growing pains you can work through.

Will breeders take the puppy back?

With a few exceptions, most responsible breeders will almost always take a puppy back if it’s not working out. In fact, you probably signed a contract saying you WOULD return the puppy to the breeder vs. taking the puppy to a shelter or rescue group.

So, if you’re sure you’ve made a mistake, the first step is to contact the breeder, rescue or shelter where you originally got the puppy and talk to them about your options.

If you adopted your puppy directly from their original owner, and it was not a good situation for the puppy, then you’ll have to take some steps to find the puppy a new home.

Have any of you experienced “puppy blues”?

Let us know in the comments!

For puppy and dog training tips, see my ebook, “50 Dog Training Tips: Your Training Problems Solved Now.”

Dog training ebook

Related posts:

Returning a foster dog

I feel guilty for getting a 2nd dog

Am I doing everything wrong with my puppy?

Why is my puppy so wild at night?

76 thoughts on “Puppy Blues – When You Regret Getting A Dog or Puppy”

  1. Sandy Weinstein

    i am surprised that you would say this, just looking at that face…and those eyes. you know deep down you do not regret it. it is a lot of work. i had 2 youngsters at one time, now have 3 girls, almost 15, 6 and 5. i never regret my girls. in fact, i wish i had more. i think that you are just overwhelmed with the puppy, and writing the blog, etc. you will not be sorry. Remy will give you so much more back in love, companionship, etc. and you will remember this and say to yourself, how could i ever have thought that. you thought this thru and you knew exactly what you wanted. unlike other people that go to rescues and shelters, get a cute puppy, then dont realize the cost, time and turn the dog/cat back knowing full well, that the pet could be put down. the pet will have a stigma attached to it, because it was returned. just like many yrs ago, people would buy colored chicks during easter or baby rabbits, then they grow and are not cute and little anymore and are a mess to care for. i am sure that you will never regret getting Remy. just look at that face, those eyes. and he has been a good puppy, not a terror like some. i never regretted getting my 3rd girl, i was just worried abt the additional expense. i worried when i got the 2nd girls because my oldest was 8 and she had been an only child so i was worried abt her. even now, she still wont mess with them. but she has a little dementia, etc. she loves our me time together.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I love the little guy. He’s been a really good puppy! It’s just normal to feel overwhelmed with all the extra challenges.

  2. Very insightful and honest. You will be helping good people who just made a mistake, even though their hearts were in the right place. I got a puppy years ago, who was just impossible for me to deal with, she had worms and would walk a mile with me then poop in the kitchen. I had to wash her constantly, take her to the vet, etc. My feelings were so negative. I put an ad in the local Pennysaver, a couple with two boys and a farm called–we talked and they came to get her. She ran down the driveway, hopped into their car, and they waved and drove away. I know it was right for her, I was her “transition” person.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Ace’s first owners re-homed him (to me). I am forever grateful they made that choice, as hard as it must have been.

  3. Our story – we are a family of three – one man & two dogs. My first fur-kid is Shian – I adopted him over 4 years ago from a hippie love child who found him roaming in Wyoming – she did a great job with him except for dealing with his Mega-Esophagus – a truly insidious incurable disease that makes the esophagus non-functional. Shian, a gorgeous mix of Black Lab and Pointer Hound, and I have been tied at the hip for years and we learned how to keep him healthy and feed him with his disorder. Enter my desire for another dog – was it my desire for him to have a fur-sister – or more likely my desire to have a young healthy dog just in case Shian’s disease took him over the bridge. I am not sure – I always noticed that Shian preferred Border Collie females and so I went to Glen Highland Farms in upstate NY – 180 acres of Border Collie rescue paradise. And there we found Tofi – a very rare mix of Border Collie and Great Prynees (known as Great Collies) – a truly spectacular animal in terms of looks, intelligence – she was 6 months old and a bit out of control. When I took them home – Tofi was so dominant and so overwhelming that my relationship with Shian was forever changed – Tofi needed a very strong if not severe master – Shian is obedient by nature – he saw a dog parenting side of me I never needed to display with him – and add to that – Tofi bullied him for a month to the point that Shian was showing every sign of canine depression. My happy-go-lucky fur soulmate was angry with me and became withdrawn – I felt so horrible. I was about to return Tofi to the farm but asked her if she would be willing to make changes – and by some miracle in 30-60 days – Tofi learned to respect Shian’s space (that is – his ball) and to allow Shian to be petted and respect his sleeping space – and to stop playing rough with him. Yet, it took Shian nearly six more months before he accepted her – which I knew happened when I saw them finally wrestling with each other both in joy and family love. I cried when that happened. Tofi has learned to help Shian find his ball – Shian has PRA and is slowly loosing his sight – Tofi is protective of Shian at the dog park. Tofi respects Shian’s hunting prowess and learns from him how to find lizards in the palm trees of Florida. Yet, there is a part of me that wishes I had stayed with Shian only – my relationship with Shian never returned to its original place – Tofi still is the dominant member of this triad – and taking care of a Great Collie’s need for mental and physical exercise is a never-ending task. We are a family now and we cannot go back – I love them both – they are brother & sister. To see a picture – hit the website link below.

      1. Thank you – today I took Shian and Tofi to lake, nature reserve, dog beach and then to ocean later tonite – and yet I never feel like I am doing enough – go figure!

  4. When we got our first dog as a puppy, we took her back after 3 days. We were so overwhelmed . And then I read this blog post: http://3lostdogs.com/thinking-of-returning-your-new-puppy-to-the-shelterbreeder-please-read-this-first/
    And we went back to pick up our girl. And now she’s three years old and we love her so much! In fact, we now have two dogs : aged 2 and 3.
    Puppies are tough, and overwhelming but those feelings are totally normal!!! It will get better!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Wow, great story and good post. It does get easier. All puppy and new dog owners need to remind themselves.

    2. Thank you all so much….. Even I have bought a puppy which is like 8 weeks old and I m having puppy blues but I think it will get better I just wanted to hear that yes it will get better…..

  5. Thank you for much for acknowledging that sometimes, the happy-go-lucky, life is rainbows and flowers when you have a puppy is not everyone’s experience. I went through this a few weeks ago with my puppy. I can’t remember what he was doing, but I remember just sitting on the floor, and letting a few tears out. I’ve had a puppy before, but time tints experiences rose gold. Having to deal with broken sleep for potty breaks, a consistent schedule (even on the weekends), and the general wear and tare of having something wholly dependent on you is STRAINING. What kept me going was reading posts just like this…knowing I wasn’t alone…and in most cases there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Presently, it seems that my pup and I are on cruise control, and I feel confident in our future. But I still sometimes wonder if I would have made the same choice in getting pup knowing what I know now.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Well I haven’t had any tears yet! Haha! So glad you understand. I love this puppy and he’s pretty perfect but sometimes I’m like, why do I dovthis to myself? 🙂

  6. This post is very apropos of my feelings this weekend. Honestly, I was expecting to start second-guessing my decision to get a second dog a lot sooner, but it just hit 2 months in for me. Link is going through a “fear period” which I’d never even freaking heard of until a few days ago when I was on the internet trying to figure out why this damn puppy is scared of everyone and WHAT DID I DO WRONG?! He’s also started barking. A lot. I’ve always been smugly proud of the fact that Hiccup doesn’t bark. I was so clever; I praised him for NOT barking when someone came to the door, before it even occurred to him to start. Clever me. I’ll never have a yappy dog with MY big, bloated brain. Enter the humility exercise that is a puppy, who seems to enjoy barking for the sake of barking. I got so frustrated with him on Friday night that I yelled at him and stuffed him in his crate, because apparently I am about as mature as my 4-month-old puppy.
    But he’s getting better. Slowly, I can see it. I backed off forcing him to socialize and I can already see him getting bolder after a few days. I do think what you’re feeling is normal. I can’t tell you how many times I said (or, um, yelled,through angry tears) that I wished we’d never got Hiccup when we were dealing with the worst of his separation anxiety and I felt like a prisoner in my home. I’ve found the best way to combat feelings of doubt about a new dog is to do something you KNOW your new dog is good at, that you love. Like, even if he barks at the wind and growls at cats and knocks over toddlers like they are bowling pins, he may have a perfect down/stay that he holds with the cutest, innocent expression on his face. Put him in the down/stay, look into his adorable eyes, and repeat to yourself, “This dog is not possessed. This dog is not possessed.” Works every time! 😉

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Oh thank God it’s not just me! This iscwhat I needed to hear but sorry to hear your pup’s barking more. I’ve yelled at Remy many times. Good thing he’s pretty happy go lucky regardless. And we call him “the demon” in the evenings. That’s when the craziness escalates!

  7. Thanks for writing this. I vividly remember getting our first pup (as adults, we always had dogs when I was growing up) and just about a week in I really really regretted it. Lack of sleep, potty training not nearly as easy as I thought, having to be constantly vigilant when he wasn’t in his crate. And he was actually a lovely easygoing pup so I felt extremely guilty for regretting getting him (after all, this was what I thought I wanted for years). Luckily after that dip, things rapidly improved. Puppies after all mature rather quickly compared to humans and being able to spend more time outside walking, training, playing or just sitting around taking in the scenery made it all much easier. Unfortunately he passed away before his 2nd birthday and we had puppy blues all over. Now thinking of adding a second dog maybe next year and it is really helpful to read other people’s experiences.

  8. I think philosophically wants invite more stress than needs. As I am aging, what I do is what I need to do: I have back pain so I need to get into Jacuzzi to massage my back for quicker recovery. I would imagine that a lioness in the wild would just leave her cubs in the den when she needs to go out to catch food for the family; the cubs, when not protected by mom, might get killed by the snake. I am wondering whether our human dog owners are more stressed than the wild dog moms; if yes, why? My thought is: Is it OK that we just do what the wild dog mom does in the wild in raising her puppies? I think the wild dog mom just does what she needs to do.

  9. We, my husband and I, brought home our new 8 week old pup on Friday. I am so sleep deprived I was looking forward to going to work this Monday morning. Thanks for sharing all you are going through I feel better knowing I am not alone. I can’t wait for our first puppy meeting to share your blog with the other new puppy parents from this litter.
    Thanks again!

  10. Feeling overwhelmed isn’t only for those adding second puppy, trust me! We had our chocolate Lab, Murphy, for ten years before age-related issues and CDM took him over the Bridge. When we adopted him, he was in the year-and-a-half to two-year-old range, and basically past all the puppy stages. Added to that, he was just a very mellow, laid-back guy to begin with. After he was gone, we were looking at other adult dogs (or at least juveniles) until one of the local shelters had the litter of puppies available. We went to see them, spent some time with the little brindle boy, and brought an eight week old puppy home. It had been many, many, many years since I had to deal with a puppy. I knew there were going to be big changes from having an adult dog, I knew I would need training help, I knew there would be “things”. Still- There were days I truly worried about my sanity for having decided to get a puppy. There were days I didn’t think we’d make it. When he would get so hyper-excited out running and playing in the yard that he would bodyslam me, and leap at my arms to the point where I had bruises. There were days I was in tears of frustration, and thought we had some sort of uncontrollable monster living with us. But I was also determined that if it were at all possible, we were going to make it with this guy. So, puppy classes to learn for both of us, and some private sessions with a good trainer gave me some good tips for handling him and different strategies for working off some of that high energy (our vet listed him on his card as “exhuberant” LOL), and patience, and working with him, and more patience started making a difference. Now, at two years old, I have a great walking companion, a dog who still loves to run at top speed, but does not whack into me, and who can play fetch until my arm drops off. But also one who is learning to stay away from the table when we eat, who can settle in his crate with no anxiety or fuss, and who cuddles half in my lap when it’s time to sit and watch some TV before bed. It’s tough with one, and I’m sure more than double that with two, but I wouldn’t trade Lambeau for anything, and I’m glad we persisted.

  11. This is why I foster kittens, so I don’t end up adopting a kitten/puppy! They’re adorable and lots of fun, but they also make an unholy mess. I love having them for a week or two but I’m always ready to give them back after that. 😉 I also appreciate my sometimes-cranky adult cat after fostering, haha.

  12. This is why your readers stick with you Lindsay. You are so transparent & real that it somehow gives us permission to be, too. I have had 2 dogs in my life. First one after 12 years of marriage & no children. A pure-bred English Cocker from friends who couldn’t handle him & their 3 children. He was 7 mos. old & fortunately house-broken but that was about it. It took me a year to bond with Henri. Up until then it seemed just work w/no pay back & I had no experience with dogs. Fortunately he was sweet (not the sharpest knife in the drawer), but perfect for a new dog owner & he turned me into a dog lover from someone who had been fearful of many dogs. We had him for over 13 years & then had to put him down. I miss him still. Within a year I was looking for another dog and we adopted Simon, a retriever mix with lots of energy. It probably took a year & much more intensive work because he was smarter and needed it. He was also 7 mos. old. He is now 7 and while not perfect, he has made great strides and brings us great joy. I know myself, I could never get a puppy even though I can see many advantages.

  13. I’ve only had regret when I’m overwhelmed and I remind myself that this is just a temporary period and I’ll make it through. Raising two puppies at once isn’t for everyone.

    1. I had a rescue collie who passed in October age 7 and the perfect dog. In November I purchased two collie pups from the USA. seen only on dog site. I did not know personalities at that time. My male is a huge emotional handful and yes puppy blues awaken my thoughts often enough but I love him to bits. My female came submissive of sorts,and the male very aggressive. He is jealous but learning, I think competition in a litter of 11 was huge. My girl has come out of her shell and no longer rolls over when approached, she holds her head high and is much more lovable and confident. She takes the male on when he makes her mad and they play happily but aggressively. Training two at once is ridiculous but they have learned to take turns in our lessons. They are 9 months a week apart in age. I got them at 5 months basically breeder pups with no life skills or people skills. I hired a behaviorist to help me and he is doing a fine job but even he loses his temper with the male and told me to return him as he will get the best of me and is dangerous with his jumping.( it is like being tackled by a football player full on) I know that if I persist I will make him a good dog, it is mostly puppy acts I hope. Training is helping and he excels at what he learns but never uses it when out of class with me. He is changing every day and my sweet girl is growing older without me noticing because the male is always in my face. I really enjoy this site as I am learning a lot and realize I am not alone in this challenge. I am keeping both as being collies, they are remarkable companions and each day it just gets better. I do have my frustration days with the male but we overcome them. He is needy and possessive and something we will work out. The female is very independent and pleasant natured so they make an interesting and challenging combo of pups. Everyone told me I was nuts and maybe I was and sometimes I think I am but then, I look at these two sweethearts when they are good and I melt like butter. Lots of work, lots of patience and lots of deep breaths and yes some loud commands when I reach my breaking point.

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        Cindy, so sorry to hear your older collie died last fall. Hang in there with those two puppies! It sounds difficult but all your hard work will pay off.

  14. I felt the same way about my second dog, Dexter. He was/is the perfect dog but I assumed a second dog wouldn’t be much added work since I already had another dog. It was a whole new adventure trying to find time for both and esp since they had such varying needs. My other dog is a 16 yr old and he is what I would consider to be the energizer bunny. I have now had him for 4 years and I have to say that feeling did pass. Now we are settled into a schedule that works, he has learned to leave my elderly dog alone, and most of all I have had time to develop a bond with him that didn’t magically appear when he was a high energy puppy. I say all this to tell you it does get better and become more natural. That feeling of being a family, instead of having a new puppy, will come soon enough!!! Good Luck with Remy! (He certainly is precious) and thanks for making the rest of us feel more normal!!!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Haha! Thanks for helping me feel more normal too! We definitely are not a “family” yet. The dogs are pretty separate … we’re working on it!

  15. Linus was my first puppy(as an adult) and after listening to him howl for several days in his crate I was definitely second guessing my decision to get a puppy. Fast forward 12 years to today and I have no regrets whatsoever. If I had brought him back to the shelter I would have made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Linus started my journey to working with rescues, fostering, and puppy raising.

  16. Puppies are tough. The sleep deprivation, the constant need to monitor. I did the bulk of the puppy work with my girl because my husband hadn’t been keen on a dog and part of the deal was that I would do the heavy lifting. (Fast forward two years and those two are best friends, but that took time to develop.) It is SO much work, both proactive (all the things you need and want to show them and yeah them) and reactive (all the correction and cleanup and damage control).

    I remember sitting on my basement stairs at 3 AM sobbing into puppy fur because my puppy hadn’t let me sleep for more than two hours at a time in a week and I was kind of a mess (I’m one of those people who cannot go without rest or I melt down – it isn’t pretty). All that to say, it is NOT easy, and those feelings of “what the hell have I done” are normal. They also pass. I promise. In two years you will be looking at your beautiful, perfect-to-you dog, realizing you can’t even remember the last time he did [insert annoying behavior here] and thinking, “I raised that gorgeous, amazing dog.”

  17. I’ve had my new puppy (a staffie/pointer mix as best I can tell, and cute as a button) for about two months now and while he’s settled down beautifully, the first few weeks were a nightmare. Brynn was three months when I adopted him. He bit me viciously, he chewed the couch, he wasn’t house trained, he woke me up at odd hours for no reason (on top of potty training). But now he’s sleeping between my knees. Behind all the madness, he’s the most well behaved and pleasant little dog anyone could hope for. His potty training only took a week, he excels at puppy training and he has so many friends at the dog park that it makes my heart burst with happiness. Honestly I’ve clean forgotten what it felt like to be crying over a puddle of puppy wee on the doormat. Sure he doesn’t always come when he’s called. But I like to think he knows that I’m here for him. To protect him and look after him even if he does roll in duck poop and eat my house plants. I regretted getting him bitterly when I first got him. I’m 22, I thought, I can’t look after a dog, I can’t even look after myself! But I love my ball of overwhelming responsibility and I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

  18. I got our puppy yesterday. 8weeks lab. He is gorgeous. I do love him. I am just struggling. I know it’s only been around 30 hours, but I miss my freedom already. Last year I was out in a position where I did not have much freedom…not prison….so once that finished I realised how much needed my freedom. I am 24 and all I do is work and see family and friends. I have always wanted a puppy but as my mum has a fear we never did. For some strange reason she finally said yes. Me and dad was over the moon. Even all the nieces and nephews. But his come here and became he’s a puppy he bites, now that has made the kids scared off him. I’m trying to give him toys when he does and tell him no, but he is not really listening. He has split my skin on my arm from protecting my nephew. He bit my nephews leg. It was he’s fault really as my nephew who is 2 was running, so puppy thought he was playing. He bit his leg like a chew toy and shook my head. We instantly got him off and he drew blood. Also my arm too. I put him in his pen because he was getting to excited and needed to calm down.
    My mum is warming to him which is nice. I know it takes time but I really am regretting it and I feel so bad. I am like main carer for him. My dad does help. So I was up with him at 5am, he did well for his first night. Went to sleep at 8pm and woke at 5am. He did go toilet in his pen but for his first night he did really well.
    I manged to get back to bed at 6:30, I kept waking but couldn’t hear him so would just go back to sleep. Got to 9am and herd him so ran downstairs and my dad had been playing with him in the garden.
    I really want this to work but thinking long term….my mum and dad both have arthritis so will struggle looking after him. I am 24 and want to travel a bit, move. Etc. And only now am I thinking of this. I wish I had thought it through more before we got him. 🙁 I hate I am feeling this.
    But thinking for him, future wise, I dong know what is best for him. I don’t know if my dad would agree as he loves dogs and has always wanted one. But as my mum had a fear they never did.
    I really don’t know what to do. 🙁

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I hear ya. The biting … Gets old really fast. Mine is still biting at 14 weeks. He is fairly well potty trained though and sleeps from 10:30 to 5. I’m glad your pup slept well the first night.

  19. I’ve had this feeling many times since I got my puppy, Colby. I think it’s mostly the feeling of being overwhelmed and exhausted. He’s not a bad puppy, we do really with house training most of the time, he’s a good sleeper from 1030-6 but the biting really gets to me. I can’t say no or shove his nylabone at him enough, he just won’t stop. I’ve tried the getting up and ignoring him bit, he thinks that’s part of the game. Now he’s started jumping up on my back when I’m sitting or even trying to play, it’s trying. He’s overall a good puppy, sweet and smart, I just need to remind myself that this is a phase. He’s now 4 months and had had all of his shots, we’re socializing more and I really hope that helps some. My last dog was a sweet chocolate lab that I adopted when he was 3, he was so easy and a perfect companion for me that I thought I could handle this but I’m not sure most days. I definitely won’t be giving up on Colby but to be honest I don’t think I could ever have another puppy. Thank you Lindsay for your blog it’s truly been helpful.

  20. I am reading this with an 11 week old MN. Schnauzer at my feet, it was impulsive but I have been considering a puppy for 2 years. We currently have 2 puggles 11 and 5, the senior is PO’d and the younger loves having a play buddy. It’s snowing and housebreaking sucks! Yes, there are regrets. You are a great source of info, do you have a puppy training ebook? Trying not to make my usual mistakes with dogs. I have to remember that dogs make me happy and are great companions.

  21. I’m feeling this way now. Got a Toy poodle a month ago he said now 3 months. He’s adorable and has become the building’s puppy. Everywhere we go folk stop me and wanna play, take pics and love up on him. Me ? I’m overwhelmed and stressed. I keep thinking what have I done. I’m unemployed at the moment and thought it was the perfect time for a dog since I’m off, but now I just feel regret because my life is in transition. I’m more anxious than satisfied. It’s been hard to express this to folk, especially because he’s a cute cuddly pup. I’m thinking of rehoming. A friend expressed interest, but she has two dogs so we’re gonna do a meet and greet.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      So sorry to hear your puppy is causing so much stress. I can understand that. Whether you decide to re-home or keep the pup, best of luck and don’t be too hard on yourself.

  22. Oh my gosh….this is so timely….I sat at my desk yesterday morning at work and cried like a baby. My sweet little Dolly is just not getting the bell ringing/puppy training/no biting thing. She is only 3 1/2 months and I know she is just a baby. I’m just looking for a little cooperation from her. Night before last was a living hell….last night she was perfect. I know I just have to be patient. This article helps to know it’s not ALL me. We will get there eventually.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      You will get there! The potty training takes longer than people realize. Mine was pretty good at around 4 months but I thought it would happen sooner. And some puppies bite more than others (I’m blessed with one that bites/mouths a lot!).

    2. Sorry to hear of the trouble you’re having. It’s true that some dogs are just slow learners, so don’t beat yourself up over it if you’re following good practice and he’s taking a long time to learn. Some dogs are just plain dumb. My sister has one!

      But… are you doing crate training? I followed Ian Dunbar’s book and my little big guy is turning out to be a decent student despite my far from perfect execution on Dunbar’s methods. I ended up relying on the crate alone, rather than crate plus playpen. If you don’t have Dunbar’s book, you can get the older version of it via free pdf download (just google Ian Dunbar pdf). The new version is inexpensive too and I recommend it but if you want to start right away you can download the pdf free and start reading immediately. In the old format it was two books (Before you get your puppy, and After you get your puppy) but now it’s all in one book. Hope some of that is helpful.

  23. It is so ironic that I received this email on this topic. I’ve had my puppy now for 10 weeks. I love him very much but often wonder what the heck did I just do. Since I am single and solely responsible for all his needs I feel very overwhelmed. My life has changed drastically, and I knew it would. I had just forgotten how much time it takes to raise a pup. I doubt myself on everything I do. All my friends say I’m doing a great job but I worry and wonder. I will never give him up!!!! I just need some assurance that I’m doing good by him and to know I’m not the only one who has these feelings of regret (at times). Nice to know others are in the same boat at times.

  24. I can relate, when I got my 6 month old Beagle mix I did a lot of second guessing. For he and I, it took starting training, and 6 months of time together, and then it was like a light switched. So, after having him for six months and second guessing myself, we bonded and I am thrilled to have him now. I’m very thankful it worked out so well for us, I definitely was getting nervous.

  25. I helped re-home one of my dog Loki’s sisters this past summer. Actually I was rather insistent on getting her out of the home she was in. This was a classic case of someone who thought a puppy would be cute, but had no idea what it took to care for a dog. Just like with children, I try very hard not to judge anyone on how they raise their dog, ( I am far from an expert and am definitely not perfect) until it becomes neglectful or abusive. Unfortunately this situation was quickly heading there and I had to act. I was losing sleep over a dog that wasn’t even mine! Now this little girl is in a very loving home and is just as happy as can be. I’m grateful to that first home for letting me take her without much argument. I think they realized they had gotten in over their heads and were (mostly) thankful that someone stepped in before they got in any real trouble. It can be so hard to make that decision and say, “Hey, I have this dog. I’m not ready for this but don’t know who to go to for help without being judged.” I myself thought, “What the hell did you get yourself into?” a few times in the early days. I don’t hold any resentment toward those people, but I hope and pray that the next time they might think about bringing a dog home, that they prepare themselves and commit to it 100%.

  26. When I got my new puppy, Andy, I was scared as to whether I could “train” him as well as the one I just lost. Results were good; however, Andy was way more social, way more. I decided for Andy’s 1st birthday to get him a brother. Both are Havanese males. Andy weighs 11 lbs and although I saw hints into the newer puppy’s lack of socialization, I adopted Zander and took care of his “surprising” medical needs of 2 hernia repairs. The boys bonded quickly, with Andy showing Zander the ropes … indoors Andy would submit but outside he would put Zander in his place. Soon Zander grew to be 16+ lbs (again “surprise”) and is a bit of a bully to Andy. Andy is vey confident, Zander lacks all confidence. I felt I had made a mistake, but one I would need to live with. Andy, now 2.5, has gone on to earn his CGCA, & is a Therapy Dog; protects and checks on Zander frequently at daycare and will push his way thru to get to me. Soon Zander will be ; he loves babies, children, other dogs and most people, but still picks on Andy sometimes. Bottom line — things didn’t turn out the way I envisioned, but with continued training, both dogs growing up and patience we are a happy family. It has been a lot of work but I am happy to have been able to do it and Andy & Zander love each other.

  27. To all those surprised by how much attention your dog needs: I think that any responsible adult knows that owning a dog means a lot of extra work. If you are surprised by that after you take one home, it means you are rather childish. Is like thinking babies will be all fun and not a 24/7 responsibility.
    If you decisión to take him back is just that he is too much work, I have no compassion for you, You are probably a self centered person who only wanted to show off with a dog and get some extra attention or a living teddy bear to hug and kiss and little more. And I am extremely sorry for your dog who had the misfortune to end up in your home and what it is even worst, he probably thinks you are the best ever and will never understand why you don’t want him.
    I own a dog, so I know what I’m talking about. Warhol can be exhausting barking, biting stuff, begging for food, taking my space, annoying visitors, demanding attention when I’m busy… in a million ways, but not a single day goes by in which he does not pay me back with wonderful moments and a sense of loyalty that I have never seen in humans. Plus he teaches me so much about enjoying small things.
    So indeed, they are a lot of extra work but if you can’t see all that they give you back, you really have a problem.

    1. You made a really positive thread very negative. You’ve got a right to your opinion, but this kind of negativity in a thread filled with uplifting and empathetic people was uncalled for.

      Even the most prepared and responsible people are allowed to feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for a new animal or baby. Fabulous mothers can attest to experiencing postpartum depression. Does that make them illfit and unworthy of compassion? Personally, I don’t think so.

      I’m glad you’ve never regretted responsibility. You’re part of a small, lucky group.

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        It’s nice to see so many people here are able to be compassionate to others. After raising a weimaraner, I will not judge someone who decides they can’t keep their puppy or dog because of the stress it causes. Of course, people make mistakes. We are not perfect. Even the best thought out decisions does not always go as smoothly as planned!

        On the plus side, my puppy is a a year and a half now and things are sooo much easier now! It gets better!

      2. Maria, I came across this site because I am feeling really depressed about my decision to take a puppy my daughter’s dog ‘accidentally’ produced (yes, I know she was irresponsible).

        I have had dogs all my life and at present have the best one (who drove me crazy for three years as a puppy), that I have ever had the pleasure to share my life with. He is a 10-year-old Labradoodle and I bought him because he was the last one left in the pet shop after being there for 8 weeks. For $100 which I offered (hundreds less than they were asking). Sadly, he was probably from a puppy farm which I didn’t even think of then. He is intelligent, obedient and loving. I love him more than any other dog I have ever owned.

        I can’t explain why I decided to get a puppy. My husband didn’t want her but lets me live my life the way I want. I know I am deeply depressed since my mother died recently after I saw her every day and cared for her in all ways I could for several years. Perhaps I thought cuddling a puppy would be comforting.I’d helped my daughter with the litter of 7 puppies since they were born so I was emotionally invested.

        I also thought it would be a link to my daughter who is married but is not wanting to have any children.

        Maybe my decision was ‘childish’ and selfish. I’ve had 4 children and many puppies in the past so you would think I would have more sense.

        I have been comforted by the nonjudgemental and kind responses written here because I am considering rehoming this puppy. She has made my big, old dog so sad. We can’t do the things we did together anymore. He is not rough with the puppy even though he is huge. He just looks at me with sadness and a questioning look in his eyes of, “Why did you do this to us?” He will not allow her into his kennel and it is cold but puts up with most of her annoying puppy ways.

        Your comment is a really judgemental and quite a cruel one for people who are in doubt of their decisions. I was shocked when I read it.

        1. Lindsay Stordahl

          Izzadora, good luck with your decision. So sorry you are going through a difficult time with the pup. There is no right or wrong answer, and I hope you find peace with whatever you do decide. Dogs can adapt quite easily either way. Your older guy might adjust just fine with time to the new puppy. Likewise, your pup will be just fine if you decide it’s best to re-home to a better situation.

  28. It sounds weird when I say it out loud, but I always keep 2 dogs that are about 5 to 7 years apart. That way the older dog is trained and helps trained the new dog and when it’s time to say goodbye to your old buddy you are not suddenly left without companionship. I always wonder when I will have to stop that. I’m 63 now.

  29. I am so glad I came across this blog, it has given me hope at a time when I’ve never felt quite so low. I’ve had dogs before (three rescues over a 30 year period) but all that hard work didn’t prepare me for the madness that is puppy ownership! I’m bewildered at how emotionally and physically drained I feel. My husband helps as much as he possibly can but he’s out of the house 12 hours a day and I feel so guilty that she’s so poorly behaved when he gets in tired and stressed from work. I know this is her just being a puppy and that it will pass but no amount of common sense self-talk eases the anxiety I’m feeling all the time. I’m one of the lucky ones because she sleeps like an angel from 10pm until 6am.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Oh, hang in there! It is really, really hard work. I agree. I was very stressed out with my pup Remy. He’s 1.5 yrs now and he still stresses me out but he’s much better. He was also very naughty in the evenings when he was actually tired but appeared like he’d had no exercise. I walked him a lot and he was still crazy all the time! What kind of puppy do you have? How old?

      This post might also help: https://www.thatmutt.com/2016/05/29/why-does-my-puppy-go-crazy-in-the-evenings/

  30. I needed to read this and hope this is true and it will pass. We have a 4 year old and decided for some crazy reason to get another one. She’s a couple of months now and feel like I am doing everything wrong. I am crate training but she still does not sleep through. My in laws believe dogs should just be in their crate until they are older however I don’t and really struggling my partner isn’t that invested in this one as he was with the first. I just hope this gets better I am literally crying as I write this as I am so stressed out by her.

  31. I was so happy to come across your story. I was beginning to feel this way almost immediately after he was brought to our home. Our puppy was driven through several states to get to us. I did an extensive amount of research BUT made a very rushed decision at the last moment. He is what I’ve been wanting for a long time but I am second guessing the timing of my decision. I want to do whats best for him and almost feel like I’m inept and he would be better off somewhere else.

  32. We just celebrated Koda’s (labradoodle that was more lab than doodle)one year birthday yesterday which was also the deadline of his “probationary” period. That is we gave ourselves until his 1st birhtday, and if we (the entire family) believed that it wasn’t working out, we would re-home him.
    We did as much research as we could prior to getting him— breed, gender, breeder, temperament, and what to expect. But as everyone as said, as reality sets in, it was an entirely different story. He was our first puppy ever and it IS a lot of work, and money. BUT…everyday gets better and he has changed our hearts in so many ways. He and US are still a work in progress. Let’s just say He is loved and is sssllloowwllyy becoming the dog we all wanted to have.
    For anyone having puppy blues…Hang in there. There is always a solution. All this shall pass.
    Thank you for your blog, Lindsay. It keeps my expectations in check. Keep on writing!!
    I’m glad that

  33. Hello! I found this post as i was searching for similar stories to mine. I guess I needed to find justification to why I am thinking about rehoming my puppy. I got him two weeks ago. It was a spur of the moment decision. See, I have never been a dog person but when I saw him I fell in love. I thought I was ready to have a pet as I am totally independent and stable in life. He is a teacup pom…I was wrong and I feel like such a failure. Our personalities don’t match, hes difficult to train and as much as I hate to admit it I don’t have as much patience as I thought I would. I live in an apartment so it is extremely difficult to crate train him as he has a very high pitched cry and I am afraid the neighbors will eventually complain to my landlord (whom I have yet to notify). He has been peeing all over the living room, chewed up half of my carpet and have been biting me nonstop.I know I made a mistake and I am a selfish person, the guilt is eating me up. Whats worse is that I already told all my friends about him, posted his photo all over my IG and now I don’t know how to face the judgement from people in my life if I do end up rehoming him. My mother has been begging me to give him to her but I don’t want to burden her with this responsibility ( although she says shes up for it). Whats even worse is I don’t want a constant reminder of my failure. I would rather just give him up to someone whos ready and would give him all the attention he truly deserves. This truly made me realize that I am not a pet person at all. I find myself wishing to have my life back. I guess I am just venting as I cant vent to anybody else in my life as I am afraid of being judged. Thank you for listening

    1. I’m wondering what you decided to do after you were thinking about rehoming? I’m where you were and wondered if you did rehome – and did you regret it?

  34. I’ve felt the same way with our newest edition Krypto. He was 6 months old when we adopted him, he has bad seperation anxiety from being left behind in a backyard when his first family moved away. He also developed a bit of dog aggression from another dog at the dog park, which we have now learned how to control. He can kind of be a butt hole to the cats just cause he wants to play with them all the time and they aren’t having it. I’ve wondered so many times if I should take him back to the shelter but instead I just put in a lot of effort to help him. We still have bad days every once in a while but most days are good and him and his doggie sister love each other to pieces. we’ve had him for over a year now , he’s two now and growing up on me so it’s getting easier. It’s good to know I’m not the only one that feels this way from time to time. I love all four of my rescues so so much though and wouldn’t trade them for anything !

  35. I ended up getting a puppy from a breeder, but initially I was trying to work something out with a rescue. One thing I noticed was that many of them actually encourage you to take the dog on a 2 week trial basis and if all is well at that point sign the docs for good. That strikes me as a good idea, although I ended up following a different path.

    Regarding my own journey, having a baby Weimaraner in the house can make you wonder if you did the right thing for sure, but not really any more or less than the first week or two with a new baby human… I’ve done both and found the experience similarly taxing, except that with a dog the phases pass very quickly. With a pup the first night is hell. First week is rough, but by the end of one month things have settled into a rhythm. I’d say don’t make a rash decision to give up until you’re past the first month at least. I’m only a little over two months in, and it’s much easier now. By a year I’m projecting smooth sailing. Fingers crossed.

  36. I am currently in a situation I wish I never got into! My friend knew a breader that had a returned blue merle pitbull puppy and he wanted to get rid of it because he was moving. I saw the photos and noticed the puppy had bite marks and a few patches of hair missing. She was also being kept inside of a crate just an inch bigger than her. I immediately started thinking poor baby! Without thinking at all I said yes and picked her up the same day! It’s been a week and I’m full of regret! Not for the work it takes but for the situation I put her in! I work 10 hours a day 6 days a week. I’m a single parent so I dont have a partner to be with her during the day. So shes basically confined to her crate all day. Mind you the crate is very large it belonged to a German shepherd my cousin had. I’m at work now thinking about her and how she is alone and in that crate! I forgot to mention shes about 6 months old. Did I really help her? Or did I just put her in a better bad situation! I’m feeling very crummy right now…

  37. I went over to my in laws house one day to pick something up. Out of no where they told me they have been thinking about getting my husband and I a puppy and already had it picked out. I was caught off guard and I was not ready for any animals. My husband and I had just gotten married and I did not think we were financially ready for it because we could barely afford food of our own. They told me that If I said no they wouldn’t tell him. I didn’t want to do that because I knew that would get to him eventually that I said no to a dog. And I didn’t want to seem like the bad guy. They told me I had to decide if I wanted the dog in two hours because they were going to reserve the dog to go and buy it. I was stressed out and didn’t know what to do. I asked my husband when I got home and he didn’t even question it and said just say yes. I was still skeptical and was concerned that he wasn’t concerned about the money either. But then I said okay and we called his dad and said yes to the dog. We got the dog and my husband named it perfect. If I wanted to train the dog a certain way or didn’t want to sleep with the dog I was a horrible person. If I wanted to go somewhere without the dog I was awful. My in laws said they didn’t want to create stress in my marriage and they did. I don’t know what to do anymore. I am stressed out everyday and resent the dog now. It’s not even the dogs fault. I don’t like that the dog is treated as if it’s more important than I am. Sorry for the long rant just very upset with my decision

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I’m so sorry. That sounds terrible. I think you need to tell your husband (calmly and politely) exactly what you just wrote here. Then the two of you need to decide how you’re going to fairly split up puppy duties, how to get support from others if needed (like for training, walking, puppy sitter) and discuss if you even want to keep the puppy. I hope you want to keep it, but it’s ok if you don’t. Dogs adapt easily to new homes especially when young and it would be fairly easy to find someone who would want a puppy/very young dog.

      Best of luck.

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