You see a box under the tree moving. It is marked with holes and you hear a little whine. Someone has decided to give a puppy for Christmas. Sadly, it is never a good idea to give a pet for a gift. The emotional commitment, the preparation to plan to care for a puppy, the developing of a support network are all missing activities necessary to promote a forever-home for a dog.
Every year the puppy mill industry gets a boost as the holidays approach. Video's of Christmas Puppies fills one's heart during a highly sentimental time. Puppy mill pets are riddled with physical and mental disabilities which can last a lifetime. It is misguided intentions to give a surprise gift of a dog, regardless of how delighted the recipient may be. Statistics show that the outcome is largely a dog who is confused, depressed and in a shelter.
Like a new baby, a puppy is wonderful and challenging. Sacrifices and compromises by each family member must be made to help the puppy mature into a well-balanced and healthy dog. There are financial concerns that must be budgeted such as vaccinations, veterinarian bills, toys and training equipment, beds, bowls and even securing areas of the home for safety reasons. There is also boarding, puppy nannies, and training expenses. If you don't know the background of the pup, the future caregiver will also need to budget for a Canine Behaviourist, because puppy mill pups are as a rule unstable. Without this thought & planning process, those receiving a puppy at Christmas haven't made the critical choice to accept the changes required. They are likely to not change their routine and lifestyle necessary to help accommodate the care of a puppy.
An alternative gift to giving a puppy for Christmas is to buy a life-like stuffed toy. Present it in a box or even a crate, like you would a living dog. Put a note in the gift that if the person would like a puppy, you would be happy to go with them to the local SPCA to choose one in the New Year, and that you will pay for the adoption costs. This approach provides the necessary thinking time to consider the implications of a puppy.
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'Sparky' Smith is a Canine Behaviorist and Practioner, educated through the International School for Canine Psychology & Behaviour, earning her ISCP.DIP.CANINE.PRAC.