Originally published December 2015
There’s a lot of different information out there about whether you should get a puppy for Christmas. It used to be a very popular thing to do, but nowadays it is falling out of favor, and for some very good reasons.
So is it ever a good idea to give a puppy for Christmas? Here are some important things to keep in mind:
Surprising somebody with a pet is never a good idea. Dogs, and puppies in particular, are a lot of work. Surprising somebody with 10-15 years of unexpected responsibility isn’t the best gift. If you want to give a wonderful, heartwarming surprise to the animal lover in your life, consider sponsoring a shelter or rescue pup in their name.
Also, think of it from the dog’s perspective. The holidays are stressful for dogs. People have family obligations and are not home as much. Christmas trees and decorations are a mixture of tempting, dangerous, and scary. If you want your dog to have the very best start with you, try bringing him home after the New Year, when things are less hectic and you have time to really bond.
Another reason not to give a dog as a Christmas gift is that a dog is a family member and a commitment, and it can send the wrong message to children in the home if they are given as a gift. If you do want to get your child a dog as a gift, make sure they understand a dog isn’t a commodity or just another toy; they are a lifelong friend who just happens to be coming home at Christmastime.
So, still want to get a Christmas Puppy? There are definitely ways to make it work. Here’s how:
Make sure everybody in the family is on board with getting a dog and understands the responsibility.
Responsible breeders and lots of rescues won’t send a puppy home at Christmas because of the stress it causes the dog. Consider bringing Pup home the week before or week after. Follow the advice of the breeder and your vet. Make Christmas as stress-free as possible for your new bundle of joy. The animal shelter will send home dogs at Christmas. Have a serious conversation with the adoption counsellor there. They are a great resource and can help you pick the perfect time to bring home a new dog. Shelters and rescues tend to have a lot of pedigreed pure-bred dogs around the start of February - you guessed it, Christmas puppies that didn’t work out. If there’s a certain breed you want, that’s a good time to look.
I personally love the idea of gift wrapping a collar, food bowls, toys, a bed, and a gift certificate for puppy training classes, and watching the excitement and anticipation grow as your family unwraps each one, then dropping the big news - we’re going to go get a puppy next week!
You can also consider an adult dog. They have just as much joy and love to offer.
If you do get a puppy at Christmas, Delightful Dog is happy to help you make the transition as easy as possible for both you and the puppy, with our Nursery Program and Puppy Classes. Our nursery enrichment program focuses on giving the puppies new positive experiences, reinforcing good behavior and potty training, and learning appropriate play behavior to set them up for success as an adult.