New Dog Blues
Raising a dog looks so easy. You see other people enjoying beach walks with their dogs or drinking a cup of coffee with the dog under the table while you romantically envision yourself and your future pet in those spots. At times you might even internally criticize owners when their dog shows unwanted behaviour such as jumping up or stealing food. Thinking your future dog would never do that…
Then the moment arrives when you welcome your own dog, and boy oh boy what a culture shock this can be! Whether you have adopted a puppy or a grown dog – you can feel overwhelmed, scared and stressed when reality isn’t how you dreamed it would be. You realize that this whole other species in your house can make you very insecure as their behaviour doesn’t always make sense. You start to wonder: “Why is my dog peeing in the house?”, “What do I do when he barks when I leave for bed at night?”, “Why does he stand in front of me and whine in the late afternoon?”, “What do I do when he jumps up to strangers?”, “Why does he keep biting my ankles?” The list can be endless. Reality hits you hard, and you must admit that raising a dog isn’t easy at all! You thought you would be a perfect dog owner but now you start do seriously doubt your capabilities.
This doesn’t even to be the case though. Sometimes the dog adjusts perfectly well but you still feel this anti-climax, this is NOT what you envisioned. You can feel that you have no bond with this new dog and might have regrets of adopting the dog (and consequently feeling horrible for thinking this). Other people seem to instantly fall in love with your new family member, but you don’t share these warm and fuzzy feelings.
If you recognize this scenario, realize the following:
1. You are NOT alone. The topic might be a taboo but there are many dog owners out there that have gone through this emotional roller-coaster.
2. Accept that you feel this way and tell yourself that this is okay.
3. Falling in love with your new pet is often a process, it is very common that a relationship needs to be build first.
4. You might feel like a prisoner in your home now, and you might want your “old life” back, but this is a temporary feeling. You will find a new routine / way of life, and even though it might never be same as before, you will find happiness again.
Sounds like someone talking from experience? Yup, I’ve been there, with both my dogs. Life isn’t always as easy as before for sure, but I have grown to love both my boys dearly. So hang in there, you can do this!