New dog – Are you wondering whether you’ve made a mistake?
Rather like having children, bringing a new dog or puppy home can be challenging and for many people, especially first time dog owners, it’s common to go through a stage of wondering what on earth you were thinking and whether you really are cut out to deal with this demanding new creature living in your home!
Holidays4Dogs provides some advice, hints and tips for anyone who is worried they have made a big mistake with their new dog.
Even if you’ve done your homework, researched breeds, talked to other dog owners and read books and blogs on the subject, dealing with a new dog or puppy can be somewhat overwhelming when it comes to the crunch. We’ve all been there, even seasoned dog owners can sometimes become frustrated when they take on a new dog or puppy, particularly if there is already another dog, or dogs in the household.
The thing to remember is that you are not alone! More people than you think find adjusting to a new four legged member of the household is much harder than they imagined. Not matter how prepared you think you are, you are almost certainly going to experience a certain amount of doubt and possibly at times, sheer despair. But just bear in mind, you are not the only one and you are not unique in thinking you must have brought the worst puppy home!
Many people also experience guilt that they have bitten off more than they can chew and quite often these feelings can happen just a few days into bringing a new dog or puppy home.
I once bred a litter of collie puppies. There were just two in the litter and I was certainly going to be very careful who they went to live with. I had a call from a family who had not had a dog before, so from the beginning I was honestly dubious. However, on the other hand I felt I should not discount first time dog owners and they seemed very sensible, they had a very large garden, enjoyed outdoor activities and the lady of the house was at home every day.
They visited the puppy on several occasions and we talked through all the issues, particularly the points about bringing up a new puppy (and especially a border collie puppy!) and how life would quite likely be rather chaotic for weeks if not months. All this they assured me they understood and were excited about the prospect of their new family member.
The day came for the family to collect the puppy and off they all went. The following morning, I had a call from the lady who said the puppy had cried all night and they now felt totally unprepared for looking after a puppy. To say I was shocked was an understatement and while I reminded the lady of all the visits and discussions on what to expect, she told me she wanted to bring the puppy back that very morning. Naturally, I was more than agreeable to this, but does show that no matter how much you prepare yourself for a puppy, it is also essential to visualize the worst scenarios and be honest about how well you think you could cope with this.
Even though people may have waited for the right moment all their lives to get a dog, the culture shock of dog owning in reality can be quite different from the romantic ideas they may have always had in their head.
However, in almost all cases, things DO get easier and new owners need to be prepared to power through the tough times, like house training, teething, chewing, biting as this is all part of having a new dog and those issues are generally only temporary.
Some people find they are trapped in their own home because a puppy cannot be left for very long (without getting into mischief for sure!) and they take up so much time, feeding, cleaning up after and playing with – as well as requiring pretty much round the clock supervision, leaving little time to do anything else! Again, things won’t always be this way and it is something new dog owners must always keep in mind.
The majority of those voices in your head that tell you that you can’t cope and you can’t look after this dog will almost certainly pass. Sometimes, there are cases where re-homing the dog or taking it back to the breeder or rescue shelter is the more appropriate course of action. But, if you are patient and wait it out, you will get into a routine and things will get better. You will soon arrive at the point where you will wonder why you could ever have considered giving your precious dog back and will be focusing on the wonderful bond between you and your dog that will most certainly make you feel glad that you didn’t give up.