Please Consider This Before Giving a Puppy as a Christmas Gift
You’ve seen the videos and pictures of a beautifully decorated box to be greeted with a puppy jumping out to lick your face. It makes for some adorable photos and Christmas morning videos, but before you give a puppy as a Christmas gift, consider these tips.
A puppy doesn’t stay little and cute forever. The sweet, bouncing, jumping, licking puppy that makes for some great photos will grow into a dog. Sometimes, a quite large dog that will need plenty of room to romp. So, when you’re looking into those puppy dog eyes, look a little deeper and consider what that sweet little pup will look like next Christmas and the Christmas after that as a more fully grown dog.
Not every breed of dog is welcomed by every family. Terriers, for instance, have a tendency to want to dig. Some breeds require a lot of space and exercise, while others are known for their yap. Consider your family’s lifestyle and your children’s personalities to determine what breed of dog is the best fit.
Does the family have a baby, or expecting a new baby soon? Taking care of a puppy requires a lot of dedication, and if there is a baby to arrive soon or recently joined the family, the puppy care and the baby care may be too much leaving one or both to suffer.
Does the family have small children? Toddlers and little kids love to touch, prod, ride on, pull ears, grab fur, and other interactions that the puppy may or may not welcome. Of course, there is the argument that it’s great for a child and a puppy to grow up together. Just be sure you are ready and that you choose a puppy that is a good fit for a young child.
Does the person receiving the gift need a specially trained service dog? Service dogs go through strict training and are generally not a little puppy when they arrive to assist. Contact proper agencies to obtain a service dog that will meet the needs of the owner.
Consider the size of the house where the puppy will live. Is it an apartment? Is it small, or is there room for the puppy to explore and grow? Is there a yard? Is it fenced? Does the apartment even allow pets? Does the person or family you are giving the puppy to even want a dog? Are there allergies to consider? Is the person afraid of dogs?
When you look into those puppy dog eyes, look deeper. Envision what this puppy will grow into. Will he or she stay small or grow into a Great Dane? What kind of foods will the puppy require? What is unique to this breed or cross-breeds of dog? Get to know a bit about what to expect a year or so down the line, and really educate yourself about this particular pup before putting the puppy into a box with a bow on it. After much consideration, a puppy for Christmas can be a welcome gift.
FINALLY BUT MOST IMPORTANT: Please don’t bring a puppy into your home on Christmas eve or Christmas day. There will probably be lots of noise and excitement, more than enough to overwhelm the poor little thing How your pup is introduced to the household — whether met with calm, considerate attention or mauled by screaming youngsters — could affect him the rest of his or her life! So, what to do? Here’s an idea we know will work: Get a big box. Wrap it up in beautiful paper and tie a large bow on top. Inside however, instead of the puppy, put a note promising a puppy. If you have already picked one out (at your local shelter, we hope), include a photo. Believe me, your family will be thrilled and your future puppy will have a much better start in life if he or she arrives when Santa Clause has departed to prepare for next year’s surprise gifts!
With appreciation to:
- Terre J. Scott for her assistance in crafting this article, and
- Pat Brown-John, Director of “All About Obedience,” the foremost canine training school of Canada. (Open to applicants world-wide).