Your child or your spouse may have been begging for a puppy for Christmas. It sounds like a wonderful prospect.... your child coming down the stairs on Christmas morning only to be greeted by a cute fluffy puppy.... the puppy they have been begging you for for months or even years. The joy on their face when they realize that Santa has answered their letters.... Lets really think about the implications of putting a dog under the Christmas tree, I will explain why I feel its a horrible idea and offer some alternate suggestions....
- New puppies or adult dogs require a lot of attention, especially in the first few days, weeks and months they come into your home and start to mesh with your family. Holidays are busy times for most families, traveling, visitors, friends, large dinners and gatherings can quickly take this time away from focusing on your new family member.
- Bringing a new puppy or adult dog into your home is a huge decision. All family members should be involved in this decision to make sure that the personality types are a good match to your family and lifestyle. There should be a lot of research that goes into making sure that this breed or mix will be a good match.... you don't want to end up with a marathon runner if you are a couch potato and you also don't want to end up with a dog that may chase your cat, jump your backyard fence or is able to out smart you :). Talk with the breeder or rescue/foster home before you bring your puppy or dog home, a good breeder or rescue will be able to tell you that a dog is NOT right for your family and be able to steer you towards one that is.
- Pet store puppy temptation! Don't fall for that cute puppy in the window, this can be especially hard during the holidays when you know your child wants a dog very badly. Making a rush decision to add a family member to your life that you must care for for 15 years or more is always a bad one! Seek out a reputable rescue or breeder and be prepared to wait, most reputable organizations will have a waiting list or won't have the exact dog or puppy that will be the best fit for your family. This time you take to wait and make sure the fit is right will pay off 10 fold for your family and your new dog in the long run.
If your child or spouse really wants a puppy for Christmas here are some better ideas....
- A stuffed dog or puppy with the promise of one in the future once the holidays have gone and there is extra time to devout to making sure its a good match for everyone.
- A basket of doggy essentials like treats, leashes, bones, collars and maybe a gift certificate for some training and or obedience classes with the promise of putting them to use once the right match is made.
- A book about dogs, training, different breeds, the benefits of choosing a rescue dog.... these can be great tools to help slow down and make the choice an informed one.