Check Your List Twice When Considering a Christmas Puppy

Each year it seems that the holidays start earlier. The after Halloween sales start before the first trick-or-treater ever dons a costume, and the first signs of Christmas appear in the stores about the same time.

For many, this year’s holiday season will be full of children’s requests for a Christmas puppy. They’re cute and cuddly and something new to play with. But, rarely is a Christmas puppy the best of ideas.

The attraction is understandable. Who doesn’t love a puppy and who wouldn’t want to delight a child? But, there are reasons why shelters, rescue groups and responsible breeders are uniform in their advice to think twice about it.

What’s the problem? The reasons against getting a Christmas puppy break down into these categories:

Holiday Stress. Puppies are not toys. They are animals who need a lot of attention. Who has time for a puppy during the holidays, that stressful season of socializing and shopping? With a houseful of guests and a holiday dinner to prepare, who will make sure that the puppy isn’t being mauled by overly enthusiastic children and guests? Who has time to begin proper house training?

To get a puppy off to the right start, it needs to at the top of the family’s priority list, which rarely can happen during the busy holidays.

Bad Timing. Try house training a puppy when it’s cold and stormy. How badly do you want to be out on winter nights, shivering while a puppy carefully contemplates whether he’d rather sniff or pee?

What about the rest of the training? The first few months of a dog’s life are crucial. Bad habits are far easier to prevent than they are to break and ongoing socialization is critical. Will you really feel like training and socializing your puppy when the holidays are over, the days are short and the kids have gone back to school?

Poor Selection. Many reputable breeders and shelters will not cooperate with your Christmas puppy lust. What this could mean is that if you’re looking for a puppy, you may be forced to choose from sellers who don’t know or care to offer healthy and well socialized puppies.

With purebred dogs and trendy cross-bred “designer” dogs, this can prove to be a real problem since congenital defects are often found in animals from sellers who don’t certify their dogs as free of such defects. This can end up costing you in the long run, both in dollars and heartbreak.

Dogs can be wonderful for children and children can be wonderful with dogs, but why not wait until late spring or summer to find the perfect puppy from a shelter or rescue organization?

While it may be difficult to pass on the cute Christmas puppy, if your goal is to have a healthy, well socialized pet for years to come, wait until the odds are more in your family’s favor.

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