Things to Consider About Giving a Puppy as a Christmas Gift
Before you give a puppy to someone as a gift this Christmas, consider the following:
The Humane Society; the American Kennel Club; behavior experts; PETA; Animal Rights Activists; rescue groups; vets; training instructors; and most reputable breeders agree that it is definitely not a good idea to give a puppy as a Christmas present.
If you see a pet store advertisement that says "puppies ready for a new home this Christmas," there is a good chance that these puppies are coming from a puppy mill. No reputable breeder will release a puppy to a family on Christmas Day. In fact, some local shelters and Humane Society facilities will not release a puppy at Christmas time. Those puppies for sale are just given to the first person who comes forward with the money. They don't care if the puppy is healthy or if it is suitable for the family it is going to. A good breeder questions a potential owner extensively before he releases a puppy to a home.
Why Christmas Day is the wrong time to introduce a new puppy to your home
A new puppy is already stressed out because it has just left its mother, its litter mates, and a different living arrangement. To be thrown into a household full of people (especially small children); loud noises; and frenetic activity is naturally frightening. Your new puppy should be introduced at a calmer time, when you have the time to pay attention to its needs and have time to train and socialize him.
If a puppy is given to a child on Christmas, s/he may view it as just another toy. Most toys are discarded within a few months as interest wanes. Children should be helped to realize that a puppy is a member of the family and should be treated with respect. It cannot be played with at their whim like a toy can. We've all seen those pictures of a new doggie popping out of a box to the delight of the child who opens the box. The real picture is usually quite a different scene.
As a matter of fact, puppies given as presents seldom remain in their first home. If the owner doesn't take the time to train and socialize the new puppy it can become an "uncontrollable" dog through no fault of its own. These dogs are usually "given up" between the ages of 7-14 months and are either euthanized or given to a shelter in hopes that someone will adopt them. Sadly, no one wants an "uncontrollable" dog and they often end up being euthanized.
Puppies need commitment…
and should be chosen by the prospective owners themselves. Would-be owners should be questioned by the shelter or puppy store or breeder to determine if they will take full responsibility for the pet; have the means to care for it properly; and will give it a home for its entire lifetime.
If you are determined to give a puppy as a present, do not introduce an animal into a new family on Christmas Day (or other peak day of celebration); especially to an unsuspecting family. The puppy will have a mark against it from the very beginning.
If you are parents to a child who wants a dog as a pet, discuss it at length with each other. Research the best breed; best place to obtain puppies of that breed; and whether or not your child is old enough to be responsible for some of the care of the puppy.
After you have researched and agreed as parents, give the following to your child at holiday time: puppy supplies that may include a dog collar; a leash; a gift certificate for puppy training classes; books or video about selecting the right dog; or a gift subscription to a doggy magazine.
The child will soon figure out what s/he is "really" getting for Christmas and will be glad to have your assistance in making that possible.
The right thing to do…is nothing…until the holiday season is over. Pick a better time to add that very special new member to your family and make it a very Merry Christmas!
About the Author
Author: Kelly Hartshorn
Kelly Hartshorn is co-owner of Metro Mutts, an insanely popular "buy local" petstore on line and in-person, in Washington, DC's hip and trendy Capitol Hill-H St corridor neighborhood. Recipients of 2010 Best Retailer Awards, Kelly, husband Lee, and business partner Anna are sought after for their knowledge and helpfulness related to all-things for pets and their passionate pet-owners. All four-leggeds are welcomed into the store. Whether you live in DC or visit the area, find out where you can catch a Mutts Yappee Hour at a local pub or deli, sign your baby mutt up for a Puppy Play Date, get a dog walker to help you out, or participate in Mutts Movie Night. You and your mutts will have the time of your lives! Get more info and join Club Metro Mutts, today.
Photo Credit: Ferlinka Borzoi (Deb West)/Flickr