New puppy owner regret: It’s a thing. This will not be one of the more fun blog posts we have tackled, but unfortunately it is a very common concern among new puppy owners. So if you stumbled upon this blog because of your own sense of overwhelm with your new pup, rest assured that you are not alone.
One of our main goals at Jenna Lee Designer Doodles is to educate our puppy parents ahead of time so they have a better idea of what to expect when they bring their new doodle home. We even provide a new puppy owner checklist.
Still, there is nothing quite like owning a puppy, especially if you have never done it before.
Why Some People Initially Regret Getting Their New Puppy
The main purpose of this post is to address some of the more emotionally difficult aspects of parenting a puppy. (We address the more practical aspects of crate training, potty training, etc. in our article "How to train an 8-week old puppy.")
The first few weeks can be particularly exhausting as lack of sleep may play a factor if you are attempting to crate train your pup. If you are feeling at the end of your rope, it is important to consider what factors are contributing to your frustration and give careful analysis to whether or not they will be remedied with training and/or the natural development of your dog from a puppy to an adult.
Frustration with potty accidents is a common cause of feeling overwhelmed. We try to help set realistic expectations for our puppy owners that potty accidents can and should be expected until your pup is at least 16 weeks of age. Most dogs are not super reliably potty trained until 5-6 months.
Doodles are intelligent dogs and as puppies they may very well latch on to the concept of potty training in the first couple of weeks, which is why a spontaneous accident a few weeks later can be particularly frustrating and bewildering to new owners.
Keep in mind your puppy is developmentally very much like a toddler or young child. So he may grasp the concept of potty training but is still very distractible, excitable and does not have the bladder control of an adult dog yet. So with patience, consistency and maturity, your pup can certainly be reliably potty trained.
Another very common complaint we receive from new doodle owners is puppy nipping. This can be especially difficult for families with young children as young children often do not understand the difference between a play-bite and true aggression and hurt feelings (and fingers) may ensue. Furthermore, the natural playful energy of children brings out the play/excitement in your pup.
This can often spell trouble for both parties. Parents dream of their kids romping in the backyard with their loyal pup, but quickly become frustrated when the puppy seems to be bringing out the worst in their children and vice versa.
Doodles in particular can be mouthy pups as the poodle was originally bred to be a retriever - so putting things in their mouth is truly part of their DNA. Combine the poodle with another retriever breed (such as a Golden Retriever) or herding breed (such as the Old English Sheepdog) and you will can definitely expect a long nipping phase.
So again, if this resonates, rest assured that you are not alone. But also know that puppy nipping is a phase (a rather long, annoying one!), but it is something that your pup will outgrow as they get older especially if you are firm and consistent with redirecting this behavior.
New Puppy Owners Feeling Regret Just Need Patience
So in summary, if your frustrations are related to crate training, potty training or puppy nipping…these are all issues that should resolve with more training and age!
However, it is possible you find that the doodle breed is simply not for you. Again, we strive to educate our puppy parents beforehand and encourage everyone to do their own research on breeds and the development or behavioral stages of puppyhood, but it is always possible for someone to fail to grasp exactly what it looks like to own a dog, or particularly a doodle.
If your frustration stems from having to plan care for your dog when you go out or on a trip, if you feel annoyed that your dog wants to be with your all the time and follows you from room to room (a very common doodle trait!), etc. then these may be issues that will not resolve with time.
While you can expect your pups’ manners to greatly improve with age and training, doodles are a relatively high maintenance dog breed so adjusting your schedule to meet their exercise and social needs will be a common thread even into adulthood.
One common trait among reputable doodle breeders is that they are typically willing (and is often stated in a contract), to stand by their pups and take their dogs back at any time for any reason.
So if the absolute worse comes to worst, safely rehoming your pup is an option if you have purchased him / her from a quality breeder. We strongly encourage every owner to meet with a trainer before taking this step as a good trainer can both help you with the nuts and bolts of training your pup but can also give you realistic feedback on your pups’ overall temperament.
For example, perhaps you are a very low key person who is mostly sedentary, but you have a pup who is on the high energy side and needs a lot of exercise and stimulation. Even as your pups’ manners improve, you may find that his energy level is not a good fit with yours. As an aside, this is why we strongly emphasize temperament and waiting until the pups are old enough to complete a temperament test before matching them with their respective owners.
In conclusion, it is very normal for puppy owners to feel overwhelmed in the first weeks and months with their new addition. The vast majority of overwhelming issues are related to puppyhood and are able to be resolved with training and time. To avoid some of these issues, know what questions to ask before buying your puppy.
We recommend sitting down with a professional trainer as well as taking time to carefully analyze the root causes of your frustration before making the decision to rehome your pup.
Many owners have been on the brink of throwing in the towel, but thanks to their resolve, end up with a well-mannered companion for years to come once their dood grows up. Hang in there and this can be your story too!
Jenna and the JLDD Team