Think carefully before picking out a puppy for Christmas
Picture this: an adorable young puppy, brimming with cuteness and playfulness, with a red ribbon around his neck romping under the Christmas tree as children wake up Christmas morning. What could be more adorable, more perfect?
But you need to stop right there and think. A puppy, which will quickly grow into a dog, which should be a full-fledged member of your family, will take a lot of time and energy on the part of the adults in the household. A dog is a huge commitment. Make sure your lifestyle will accommodate a dog, and that you will be able to give him the time, training, and attention he deserves. Raising a puppy takes anywhere from 12-18 months and requires an insane amount of time, patience, training, and money to do it right.
Every year in the months after Christmas, the shelters and rescues are inundated with “Christmas puppies” that were given as gifts and then surrendered when the owners realize how much work and energy puppies take.
If the puppy is meant as a gift, make sure whoever is receiving the gift is ready and willing. Puppies are adorable, but they don’t make good surprises sometimes!
If you are still thinking of a Christmas puppy, consider these points and do your research.
Types of dogs
Unfortunately, not all dogs are created equal…for you. Make sure to diligently research breeds types before buying or rescuing a dog. Sure, they are all deserving of love, shelter, and care … but not every dog will be a good fit for you and your family. Take a deep look at your lifestyle. If you have young children, you will want a dog that seeks out human companionship and has a high tolerance for lots of stimulation. If you only exercise on an occasional basis, you may want to steer away from hunting, herding, or working breeds. Looking for a dog to take to wineries, browse the local parks, and visit the brewery with? Make sure to research breeds that adapt easily and are social. Got a cat? Then you should stay away from dogs with a high prey drive. Live in an apartment? Then a breed known for barking and howling, like a beagle, may not be a good call. Make sure the dog meets your needs before committing.
With the rise of social media posts depicting needy pets and adorable puppies, it is important to take a moment and think. Don’t just fall in love with an image on the internet. Do your research and be sure to get a puppy or dog from a reputable breeder or rescue; a lot of puppies on the internet and in pet shops can be from puppy mills and may suffer from temperament or health issues.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before getting a puppy or dog.
- Why do you want a dog? What role should the dog have in your life?
- What amount of exercise are you able to commit to?
- Are you willing to budget for veterinary bills, training, food, and supplies?
- Who will watch the dog when you’re out of town?
- What kind of dog will work well with your kids?
- Will he get along with other dogs in the household?
- Who will be responsible for the dog?
Many loving parents want to gift the joy of dog ownership to their children. It teaches responsibility, right? However, the kids will grow up, friends and activities take over, college is around the corner, and the novelty wears off … then who will be responsible for the dog? Parents must be willing to commit to the care of a pet when children are unable or unwilling to. If that’s a deal breaker … then you may want to reconsider your choice of pet or look into getting a stuffed animal this Christmas!