A puppy under the Christmas tree...
On Christmas Eve while the time arrives to open the presents the kids shriek with delight... Santa has finally yielded to their incessant requests: A sweet, wriggling puppy is waiting beneath the three, adorable in his big red bowl.It is love at first sight... The puppy kisses the kids faces and then curls up on their laps... Photos for Instagram and Facebook are beig done...
But. This could be a mess.
Even if your kids don`t pester you all year for a dog, which they probably did, TV ad campaigns and Holiday movies will make sure you can picture how lovely it would be to bring a puppy home for Christmas. Don`t do it.
Why is a dog a mistake as a Christmas gift?
First, because no animal should be a surprise. The arrival of a dog changes your life and a household considerably and this for years. Someone has to take responsibility for the dog`s daily needs - feeding, exercise, health care and so on. The decision should be thought about, talked about and negotiated. A new dog, not necessarily a puppy, either, should be a result of a process, not an impulse.
Kids can be unreliable, kids change. The puppy melts their hearts for a few days or weeks. But then it needs to be walked, every day, also in the rain. It needs careful attention. It needs to be taught not to jump on Grandma. The kids crying from happiness under the tree will soon move on to meeting their friends and leave the puppy for you. Often you as parents are more enthusiastic. Reality will take over the Christmas dream.
The even bigger problem with the Christmas pup is that good dogs are usually unavailable for holiday giving. Hardly any ethical breeder will support the idea of a dog as a surprise present. Good breeders have carefully constructed breeding programs that are rarely tied to the idea of seasonal gifts. Breeders don`t want their dogs to end up in households where nobody understands the work involved in raising them. A lot of Christmas dogs end up in rescue or in shelters.
The dogs that are readily available at Christmas are the kind you probably don't want. Puppy mills grind out thousands of puppies to meet holiday demand. They're the dogs you find in pet stores and cheap online —cute as puppies but often inbred, sometimes not even the breed you ask for, poorly socialized, and more prone to health problems or to behavioral difficulties.
For Christmas, get the kid some games. They'll love it and use it. You don't have to clean up after it, and if they lose interest, you won't have to walk it in the middle of a snowstorm.
If you and your family really want a dog, choose it carefully, and take your time. Get one from a reputable breeder. Ask lots of questions about the dog; expect the breeder to ask you a lot, too. If they don't, be wary. A store clerk or puppy producer who simply hands you a dog in exchange for your money is not your friend. Don't worry if the dog comes to you in April instead of Christmas. It will be just as adorable without the tree and the bow. And it will be a result of a well made decision.