Post puppy depression

First of all, I just want to thank everyone who read my inaugural blog post. I’ve always liked to consider myself a writer, but it took me this long to start a blog because I’m a generally private person – sharing my thoughts and opinions with an audience is frankly a little terrifying. It was literally with a trembling hand and butterflies in my stomach (ok, that part isn’t literal) that I hit “publish” last Monday. I felt like I was back in Mrs. Fenton’s speech class my junior year of high school. Lucky for you, this is a blog so you couldn’t hear my voice shake, and lucky for me, Mrs. Fenton wasn’t there to roll her eyes and say “That’s enough. Sit down. You’re finished,” when I started blanking out. (That didn’t actually happen to me, but it happened to several other kids in my class and initiated my life-long fear of public speaking and snippy, petite, red-headed women.) Because of this, it meant a lot when the page views and comments started coming in – I was genuinely surprised that people were actually reading what I wrote and had something to say about it! So thanks for that. Now that you know I love you, let’s move on.

It was actually one of your comments (shout out to Anna – what up girlfriend?!)** that inspired me to write this next post about a very serious subject: post puppy depression. No, not postpartum. I may have that to look forward to with the advent of Babygeddon, but this is different. Mainly because it involves a puppy instead of a baby. Regardless, remembering this experience does not bring me any closer to shaking my baby-phobic inclinations. Here is my story.

**PLEASE NOTE: This is what I like to call my “shout out” voice. In no way does it reflect the way I verbally express myself in real life. Peace.

It all started about 3 ½ years ago when I devised a brilliant, elaborate plan to convince Will that we needed to get a puppy. It turned out this effort was entirely unnecessary because he agreed wholeheartedly the second the word “puppy” escaped my mouth. So now I have a brilliant, elaborate plan on file for when I need to convince him of something else in the future. Win-win.

We did some research online and found the perfect candidate – a 9 week old toy fox terrier hailing from rural Missouri who was 2 pounds and 6 inches tall at the time. My mind was reeling with the possibility of all the designer luggage and handbags I could fit him in. Sold! We christened him Gatsby and happily drove out to the sticks to pick up our new little family member.

Everything was great the first day. Gatsby slept in a tiny little ball in my lap all the way back to St. Louis, explored his new home for a little while, then slept in a tiny little ball in my lap the rest of the night while we watched a movie. In case you’re wondering, tiny little balls of sleeping puppy are ridiculously adorable and not at all hard to take care of. I think Gatsby knew this – it was all part of his diabolical plot to make me love him before he began his quest to destroy my life.

Maybe that’s being a little dramatic – he didn’t destroy my life, he just changed it. But for a person whose only commitments in life were a fiancé and a job, that change felt pretty destructive at first. I couldn’t put a finger on exactly what was bothering me, but I think I was actually slightly depressed the first month we had Gatsby. It wasn’t that I minded feeding him or even cleaning up poop, puke and fur (granted, I didn’t love that either). I just felt tied down in a way I never had before. We always had to think about what we were going to do with him whenever we wanted to go anywhere. Our solution was to lock him in the bathroom, and while even a bathroom-sized room is a palace for a dog of his microscopic proportions, he always wailed like a banshee (he has big pipes for a small dog) and made us feel guilty. Then some disturbing thoughts started entering my head. Did we make a huge mistake? Am I going to be tied down by a dog for the next 15 years? Do I even LIKE this dog?

Thankfully, post puppy depression isn’t quite as severe as postpartum depression can be. I didn’t have to resort to taking medication and worrying about what Tom Cruise thinks of me. At the risk of sounding glib, within a few weeks the post puppy depression was a thing of the past. In fact, I am now pretty much obsessed with Gatsby. After all, he is the cutest dog in the world.

Am I right or am I right?

I think the problem all along was that I wasn’t prepared for change, and the long-term commitment of having a dog didn’t hit me until we actually brought Gatsby home. The fact that I was able to adjust to that gives me hope that I’m maturing and maybe I’ll be able to use this lesson when other future family members make their debut.

Random thought of the day: The lyrics to some of the popular songs right now are laugh-out-loud ridiculous. Ke$ha – while you’re inefficiently brushing your teeth with a bottle of Jack, remember that gingivitis is a serious risk factor for heart disease. You just think about that, young lady.

25 thoughts on “Post puppy depression

  1. i laughed out loud, alone, in my apartment when i read that last part about keSha’s dental habits. LOVE this blog! makes me miss you even more!

    ps…mrs. fenton still haunts me TOO!

  2. Carlotta, You are hilarious! I agree with Alisa when she stated that she laughed out loud when reading your last comments on the post. I did, too! Ha ha! Oh, Mrs. Fenton – those were the days. Thank you for making me smile. 🙂

  3. Thank you thank you thank you for writing this blog. I feel the EXACT same way about my boxer puppy, its only been a week and I am having the same regretful thoughts… Im glad to know Im not the only one and hope these feelings pass as quickly as yours did

    • So did the feelings of regret and despair pass? How long did it take? I am in day 3 with our 10wk old puppy and still struggling quite a bit. I did not expect to feel like this at all.

      • I think it took a few weeks before I really started getting used to having a puppy. Hang in there! It’s so worth it because now I’m completely obsessed with my dog. It just keeps getting easier – don’t worry! 🙂

  4. i am deeply in postpuppy depression. Thought forever, planned , researched and then got a puppy. After we brought home the puppy, reality struck and I was mired in worry of how i would care for this dog. Hopefully, these feelings will pass so that i can enjoy my puppy.

  5. We got a rescue puppy after the 3 year passing of our other dog. She is almost 6 months old and I did not want to sign up for puppy duty. I thought I wanted another dog but this little pooch was as timid as the day is long. We have only had her for 2 weeks and I have had a week of no sleep thinking about if a mistake was made in adopting a pup. I relish the idea of giving her up but my son and husband too want the dog. They look at me like there is something wrong with me and to relax. I can’t relax! Any suggestions about how to cope with an issue like this? Any thoughts or reflections are greatly appreciated.

  6. I’ve been reading this blog and several other websites with the weirdest feeling inside and THE cutest, sweetest french bulldog resting in my lab. I too feel this way and feeling VERY guilty about it and full of suspision Tom Cruise might actually call to yell at me!!

    We picked up the puppy 2 nights ago and already right before the evening we went to pick him up I felt weird and full of doubt all of a sudden, told my boyfriend in tears that I would call the breeder to cancel. He sad I was just having cold feet & that everything was going to be fine once he came home with us. My feelings actually still haven’t changed, it has only gotten worse!!
    It kills me to feel this way, cause I love animals, dogs are my favorites and I definitely knew what I was in for. My boyfriend was the one who felt no need or a dog and today he already called him his friend and said he’d miss him at first, shared a tear by the idea of giving him back but would be ok in few days and says it my decision whether to keep him or not.
    I feel so bad and have cried quite a lot, especially since I usually don’t really cry.

    The pup is doing so good, hardly any peeping, behaving very sweet (a few bites here and there but nothing very naughty), so that’s not it! Because I knew what I was signing up for, and I don’t mind the walks (which he still not really gets though), it’s more the thought of not being just the 2 of us but 3 that really hits me hard, and the fact that I don’t feel joyfull, happy or full with love for that little handsome puppy.
    I was so looking forward, arranged next week to work from home to train him and let him get use to everything but all I can think of now is to give him to someone else who doesn’t feel like I do and actually feeling releaved by that thought bringing him somewhere else.
    He’s so sweet and he loves sleeping/laying on my lab and I do like the look when my boyfriend plays with him or holds him. There already is a connection, but why do I feel like I made the wrong decision and secretly wish I could go back in time to undo this??
    I do care for him and wish him all the best, that’s why I’m not a fan of waiting to see if my feelings will change, I don’t want to make the ‘goodbye’ any harder than it already is for anyone… Please understand that I am not à bad person (although I feel like one right now), this puppy wasn’t an impulsive decision and I’m not an impulsive person but I can’t seem to change my sad mood and feel the joy you would usually have when you have a puppy.
    Any advice?

    Ps: he’s still sleeping on my lab and I do like that, just with the thought of bringing him ‘home’ in the back of my mind… Awful and ashamed is how I feel 😦

    • I think the thing that made me feel depressed was the just aspect of change in my life. I was also prepared for the responsibility of having a puppy – but not necessarily the changes that resulted. I think I had a period of about a month when I was busy grieving the loss of my “old life” (even though the changes weren’t even that monumental!), but that went away once I got used to my “new life” and that became the norm. All I can say is just give it a month or so… don’t make any decisions about whether to keep your puppy right away. You need to give yourself some time to adjust!

      • Thank you for your quick reply! It did make me feel a bit better for a while.
        Last night though I was talking to my boyfriend again and we both started to feel sad. He will not hate me for whatever the final decision will be, but I could just see the look in his eyes and him thinking “first you got me to be oke with us getting a dog and now that we have the sweetest ever you might actually make me to have the miss the dog just after a few days..” I just wish I didn’t feel this way because I’m making my boyfriend feel sad and I’m sure the pup feels it too. Looking all sad last night and today he doesn’t really feel like playing and he is definitely not up for walks outside, all he seems to want is lay and sleep in my lab.
        That’s making me feel even more sad and not worthy of him and it makes me feel like I should not take too long in making a definite decision. If I still feel this way in a month I’ll feel like I wasted his time and also the time of my boyfriend. It’s not fair of me and it makes me feel terrible.
        I just wanted to thank you for your advice and I’ll try to let go off these stupid feelings and cheer up for now, don’t want the pup to be sad because of me!

  7. We just got a 2 year old rescue dog a week and a half ago. I have 2 daughters ages 10 and 6 and I am now having those same “post partum” feelings I had as a new mom after adopting our dog. We have been wanting a dog for awhile and I was the most hesitant because I knew I would be doing most of the grunt work. My husband finally set his sights on a border collie mix who is so sweet. She is great with the kids, potty and crate trained and has pretty good manners overall. I still feel trapped and out of breath thinking of caring for her for the next 15 years! Today she got loose and ran all over the neighborhood and my resentment towards her is about as big as a house right now. I am not even speaking to my husband because I always told him I would like a smaller dog that would be easier to handle since I would be the primary caregiver. I am pretty tiny and our dog is faster and stronger than I can handle. the more time this dog takes away from my time with my girls the bigger this resentment grows. I know I cannot give her up or it would crush my husband and daughters so I am currently on strike from taking care of any dog related things. I know it is not very mature, but I seriously feel like I am going to have a panic attack sometimes. My kids are old enough that I was just getting my freedom back-we could pick up and go anywhere. Now, I have a dog I have to be responsible for. I am very happy to see that others have gone through similar situations. I kept telling myself that I could not be alone in my thoughts. when I am thinking clearly I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I’m currently a little overwhelmed! I know it will get better now. Thanks for giving me hope!

    • 4 days ago I got a sprocker puppy who id been to see at only 4wks old – been planning on a dog for months. I’ve already got 3 cats but wanted that extra bit of companionship.
      I feel so depressed. I know puppies depend on their owners and I know I have to change my life but I just want to cry. She keeps me awake all night crying and I’m usually up at 5am playing, training and trying to tire her out so I can sleep on the sofa for an hour.
      I can’t tell anyone how I feel as they’d hate me and my mum would just say “I told you so!!” Half of me wishes her breeder would call and ask for her back. The other half is telling me to get a grip!! Millions of people have dogs. They seem so happy. I really hope this feeling goes away as I feel so so guilty.
      Reading your blog has helped and inspired me to keep going! I know I can do it. I can I can I can.

  8. Two days ago I got a 8 week old kitten. I had cats as a child and my roommates in collage had cats as well so I knew what I was in for. I finally have my own apartment and a good job so I felt like I was read for the commitment after all cats are not that hard to take care of. I searched for the perfect kitten for about a month and I finally found the one. As I was driving to pic him up I was hoping that I am going to love him right away and not regret my decision. 3 hrs later I was there and about to meet my future kitten. The woman that had them was a wonderful lady and she did an amazing job raising them. There are three kittens for me to choose from. All three were as cute as can be and I had hard time choosing but I picket one and I was ready to drive back home. All my worries about me not liking the kitten in real life were gone. I felt like my kitten was the most beautiful kitten in the world. The moment I held my kitten for the first time something inside me changed. I instantly felt different. I did not feel happy. I felt like I love the kitten instantly but I did not feel happy. I took him home and played with him. He adjusted to my apartment really fast and he was just perfect all around but I could not and still cannot shake this feeling inside. I feel this heavies in my chest and this feeling of sadness. I really hope it will go away soon. I love him and I will not give him up for sure but I don’t like how I feel now. I did not expect this at all. I am completely surprised by the way I feel. I knew I had post kitten depression the moment I got home. I have been depressed before usually around my period and for various other reasons but this type of depression is something different. Reading these posts makes me feel better. I know I am not alone and now I am more hopeful that this feeling will go away and that I will soon fully enjoy my new kitten.

  9. Thank you. Had our puppy for only a week but magorly depressed. He is very good but cried when we are not right with him. Mentally I know it will get better but emotionally I can’t relax which means I can’t sleep which makes me even more emotional. I would return him if it weren’t for our kids. It will get better. It will get better.

  10. Thank you so much for this post. You have no idea. My husband and I got an 8-month-old mini schnauzer a week ago and I bawled my eyes out last night. I never had pets growing up but my husband always had a dog so when I begged him, he relented. When I went to pick up Batman at the adoption event (he was fostered) all of the workers were in love with him. Most of the other dogs were running up to people, barking, trying to get anyone’s attention. But Batman just walked around quietly, sniffing dog butts. He really is an odd guy all-around. I felt kinda funny as I was about to walk out the door while holding him. There was no instant connection, I really didn’t feel anything for him. But ever since I’ve been so depressed.

    He’s only had 2 accidents since we’ve had him (but those were my fault for not realizing he was wanting to go out). He tries eating clothes, cables, anything. I know he’ll learn but it’s so frustrating. Worst of all is if we leave him alone he howls and barks non-stop. This is especially bad because we live in an apartment with neighbors on four sides of us. The girl above us was really nice when I asked if he was barking the entire time I was gone. She said he was barking earlier but he’s just getting used to the place. Our next door neighbor was seriously waiting for me to come back from our walk and the second I got to my door he opened his door and said, “Oh. Is that who I’ve been hearing?” And then closed the door. Rude.

    The agency we adopted him from has a 2 week period where we can return him for a refund (less $50) if it doesn’t work out. All I keep thinking is that if I could go back, I wouldn’t have adopted him. And all you read online is people yelling at owners who gave a dog back, saying they’re terrible, selfish people. I know I am being selfish, and I’m also a huge commitmentfobe. But I keep comparing my life before to now. I loved my life. I work 2-3 days a week part-time. The rest of the time I can do whatever I want. Sometimes I go up to the pool, or visit my husband at work, or just run errands. But now I feel like all of that is over. I can’t go anywhere without worrying about him barking non-stop.

    He’s already attached to us and my husband is attached to him. He follows me everywhere around the apartment. I see all of my friends who have dogs and are happy and love them. And then I have other friends (like my mother-in-law) who hate having to take care of a dog and constantly feel bad about not giving it much attention. I am just so lost. If I give him back I feel like everyone would judge me and I would hate myself. But I don’t see my feelings toward him (or lack-there-of) ever changing. The only feeling I have toward him right now is resentment. That doesn’t seem fair to him so I am completely lost on what to do.

  11. I know exactly what everyone is feeling. I am so so so sad and depressed that I got a puppy. I am just sad. I do miss my life before very very much. I miss just picking up and leaving whenever I want. I miss traveling without planing ahead. I miss everything about my life that I had 2 weeks ago.
    Two weeks ago we got a puppy from this man that was giving them away. He is boxer mixed lab. The puppy is now 13 weeks and the cutest thing every. My husband is in love. Me however I feel like he ruin my entire life. I feel like he is to blame for all the sadness I am feeling. I have stopped eating and all I want to do is sleep.
    He is such a good puppy so I shouldnt have anything to complain about. He does his business outside and is being crate trained.
    I dont know I just feel so sad. I feel sad giving him away but i am sad keeping him. My husband says that he will do whatever that makes me happy because he loves me more. But I feel bad for him because I gave him something he wanted and now taking it away. Before we got the dog I did so much research about everythging that can go wrong or right. Thats just the way I am i have to be fully aware and in control of the situation before I decide on anything. I also had a dog my whole life while livuing with my parents.
    I am just sad about the whole situation and not sure what to do. I know these postes are older but I was wondering what happened in all you experiences what did each of you decide.

    • Hi,

      I feel exactly the same way. I got a dog three days ago and hes perfect, doesnt bark, fully house trained, etc but I cant stop crying now. One moment I love him to bits and the next im just full of doubt. I dont know what to do…what did you do in the end?

  12. This article might have made my day. I’ve been an anxious mess ever since me and my girlfriend adopted an puppy (11 weeks old) from the shelter. I legitimately thought I was crazy; like one of the other commenters said, millions of people have dogs and they’re extremely happy. My girlfriend works at the shelter in question and has a very deep love for animals, and they have always been a huge part of her life (she also raised her own dog from puppyhood and probably loves him more than most humans, haha). Getting this dog was extremely important to her and it’s made her so incredibly happy; that’s why I said yes, even though I wasn’t really “feeling it”.

    If I’m going to be honest with myself, it’s because I’ve lived my entire life independently without pets, and I guess I’m morning the loss of my freedom and the undivided attention of my girlfriend. I’ve spent the past two and a half years with her and I was so happy with a 2-person family… realizing that it’s over and that we’ll have a 3rd member of the family for the next 15 years is, for some reason, an enormous struggle for me, and it depresses me.

    I know it’s not the end of the world. Even a few months from now, when the puppy is older, house trained, and well-behaved, I’ll probably look back on this time and say, “See, it was fine”… but for now, I honestly don’t feel fantastic about it. Right now, what’s keeping me going with a smile on my face is the fact that I love my girlfriend, my soul mate, so intensely that I would do anything for her. Coming across this and seeing that I’m far from the only person who’s experienced this makes me feel a little bit better, and that I can do this thing.

  13. Thank you for writing your blog. I had no idea that I was not alone in feeling so sad or depressed over the introduction of a puppy soul into the family. We brought home an adorable Sheltie puppy Sunday night and I felt like a complete idiot in wanting to turn around a return the adorable little furry prince. My wife said that we are keeping him and the feelings will pass. Most recently we had a wonderful Sheltie for the whole of his life (12 short years) and had been without a dog for two years and a month. I forgot what a work a puppy is; however, I also remember what wonderful members of the family all of our dogs, cats, horses, two turtles, countless fish, a bird, and countless rescue animals we fostered and helped find homes have been over the years.

    Do not think about this as ‘things lost’ but rather about life gained. You are on an adventure that will take you to untold wonderful worlds with the new four legged furry member of your family. Friends you have not met yet. Places and businesses that cater to animals that are exceptional. Yes. There is fear that you have another living life looking to you for basically everything. Trust that it is okay and you are okay. Take one moment at a time. Remember that whether it is a dog, cat, or even a human kid comes with ups and downs. I would wager that if you are open to change there will be a lot more ups. Plus people with animals do tend to be healthier in body and mind. (Or so my Doctor says).

    Give yourself time to relax into the adjustments in schedules. Again, life is not lost and you are not attached to the animal with a ball a chain. There are wonderful trainers out their for dogs and cats (children I am not so sure) who can come into the situation and help. If you are dealing with behavior issues then I suggest you learn along with your furry creature on how to adapt behaviors to ones that all can live with and enjoy. Let a trainer take you there on a much quicker road. Even though we have had countless animals we are headed to a puppy class and training with our new little guy after he finishes his first round of shots. Most local rescue organizations can make great suggestions on affordable help.

    I can tell you that my whole family learned more about life through loving our animal friends than I can put into words. They are amazing at healing families and helping people engage into life. The road might be bumpy for awhile but know that if you keep going even the bumpy road will smooth out. Then you and your animal will have the great enjoyment of success and overcoming obstacles together.

    Thanks for all who shared. It made me think about my own situation and realize the treasures I have yet to uncover with our newest little furry family member.

  14. I know this post was from several years ago, But i am going through something similar.
    We just got a 3 1/2 month old puppy and she is great, but I am so depressed. I worry about her being alone in the crate while i go to work. i feed her and make sure she goes potty before i leave, but I know i will come home to her being all dirty needing a bath. I cant stop crying, i feel like i just need to be home. Last night, we both slept fine. We woke up around 1 something and 4 something for potty. i just didnt expect it to be this hard, or take so much of my heart. I love her so much already and cant imagine her not being in my life. I know you said this fades, and reading your post helped me. Thanks so much! I wish i could have an update on your doggy situation. How do you feel now?

    • Alejandra, you are definitely still going through the adjustment period, so give it time! It’s hard to prepare yourself for changes like this when you are used to living your life a certain way and you don’t know fully what to expect. After awhile, you will get used to the new responsibility, and it will also get much easier as the puppy gets older. Gatsby is still a high-maintenance dog (I think it’s the nature of his breed), but he is an irreplaceable member if our family and brings us so much happiness. Also, having a baby recently has made me so glad we got a dog and weathered that adjustment first. I think it really prepared us for how to survive such a major lifestyle change and made it a lot easier. Honestly, I think I was more anxious/depressed right after getting Gatsby than I was when Nick was born! Probably because I was already used to being responsible for another living creature to some degree. I would definitely say just wait it out, give yourself and your puppy time to adjust, and soon you’ll fall into a comfortable routine, the puppy will mature, and having a dog will be FUN! Just keep reminding yourself that even though it’s hard now, it won’t always be like this. The hard time at the beginning is so short compared to years of fun and companionship ahead. 🙂 Hope that helps!

      • Just reading this makes me feel so much better. I’m not alone, i thought i was going crazy feeling this way. Thanks so much!

  15. Hello my love

    I loved your blog as I felt like I was going insane. My boyfriend and I have been together for 4 years and it was our anniversary and he bought me a 9 week old black pug puppy, ( you can’t even imagine how cute he is) we had lay in bed many times talking about our future and how we would have a little pug and we went through all the names under the sun of what we could call a pug but when it actually happend I felt so over whelmed, I cried everyday (in secret) I would have a tight chest and just so much anxiety and I didn’t know why! A pug puppy was the start of our little family and all we had talked about. After about day 3 I think I finally put my finger on what it was, it was Bruce our pug puppy, change was one thing I have never been good at all. Like yourself I didn’t mind whipping up his pooh and feeding him and rocking him to sleep. All I wanted was my old life back, my partner got suspicious and asked me what was wrong after so many tears and I told him, he said it would be ok and he would do the majority of the work. Well it’s only day 5 I hope this feeling passes and I end up being obsessed too! Xxxx

  16. Hi. We just got a 5 month Shih Tzu for my son for Christmas. It’s presently been 11 days. Somewhere around day 3 the puppy blues hit HARD. I went to my room and spent about 36 hours straight up there without eating. I spent a big majority of Christmas break getting little sleep. I’m feeling better now, eating and sleeping wise, but the dog hasn’t settled into a potty routine yet and it’s driving me nuts. I already have a timeline of one month. If she’s not better adjusted in a month she will go back. In the meantime we’ve taken her to the vet, gotten her updated with shots, are treating her ear infection, have an appointment for her with her groomers, and are going to have her spayed. This reminds me of the first few weeks after having my boys.

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