Puppy blues…something that I only recently learnt about. I thought I was the only one who felt the way I did. I felt ungrateful and mean for the way I felt about my own dog. It’s a very isolating feeling that most of us dog owners are probably way too afraid to admit.
Having a puppy is VERY hard and I have to admit Obi has been a handful and not just because he was a young dog. He had many medical problems and scares in the first year of his life…I constantly blamed myself for each of these, but a line my vet said to me while trying to comfort me has and will stick me with me forever.
“You did everything right but it went wrong and that’s just how it is sometimes, but you kept him and love him so that’s the main thing”.
Obi is very sensitive. He’s a working dog which certainly doesn’t help with that! We expected this and we were prepared for this so we enrolled him in classes asap! It started out good, he wasn’t interested in the other puppies and was happy to sit next to me and eat all the food…(typical Labrador).
Until one day he was brave and walked up to another pup, unfortunately he got a bit too close to their treats and was bitten.
Obi had an unfortunate experience in a vets as well. So now he’s afraid of dogs…and the vets. He’s not a fan of children either but our trainer let us know that this is normal for some dogs, I guess?
Obi is crazy good off lead which is strange because as soon as the lead is on he is another dog. We’re working on this…ha…ha
I have spent far too many days crying and cursing at myself for getting a dog let alone a sensitive, active breed such as Obi. Except while I cried he would curl up in my lap and look up at me with those big brown eyes and everything would start to feel ok again. I never spend a night alone as he’s right there under the bed covers curled up in my arms and he still does this today! Occasionally kicking me when he gets too warm…
The puppy blues aren’t as bad now. However, the feeling comes back ever now and then especially due to how reactive he is. It’s hard to explain, he’s wonderfully obedient, he’s fantastic in the house and off lead! He’s a nightmare on lead and forget about having people over without lots of preparation…he’s fine with people he knows but it takes a while until he’s comfortable.
At the end of the day, I will never stop fighting to keep him happy and safe. I am happy to sacrifice an arm and a leg to ensure he is comfortable, I’m sure that he would do the same if he could. On the bright-side I do have scary dog privileges at night so my night walks have been awesome!
I’m not going to say that you’ll one day wake up and your puppy is perfect, or your reactive dog is no longer nervous. But what I can say is that it gets easier and there are always options to make life more bearable for the both of you. Remember to look after yourself, your dog needs you but if you’re not looking after yourself how can you look after them.
Never feel bad for having those little thoughts of fear or regret, puppies are difficult and tons of work. If you ever believe what is best is to find a new home for a dog please visit a local rescue and do not try and re-home by yourself or online!
In my next post about having a nutty dog I’ll be sharing my tips and tricks…and how I’ve survived with a handful of a pup.