As much as you want your new puppy to be instantly happy and feel loved as soon as you bring him home from the breeder’s kennel, the truth is transitioning to a new home is a stressful time for young pups. They are leaving the only world they’ve every know, the only people they have interacted with, and their mothers and their littermates. It is only natural that a puppy would feel sad and anxious. Fortunately, puppies adapt quickly to change, so in no time at all, he should bond with you and your family and adjust to his new forever home. You will be able to tell if he is having trouble getting used to his new home with these Top 11 Ways to Tell if Your New Puppy is Not Happy.
Your new puppy will want to explore his new home, however, if he seems to be hiding, then it may be a sign that he is scared, sad, and wants to be left alone. Your puppy may feel overwhelmed by his new surroundings and the noise and confusion of his new forever home. Until he gets to know each family member and learns the routine, he may be confused and unhappy. Hiding out away from unfamiliar people is one way he reacts to these feelings. You can help him feel more secure and happy in his new forever home by showing him love and affection, but not smothering him with it. Give the pup his own space when he wants it, play fetch or tug o’ war with him, and offer plenty of belly scratches. In time, he will learn the ropes and leave his sadness behind.
10. Trembling and Shaking
Anxiety and stress over being in a new environment can manifest into physical symptoms in your new puppy, such as shaking and trembling. Your puppy could also tremble out of fear or sadness caused by leaving his familiar surroundings. Remember that your puppy is just a baby and needs to feel secure and loved. Show him that he is in a loving, safe family by giving him plenty of cuddles, a few treats, and a quiet, calm atmosphere. His shaking will likely subside when his emotions improve and he is no longer a sad little puppy. If your little fella continues to shake as he grows and matured, then a trip to the vet may be warranted to explore potential treatments. Overall, it may be nothing—but if it’s something that can be treated, you’ll want to know what long-term options are available and decide what’s best for your dog.
9. Panting and Salivating
Everyone loves slobbery little puppy kisses. Excess salivating, along with panting, however, can be signs of anxiety and sadness in your new puppy. Before showering him with hugs and kisses, make sure the panting isn’t caused by something else. Puppies will pant if they are overheated, overexerted, or thirsty. Once he is cooled off, calmed down, and hydrated, you should be able to cure his sadness with love and affection.
Pacing back and forth is often an indication of a distraught puppy. If a dog is agitated or upset, then he will walk off his pent-up energy by pacing. Your new puppy may be nervous and insecure about his new surroundings or bothered by an unfamiliar noise or smell that is upsetting him. Although it may be difficult, try to find the source of his worry and eliminate it. If there are no obvious triggers, then his pacing may be emotional in nature. Sooth his worries away with extra attention and he will soon put on a happy face.
7. Excessive Shedding
Prolonged stress and unhappiness can cause your new puppy to shed excessively. Puppies, depending on the breed and the time of year they were born, may shed puppy fur earlier than the regular Springtime shedding cycle. However, excessive shedding is not typical of young puppies and can be a sign of unhappiness. Be sure the pup is not left alone for too long, especially in the first week or two after you bring your puppy home. The unseasonable shedding should stop as soon as your new pup settles into a routine at his new forever home.
6. Lack of Appetite
Your new puppy will probably be a hungry little guy, heartily eating his puppy food at every meal time. If you notice, however, that your pup seems to have lost his appetite, then you should try to discover why he is not eating. He may not have an appetite because he is sad and depressed. You can help him feel better by making the transition from the breeder’s kennel to your home as stress-free as possible. As his anxiety subsides, his appetite will return and his tail will wag again.
5. Whining, Crying, or Barking
Your poor little puppy doesn’t have a way to talk about his feelings. His only means of vocalization comes in the form of whining, crying, or barking. Puppies are social animals and crave the company of others. Your new puppy is experiencing life without his mother and littermates for the first time so he could be sad and lonely and expressing these feelings by whining, crying, or barking. Give him the companionship that he longs for and the heartbreaking puppy cries and whines should decrease.
4. Destructive Behavior
When puppies are upset, nervous, sad, or anxious, they can act out by being destructive—chewing on shoes or furniture, getting into the trash, or urinating in odd places. As frustrating as this may be, it is important to remember that your new puppy is not being purposely naughty or defiant. He simply doesn’t know how to handle his sadness. Be patient with him as he learns the rules and boundaries of his new forever home and take steps to help him overcome his sadness. A happy puppy will be less likely to act out in a destructive way.
3. Licking or Biting Themselves
A puppy who constantly licks themselves or nips at their own skin may not be happy. Licking and biting themselves is one way that distraught pups channel their feelings. If you think that the licking or biting could have a medical reason, then be sure to take your new puppy to the veterinarian for a check-up to rule out mites, fleas, or skin allergies. Once your vet eliminates other factors, he or she may diagnose your new puppy with sadness or depression. Continue to help your new pup acclimate to his new forever home while showing him that his new family will provide him with the love and security he craves. In time, his disposition will improve, and he will abandon the licking and biting.
2. Overly Timid or Overly Aggressive
When your new puppy is not happy, he may react with exaggerations of his typical disposition. For example, if your pup tends to be shy, then he may become overly timid when he is sad or stressed. Likewise, if the puppy is boisterous and aggressive, then sadness may make him lash out more aggressively and violently. The good news is that this behavior usually lessens as the puppy becomes happier and less stressed. The key is to recognize the triggers that cause your pup to feel anxious and overwhelmed and to try to avoid these triggers. A happy and well-adjusted puppy will be more balanced.
Often, an unhappy puppy lets his feelings be known by cowering. Young pups cower when they are scared and anxious, like when there is a sudden noise or chaotic atmosphere. It is his attempt to hide from the noise in plain sight. The puppy needs reassurance that he is safe and that you will love and protect him. Comfort your little pup and demonstrate to him that you can be a source of security. Cuddles and hugs are a great way to accomplish this. In your loving arms, your puppy’s sadness will lift and you will once again have a happy pup.
Puppies are remarkably adaptable and generally optimistic. Transitioning from his puppy kennel to his forever home is a stressful time for your pup. He may experience episodes of sadness, loneliness, and anxiety. Understanding the signs of unhappiness in your new puppy is the first step to helping him overcome his depression or stress so he can be the happy-go-lucky puppy that melts your heart.