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When do puppies get easier?

July 4, 2020

If you’ve recently welcomed your first puppy into your life, you may be wondering if you’ve done the right thing. Here’s what you need to know about the early days with your new puppy and the answer to that burning question…’when do puppies get easier?’

Just like having a baby, it seems that the hard work of puppy parenting is one of life’s best kept secrets. You wouldn’t be alone if you thought your days would be spent cuddling and playing with a cute puppy and enjoying nice country walks as a family.

But instead you’ve got a puppy that’s pooing and weeing all over the house, keeps nipping everyone with their razor sharp teeth, chews the furniture and cries all night long. You may feel like you will never get a good night’s sleep again. And as for those muddy paws!

If you’re reading this, nodding your head in agreement and hoping that things will soon get easier, you’ll be pleased to hear that it will – eventually. However, there’s no getting away from the fact that the early weeks with a new puppy are hard and they will most likely leave you feeling stressed, exhausted and questioning your sanity.

New puppy anxiety

It’s not uncommon for new puppy owners to feel anxious about their new puppy. You may be worried about whether you are looking after your puppy properly. Or perhaps you are feeling anxious because the responsibility of caring for a weeing, pooing, teething puppy is making you feel stressed. You may even feel like you can’t cope with your new puppy. This feeling is often referred to as the new puppy blues. 

Read more about how to cope with the new puppy blues.

Here’s some common feelings that first-time dog owners say they have: 

  • My dog is making me depressed 
  • I regret buying a puppy
  • I hate my puppy
  • I feel like giving up a puppy

If you are feeling any of these things, you are probably having more bad days than good days right now. To balance this, try to focus on the positives with your puppy, rather than just the negatives, and give yourself a pat on the back that you’ve got this far. Spend quality time with your puppy working on some basic training, having plenty of fun playtime and spend time grooming to help you to bond and strengthen your relationship. 

People who read this article, read this story written by Helen who had new puppy anxiety

What to expect with a new puppy

There are four things that often take first-time puppy owners by surprise and contribute to feelings of stress. These are: 

  • Toilet training your puppy takes time, and there will be plenty of accidents before they are fully housetrained. 

Your puppy may be six months old before they no longer have accidents in the house, so you should expect lots of puddles and poos in the meantime. 

You can minimise accidents in the house by learning to spot the signs that your puppy needs to go. Your puppy may freeze, become restless, stop playing, start sniffing where they have previously had an accident or start to squat as signs that they need to go to the toilet.

Read our advice on how to toilet train your puppy

  • Your puppy won’t sleep through the night straight away. 

Did anyone warn you that you wouldn’t get much sleep with your new puppy? Just like babies, puppies often cry at night and it will take time before they learn that nighttime means bedtime. Coupled with the fact that your puppy will still need to go to the toilet during the night as well as the day when they are little, you can expect to feel groggy and sleep deprived for a few weeks. 

It can make life easier for you and your puppy if you have them in your bedroom with you to begin with – just until they feel more settled in their new home, are sleeping for longer and needing less nighttime toilet trips. If that’s not possible, you can make a bed up for yourself in the room where your puppy sleeps.

By the time your puppy is three or four months old, they should be sleeping through the night. 

Read our advice on how to get puppies to sleep.

  • Your puppy will chew everything – your hands and ankles, the furniture and your shoes.

That’s right, your gorgeous puppy is actually a shark wrapped up in a fluffy coat. At least that’s what it feels like whenever you experience a sharp nip to your hand or ankle. Puppies bite and chew for two reasons. The first is to soothe their gums when they teething. The second reason is because puppies use their mouths to explore the world. Your job is to teach them to do so gently without nipping or biting. 

You can help your puppy – and your furniture – by making sure that they haves lots of good quality rubber chews. Kongs are good, which you can fill with a nice tasty treat to keep your puppy occupied while you have a well-earned break. Keep rotating your puppy’s chews so they don’t become bored and make a beeline for your favourite shoes. 

Read our advice about puppy teething and biting.

  • Puppies don’t cope well when left alone – even popping to the shops becomes a challenge!

Does your puppy cry if you try to go to the toilet alone? Up until puppies are about nine months old, it’s normal behaviour for them to want to be close to you. This can be challenging for first-time puppy owners, particularly if you work. 

The answer is to find a willing puppy sitter – a friend or relative – to help care for your puppy until they are old enough and no longer feel anxious about being left alone. When your puppy is about 12 weeks old and has had their primary vaccinations  (first and second set), they will be able to go to doggy day care. 

Read more about leaving puppies alone.

Support for you during puppy’s new first year

If you’re a new puppy owner, sign up for Puppy’s First Year emails. You’ll receive regular updates on what to expect as your puppy develops and grows delivered straight to your inbox.

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