Many people make the mistake of underestimating the time and energy a puppy requires. Even though they’re small, these bundles of energy can feel exhausting and frustrating. Many new owners begin to wonder when do puppies get easier and how they can maintain their sanity until that time arrives.
Keep reading to learn when things will get easier for you and your canine friend. Let’s jump in!
Puppies Are Cute, But They Are a Lot of Work!
Some puppies require tremendous time and energy, depending on their breed and personalities. Unfortunately, not everyone makes it through the puppy stage, and they throw in the towel and rehome their dog.
You must know what you’re getting into with a puppy. Take a look at your schedule and ensure you have the time to devote to raising a puppy. Additionally, you may spend all day at work, but your puppy will likely be full of energy and ready to play when you get home. They need lots of play, exercise, attention, and training.
It is vital to remember that puppies are fast learners, regardless of their young age. They also don’t just magically “grow out of” bad puppy behaviors. They must be taught and trained, and this teaching starts the moment your new puppy comes home with you. This includes biting, jumping, going potty, and what they can and cannot chew on.
Do All Puppy Breeds Have the Same Temperament?
Some breeds have a reputation for being calmer than others. However, like humans, temperament varies from one dog to the next. Just because one dog is seemingly wild and full of energy doesn’t mean another of the same breed will behave the same.
If you’re considering a specific dog breed, learn about its traits and characteristics. Some dogs require much more exercise than others. A dog that doesn’t get enough exercise or attention will have a temperament that’s hard to manage or control. And you’ll frequently ask yourself, “When do puppies get easier?”
Do your best to get a dog with a temperament compatible with you and your family.
What Are the First Things You Should Do When You Get a Puppy?
Let’s first get into a few tips for making welcoming your puppy home easier. You may still get exhausted and frustrated throughout the dog’s weeks or months at home, but there are ways to prepare for a smoother start.
Puppy Proof Your House
First, puppy-proof your entire home. Find a safe place for any breakable items or anything you don’t want your puppy to chew on.
No matter how good of a job you think you’ve done, puppies will help you quickly discover the things you’ve missed. So, remember to put away items like cleaning supplies, batteries, choking hazards, medications, and poisonous plants and foods. These items can be deadly for a dog if they consume them.
Aside from chewing, you’ll want to invest in a quality trash can they can’t access and even consider child-proofing cabinet locks. Dogs are curious by nature and will find ways to get into just about anything. But don’t worry, puppies get easier, and this behavior will go away with some training.
Establish a Potty Spot
Training your puppy to go in the same spot every time is a good routine to get into. If you do, your future self will thank you. This is especially helpful if you have a yard with a potty area, so you or your kids don’t accidentally step in a fresh poop.
Establishing a spot also helps with potty training. Your new puppy will learn where they go, which means fewer accidents to clean up inside your home. Again, your future self will thank you the sooner you can establish a potty spot.
Enforce Rules and Routine Immediately
Work on setting rules and routines as early as possible. The sooner you can get your dog into a routine, the better. Dogs, like humans, are creatures of habit and will quickly fall in line with a routine. Keeping meal time and potty time on a schedule will help.
Enforce rules from the start, inside and outdoors. For example, if you don’t want your dog lounging on the furniture, start setting rules as soon as you take your puppy home. The same goes for outside, teach your dog their potty area and yard boundaries.
It’s better to start a routine and enforce rules early on, before your dog has already formed bad habits. While you can teach an old dog new tricks, it is a lot easier never to let the bad habits start in the first place.
What Are the Biggest Challenges of Raising a Puppy?
As we’ve mentioned, raising a puppy comes with many challenges. Fortunately, many of these are simply stages that they grow out of as they age. Unfortunately, knowing they’re just stages doesn’t typically make them any easier to deal with when you’re going through them. Puppies get easier after you have conquered these challenges.
Giving In To Their Cuteness
It happens to the best of us: giving in to a perceived puppy desire because of their cute looks or feeling sorry for them. Puppies will cry and pout, but that does not mean they should get everything they want. In fact, giving in can teach and re-enforce the very bad behaviors you want to avoid. This is probably the most difficult part of puppy raising.
One of the biggest challenges in raising a puppy can be potty training. However, some puppies get the hang of it faster than others. While some may only have an accident or two inside, others can be quite a handful. You may find yourself cleaning up accidents for months before you see any sort of progress.
Potty training a puppy requires consistency and positive rewards for good behavior. Make a celebration for any time your puppy goes to the bathroom outside. Reward them with treats so they know they’re doing a good thing.
In addition, potty training process requires consistency. While it may not be a convenient time, when a puppy has to go, they have to go. You can learn the signs your puppy displays when they need to go. Taking them out more often than they need will train them faster than taking them out less.
Some puppies will find things to chew on no matter how hard you try to prevent it. Even if you keep cords, shoes, and other items off the floor, they’ll find things from time to time. Some will even scratch or chew on furniture when they’re bored.
Provide your puppy with toys to chew on and keep them busy and stimulated. The second they start to gnaw on something that’s not theirs, replace the item with one of their toys. Again, this behavior takes repetition, and some dogs get it sooner than others.
Excessive Amounts of Energy
Another challenge of raising a puppy is its excessive energy. This can become a problem if you spend a lot of time away during the day at work or school. When you come home at the end of the day, they may have gotten into something they shouldn’t have. And they’ll have lots more energy ready to expend.
If you neglect to play or give them attention, they’re more likely to misbehave. Some owners notice that puppies have increased chewing incidents if they can’t burn off excess energy. You may not feel like taking a walk or going to the dog park after a long work day. But it’s necessary to keep your puppy healthy and its behavior in check.
For the most sustainable success, find a high-energy output that doesn’t take much effort from you. If you can teach them fetch or find another dog for them to run and play with, they can burn a lot more energy with less effort on your part.
The Naughty Phase: 3-6 Months Old
Many puppies go through a “naughty” phase from the time they’re three to six months. This is when they’re learning routines, adjusting to life, and testing their boundaries. They also have even more energy and are getting big enough to do more. You must teach them right from wrong, and staying consistent is more important than ever.
Three- to six-month-old puppies will likely chew and bark during this time. You’ll need to be extra careful about leaving things anywhere accessible to them, and letting bad behavior slide.
The Adolescent Phase: 6-18 Months Old
Some find that the adolescent phase, when puppies are six to 18 months, is the worst. It’s like having a teenager in your home but in canine form.
This phase is challenging because puppy seemingly forgets everything they’ve learned. Depending on the breed, it could be nearly fully grown and gain significant muscle. So, they’re likely to start testing their newfound strength and even becoming defiant in some aspects. Be sure to avoid easing up on your puppy too early.
Don’t lower your expectations. If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile. So stay strong and keep the expectations high for your puppy through this stage. So when do puppies get easier?
At What Age Do Puppies Start to Settle Down?
Depending on their breed and gender, most puppies tend to settle somewhere between six and 12 months. However, some breeds are rather calm for their entire lives, and some remain on the wild side until they’re two or three years old.
It’s best to research the specific breed you’re considering and check how long it takes for them to go through each stage. When in doubt, talk with your vet to see if any behaviors you encounter are normal or concerning.
What Is the Easiest Age for Training Your Puppy?
You can typically start training your puppy around seven to eight weeks. Training them to sit is one of the most basic tricks. And it introduces the concept of listening and responding to commands. By teaching them this basic command, they start understanding the idea behind training.
Commands can increase in complexity and difficulty as they age. Some will be easier for puppies to learn than others. Maintain a positive attitude, and don’t push your puppy too hard so neither of you gets frustrated. Puppies tend to get easier after they have received some training.
Additionally, training new behaviors is a great way to put a puppy to work. Generally, dogs love learning and working for treats! You can channel that attention and puppy energy into productivity with games and agility.
Is It Normal to Feel Overwhelmed with a Puppy?
It is incredibly common to feel overwhelmed when raising a puppy. As we’ve said, they require a lot of time and energy. Those are two items many people don’t seem to have excess amounts of. However, you can do some things to help minimize the stress.
One of the best ways to keep from feeling overwhelmed is to exercise your puppy. This can be highly beneficial for you and your pet. Go for walks and take your puppy with you. It can help them burn off some energy and help you to release some of the new pet parent stress.
If you can’t go for a walk, take your puppy to the dog park, toss the ball around, or let them play with other dogs. Allowing them to burn off energy and socialize with other dogs will reduce their over-the-top behaviors at home.
Some dogs can be overwhelming because they don’t have enough mental stimulation. Begin to introduce toys to them that are interactive. These may seem challenging initially, but they stimulate your dog’s brain and help reduce its energy.
If you needed an excuse to nap, now you have one. Puppies need time to relax and take it easy. Despite how much they may run around your yard or house, they need to rest too. Some experts state that dogs should have two or three long naps when they’re under 18 weeks.
Does Owning a Dog Get Easier?
Luckily, puppies do get easier. But owning a dog takes tremendous effort and dedication to get through the puppy stage. The good news is, once you’ve trained your pup and the two of you have mutual respect for one another, it’s a bond that you’ll never forget.
Eventually, you’re likely to laugh about the challenging and frustrating times of the puppy years. And you’ll likely be crazy enough to do it again with another puppy someday.
Are you in the midst of raising a puppy? Let us know your experience in the comments below.
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