Dealing with a puppy is not easy. Every new pup parent has looked up at the sky and asked: when does having a puppy get easier? Well, let’s help you out with some answers.
Puppies are ‘cuteness overload’. The googly innocent stare, along with the wobbly walk, is enough to melt the heart of even the coldest person.
The tiny cute angel transforms into a devil in no time if you aren’t well informed about all the necessary guidelines to implement when you get a new puppy home.
Frankly, there is too much information online. As a first-time owner grasping all the relevant information can be exhausting and confusing at the same time.
“When does having a puppy get easier?” This is the one question that most new pup parents keep pondering within the first few days of bringing the new puppy home.
As someone who has gone through a similar experience, I know the pain very well. Issues like sleepless nights and torn-out furniture are just the tip of the iceberg. Life certainly gets busier and tougher with a new puppy.
Understanding their thought processes and handling them correctly from the first day can resolve a considerable percentage of new parents’ issues. So, make sure to take some quality time off and then start going through my post.
It will be a long read, but I assure you if you are done reading it thoroughly, handling your new Puppy will become way more manageable than before. Based on the experience of a proud dog mommy, I have great tips and tricks up my sleeves to make your life with your Puppy easier.
Understanding and Handling Puppy Blues
It is pretty common to see new pup owners being in distress and having anxiety attacks. Some even begin to question their decision to bring home the Puppy. These concerns are the result of insufficient knowledge and a lack of research.
As new puppy parents, four major concerns hamper the mental well-being of any human being. Identifying them and rectifying them resolves half of the woes quickly. The four primary Puppy blues include
Lack of Toilet Skills
Well, this is a common problem for all living beings alike. No one learns the art of potty and pee in their mother’s womb. Many even jokingly say that the output is double the input.
Meaning, the amount of pee and poop discharged is overwhelming. If you are not careful, you are bound to see your pup peeing or pooping at the most unconventional places.
The Puppy will begin to squat at a position when it’s time to drop the bomb. When they feel the urge to pee, they generally freeze at a specific spot, mostly the last spot where the accident happened.
The most straightforward answer is to take the Puppy out every few hrs. This will condition them to understand that pee and poop are best done out. The second easy solution is to place a toilet pad at a fixed spot and urge the Puppy to do the job on the pad.
It is also best to avoid an ammonia-based cleaning solution. As ammonia is present in their urine, its smell attracts the puppies, thus mentally stimulating them to pee on all those areas you have cleaned with an ammonia-based solution. Your effort at potty training will inadvertently fail badly.
Some even use a specific spray as a scent indicator to urge them to do the business at a spot, but it is best to train them naturally.
Irregular Night Sleep Pattern
Human babies are known for their irregular nighttime sleep patterns. So, why do you think puppies will be any different? The urge to take toilet breaks, fear of being alone and restlessness are some of the most common reasons puppies lack sleep at night.
Extreme agitation and restlessness, constant whining, and barking during night hours are the common signs of distress and anxiety. They rely solely on you for comfort and security, so they are bound to be restless if you are not around.
We all know exhaustion is the best medicine for a long sleep. Take the Puppy out after dinner for a long walk and playtime session. This will tire them and empty their bowel system, thus preventing the need for a midnight bathroom break.
It is also advised to sleep with the Puppy or at least within its visible range for the first few months. This will give them a sense of security and thus prevent them from waking up constantly and wailing.
Oh Boy! This is perhaps the most common issue that new parents have to handle. Puppies are incredibly distraught and stressed when they lose sight of their parents for even a few minutes.
Try going to the bathroom for a few minutes. The Puppy is bound to be crying and wailing like a tortured soul. The root cause for the concern is their innate insecurity and the constant feeling of being abandoned.
The pup will constantly try to keep themselves glued to your sides. It will bark and whine when you divert your attention to someone or something else. Will display constant frenzied moves and complaining when you are at the door.
During the initial months, it is best to be constantly around them. In case you need to go out, arrange for someone to keep the puppy company. While neighbors and dog sitters are the best solution, some even like to send the pups to dog creches and preschools. This helps in building their social skills and positive reinforcement training.
Chewing and Biting Everything
Caesar Milano once stated that growing puppies are no different than sharks. Their favorite pastime is to bite and chew everything in their line of vision. From sofas to pots and kitchenware, there is rarely anything that they do not chew on.
Chewing and biting begin when the puppies start teething. The erupting teeth cause gum irritation, and thus they develop the urge to chew and bite. Their chewing and biting help them in relieving their irritation.
Get your Puppy a few rubbers, chew toys, and soft chew bones. Some even advise freezing the chew toys before giving them to the Puppy. The cold and frozen chew toy is soothing to the erupting gums and helps relieve the irritation considerably.
Chew toys from Kong are often regarded as the best chewable toys for puppies. They are made from toxin-free rubber and last a very long time despite the constant chewing and biting.
Phases of Transition in a Puppy
The transition from puppyhood to adulthood occurs through a series of psychological and behavioral changes in the Puppy. It is crucial to observe these changing behavior patterns if you want to communicate well with your pup.
Just like human babies and their transitional phase, puppies are no different. Mental conditioning and obedience training should be continued throughout all these phases without missing out.
These training and mental stimulations help keep their attention drawn and help in enforcing behavioral skills that are essential to know about as their body gradually changes.
Phase 1 The Destructive Devil
The time frame between the first ten weeks to 14 weeks and four-month to 5 months are often the most problematic. From chewing away every furniture and cable wire to biting anything and everything, they do it all.
Yes, it is bound to drive any ordinary human mad, but knowing the cause helps. Primary teeth erupt during the first month or so. Similarly, the permanent teeth erupt after the primary teeth fall off at around four months old.
Keeping a lot of chew toys and soft chewable treats handy can solve the issue to a certain extent. Rest is all up to you. Training her to obey your order and teaching her what to do and not do as early as possible makes it easier to handle this transitional phase.
Phase 2 – The Preacher of Sainthood
There comes the point when they are around 5 to 6 months old when suddenly everything seems to be going great. There is no biting and chewing, your Puppy responds well to recalls, and you suddenly have a representative of Sainthood sitting in front of you.
Sadly, this is a brief period of happiness. Many call it the episode of the calm before the storm. It is best to inoculate as much behavioral training as possible during the phase of Sainthood.
Phase 3 The Hormonal Hooligan
The teenage years are the most traumatizing phase for parents. Controlling kids who are in a hormonal overdrive is a difficult job. That is the same story with puppies.
Raging hormones and the growing interest in all the different kinds of smell around them piques their curiosity and hence begins the trouble.
This is also the period when they learn to bond best with their humans. You will experience a wide range of character traits during this time frame. It is also the phase when they are very active physically.
The increased need for exercise and playtime can help in keeping their restlessness and excitement in control. Their curiosity being at its best during this phase is also perfect for training them in learning new tricks and gestures.
Phase 4 – The Puppy Adult
This is the last phase of their puppyhood. As they slowly transition to adulthood, their personality from older days amalgamates with their adult nature. You can see small instances and mannerisms from the old days reflected in their new character.
Continued training with increased attention to particular aspects like guarding and protection are best introduced during this phase.
The First Six Months of Puppy’s Life and the Necessary Vaccinations
Now that you are aware of the 4 phases of development in a puppy, let’s look at their monthly growth pattern. This will better understand their gradual physical and mental changes and help you prepare better.
This is the crucial period when it is best to leave the Puppy with the mother. In addition to feeding on breast milk, the puppies develop bonding skills with the litter and slowly understand its surroundings.
According to Houston SPCA, the 3rd and 4th week of the first month is crucial as the Puppy gradually begins to walk and see things around. It is strictly advised not to separate the Puppy from its litter yet.
By the 6th week, the Puppy is familiar with the world, and its social skills develop. Barking and whining are quite a regular occurrence during this month. It can begin to identify humans and also begins to communicate with people.
It is best to start potty training at around five weeks of age. The second month is also vital as it is finally time to consult a vet for the first vaccine dosage. Distemper and Parvovirus Vaccine, better known as DHPP vaccine’s first dose, is given between the 6th and 8th week. Occasionally it is combined with Bordetella Vaccine.
This is the most optimal time for adopting a puppy. Once they are over 2 pounds in weight, it’s safe to presume that they can be sent out to their forever home. Their brain is developing at a fast pace, so training them is more manageable.
Obedience training, positive socialization are best suited to begin during the third month.
DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Para-Influenza, and Parvovirus) vaccine is given between the 8th and 12th week. Additional vaccination for Lyme’s disease, Influenza, and Bordetella may or may not be included.
The personality traits are in full bloom during the 12th to 16th week. This is also when they slowly begin to lose the primary dentition to make way for permanent teeth. So the first phase of slowly biting and chewing begins to appear.
Socialization and obedience training should continue to keep the Puppy mentally stimulated and well-behaved. DHPP 3rd dose vaccine along with rabies vaccine is given between 12th and 16th week. It may or may not be combined with a vaccine for Leptospirosis, Influenza, and Lyme disease. The vaccination schedule for the first year is done.
This is the time when puppies begin to test their patience. Teething is at its peak, so the tendency to bite and chew is significantly increased. Chew toys and treats are a constant necessity.
This is the time when they need to be kept constantly on a leash. It is the best time to start positive reinforcement training.
The Puppy is in its prime transition phase so, you have a better idea of how it will look at the adult stage. Bones and muscles also become more pronounced. Their hormonal development also begins at this age, so that you can expect lots of mood swings and rebellious behavior, just like any antsy teenager. This is the best time to start with their physical skill training.
When Does Having A Puppy Get Easier?
“Does having a puppy get easier over time?”
This is the most common questing roving over any new parent’s head. The drastic changes in lifestyle alone are enough pressure for the parent. Imagine adding the extra burden of massive destructive elements all around.
Puppy blues, or rather Puppy woo, can last anywhere between 3 to 5 months. By the time they are six months old, puppies are more confident about themselves and their parents.
They gradually lose their inhibitions and insecurities and become calmer. The mental conditioning and the constant obedience training reduces the biting tendencies and accidental poop and pee episodes to the bare minimum.
However, the battle is not over yet. There is a lot more to teach them, and without constant mental training, they can get back to being the hooligans they were as tiny pups.
Let’s see some of the most common doubts and questions new parents have when bringing home the pups.
Is It Going To Get Worse From Here Onwards?
Within days of bringing home the pup, most parents begin to lose confidence and question their sanity. If you are reading this post, I can assure you that it will be OK.
Give it some time and educate yourself about pups and their mannerism. Two fundamental rules of training your Puppy are to start early and show them who the boss is.
Dogs are pack animals who follow the leader. Once it is ingrained in their head that you are the boss, they will learn to follow your rules like a good baby.
You Are Regretting Your Decision of Getting a Puppy
You do not need to feel guilty if you are regretting your decision. The constant need to be at the beck and call of a tiny four-legged beast can certainly distort any normal human being’s mental stability. What’s not right is abandoning the dog just because you regret your choice.
Getting a puppy is similar to having a full-time job or a newborn baby. It initially requires tremendous effort and patience, but the result is worth all the pain a few months later.
Do Puppies Know When They Create Nuisance?
Unless social behavior isn’t taught, no one can differentiate between right and not. Puppies need to be trained to understand basic skills and commands before judging for themselves what they should and should not do.
It is OK to send your Puppy to the dog training center if needed. This will help them learn social skills sooner and help you understand and learn new aspects about being a puppy parent.
How Do I Stop My Puppy From Biting Constantly?
Sometimes, if you jerk your hands away immediately after being bitten, puppies can mistake it as a playful gesture and continue doing it. Instead, it would be best if you tried to be stern every time verbally. Also, you can immediately detach yourself from the Puppy and walk away. This is termed counter conditioning.
Your attitude and body language will automatically make them sense that it is wrong to bite, and they will not repeat it after seeing a similar reaction a few times. Once they start behaving well, you can appreciate it with treats. This is called positive reinforcement.
How Do I Stop My Puppy From Biting Constantly?
The sense of detachment from the mother and siblings is one of the reasons why puppies grow restless and unsecured at night. This is a common issue during the first few weeks of puppyhood.
The new environment and people around are bound to scare it. And night hours are quieter and darker, which scares them more. This is why it is advised to sleep with the Puppy for the first few days until it feels more secure about its surroundings.
It takes a few weeks for a puppy to develop a strong bonding with its human parents if you are careful and constantly communicating with the Puppy. Once they create a sense of security and trust in you, things are bound to get easier.
Settling into a new life is just the first stage. Amidst all the adjustment, happiness, and joy, most new parents forget to research and prepare. If you are not well prepared and well informed, you are in for a massive shock.
Answers To Loads Of Other Questions You May Have
At what age are puppies the most difficult?
The transitional phase between the 5th and 6th months can be pretty stressful due to the hormonal changes and teething. However, according to most canine experts, the time frame between the 8th and 18th months is most challenging to handle, regardless of the breed.
Will owning a puppy get easier?
It is all about patience and guidance. With time and proper training, things are bound to get easier. Puppies are similar to small kids. Once they begin to understand gestures and commands, they start being obedient and following rules.
At what age do puppies get better behaved?
Between the 18th to 20th months, the puppies slowly transition to adulthood. This is also the period when the need for constant mental stimulation and physical exertion is reduced drastically. They become more well-behaved and calmer during this period.
Is the first year of having a puppy the hardest?
Yes, the first year is the most challenging period. The Puppy and the parent are both in their learning phase. The bonding is still in its developing stage. Additionally, puppies during this age are very distracted by their surroundings and insecurities, so learning command and recall training also takes time. This is why many experts believe that the first year is the most crucial year for developing personal relationships and obedience training.
How long before having a puppy gets easier?
Handling puppies gets easier as they grow older and reach adulthood. They are more sensible, mature, and understanding of the scenarios around them. They also develop a keen sense of response and recall, making it easier to communicate verbally.
Is raising a puppy harder than a baby?
Raising a baby is already a tough job. But when you compare it with raising a voiceless tiny creature, the answer is slightly more complicated. At one point, the baby will grow and be able to voice their feelings and opinions. But in the case of a puppy, it has to be your lifelong job responsibility to understand and help them.
So, now you decide which is more complicated.
All is well!
How many times have you heard random people saying Puppies are the cutest living being on this planet? We all want to bring home these cute little bundles of joys, but only a lucky few get the chance to be the parent of a puppy.
The Puppy is a new extension of your family. Treating it just like a small child is the first step that you need to take. There is not much of a difference between how a tiny baby and a small puppy behaves.
It’s all about simple logic and tender love and care. Combine it with patience and preparation, and that’s all. This can take you a long way in strengthening your relationship with the Puppy sooner than later.
Don’t be afraid, don’t doubt yourself. Take it one step a day, and you will not regret your decision to get a puppy home.