There is just one thing I wish I could tell every family in Calgary this holiday season.
Do not get a puppy as a Christmas gift.
Puppies and dogs are not gifts. They are an 8-20 year commitment (depending on breed and diet). Puppies that are bought as gifts are often tossed aside after the novelty wears off. A living, breathing, intelligent creature should not be grouped in the same category as a Nintendo DS, an action figure, fuzzy socks, or an Xbox one.
Toys and presents are easily tossed aside as the next cool thing comes along. That sort of mentality is what leads some to treat the “Christmas Puppies” as more disposable.
A good, responsible breeder would never let a puppy go home on Christmas morning for this reason. A breeder who would allow this is likely less than ethical and is probably in it to make money. Good breeders have litters of puppies to better their chosen breed. They don’t skip crucial steps like DNA testing the parents for known breed specific issues.
Call me a Scrooge if you will, but the magic and joy associated with Christmas morning will come to a shocking halt when that cute puppy starts peeing everywhere and chewing everyone’s shoes! The expectations for the puppy’s behaviour will be unfairly high. Christmas TV specials are partly responsible for this! Many kids and adults expect puppies to come with an innate perfection that never exists. Lassie isn’t a real dog people!!! The level of communication and understanding I have with my dogs has taken hundreds of hours of hard work and learning. It doesn’t just come naturally.
It’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of giving, but getting a puppy as a gift without consulting your entire family is dangerous. Everyone in your household needs to be prepared and they have to be willing to make a commitment to caring for and training this new family member. If the puppy is brought home as a surprise, then no promises to care for the puppy are made. No preparation takes place. The puppy has just been set up for failure.
Instead of buying a puppy for Christmas, wrap up a couple dog toys along with a gift certificate for a Cultured Canines Puppy Preparation seminar! Make it clear that is is no promise of getting a puppy, but a first step towards adopting a new family member. (Using the word adopt instead of buy isn’t unintentional…)
To summarize, surprise puppies aren’t always a great surprise. There are so many dogs in shelters and in foster homes that were abandoned because they were unwanted. Don’t let another puppy fall victim to Christmas Day.