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Regret Getting a Puppy/Dog? Try These 5 Things Right Now | Pupford

September 30th, 2023

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Do you regret getting a puppy (or an older dog)? Let me tell you first, you are NOT alone!

Raising a puppy (or any age dog) is challenging, sometimes frustrating, and can put a toll on your mental health.

When you start to have feelings of puppy regret or even hatred (it happens), it’s important to take steps to better understand that feeling and find ways to overcome it!

In this article I’ll cover:

  • Why puppy regret happens
  • Is it normal to regret getting a puppy?
    • Perspective on puppy regret guilt
  • 5 things to do when you regret getting a puppy (or dog)

Let’s dive into it 👇


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why puppy regret happens

Puppies are often challenging.

They pee everywhere.

They destroy things.

They bark when it’s least convenient for us.

They whine in their crate… The list goes on!

And these challenges can often leave us feeling frustrated, inadequate, and even regretting that we ever got a puppy in the first place.

Other times we feel regret due to unexpected financial costs!

And for me, I had feelings of puppy regret when I wasn’t getting adequate sleep. Lack of sleep hinders us in many ways, and often it shows up as an inability to cope with stressful situations!

No matter the reason for feeling that pup regret, know that you probably aren’t alone!

Here’s why ⬇️

Related Reading: Dog Mom Guilt & What To Do About It


is it normal to regret getting a puppy

If you answer that quick quiz above, you’ll see that many other pup parents have experienced feelings of regret.

Most people I personally know have at one time or another regretted getting a puppy.

I had moments where I regretted getting a dog. So, at the very least, one other person besides you has felt regret about becoming a pup parent!

And truthfully, knowing that you aren’t alone can be very helpful! So let me say it again…

It is okay to have feelings of regret about getting a puppy.

It doesn’t make you a bad person and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have your puppy. Feeling inadequate as a pup parent is quite common, but luckily there are things you can do to help with those feelings!

🐶 Don't miss out! Sign up for a 100% free online dog training course, 30 Day Perfect Pup with Zak George. Get access to videos & daily tips covering biting, leash walking, potty training and more! Sign up for free here! 🐶 


why puppy regret guilt happens

One quick point here. Many pup parents who regret getting a puppy end up feeling guilty about feeling regret.

It’s a vicious cycle.

My hope for you is to have some “long-term” perspective on the situation. Raising a puppy is hard and feeling overwhelmed is normal and okay!

With that being said, if you feel guilty about regretting your puppy, I’d hope you wouldn’t. That feeling of guilt can likely make the situation worse.

Guilt is a normal part of human emotions, and it often is a type of “call to action” from within. When we feel guilt it’s often our mind’s way of telling us that we can do better at something!

So instead of beating yourself up too much, here are 5 things to do when you regret getting a puppy 🙌

Quick note. I am NOT a mental health professional. If you’re seriously struggling with your mental health when it comes to your puppy (or anything for that matter), get the help of a professional. Therapists and counselors can help you find healthy solutions to the guilt and regret you may be feeling (along with all other feelings).


5 things to do when you regret getting a puppy

If you have a desire to keep your puppy, which I hope you do, you need to take action today to overcome the feelings of puppy regret!

These 5 things can be implemented right away and will help you feel more confident and happy with your puppy.


While it may feel like your puppy (and you) are only doing “bad” things, that’s likely not the truth.

Getting hung up on the “bad” (potty accidents, puppy biting, barking, etc.) can lead us to not see the full picture of our pup’s progress.

So, write down some positive things about the situation, your pup’s behavior, and your relationship with your dog!

While positivity isn’t a catch-all answer that can solve everything, it can certainly help! At least that was my experience in the moments that I regretted getting my puppy.


training a puppy to overcome the puppy regret

Many of the challenges that lead us to regret being a pup parent are due to “problem behaviors” from our puppies.

So, get back to the basics of dog training and behavior.

If you haven’t already, sign up for 30 Day Perfect Pup here!

Focus on giving less freedom.

Focus on having dedicated training sessions each day.

Focus on giving proper physical and mental exercise.

Focus on keeping destructible items out of your dog’s reach.

Focus on rewarding the good!

The basics of puppy training are often the key to seeing improvements in your pup’s behavior! And often as your pup’s behavior improves, those feelings of regret will decrease in frequency.

🐶 Don't miss out! Sign up for a 100% free online dog training course, 30 Day Perfect Pup with Zak George. Get access to videos & daily tips covering biting, leash walking, potty training and more! Sign up for free here! 🐶


When you originally decided to get a puppy, what was your reason?

Was it for the companionship?

Was it to go on fun adventures like hikes, long walks, etc.?

Was it to help a puppy in need?

Whatever your reason, remember it!

And if you don’t have a “why” yet, find one! Having a solid purpose and “goal” for your life with your pup can help you stay at it when times get tough.


get support when you feel regret about your puppy

This may be the most important thing to do when you regret getting a puppy. Get support!

Here are some ways you can find support as a new pup parent both in the real and digital worlds.

  • Join a Facebook group with other pup parents (ours has over 50k members, join here!)
  • Seek out someone in your local area who is also currently raising a new puppy
  • Go to group training or socialization classes in person to meet new people and professionals who can support you
  • Make friends or connect with someone who has raised a lot of pups and can give you sound advice on your journey
  • Go to parks and dog meet-ups (Facebook groups are helpful for this) and try to meet other pup parents
  • Choose a friend or family member who can be your venting buddy when you just need to talk about the challenges of being a pup parent

Feeling like you’re alone can make pup parenthood more difficult. Find others who can understand your situation and let them be your support system!

🐶 Don't miss out! Sign up for a 100% free online dog training course, 30 Day Perfect Pup with Zak George. Get access to videos & daily tips covering biting, leash walking, potty training and more! Sign up for free here! 🐶  


Similar to focusing on the basics, it’s so important to focus on your relationship with your puppy. Oftentimes we forget that the relationship between dog and human takes work!

Here are some things you can do to improve your relationship with your dog.

  • Do fun training, especially trick training!
  • Play games like fetch or tug (I especially love tug because it gets both the dog and human to play together)
  • Give your pup a tasty chew, treat, or frozen Kong
  • Snuggle, give your puppy a belly rub, or just pet him/her (science shows this helps in so many ways!)
  • Take them on a walk on a long lead without any specific destination in mind and let them follow their nose

There are certainly more options, just find something that helps you connect and bond with your pup!


a man regretting his decision to get a puppy dog | Pupford

Hopefully we've answered many of your questions, doubts, and fears about becoming a new pup parent. Here are a few other common questions we hear. 👇


Are you questioning if you made a mistake getting a puppy? The shorter answer... it depends.

Every family, financial, and individual situation is unique. Some of those situations aren't built for raising a puppy, BUT... ⤵️

As outlined in this article, the challenges of puppyhood can get better. There are free training courses and lots of steps you can take to make life with your puppy more enjoyable.

🐶 Don't miss out! Sign up for a 100% free online dog training course, 30 Day Perfect Pup with Zak George. Get access to videos & daily tips covering biting, leash walking, potty training and more! Sign up for free here! 🐶


Here's the thing, we are all humans with complex emotions. Hatred can be one of those emotions. If you feel like you "hate" your puppy, it's good to question whether it's hate or just frustration and regret.

Puppies are the equivalent of infants (in many ways). They are brand new and are just learning. You wouldn't get mad at a baby for going to the bathroom in their diaper, so why do we expect so much from our puppies at such a young age?!

So work on having patience for your pup and keep working on behavior improvements every day!


There's no simple answer to how long you might regret getting a puppy. Much of it will be dependent on your own efforts!

Our puppies are learning how to be a dog, and that takes time. Many puppies will start to calm down as they age, and that can be extremely helpful!

Stick with it and keep working with your puppy, you're probably doing better than you think! 😃


a happy human with their puppy

While I have had moments where I regretted getting my puppy, I ended up regretting those negative feelings later in life.

When my dog Buddy passed away I felt bad about every moment I was impatient, rude, or “regretful” toward him. Our time with our pups truly is short, so do your best to enjoy each moment with him/her!

And remember, if you have moments where you regret getting a puppy, that is fine! It is a totally normal feeling!

Here are 5 things to do to help you when times are tough with your pup and you're feeling regret.

  1. Find positives
  2. Focus on the basics
  3. Find (or remember) your "why"
  4. Get support
  5. Cultivate and focus on your relationship with your puppy

The relationship you can form with your puppy can be one of the most important relationships in your life! It takes time, effort, and patience, but raising a dog is worth all the challenges (in my opinion).

Stay positive, keep working at it, and certainly, things will get better!

What else have you personally done when you felt puppy regret? Tell me in the comments!

And last but not least, sign up for 30 Day Perfect Pup for FREE training help!

🐶 Don't miss out! Sign up for a 100% free online dog training course, 30 Day Perfect Pup with Zak George. Get access to videos & daily tips covering biting, leash walking, potty training and more! Sign up for free here! 🐶


Devin: This is the Perfect Pup Podcast, helping you build a better relationship with your pup, presented by Pupford. Hello pup parents, and welcome to today's episode of the Perfect Pup Podcast. My name is Devin. I'm excited for this episode. It's a tough one. And I'm sorry to do that two weeks in a row with tough topics, but I want to talk about what happens when you regret getting a puppy or a dog.

And if you hear that and think, well, I've never regretted my dog or my puppy, keep listening because there might be some instances where it pops up in your life and it's good to know how to combat it and how to be ready when you have those feelings. So let's get right into it. First off, it's important to note that emotions, feelings, they are complex and every human being is different.

I know that's not much of a new thought, but I want you to keep that in mind as we're talking about this topic of regretting getting a puppy, because it happens to more people than you'd think. Let me tell you my quick story. I want you to know that I've been through this personally multiple times. When we first got our dog Sunny, it was tough. It was a challenge.

And there was a lot of moments where I felt inadequate. I felt like was I doing a good enough job, am I really cut out for this, all those feelings that can be associated with regret and regretting getting a dog. And then we brought home my wife's old dog, Buddy. And so we had two dogs. And then fast forward six months, we decided to get a third dog. And I can tell you, there were a lot of moments of regret, especially after the third dog, getting Scout.

I multiple times out to my wife said, "What were we thinking? Why did we do this?" I want you to know I've been there and it's a challenge. And I'm going to talk through some of the feelings and some of the experiences, and what I figured out can be helpful when you regret a dog or a puppy. So first off, let's talk about why, why do we regret getting a puppy.

There's a lot of reasons. And it might be obvious, but some I wanted to highlight is you're sleeping less. And whenever you're, in most cases, right? And when you're sleeping less because of a new dog or puppy, you don't think as clearly there. I'm not going to dive into that necessarily, but sleep is important. And when we're not getting it, it clouds our judgment and clouds our ability to think critically and to handle stressful situations.

Oftentimes we regret it because of financial reasons. We don't realize how expensive having a puppy or a dog can be. Another instance I know I've regretted having a puppy is just when I felt like, man, why are they destroying everything? Why is everything in my house that again, can be expensive or nice or whatever it might be, why are they all getting destroyed?

It's a tough feeling. And I think one of the biggest reasons, at least for me personally, why I had moments of regret with my puppies was I just felt inadequate. It was tough. It was really hard. And I felt like, am I doing this right? Is this dog going to have a good life? Am I putting this dog into a situation where they're not going to be happier or they're not going to be healthy or whatever it might be?

There's a lot of feelings of inadequacy that come along with getting a puppy. And that leads to my next point of, is it normal? Is it normal to regret getting a puppy or a dog? And in my opinion. Well, normal is a word that really is different for everybody, right? Your idea of normal is different than mine, but I will say a lot of pup parents feel what you might be feeling about regretting getting a dog.

It is something that I think happens to all us at different times and for different reasons, but it is normal. And I think that's something really important to remember that you're not a bad person for having some regret about getting a dog. If you are feeling that, you're not a bad person, you're not the only person, you're not the first person, you won't be the last.

And that alone is very important to understand that what you're feeling is valid and that it is something that you can work on and you can find steps to improve it. And real quick, before I move on to what you should do, I want to talk about the guilt that is associated with... That you start regretting having a puppy, and then you regret or you feel guilty that you regret your puppy, and it's just this really vicious cycle.

So I do want to clarify that guilt generally speaking is something that is there to help us make improvements and help us make better decisions moving forward. There is a type of guilt where maybe you did something bad. Maybe you yelled at your dog or you put them into a situation where they were in danger and then you started asking yourself, "Am I adequate?

Why did I get this puppy? Why am I doing this?" Those feelings of guilt, just know that it is an opportunity to improve upon maybe your actions or how you're handling your puppy. So I did want to make a note of that, that the guilt that goes along with feeling regret, it also can be normal and it's not something to, I don't want to minimize it.

I don't want take it lightly, but it is something that can happen and it's okay. It's something that happens to a lot of us. So let's talk about what to do. Now that we've covered it is normal, why it can happen, let's talk about what to do. Because I'm going to say from my own personal experience, I've had multiple instances in my life where I have regretted getting a dog. I'll be honest.

I love my dog so much. I really do. But there are moments where you think, why did I get a dog? Was this worth it? Is this something that I wanted to do? So here are five things that I've done to kind of right the ship when I have felt regret about getting a puppy. The first thing, you got to find the positives, whether that is the positives of your dog's behavior, the positives of having a puppy, the positives of what the puppy or dog brings to your life, what you bring to your puppy's life.

It can feel all bad and all wrong, but I promise that's not the case. There are definitely things that you are doing right. There are definitely things that you are doing to make your dog life great. There are definitely reasons why your puppy is happy. So find those positive things, find the moments or the instances. Even write them down, if you need to. It can be very helpful to have a list of, wow, these are the positive things of a puppy.

And I'll talk a little bit more about kind of remembering your why, but before that number two is to focus on the basics. So oftentimes when we start to have these feelings of regret around a dog or a puppy, it's because our dogs are driving us crazy. We're up all night, they're peeing everywhere, they are destroying things, they are doing things that are just making our lives a challenge.

And so it's important to get back to the basics. If you're needing help with the basics, I really hope you've downloaded the Pupford app. If not, go do it now. There are so many resources and tips. All of these podcast episodes end up in the app as well. There are videos, there are paid courses. There's so much in there to help you get back to the basics. So a couple things, right?

Pulling from my own experiences of when I felt regret, it's again, when things are getting destroyed. Start by not leaving things out or not giving your dog too much freedom. Or maybe you're frustrated that your dog is peeing everywhere, get back on a more consistent potty training schedule. I'm not going to go into every behavior that might be causing you regret or why you might be feeling regretful about getting a puppy, but focus on the basics.

I think like most things in life when we get overwhelmed, or we start to wonder why, or what's the point of this, remembering the basics and just sticking to them. Because the basics, when it comes to our dogs are what really is going to kind of make you... is going to help move things forward. So the third thing is to find your why, or remember your why.

Before you ever got a puppy, you certainly were maybe scrolling through Instagram, or you saw a cute puppy walking down the street, or maybe you used to have dogs and you didn't for a long time. There's a reason that you chose to get a puppy. Remember it, remember that reason. When all else fails, remember the reason, think of your why.

There's so many instances, you can read books about business and entrepreneurs or people who want to become writers or people who are going through challenges and a lot of it comes down to remembering your why. So think about that. Think about the reasons you got a puppy. And you'll find that the first one of finding positives and the third point of finding your why, you'll see some overlap there.

Because for me, my why was I knew that I enjoyed being around dogs. I felt happier, I felt in a better mood when I was around dogs throughout my life. And I also wanted to have companions to do fun things with. I wanted to be able to take my dogs on runs and to go on hikes with my dogs and to go to the beach and experience these adventures I guess, with my dog.

So when the going gets tough, remember those things, remember what you're working towards and remember kind of... I hate to say the word end goal, because we shouldn't look at our puppies that way, but it's important to remember your why. It can help you in the tougher moments. The fourth thing to do when you regret getting a puppy is to find support.

We in life, when we try to go through things on our own, it's much more challenging. And if you are in a situation where you feel like you are alone, and you feel like you're handling this new puppy and you feel kind of in the dark and by yourself there are lots of places to find support. And I think you likely already know where those are for yourself individually, but a couple of ideas would be to find new puppy friends.

If you can go to a park or you can get on maybe it's local Facebook groups or a church group or a school or an organization, or whatever, finding people who also have puppies and being able to set up puppy play dates and being able to talk to each other and vent to each other. That for me, it's so important.

To just know that someone else is going through what you're going through and being able to talk through it and express frustration and get tips and get ideas, so, so important. You can also find it online in places like our 30 day Perfect Pup Facebook group. If you go into Facebook and search 30 day Perfect Pup, you will find that Facebook group that has over 50,000 people.

And I can tell you, it's been a great resource for people for finding support and just dealing with the puppy blues and the challenges and regrets of having a dog and trying to overcome those regrets and those challenges. So find support. Whoever it might be, whatever, in whatever case, find a support group. And the fifth thing is to focus on the relationship. When raising a puppy, there are so many things to worry about. There are so many things to think about.

You've got food, you've got training, you've got vets which your dog might be scared of, you've got shots, you've got all these different things that you need to do, and it can feel overwhelming. So when all else fails, focus on the relationship. Do things that are going to improve your relationship with your puppy. And whether that means things that you enjoy doing with your puppy, ideally, it's things your puppy enjoys and you can do with them.

So just things like finding time every day to play with your puppy, finding time every day to take your puppy on their favorite walk or give them their favorite treat or whatever it might be just focusing in on the relationship. Because at the end of the day, that's what you're doing with your puppy, you are building a relationship.

And just like any relationship in life, there are challenges and there are moments where you wonder is this right? Is this what I should be doing? And just trying to, I guess, double back down on the relationship side and having that connection with your puppy is going to help a lot when you have that regret. Because I've found that when you are feeling that regret, there is something special about just focusing on bonding with your dog and having fun with them.

And it often helps you get back to number three, which is finding your why. And oftentimes that companionship is what you're looking for. So let me recap those real quick. Number one is find the positives for your dog, for yourself. They are always positives. So find them, write them down. Number two is to focus on the basics.

And that means giving less freedom, getting back to a good training regimen where you're doing it every day and consistently, focus on the basics. Number three is to find or remember your why. Number four is to get a support group and find people who can help you. And number five is to focus on your relationship with your dog.

I want to end this episode with a personal story that I haven't told a lot of people about, but I feel like it's relevant for this podcast. Like I mentioned, I, for a long time had three dogs and we moved across the country from a house with a backyard, into an apartment in New York City with all three dogs. And that was a very, very tough time. There was a lot of challenges that came up with it. And one of the biggest challenges was our dog Buddy.

At the time, he was about 15 years old or yeah, 15 years old. And he developed separation anxiety when we moved here and it was tough on him. And he barked every time we left and we were nervous about being those new people in the building with a barking dog and we didn't leave our house a lot. And it was a really hard transition.

And unfortunately, I had moments where I regretted having our dogs. And I said things out loud that now I feel terrible about. And the challenge with this and why I wanted to share that story is. And I don't want to sound too gloom and doom, but about four months after we moved to New York, our dog Buddy passed away. He was old, he got sick. That's what happens. Not to minimize it, it was the worst.

And it's still one of the worst experiences I've ever had. But I truthfully now regret my feelings of regret more than... It's hard to articulate, but I regret so badly that I had regret over having our dogs and the challenges that they were presenting. And hindsight, it's 2020, it's easy to look back and think, wow, those times sucked but now it's a lot better. My hope is that you can build a super strong relationship with your dog.

And that takes time, it takes effort and it takes work. But I can tell you that there will come a time where you will look back and you will feel bad potentially about the negative feelings you had towards your dog, or any time that you were mean towards your dog or whatever it is. And I don't want to get too into the weeds on this, but I just want to make the point that the relationship that you can build with your dog, for me, it's like nothing else.

I have a lot of family and friends that I really love that are close to me, but dogs, it's different in the sense that dogs are so loyal and they are oftentimes so ready for whatever comes their way. And they're always there for you. And the relationship that I have with my dogs, it's I love it. It's something that's so important to me.

And I think like most things in life, anything worth working for and anything that is valuable and has a lot of meaning to us, it's going to take a lot of effort and work to get there and there're going to be times of challenge. And you know what? I want to say it again, it's okay if you regret getting a puppy, it's okay if you regret having a dog. I'm telling you people, it's okay to feel that. I don't want you to minimize or invalidate your own feelings.

But I do think it's important to remember that there are so many positives that come from dogs. And working through the regret and working through the tough times, I promise it gets better. Now that my dogs are older and we've put in a lot of time and effort on training and behavior, it's a bit more of a breeze. Let's just put it that way.

It's a lot easier and it's a lot more enjoyable. So just know that it does get better and it's okay if you feel regret, but do those five things, keep working at it, stick to the basics, remember your why, find support, all those things, do what it takes. And you know what? If you're getting to the point where you're asking yourself, "Do I need to re-home my dog, or can I handle this or should I not have my puppy anymore?"

I can't answer that for you. But I will say that the relationship that I've cultivated with my dogs has become something that's so, so important in my life and I wouldn't trade it for anything. So I hope you enjoyed this episode. I want to just tell you again, if at this moment you're feeling regret over getting your puppy or getting a dog, it's okay. It's okay to feel that. There are brighter days ahead.

It is... Having a dog is a valuable experience. And I believe if you keep working at it will be something that you will be so happy that you did, and you'll look back and say, "Wow, I'm so glad that I have my relationship with my dog. I'm so glad I have my dog." And if you know someone who is struggling with their puppy or struggling with their dog, forward them this episode. Let them know that, hey, it's okay. Be a support for someone else.

And that's something, if you're listening to this and you have an older dog and you're not feeling these regret or the puppy blues, find people in your area who have puppies and try to be a support for them. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you found it helpful. I hope that you have some more hope for yourself and for your dog. If you haven't already, please leave a review on Apple Podcast or wherever you listen. It's very, very helpful and I look at all of them. And other than that, we will catch you on the next episode.


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