In the scramble to find the perfect Christmas gift every year, many people have the inspiration to buy a puppy.
There is no doubt that a dog can be a wonderful addition to any household. Nonetheless, a gift of this nature should only be given after the utmost consideration. The gift recipient may be wild with joy when meeting the puppy on Christmas morning, but are they really prepared for the responsibility that comes with dog ownership?
Pet experts tend to agree that it is rarely a good idea to give someone a dog as a Christmas gift. Before doing so, consider whether or not the recipient truly wants a dog. Owning a dog is not all fun and games as there is a good deal of work involved as well.
Let’s examine some of the reasons why it’s usually not a good idea to give a dog at Christmas.
Without a doubt, dog ownership is a major commitment that can change the recipient’s life in unexpected ways. Of course, the puppy will want to play, and that’s not exactly a hardship on the family.
Although playing with a puppy is important, there are other things that they require. A family that takes on a puppy will have to be prepared to provide training and discipline as well as basics like food and veterinary appointments. Traveling with your dog also adds another element of planning and resources.
Unlike a toy that is exciting for a week or two and then gets forgotten, a puppy requires an ongoing commitment by the recipient and other family members.
One of the things that puppies and full-grown dogs requires is time. In fact, they might need far more time than the recipient realizes. Dogs need to interact with their human family on a regular, daily basis. It’s also essential that they are socialized with other dogs. This means that there is a commitment on the family’s part to spend time with the dog and also to ensure that the dog gets to spend time with other puppies.
Puppies need a great deal of attention because they require regular exercise and interaction. Both young and adult dogs require plenty of one-on-one engagement with each of their family members. At the puppy stage, it is particularly critical to ensure that the dog is encouraged to participate in sufficient physical activity to ward off inappropriate behaviors and is being suitably exposed to other dogs, people and a variety of places and situations.
Remember that house training can be extremely time-consuming, and if the family plans to go out of town and cannot take the dog with them, they must find a suitable kennel, dog sitter or other accommodation.
Training is another major commitment that dog owners must make. Puppy training starts pretty early, and it is critical for the dog’s human family to be dedicated to reinforcing appropriate behavior. This means putting in plenty of time and effort not only in formal training classes but also in ongoing training at home.
The importance of predictable, consistent training cannot be overemphasized. If the puppy is not properly trained at a young age, it can lead to a lifetime of behavioral difficulties.
Don’t forget that puppies can be really expensive. Buying a dog as a gift for someone can put a serious dent in your Christmas budget, especially if you opt for a purebred. You could easily spend several hundred dollars on a dog.
Of course, that is not where the expenses end. The puppy will need basic equipment like a collar, leash, water bowl, food bowl, bed, kennel and other items. Each item may not cost a great deal, but it all adds up.
Plus, the puppy is going to need food. Dog food is not cheap, especially if you buy the premium varieties that are healthier for your pet. This is a major, ongoing expense that is likely to increase with time, especially if you choose a large breed.
Dogs require excellent veterinary care as well. Puppies need all sorts of vaccinations and exams to ensure that they are healthy. Before too long, they will need to be spayed or neutered, and there is always the risk of accidents or illness. When acute illness or injury occurs, veterinary bills can easily be several hundred or even thousands of dollars. Pet insurance can help to defray the costs, but that represents yet another monthly expense.
The sad reality for many dogs that are given as gifts for Christmas is that they end up abandoned. Some families find that they just do not have the time or resources that are required for providing ongoing care to a dog. Dropping a dog off at an animal shelter is always an option, but some people simply find it easier to abandon a dog on the street.
Consider Adoption or Fostering
Maybe giving a dog as a Christmas gift isn’t always a great idea. However, adopting a dog is almost always a sensible option. It costs less, and the adoption process can provide you with an opportunity to truly assess your readiness to take on the responsibility of dog ownership.
There are many organizations that look for foster homes for dogs especially during the holidays. This can be a good opportunity to get the full ownership experience and determine if a full time canine companion is the best choice for your family.
Take Your Dog to Doglando
Do you have a dog? Are you considering getting a dog for Christmas? If so, then you’ll want to provide a nurturing and supportive environment as well as appropriate training. Let Doglando support you throughout the adventure of dog ownership with training, socialization, doggy day care and much more.
Teena Patel is a Certified Dog Trainer and Behavioral Counselor who works with pet owners and owners of doggy daycares to bring her philosophy of Enrichment to the canine population. After almost two decades of successful dog training under her belt, Teena has done away with the standard doggy daycare “warehousing” of animals in kennels and runs. In place of an industrial model, she focuses on what is right for the dogs as living beings, providing experiences that improve and enhance their behavioral health. Coupled with a program of careful training, the Doglando experience results in companion dogs who are better-behaved, better integrated into their families, and above all, much happier. True to her passion, Teena Patel gives dogs the freedom “to be dogs”.