I’ve been adjusting to life as a dog owner. I definitely had a case of the puppy blues – no matter how prepared you are to have a dog you cannot guess how you are going to react when you finally get the dog.
In my case the puppy blues was more a mourning of the life I had before hand. Prior to getting Barney I only had to worry about myself and Gary the cat. I’ve always been quite independent but now I have someone who is quite reliant on me for a lot of stuff. I’ve had to change up how I would normally approach my holidays. I can’t just go off somewhere because Barney is still not fully vaccinated (final vaccine is on Wednesday.) and I also can’t just leave him at home for hours on end.
Add to that a case of anxiety and the heat of summer and you have quite a fun mix. My anxiety revolves around things such as training, going back to work and so on. So, what do I mean by the puppy blues – I mean, I had never heard of this and I remember growing up with puppies.
It’s a lot more common than I would have thought. There are countless articles and videos dedicated to it. And, I will echo them by saying, if you have the puppy blues please reach out to someone. Be it a trusted friend, family member or a therapist. But, basically, it’s a feeling of regret or worry about having a puppy.
I’ve had Barney for over a month now and the feelings of regret have mostly subsided. By regret I felt like I didn’t deserve to have a puppy and that I was going to fail him in some way. On top of that, the first couple of weeks had me getting up at various intervals during the night to let him go toilet. So, some sleep deprivation added to my feelings of being overwhelmed. There have been moments (thankfully few and far between) where I have thought that I have made a terrible mistake. It’s made me really evaluate what I want from my dog and from myself.
I’ve had to work on creating a new schedule for both of us. As well as letting go of things that I truly do not have control over. It’s not easy but it’s working slowly. I have only had one moment where I actually broke down and cried – but it turns out I also had a probable kidney stone so everything was piling on top of me.
I still have some worry around what is best for him. Should I train him to be an outside dog or and indoor dog? Can he be both? Am I feeding him too much? Is he getting enough sleep? Exercise? Basically, I am questioning my every move as a dog parent.
Some things that have helped me are:
- Having a routine – more so in the morning.
- Crate training – I pop him in his crate at 8am after two hours of exploration and eating and training. This gives me a couple of hours to do groceries, cleaning, going for a coffee.
- Relying on friends and family to puppy sit when I need a break or need them.
- Several videos on YouTube that give ideas for mental stimulation to tire out puppies and dogs.
- Talking about it.
- Trying to not be too hard on myself.
- Having my own time and space. I’ve blocked off several rooms in the house that are for me to do work in.
- Training Barney in general. Small bursts of training along with moving away when he becomes his piranha self.
I know that things will get easier as he gets older and, as long as I keep focused and consistent, we will be fine. (Though I do hope he and Gary can become friends…at the moment they watch each other from between the bars wherever they find themselves.) I love both of my pets. Barney is adorkable and Gary is just gorgeous.
So – everyday is new and I get to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone. In fact, I think I’m so far out of my comfort zone that I can no longer see it.
On a slightly different note – here is a mini currently list.
Reading: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Listening: “Upset the Neighbours” by Nicotine Dolls
Watching: “Locke & Key” Season 2
Leave me some book, film, or music recommendations.
Peace and pancakes.