Giving a puppy as a Christmas present is a bad idea. Why? Well, think about what you are really giving: A commitment to love and care for a high maintenance animal over a period of 10 – 15 years or more. It means a significant investment of time to provide daily companionship and exercise, spending time, money and effort on dog training, paying veterinary bills, registration and insurance, buying toys and equipment, paying for boarding and grooming and so on. Is this your intention? And, if so, how confident are you that the recipient will happily show this sort of responsibility and commitment to the dog? And bear in mind that this person might be you.
Since most recipients of a “Christmas puppy” are children, the responsibility for the dog lies firmly with the parents. While it is a good idea to teach children how to care for animals by having pets in the family, they cannot be left in charge of an animal’s well-being on their own. Children’s lives change quickly as they grow up and so do their activities and interests. But unlike a neglected toy, a dog cannot sit in the cupboard and be dragged out only when someone feels like playing with them. A bored and lonely dog will likely develop behaviour problems, become a burden for the family and end up at an animal shelter. This is what happens, sadly, over and over again.
If you are determined to get a dog this Christmas, please ask yourself first: Do we, as a family, have the time and commitment to love and properly look after a dog for as long as the dog lives?
If the answer is a resounding “yes”, please
- do your research to chose a type of dog that suits your lifestyle
- consider adopting a dog from a rescue organisation (they can make great pets)
- never get a dog from an unlicensed breeder or any other source which cannot be trusted