By, Traci Whiteside, Master Trainerpuppy_fro_christmas

Do you want a puppy for Christmas?  Before you say “yes” make sure you really know what you are asking for.  I will help you decide if now is the best time to ask for a puppy however, I am not a big fan of getting a puppy during the holidays. Puppies are nervous when separated from their pack and the extra excitement and chaos the holidays brings makes for a difficult transition period for them.  If you are still considering bringing home a pup for Christmas I think you find the information in this article helpful.

Time and Money

A dog is going to cost you a lot of money, not to mention a tremendous amount of time. If you are not fully prepared to pay for a dog’s needs and willing to spend a significant portion of your free time with the animal, then by all means do not get a dog. There are thousands of dogs put to sleep every year because the owners no longer want them or cannot afford them.  On top of this, there are hundreds of thousands of dogs that live miserable lives devoid of exercise, interaction, socialization, and basic housing needs because people do not realize the time, commitment, or expense involved in owning and properly caring for a dog.

Living Arrangements

Dogs are pack animals and need to be near you.  At the end of the day, that really is the most important thing- time spent with their humans.  They just want to be with us.

I grew up in a home where the rule was: “No dogs in the house.”  But I bonded on a much deeper level with my outside dogs because it was another era and I was always outside with them.  That’s not the case today and outside dogs usually get very little time spent with humans.

A dog isolated in the back yard with little contact with his human pack mates (or worse still, chained to something) lives a miserable existence.  He will suffer psychological damage and is the perfect candidate for turning into a “bad” dog.  On the contrary, a dog that lives among his humans, is played with and walked daily, will live a fulfilled, enriched life and in return will enrich the lives of his human pack.

If you cannot welcome your puppy into your home, literally, you may want to reconsider at this point.  Volunteering for a local animal rescue group in order to get your puppy fix may be a better option.

Choosing the Breed

Really think about what kind of dog you’d like to have, and whether your preferences match your abilities to care for your preferred breed.

Choosing a dog should involve more than simply taking home a cute puppy that catches your eye.  A responsible owner will spend time researching dog breeds, finding reputable breeders, speaking to them, and making visits to see the breeder and, if at possible meet the parents and the puppies before a final decision is made.  The goal is to take your time and make an informed decision.

Choosing the right breed of dog will play an important role in your ability to meet your pup’s needs.  If you are not an active person, do not get a high energy dog such as a Border Collie.  If professional training isn’t within your budget, do not get a working breed such as a German Shepherd. If making time to take your dog the groomer’s is impossible, don’t get a dog that requires professional grooming such as a poodle.

If you are open to adopting a puppy or dog from a rescue, I think this is a wonderful idea.  Cross breeds tend to live longer and do not have as many health issues as pure breed dogs can have. Again, just choose a dog that has breed characteristics that you can handle.

Ask for Help

Once you’ve made a solid decision to get a dog, you are to be congratulated – a dog is a fantastic addition to your life and will make an excellent companion. Do not be afraid to ask for help.  Raising a puppy is not an easy thing to do.  You may want to seek help from a professional trainer (like me J).  A trainer can help you with everything from housetraining to teaching your pup good manners.  I highly recommend asking for help early on.  You can spare yourself many headaches by having a professional come in at the beginning of your new puppy journey.

Help Others

If you have received a puppy at Christmastime in the past tell us about your experience? Was it a welcomed surprise or not? Would you recommend giving or getting a puppy during the holidays?   Feel free to leave a comment.