Bringing home a new puppy should be the best thing in the world… so why do you feel so awful?
It’s not unusual to feel annoyance, frustration, even regret after getting a new puppy. It’s okay to think about whether your puppy is a good fit for your household, or if you may actually need to return or rehome them.
The truth is, you’re probably not going to love your new puppy right away. It can take a long time for the chaos to die down. It might be months before your puppy adapts to your household and you fall into a comfortable routine again. By the time your puppy is a year old, they’ll likely be housetrained, they’ll no longer be destructive and you probably won’t be able to imagine life without them.
But you don’t have to feel helpless until that happens. There are many things you can do to soothe the puppy blues.
Puppy Problems Really Do Pass
Does potty training feel like it’s taking forever? Is it impossible to play with your puppy without getting your fingers bitten? Is your puppy chewing on everything you love?
So many puppy issues are temporary. While your training methods may feel like they’re not working, if you’re consistent, your puppy will eventually get the idea. Remember, they’re just a puppy – a baby. Puppies do not misbehave to spite us. They have short attention spans. They are experiencing everything for the first time.
The worst thing you can do is make choices out of anger or frustration. Shouting, spanking or angrily putting your puppy in their crate for a “time out,” can all lead to fear-based behavioural issues down the road.
We almost always expect too much, too soon from our puppies. When something isn’t working, take the time to re-examine the way you’re teaching your pup. Take a few steps backwards. Start fresh.
Get Help From A Professional
No matter how many puppy books you read, nothing beats having customised, in-person help from a professional dog trainer. Modern dog trainers use behavioural science to pick up on the communication issues and natural processes that are causing your puppy’s unwanted behaviours. They use rewards to modify your puppy’s behaviour and actually help you learn to better communicate with your puppy.
Healthy Houndz offers modern, reward-based dog training programs, board-and-train and daycare-and-train programs to set your puppy up for success. Ask us about our professional dog services in Toronto and North York.
When To Rehome Your Puppy
Sometimes, a pet simply isn’t the right match for a household. This can happen to anyone – and it’s not your fault. If you must rehome your puppy or return them to the breeder or shelter, try to do it as soon as you can. The younger your puppy is, the easier it will be for them to find a new home.
You should seriously consider rehoming your puppy if:
- The puppy is not compatible with your kids. If there is any risk of your puppy or your children seriously injuring one another, you will likely need to rehome your puppy. Nipping during playtime is normal and your puppy will grow out of it, but if your puppy shows real signs of aggression, or your child is having trouble learning to be respectful of your puppy, it’s best to rehome before a serious bite can happen.
- The puppy is not compatible with your older pets. It is normal for your cat, older dog and other animals to have trouble adjusting at first. But it is possible for your puppy to kill your cat, or for your older dog to kill your puppy. If there is a chance that any of the animals’ lives could be at stake, it is not humane to keep them together.
- You truly don’t have time to devote to your puppy. Even with the help of daycare and training programs, there are no shortcuts – you need to spend time training and bonding with your puppy.
How To Safely Rehome Your Puppy
If you acquired your puppy from a shelter or breeder, you may have signed a contract that will tell you what you should do if you have to rehome your puppy. If you do not know, give them a call. It is possible that you are not legally permitted to rehome the puppy on your own. Breeders, in particular, would rather have the puppy back if you cannot keep them.
If you cannot return your puppy, you will have to rehome them on your own. Do not turn to local Facebook groups, newspaper classifieds ads, Kijiji or Craigslist. These ads are notorious for attracting all sorts of shady buyers. Some people buy cheap puppies to use in inhumane backyard breeding businesses, use puppies as bait for illegal dog fighting or to flip puppies for a profit.
You can contact your veterinarian, who might have another client who is looking for a puppy like yours. They may also be able to recommend no-kill shelters and rescues in your area. A shelter or rescue might be able to take your puppy off your hands, or allow you to keep your puppy as a foster until they can help you find a new home for them. Shelter and rescues have networks of potential adopters and usually have protocols to ensure that your puppy is going to a good home.