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Bad idea: A puppy for Christmas

Updated on November 4, 2014

A puppy under the tree is a bad idea

We've all seen the adorable commercials/movies/ads that show the giant box under the tree with the air holes. And it moves and it whines, and an adorable puppy climbs out to the delight of everyone - especially the angelic little boy or girl who wanted nothing more than a puppy for Christmas.

But ask anyone who shares a birthday with a major holiday - it's not all it's cracked up to be. More often than not the birthday gets lost in the shuffle, minimized, or neglected.

Getting a puppy is an important event all by itself. And any dog's first day with a new family is going to be stressful for everyone. The best time to get a puppy (or dog) is when things are calm - not in the tumult of the holiday season.

Good idea: All the things a puppy needs!

Preparing a "Puppy Preparation" gift is a fabulous idea! Let that adorable child know that a puppy is on the way! Include all the supplies the new puppy will need - a collar, leash, bowls, toys, a bed, and a good training manual so the entire family can be prepared to greet the new family member.

Think of all the things you'll need

  • Collar
  • Harness
  • Leash
  • Bowls (food and water)
  • Toys
  • Bed
  • I.D. Tags

Puppies are adorable!

And they deserve to be the center of attention when they join a family - at least for a little while. It would be nice if puppies came into our lives knowing all the rules, fully trained, and ready to take their places in the family.

Unfortunately - they don't. Puppies require lots of time and attention and the more they get at first, the less they require later.

By all means build excitement and anticipation about adding a new family member. And plan for that puppy's arrival as an event on its own, not part of a larger joyous celebration.

The center of your life - is what your puppy deserves for a few days

My dog, Teddy, with his mother, Tula.
My dog, Teddy, with his mother, Tula.

Puppies and dogs become integral members of our lives and our families. Their arrival should be the most important thing that happens that day - and possibly for the whole week or month. Puppies are delightful, mischievous, adorable, and a whole lotta work. Enjoy the holidays without the stress of a new family member. Let puppy's first Christmas with the family be when you've had him for a while - and everyone will be able to enjoy the chaos and joy.

Deciding on the right dog for your family

It's a great idea to get children involved in preparing to welcome a dog into your life. All puppies are adorable. But the dog that puppy grows into will be a member of the family for many years and it's a good idea to do some research and find the breed of dog that's the best fit for your lifestyle, family, and home.

Questions that should be considered:

  • Do you live in the city? suburbs? country? How much space will your dog have to run and play?
  • How many hours will the dog be alone every day? Can you afford either a dog-walker or doggy daycare?
  • Does anyone in the family have allergies or asthma?
  • Is anyone partial to a particular breed of dog? Does that breed make sense for your family?
  • How much time do you have to exercise the dog? Is a couch potato better suited to your lifestyle, or are you looking for a jogging companion?

There are some websites that have breed recommendations based on your answers to these and similar questions:

Dogtime has the Dog Breed Selector. Animal Planet has another Dog Breed Selector. And several dog-food companies have similar quizzes, including Purina, and Iams.

Once you've decided on the right breed for you - do your research and find a healthy, well-bred puppy from a reputable breeder. There are only two good ways to get a dog - either adopt from a shelter or rescue, or go to a good breeder. Websites, pet shops, and newspaper/shopping site ads are all outlets for disreputable puppy-millers, exploiters, and frauds.

Are you planning for a puppy?

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