It seems that Christmas and puppies would go hand in hand. The children open a box with delighted squeals as a squirming puppy pops out, licking their faces and wagging its tail. As the puppy wobbles around the wrapping paper and ribbons, more laughter ensues from the bright-faced children. Soon, however, the puppy is somewhat forgotten as the other Christmas fun continues, and the little pup starts chewing on some ribbon and succeeds in digesting half of it before someone snatches it away. Then, the new puppy goes potty in the house, and the kids suddenly forget all of their promises about taking care of a puppy if they should receive one. It’s up to Daddy and Mommy to clean up the mess, and, as the puppy continues to get into more and more mischief, he is eventually put into the backyard, where he cries for his doggy mother and littermates. As a result of this unpleasant introduction to his new owners, the puppy grows up with separation anxiety and chews everything. So, a couple of years later (or less), the same puppy, who is now a grown dog who has seemed to have lost his original “charm,” finds himself at the shelter. Unfortunately, this is often the predicament Christmas puppies find themselves in, as their owners decided just a couple of weeks before Christmas – perhaps as they passed a person offering free puppies in front of the grocery store – that a puppy would be fun to give the kids. There was hardly any planning, no research on what breed would best fit their lifestyle, absolutely no thought to the future.
Of course, there are some puppies who were given as Christmas presents and grew up as fine, loving companions, but, no matter how prepared you are, Christmas is always an awful day to introduce your puppy into his new home. There are so many things that could go wrong, too many things that could scare or stress a young pup, and far too many other things for you to think about on this busy day.
Are you planning to travel for Christmas? If so, you will need to consider your new puppy, who cannot be left alone in the backyard or locked up in a cage for long periods of time (if you do this, you will end up with a shy, frightful, and dispirited dog who is terrified of ever being left alone and thinks that you are a jerk). Bringing your puppy with you would be far too stressful for a young pup (and a lot of puppies get carsick), and leaving him at a dog kennel or with a dog sitter would equally disturb him and make it harder for you, the unpresent owner, and your confused puppy to bond with each other.
Even if you want to surprise an older person with a puppy, please don’t choose Christmas day to do it! Please take my advice and don’t buy a surprise puppy for anyone. Buying a dog is a personal decision, so, even if your friend or family member is always talking about getting a dog, leave the joy of choosing one to him/her.
You can still give your children the excitement of a puppy for Christmas by buying them a puppy collar, leash, and dog care book to put under the Christmas tree, with perhaps a note telling them that the puppy will come soon after the holiday.
Please remember that puppies are lifelong commitments and having a one is very hard work. It’s not a decision to make on a whim; you need to think about it carefully for a long time before you add a puppy to your family.