So first off we never recommend anyone getting a puppy for Christmas and this blog is here to explain why. We want every dog to be happy in their family and every family to be happy with their dog. This would mean much fewer dogs would end up in rescue and the general population’s view of dogs would improve. All of this would hugely increase animal welfare.
If puppies are going to be a surprise on Christmas day it means they need to be picked up late on Christmas eve. Not that many litters can be born exactly 8 weeks before 24th December. This means many families end up settling for a puppy which may be much older than the recommended 8 weeks of age to go to their new home. These puppies have potentially missed out on very large part of the critical socialisation period. This can put them at a high risk of behavioural problems in the future.
By putting the pressure on yourself aiming to get a puppy at Christmas there is a good chance you’re not going to be able be as disconcerting as you may be at other times of the year. You might feel you have to go with a breed or breeder than isn’t necessarily what you’d be looking for. Or take on a puppy already displaying health issues. All of this mean you could be more likely to have long term health and behavioural issues.
And the first day you bring puppy home should be planned to perfection. You want these first interactions in their new home to be as stress-free as possible. Not when you have a million and one other things to think about at Christmas! How can anyone be expected to think about all the puppy things you need to think about when you have Santa, the turkey and aunty Jean visiting to think about?!
At Christmas the children are more likely to be more excited than usual. You may have more visitors or be out more, even if you are on holiday from work. This confused start to home life could leave your pup more prone to developing separation related problems.
It might surprise you, but still even this year many families will be surprised with a puppy from friends or other family members. Dogs are a huge commitment in both time and money and taking one on to be a part of your family should never be a decision easily undertaken. So many of these unwanted gifts end up in rescue centres in January. Families quickly realise how much work and commitment is involved in raising a puppy.
We are very firm believers in that just because one puppy costs more than another it does not make it a better, healthier or more confident than another, cheaper puppy. But any good breeder will be looking for some money for the puppy as breeding responsibly has associated costs which need to be recouped. So you have the initial outlay of buying the puppy, plus day one items. Food, bedding, toys, collar, tag etc. Very quickly you also have vaccinations, insurance and training costs to consider too. For most families a few hundred pounds, at the minimum, at the very end December and January is a considerable amount plus the on-going costs.
If after all that, you or someone you know are still planning on getting a puppy for Christmas then try to minimise the risk by being aware of the above points as well as;
- Selecting a good breeder
- Choosing an appropriate breed
- Picking the most confident pup from the litter
- Don’t fall for a puppy farm
Have a fantastic Christmas from all of us at Positive Pet Training. (And try waiting until later in the new year to get your new furry addition to the family!)