Giving a Puppy as a Present
Are you thinking of giving someone a puppy for Christmas?
There are a lot of reasons to re-think that idea. This isn’t a toy that can be cast aside without thought if the recipient doesn’t want it. A puppy is a living being, and yes, they do have feelings. And they are dependent on whoever owns them, so it’s imperative to make sure whoever is getting the puppy really wants one in the first place.
Unfortunately, many people are in love with the IDEA of having a puppy without fully understanding the REALITY of having a puppy. So before giving yourself or anyone else a puppy for Christmas, consider all the ramifications and if you can live with the reality of taking care of a new puppy.
A Puppy is a Commitment
When you bring a new puppy into your home, you are making a commitment to care for this creature for life. Most dogs live around 10 years – that’s a rough estimate, and life span varies by breed. But just figure that you will have this pet for at least a decade.
Are you ready to commit to taking care of an animal for the rest of its life? The shelters are full of dogs that came from owners who thought they wanted a dog, but then realized having this animal was more than they bargained for.
So know what you are getting into and be sure you are ready to honor that commitment. Please don’t add to the upsurge of dogs taken to a shelter after Christmas because you didn’t take time to think about what you were doing.
A Dog is an Ongoing Expense
Are you prepared for the expenses that are part of owning a dog? Or if this is a gift to someone else, can they afford the ongoing cost of keeping a dog?
The purchase price of a dog is just the beginning of the costs associated with having a pet. Even if you get a dog from an animal shelter for free, there will be ongoing expenses for caring for your new pet dog. For example:
Food. The better the food you feed your dog, the healthier your dog will be. If you buy the cheapest food you can find, it’s like giving your dog nothing but junk food. A steady diet of faux food isn’t good for anybody, and that includes a dog. So budget for some good quality food.
Flea and Tick Control. These pests are two banes of a dog’s existence. To prevent discomfort and disease, some measures need to be in place to keep these critters off your dog and those measures must be paid for.
Veterinary expenses. Not only will your dog need routine visits for check-ups and vaccinations, but just like people, sometimes dogs get sick or in accidents. There *will* be bills from a vet!
Accessories. A dog needs things like a collar, leash, dog bed, toys… Are you going to use a crate? Do they need a dog house? If you get a puppy, just figure you’re going to need to buy some things to help care for that puppy throughout its life!
A Dog is a Big Responsibility
Who is going to take care of this new puppy?
Someone needs to make sure the puppy gets food and water on a regular basis.
And puppies are like any baby, they need time to grow up and they need to learn how to behave and take care of themselves.
A new puppy needs to be potty trained and until they are, expect a few messes. Remember, they are babies. Don’t expect immediate perfection.
There are many basic commands a puppy should learn such as sit and stay.
They need to learn manners. Like not to nip at people, jump on people, or run out the door every time it is opened.
They need to learn to walk on a leash. ALL dogs need this training, even if they’re a working dog. There are times it is helpful to put a dog on a leash, like when you need to take them to the vet. It’s a lot easier to teach them while they are a puppy then to try and control a large dog that wants to run off.
Someone has to teach them all these things.
So who is going to be responsible for taking care of the dog and for the pup’s training? If this puppy is a gift for a child, you can’t expect them to know how to do all these things without help.
Choosing the Right Breed Dog for a Gift
If you do decide that a puppy really and truly is a good gift for yourself or someone else, choosing the breed is a big decision.
While every dog is different, even within a breed, knowing the characteristics of a particular breed will give you a good idea of what to expect. And some breeds are better in certain situations than others.
For instance, if you have a small space for a dog, and aren’t interested in spending hours exercising the dog, then you don’t want a high-energy dog like a Border Collie, Australian Shepherd or Jack Russel Terrier, just as an example.
Does it matter what kind of coat the dog has, if you’ll need to brush it a lot or it needs only a little upkeep? Do you want a dog that learns commands easily, or is more independent? Think through what you’re looking for in a dog.
Be careful NOT to make the choice on looks alone or because you saw a dog in the news or in a movie and it seemed like a really cool breed. For instance, after the Belgian Malinois was in the news, lots of people thought it would be awesome to own one, but it is definitely not a breed for just anyone. It’s a high energy dog and requires an owner who knows how to handle such a breed. Some dogs do better with an experienced owner!
So don’t choose a dog just because it seems cool or popular. Make sure it is the right breed for YOUR situation.
Decide what traits are important to you, and do some research. One of the best sites to get both the pros and cons to a particular breed is Your Purebred Puppy. This website gives an honest review of over 180 dog breeds, giving a clear picture of what is good about the breed and what’s not so good.
When you narrow down your choice of breeds, check into sites just for that breed for even further information. Make sure your choice will fit your circumstances and lifestyle.
Giving a Puppy for Christmas, Yes or No?
In the end, only you can decide if it’s really a good idea to give a puppy to someone for Christmas. But please be sure before you make such a gift that the person is ready for the responsibility of owning a puppy. It’s not a gift to be taken lightly, and it makes everyone sad if it doesn’t work out.
Giving a puppy for Christmas is a big decision. Make sure you think it through before you do it.