The reality check you need to hear when you bring home your puppy

Posted by Laura Greenland on

Get a puppy they said! It’ll be great, they said! The bestest friend you’ll ever have, they said! 

So - you've got your puppy, with no prior dog experience, and now what? Nobody said anything about toilet training, how puppy teething/chewing can be, what happens if your puppy gets sick, what the hell ‘socialisation’ is, and they certainly never warn you about just how overwhelming getting a new puppy can be!

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! I’ll give you the low down on my personal experience and I assure you, it wasn’t what I expected either!

So let’s go back to 2018. I had just left my stressful corporate job where I was working on average a 70 hour week, where I was on call 24/7 and I decided to do something for me and put my mental health and wellbeing first! And after reading countless articles about dogs I thought ‘I know - I need a dog in my life’. I had always wanted to get a dog but for one reason or another it was never the right time, but what I did know was that I always knew I wanted a German Shepherd. There was just something about them that always appealed to me and so I found a breeder, selected a puppy and when I was told he was ready to leave the breeder, I brought him home. 

The first 24 hours were a bit of a whirlwind! Brian and I weren’t living together at the time and we drove up to Gloucestershire to pick up this new puppy who I brought home on a very wet August bank holiday weekend. my entire family were there. There’s currently 19 of us – so Enzo’s homecoming was a bit of a celebration to say the least. They all wanted to meet my new puppy! It was great but then everyone left and there was me with this puppy thinking "What the hell do we do now?!"

Before getting Enzo, I did my research and felt that I was prepared. I had spoken to the breeder, the vet, asked all of the right questions, spoken to other dog owners, got his crate, bowls, blankets, toys etc, had a trainer lined up to start coming over to begin Enzo’s training within days of him coming home. But if I’m honest, as the day got closer and closer to picking Enzo up, I was feeling this weird sinking feeling and I didn’t know what it was at the time. And then, when I brought Enzo home at what I now know was 6 weeks old, I found myself completely overwhelmed. 

To add to that, Enzo was also ill from the very beginning. He had constant diarrhoea from the very first day which we later found out was inflammatory bowel disease. His teething was really bad too – I still have scars from his little gnashers and as the days and weeks went on, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. Getting a puppy made me anxious, a feeling I hadn’t ever experienced before; I don’t think. I didn’t like my puppy. I felt like I was a terrible person for not liking this ball of fluff that I chose to bring into my home, for not being able to understand or enjoy Enzo during those early days, and for having thoughts of being well out of my depth and for thinking about giving him up. I know, shocker right!

I worried whether I was doing things the right way (socialisation, exposure, training, etc.) – whether Enzo was happy being with me – I felt like I was drowning and I couldn’t cope. 

To outsiders everything looked fine – we were seeing the vets for his vaccinations and his tummy troubles, I had a trainer coming over within the first few days of bringing Enzo home, so he was learning basic commands. I was teaching him to love the car, taking him out and about to expose him to new environments, places, people, etc. Here was this gorgeous little fluffy puppy, who charmed everyone he met. So why was I feeling so negative? Why did I feel so low? It wasn’t like you see in films? I wasn’t enjoying having a puppy!

Quite simply, I had a bad case of what some people call ‘the puppy blues’. I was depressed, full of anxiety and regret. I used to wake up in the mornings dreading the days on my own with Enzo because the less I understood him, the more frustrated he would get with me and out of boredom he would start barking at me, try to chew my hands, ankles, arms, legs – I was a walking talking teething toy. 

He was a tiny fluffy ball who was entirely dependent on me (I felt sorry for him having to put up with me!). He didn’t seem to sleep all that much, had constant diarrhoea and needed to be watched constantly. And don’t get me started on toilet training – everything I read online said toilet training shouldn’t take no more than 2 weeks but it took Enzo 2 months to master going outside! So, side note, don’t believe the hype, it takes your puppy as long as it takes it to master peeing and pooping outside - and what a massive achievement it is when it’s done.

I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone else either because:

  1. Back in 2018, not many people had big dogs where I lived, and as soon as they saw a German Shepherd, they ran away from me (and it didn’t help that Enzo would bark at them too) 
  2. The people that would speak to me always made out that having a puppy was such an amazing experience but there was me hating every minute of it. 

And when I tried to talk about it to other people, non-dog people, I quickly learnt to change the subject or to make a joke of it because I realised they just didn’t understand. They only wanted to hear about the nice things and at the time, I didn’t feel like there were any.

And then add to all of that those people, were the people we have all come across that think that their experts and take great pride in telling you, you’re doing it all wrong! I felt so alone and isolated, like there was something wrong with me because I just wasn’t getting it and wasn’t enjoying having a puppy. 

I remember there was this one particular day where Enzo’s diarrhoea was really bad, my hands and ankles were cut, bleeding and really sore from where he had been chewing on me and I turned up at the vets in tears and said to the vet that I think I need to give Enzo up because I don’t think I am the right person for him. I didn't feel like I could meet his needs and that I am just the worst dog parent on the planet.

And then my vet turned to me and told me to ‘shut up and stop being so silly’ and that Enzo was exactly where he needed to be, with the person he needs to be with and that just because I am inexperienced didn’t mean I wasn’t capable and that already within only the first few weeks of having him I was doing a great job! So essentially, the vet picked me up, dusted me off and sent me off on my way. 

As time passed I continued to have low moments full of anxiety and regret but as Enzo was getting older, less mouthy, the closer we were getting to a diagnosis for his health issue, I found I was coping and the bad days were fewer and further between. I was realising that I was beginning to understand and enjoy being a dog parent! 

I smile now as I remember having a meltdown over Enzo running off with my trainer on the first day I was left on my own with him and not being able to catch him. It wasn’t so much dealing with the chewed-up trainer, it was the fact that I didn’t know how to communicate with this boisterous puppy who I was chasing around and he was just being well… a puppy. Nowadays I don’t think anything of giving Enzo my shoes, tissues, hair-ties; I know he’s not going to damage them and I just chase him around – because it’s what he wants to do.

Although getting a puppy made me anxious, there was a flip side too. Enzo helped me with the intermittent anxiety I felt and still feel with his health challenges. If I was worried about his pending test results, for example, spending time with Enzo made me realise the importance of being present. Watching Enzo charge around looking for squirrels took my mind off his pending test results, and if I was having a stressful day, it helped to think about playing with and cuddling him when I got home. 

Cuddles helped, as did taking Enzo out for a walk every day – a great opportunity to practice mindfulness. And most importantly, I often hear myself telling people that no matter what happens during my day; I never start or end my day badly thanks to Enzo. He’s the first creature I see every morning and it’s great because he’s always so happy to see me and he’s the last thing I see at night. 

Enzo is now five years old (almost six) and he’s my reason for getting out of bed in the mornings. I can’t imagine my life without him. I wish now I’d relaxed more with him when he was a pup – but I was just too in my own head and too anxious at the time. 

I used to often think it would be nice for him to have a playmate/sibling. And so last year (2023), we got Maahi, but this time around, I was much better prepared! Yes, I still had moments of anxiety as Maahi is a very different puppy to what Enzo was - she is far more sensitive than Enzo was and this time around my anxiety was around making sure Enzo and Maahi got along and would have a great bond/relationship (which they do). But this time I knew these ‘puppy blues’ would pass and I was ready for them! I wouldn’t be left thinking I was always going to be feeling this way and better still, this time around; I had Enzo and Brian – I wasn’t dealing with it alone anymore. And I’m happy to report, they passed much quicker this time around too! 🤗


“Post-puppy depression, another term for puppy blues, isn’t a formal diagnosis. It’s a term used to describe feelings of regret, disappointment, and dismay that can occur after getting a new dog.”

The puppy blues can be caused by your puppy’s destructive behaviour, neediness, or inability to sleep through the night.


According to, symptoms of puppy blues include the following: 

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling anxious, sad, and/or hopeless
  • Feeling helpless and/or paralysed
  • Feeling guilty or ashamed
  • Feeling trapped
  • Feeling empty inside
  • Feeling numb
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Feeling angry or resentful towards your dog
  • Thinking you made a mistake in getting a dog, or wishing you could return them
  • More frequent crying
  • Increased tension or more frequent arguments with other members of your household
  • Increased irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased muscle tension, headaches, nausea, or stomach upset
  • Changes to appetite and weight loss or gain
  • Difficulty sleeping even if your dog is sleeping through the night


Yes, with time and with training the puppy blues do go away. Puppies are easier as they grow into themselves, learn to relieve themselves outside, and form a bond with their owner. 

Some situations where puppy blues may take a bit longer to go away is if your new dog is reactive or sick - Enzo was both of those things. This can lead to ongoing feelings of helplessness and loneliness. A qualified trainer or vet can help in diagnosing these issues and potential solutions.


The best thing you can do for the puppy blues is to have realistic expectations of your puppy and yourself. Puppies are messy, needy, and have no impulse control. Also, most puppies are brought home at 8 weeks old, which is still very young! Getting over myself and embracing the insanity definitely helped my relationship with Enzo, even if it did take me a while to work that bit out.


However, one of the most helpful skills a pup can learn is how to settle. I missed this trick with Enzo but I was on it straight away with Maahi and taught her this by rewarding her anytime we saw her “chilling out” or going to her crate. 

Another thing to save your sanity during the puppy blues (and at any point throughout your dog’s lifetime) is crate training. I did this with both Enzo and Maahi. But for example, we began giving Maahi “enforced naps” in her crate every few hours. I even used to put her in her crate with a chew when I was doing the cleaning to keep her busy and out of the way whilst I did the hoovering, but also to build a positive association with her crate. She soon learned to love her crate, it gave her time during the day to rest. Puppies need a lot of sleep.

Crate training also gives you, the owner some time to relax, knowing that your puppy is safe. It’s also essential so they are used to being crated in emergency situations, at the groomers, or at the vet.


Yes! It can feel like that bond will never come, but believe me, it will over time! And when it does, be ready because you’ll be so in love with your puppy and you’ll be wondering what you were ever so worried about.

I’m sure there are some dog lovers out there who won’t identify with this post, god knows I met a few of them, but puppies are hard! They can be hard work and it’s OK to say that. You’re on your own journey and shouldn’t compare yourself with others because just like every dog/puppy is different, So are you and Debbie/Jim next-door!

Now that Enzo is 5 years old, I notice how badly I felt towards him. I was waking up anxious every morning, not wanting to deal with his biting and whining. It really wasn’t how I envisioned getting a dog would be. But I am so grateful for the amazing people like Brian, our vet, Enzo’s trainers Emma (Absolute Obedience) and Ross Top Dog Training and the fantastic Health Team at Honey's Real Dog Food for getting me through it and for staying with us even now, and being a part of Maahi’s journey.

So how does any of this help you!?!

So, after learning everything I did the first time around with Enzo and then getting Maahi; I accidentally created what I consider to be a genius ‘puppy box’! This box includes: 

  • Ancol Small Bites Mini Tennis Balls : A simple game of fetch is great fun for a dog, it will improve their fitness and also build an unbreakable bond of trust and friendship with their owner.
  • Kong Puppy (XS, S, M, L or XL) : Teaches appropriate chewing behaviour while offering mental enrichment, which is great for tiring out your puppy. Also, giving them a stuffed puppy Kong toy is a great way to slow down mealtimes and their eating too.
  • Ancol Small Bites Soft Bone : Teething can be painful for a puppy which is one of the main reasons they seek out items to chew, which may include you or your property. In addition, the chewing process helps to strengthen the jaw, keep teeth clean and relieve boredom.
  • Ancol Small Bites Ice Lolly Teether : Also another great way to ease teething for puppies is to fill this lolly with water then freeze, which will help to soothe teething puppies.
  • LickiMat Soother : Reduce your pup's anxiety and boredom with The LickiMat Soother which encourages licking, releasing a calming hormone for your furry friend. It's also a training aid recommended by pet trainers, and promotes healthy oral habits by stimulating salvia production. 
  • Ancol Small Bites Unicorn : This dog toy has a rainbow main, shiny horn and plush body so the multiple textures keep your dog interest. The squeaky dog toy is the ideal size for games of throw and fetch with your puppy and then perfect for cuddles afterwards when your dog is tired.
  • Proflax Puppy Power 100ml : Puppy Power is a premium 100% natural holistic superfood supplement that contains 8 high strength active herbs; Nettle, Chamomile, Marshmallow Root, Calendula, Turmeric, Gotu Kola, Fennel and Fenugreek. This blend is especially beneficial for bones, joints, circulation, heart, immune system, skin, coat, digestive system, and nervous system. Additionally, it aids in focus and concentration, making it great for socialising and training.
  • JR Pet Products Salmon Pate 80g : With a unique firm 'pate like' texture, it's perfect for stuffing your pup's new Kong or garter over their Lickimat! You could even use as a food topper when they get a bit fussy at mealtimes. Made with 100% fresh salmon, free of offal, grains, and gluten, it's not only healthy but also deliciously irresistible. Get creative with endless possibilities- grate, slice, or dice it!
  • JR Pet Products Pure Meat Venison Sticks 50g : 100% Venison, high protein, hypoallergenic, grain & gluten free.
  • Green & Wilds Puppy Chew-Its 80g : These Puppy Chew-Its are made from 100% buffalo which is simply air dried to keep in all the goodness. These chews are softer than many others making them ideal for younger dogs. They also make for a great high value reward treat and are great to satisfy your dog's urge to chew. Save your shoes or ankles with these chews!
  • Green & Wild's Luv Hearts 100g : Made with freshly prepared chicken, chicken liver & sweet potato, grain free, these fab little training treats are the healthy way to treat or great for rewarding successful toilet training runs to the garden.
  • Green & Wilds Olivewood Chew (XS, S, M, L or XL) : The Olivewood Chews are designed to satisfy your dog's natural chewing instincts, promoting healthy teeth and keeping them occupied. Say goodbye to chewed table legs, shoes, and ankles - and hello to a happy, content pup!

If bought separately, all of these items would cost a minimum of £65 (depending on the size of your puppy) but we have been able to create this box and offer you a 30% discount off the collective RRP item values! 

We’re not claiming this box will fix or stop your ‘puppy blues’ but we are certain it will definitely help make the process easier. 

Check out our box now!


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