A few times weekly, I act as a puppy parent grief counselour. I am not talking to people who are mourning a loss, but rather those dealing with the grief of owning a young puppy.

These are often people who have done all their research, found a great breeder or rescue, read a few books before bringing home this puppy, and even those who have raised a puppy before (12 yrs ago). Research and prep can get you so far, but when puppy arrives – the challenge begins.  Puppy parenting reality sets in.

Droopy eyes, velvety ears, fluffy irresistible fur – what’s with these people? What’s not to love about these little beasts that come in the perfect snuggly package!?

Well, according to most puppy parents, there’s a lot not to love. Nipping, chewing, peeing, pooping and barking are standard (not optional) realities of even the most perfect puppy package.

Some people feel so overwhelmed, they consider rehoming the puppy or giving it back to the breeder. While others after a talk are somewhat relieved to know that, “it’s normal puppy stuff.”  

What’s most important for people to understand – puppies are work. In fact, the truth is, puppies are a pain. I love dogs. I love puppies, but at times they are a pain – mentally and often physically (those sharp little teeth!).

Be prepared for whining in the middle of the night, scheduled night wakings to let puppy out to piddle and poop, exhaustive housetraining clean up,  barking and whining when separated and confined,  tiny little scratches up and down your arms and legs, and last but not least, shredded pants legs and shoes.  If you have children in the home, well, be prepared for 24/7 supervision and teaching both puppy and children how to interact appropriately.

 This post is not meant to scare people away from puppies (heck, I’d be out of business!), but just to remind prospective puppy parents –  if you are considering a new furry family addition – make sure you are fully ready for the time and mental energy that will be required to raise this furry beast into your furry best friend.

You can allow the puppy woes to stress you out – or you can embrace it as a fleeting time in the development of your best friend (similar to that of a newborn human!).  It’s time you won’t get back – and time that you will cherish (when you look back that is…).

Potential puppy parents need to know that they can alleviate some of this upfront stress.  The sooner a routine is established, boundaries are set  and training begins – the more likely it is for you and your pup to srtart building a bond ….an ever lasting bond.

More good news: most of the above is quite avoidable, or at least very manageable when you work with a trainer to educate yourself on housetraining, chewing prevention,  puppy proofing your home and creating a system for safe living.

In the end, with commitment and dedication each passing week and month gets easier. The daily laughs and love we get from our pups and dogs – far outweighs the stress, frustration and confusion we might feel during the early days.  Another reality about puppies, they are not only a pain at times, they’re addictive.  

BUT…they are not for everyone. If you are not yet ready for the challenge of puppy parenting, consider instead a visit to the toy store where you can purchase a stuffed lookalike. They’re much quieter, won’t chew your shoes and certainly won’t piddle on your carpet!  

Warm wags!