What should I do? Getting a puppy has catapulted me back into depression.(98 Posts)
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We have a 13 week old labrador puppy. Had him from 8 weeks. Much wanted by everyone in the family but I knew the vast majority of looking after him would fall to me. No problem, I thought, I grew up with dogs, I love dogs. How wrong I was.
I just can't cope with him. Rationally, he's not that bad but I've noticed that over the past 5 weeks, I'm falling into depression (I have a history of depression and anxiety although nothing for years now).
Looking after him is just so hard - not getting enough sleep, constant vigilance as he'll try to eat every stone he sees so he can't go into the garden unless I'm literally standing on top of him, forever chewing the furniture, jumping on the sofas, mouthing us, tugging and ripping my clothing, whining and weeing if I dare put him in the kitchen so I can get on with something else like going to the loo for 3 minutes. I could go on.
I have my eyes on him from 5am to 10pm (when my husband takes over for an hour) every single day. I just can't do it anymore. I'd rather walk out this house and never return. I want to rehome him for the sake of my sanity but how the fuck do I justify that?
Any words of wisdom?
I honestly hate the puppy stage and have vowed to never do it again. I know it seems a long way off but once they get out of that stage they are a dream.
Could you afford for a dog walker or something to pop in for an hour in the day? Even if you are in the house it would give you hands free and a break. I know not everyone's budget allows for that (I know mine didn't!) but it may help with regards to your mental health if you can stretch it.
Give him back to the breeder. Having a dog is meant to be fun and at the moment, this is not fun for you. You don't have to justify it to anyone. Having a pet is a hobby, not a duty. Puppies are exhausting. It doesn't mean that you can never have a dog, but right now having a puppy is not right for you.
It is very hard having a new puppy, definitely much harder than I ever realised even though I also grown up with family dogs. I can suggest asking for this post to be moved over to dog house and see if they can give you more advice there?
My puppy was similarly high needs, but he got better and better as he got older and I would say by 18 weeks he has calmed down and his behaviour improved. It is very likely that your puppy's behaviour is a phase and he will get better with time.
You need to leave the puppy to get on with things and ignore the whining (hard I know! But they will learn). The toilet training will come with time and so should the sleeping, but people in the doghouse can give you more advice on training as I'm no expert. So I don't know if you are prepared to wait it out and see if it improves?
Also would definitely see your gp for your depression as hopefully they can help.
But having said all that, at the end of the day your mental health is much more important and if you really can't handle I would responsibly rehome the puppy and don't feel guilty. The puppy is still young enough to settle in their new home. And you don't need to justify it, just say it's due to your health which it is!
Really hope I helped a little bit [hug]
It will pass.
We adopted our dog so missed the puppy phase but I remember my parents going through it well. He was a little sod and I didn't believe I would ever like him let alone love him.
Once he was through the puppy phase he was the most incredible dog, I absolutely adored him. He's passed now, but if I could I'd have him back in a heartbeat.
Have you got anyone around you that can give you a break for an hour here and there?
I'm sorry your mental health is suffering but if you can get through this stage then I bet he'll ultimately help your mh.
Why is it all falling on you to look after and watch him? Why isn't someone else in the family taking their turn, if this is indeed a "much wanted by everyone in the family" dog?
The first thing I'd do is draw up a rota - who watches him when. You need regular breaks - having a puppy is relentless hard work and it's impossible to do it on your own. Having a puppy was nearly the end of my husband and me - and I'm not joking!
Enrol him in puppy training classes - make sure the whole family attends these. These are beneficial for many reasons: dog will be well trained and the family will carry out training in the same consistent way; the classes will be exhausting for the puppy = more rest for you! As well, the family will view the dog as their responsibility as much are yours; the puppy will learn imprudent socialization lessons, making life easier for you.
Having said all that, it does get easier as they get older - it won't be like this forever and there is an end to this in sight if you stick it out. However in the meantime, you need the rest of your family to step up. It's not fair you doing this on your own, particularly when it's affecting your mental health.
Do you have a crate OP? I'm sorry you're so down, it's pretty common for new owners to have some level of depression after a new puppy. It's really hard work.
He needs some time out to give him and you a break, a crate is very helpful.
A responsible breeder will take the puppy back and rehome it, though a responsible breeder wouldn't let you have a 5 week old puppy. Always contact the breeder before rescue center or selling on ebay etc.
Honestly, I wouldn't recommend giving him back. This phase will pass and if you put in the right amount of training now you will have a lovely dog not that far off.
I would suggest being honest with your family about how youre feeling and ask them to take some of the pressure off. The puppy stage is only short but it is horrendous and worse than having a newborn baby. If you get through this bit then you might find things improve. You could try clicker training if you haven't already.
I have a 10 week old whippet pup and know how you feel! Have you heard of the puppy blues?? It’s a real thing and very common for people to feel low and anxious after bringing pup home. My three top tips are;
1) get a play pen! Honestly this has been my life saver. I have put a waterproof sheet under it and when I feel overwhelmed pup goes in there for half an hour and I get a cup of tea in peace. Any accidents are easily mopped up and I am not worrying about her chewing up the house.
2) come over to the dog house on here. There are loads of people on there who have experienced the puppy blues and they are full of advice.
3) get to some puppy classes. Not only will this help with some of the unwanted behaviour but also improve your bond with the pup.
I totally relate to this OP, I too have a 13 week old puppy that has had a seriously detrimental effect on my mental health. It has led to two quite serious arguments between DH and I where I was considering whether my marriage will last.
Sorry that I don't have any advice to offer you, but thought it may help to know that you are not the only one to be going through this right now!
Train your dog! Mine never did any of those things. Chewing and jumping etc indicates that the dog needs more exercise.
The puppy stage is very hard work. We have had one lovely dog from a pup til he was sadly PTS at 13 yrs, as much as we loved him dearly, no way could I do it all again, mainly due to my health.
The puppy stage will pass, it’s not forever OP, but I can understand how tough it is. Our pup wrecked our home, so I understand how you feel.
If you can’t cope and it’s making you ill, perhaps having a dog is not for you, have you contacted the breeder for advice? Can other family members help you out at all?
Sending you a 🤗.
Chewing and jumping etc indicates that the dog needs more exercise.
Not in a 13 week old puppy it doesn't. It's normal for a dog that age to do that, it needs consistent training. It takes time but it's doable.
Hi OP - I feel your pain and we have only had our puppy 3 days! I suffered from PND after my DS8 was born (now ex-partner - was very unsupportive). Couldn't cope with him crying, didn't enjoy being with him, wanted to harm myself so that I could get a break in hospital. I am already struggling with the puppy (Labradoodle) but I am perservering for my DS (only child, needs a companion). I hate the whining that the puppy makes - it goes straight through me. I am constantly tripping over him and he is very nippy at the moment. But this time I have a partner who is helpful and a son that is over joyed. To help he goes back to his breeder during the day time for doggy day care (I work full time) so I get a break. I know I am stuggling just now, emotionally and physically, but I am hoping to eventually have a placid doggy companion that we all love to bits.
I agree with a PP - can you get some time away from the pup and rope in help from others in the household?
There aren’t really any words of wisdom I’m afraid. If you’re not willing to help your puppy grow, train him/her or stimulate and entertain him/her then you won’t reap the wonderful benefits that having a dog brings. Having a dog is a wonderful antidote to a self absorbed life as no matter what happens in your day your dog needs YOU to walk, feed, care for it and love it. The very last thing having a puppy should do is catapult you into a depressive state...their love of life is infectious. Try and see it that way.
Ugh, the puppy stage.
I was litrially at my wits end with our puppy and ready to send him back, but then like magic things started to change.
He stopped peeing, pooing and puking in the house, we worked out a bedtime routine that stopped him crying half the night, he started to understand the boundreys and what was not allowed.
He's now the best dog ever and more than I could have hoped for. I'm so glad I persevered.
Can you stand to give your pup a few more weeks? They do change and grow up so fast.
I adore puppies. However as long as I can coo over and snuggle them and give them back.
Yes they might be the most adorable things in the world but Theyre bloody hard work. You need 360oc rotating head with them.
However as hard work as they are a puppy is supposed to bring you joy not despair.
If I was the breeder I'd rather you bring him back to be honest. If your heart isn't in it.
This has happened to me recently OP.
I never thought I would ever, ever rehome my lovely little pup but I made myself so ill, and got so angry with the dog I was scared of myself around her and felt so guilty for not giving her the love she deserved. My family stepped in and worked with a local rescue who found a lovely retired couple to come and take her and give her a new home. It broke my heart and I sobbed for HOURS when they took her, but as soon as she left the weight felted lifted from my chest and I am on the road to recovery.
I will never be getting a puppy again, as it as shown they are not right for me, unless I'm a millionaire and can afford a live-in dog behaviourist and trainer
It is a very hard decision to make and one a lot of people get slated for, but at the end of the day your health is the most important. Hope you can get through this happily, one way or another
I genuinely believe 'puppy blues' are a real thing.
It sounds like he's not quite sure what the routine is yet and he's trying to work out the boundaries. Do you have him sleeping in your room? If so, nip that in the bud now and he sleeps in the kitchen from now on. By having access to you 24/7 he's not learning to be alone, hence why you're having separation issues. Use a crate if you can, if you don't have one already you need to introduce it very very carefully so that being in his crate is a positive experience for him. Feed him in there, play with him in there etc. Loads of advice online on how to do this properly. DO NOT just put him in the crate on day one, it will scupper your chances of a gradual introduction.
THe crate will allow you to tackle the none sleeping. Pups can hold their bladder for an hour for every month of life, so at 15 weeks (when you'll be able to use the crate) he can hold it for about 4 hours. Once the crate is introduced properly, crate the pup overnight and set your alarm for 4 hours time. Let pup out for a wee then everyone goes back to bed. Do not go down to him other than the 4 hour window unless he's displaying behaviour that's very distressed. By this point though, you should have introduced the crate in such a way that being in it is safe, warm and happy for him so he'll sleep.
I can't recommend absolutely knackering out the little bugger highly enough . Get him absolutely pooped just before bed and get the rest of the family to help. This can be walks, training, play, even mind games like snuffle mats or treat balls. It might seem like he's got nothing but energy but puppies crash out easily, so time your walks and play sessions for pre-bedtime.
Do you have recall with him yet? If not, get yourself a long line. NOT a retractable lead, an actual 50ft long line. Horse lunge ropes are good for this. Get to your nearest field and just let him explore/ run/ bark/ let off steam. Do this at least 3 times a day for now (one just before bed) for 30 mins at a time in addition to his regular walks. While you're there work on recall. More than anything, freedom to roam safely will tire him out.
Next, do you have much time to play/ interact with him while you're watching him during the day? If so, I suggest working on bits of obedience training. Pups are never too young to learn basic commands and it will help foster the bond between you. There's loads of Youtube videos on how to teach commands and they're fab. The basics I'd work on with him are:
Wait in Sit
Wait in Down
On lead heel
off lead heel
Do 10 minutes at a time a couple of times an hour. get one perfected before moving on to the next command and make sure you do each command you've already learned a couple of times a day too. Use either food treats (sacrifice a bit of his normal diet for training) or play with a toy, depending on what motivates him more.
Lastly, what food are you giving him? Some foods are more energy dense than others and the higher the fillers in it, the more hyper your pup will be. You need him on a very good quality food to limit his hyperactivity. Expensive DOES NOT mean high quality. You want something where the first 3 ingredients on the back are meats NOT meat and animal derivatives etc. If the first 3 are not meats, then you need the first 1 or 2 to be meats and for them to combine to make up at least 60% of the overall formula. Anything less than this is not a good food and will be making the problem a lot worse.
You get out of a dog what you put in and at the moment you are in a really great position in that you've got time to invest in your boy. I promise you that if you put the owrk in now, your pup will repay you a million times over by becoming a well adjusted, super happy member of the family.
Also always remember: dogs can't do things to spite you or annoy you purposely. Bad behaviour comes from misunderstanding the rules, they are never ever bad on purpose. It sounds daft, but during the puppy days just remembering that was massively helpful to me!
....just a side note: Once this discussion goes over to The Doghouse I’m not sure how much sympathy you’ll get. It’s just a feeling. 🤔
I also hated the puppy stage, it's SO hard. You need to train him constantly though and it WILL get better. Does he have a crate?
My chocolate lab was an absolute fucker as a puppy and I really thought I couldn't cope. Now, he's the absolute best dog on the planet and I LOVE him.
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