Thinking Of Giving A Puppy For Christmas?

What person, adult or child, wouldn’t be thrilled by a playful, adorable puppy or adult dog? It's a lovely scene to contemplate but it doesn't always work out that way. The reality of living with a very dependent creature who demands attention, poops & pees everywhere, and has no manners can end up going very wrong for the dog. if the person is not ready for a dog.

I'm not suggesting that getting a new pup is a bad idea. Not at all! What I am saying is that getting a dog needs to be discussed. It should never be a surprise to the person you are considering. Whether you decide to buy from a breeder or adopt, don’t rush the decision. Sure, the holiday pressure is on.  Is this person financially, emotionally and physically willing & capable to care for a dog?

Here are things you need to consider:

-Owning a dog costs money. There are shots, good dog food ( which is not cheap), leashes, collars, dog beds, toys, spaying or neutering, training , training equipment, and possible unforeseen medical expenses.

-What about their life style? Are they active people or couch potatoes? Do they work long hours or have too busy of a schedule? Do they have time to exercise the dog? Dogs need time & attention. There is no such thing as being a part-time owner. If they are used to traveling a lot or enjoying social engagements a lot, they may end up resenting the dog for taking up their time.

-If they live in an apartment, does the management allow dogs or have breed & weight restrictions? Dogs take up room. Even small dogs need space to play and though some smaller breeds fare well in a smaller apartment, if they live in cramped conditions it’s no place to keep a dog.

-Owning, training and raising a dog is not without its challenges. From house breaking and obedience training to socializing,there can be some frustrating moments for owners. Some breeds can be particularly stubborn. Do they have the patience and willingness during difficult training sessions or when their dog is acting out?

If you choose to adopt, consider hiring a trainer to go along with you to temperament test the dog. A trainer can screen the dog for things like friendliness with children, aggressive tendencies (for example, to guard food from others), and other characteristics, and help you to decide if this is the right dog.

-Are they allergic to dogs?

There is a lot you can do before you make the decision to give a dog as a gift. Dr. Ian Dunbar has written an excellent book called Before You Get Your Puppy, and it’s  free! You can download either a text-only version or the complete book with photos. Doing your research now will be the best guarantee of not only a happy holiday, but a very happy new year, for you and that dog!


Lezle Stein