What NOT To Gift For Christmas

What NOT to gift for ChristmasI was recently on a TV show called “All About Dogs.” The theme of this episode was toys for Christmas featuring toy dogs such as Chihuahuas.

The producer and host, Pat Mock, an experienced dog person, affiliated with the Berks County Kennel Club was the interviewer. I brought Rocky, my smooth coat Chihuahua and puppy, Jacques, a long coat along with me. Pat and I discussed the various aspects of the breed, temperament, health, history, etc. It was a great interview. At the end of the show Pat made a point to tell the audience that is not a good idea to get a puppy or dog for Christmas. In fact it is a very bad idea. Thank you Pat!

So what happens when people do gift a dog for Christmas?

Once the excitement of the holidays wears off, these puppies and dogs often end up at a shelter because people don’t realize that dogs are a great responsibility. Parents soon find out that the child who begged for a dog is not actually taking care of the pup as promised. And the puppy is chewing or messing on the carpet because no one is training him.

When I went to walk dogs this week at Peaceable Kingdom Animal Shelter, I was so sad to see that it was filled with twice as many dogs as the week before. It seems the holiday season is also a time when people abandon their pets as well. Sadly there were several Chihuahuas and other “toy” dogs. These dogs were all sweet and lovable, why anyone could give them up or worse turn them out on the streets in the dead of winter is a mystery to me. But nothing surprises me anymore.

The holidays are not a proper time to introduce a dog into a new environment. In fact is best to get a new pup or dog when times are quiet and less stressful. Warm weather is always better as well to let the animal spend time outside, which makes potty training easier.

Getting a new pet is wonderful and brings great joy, but Christmas is not the time, so please; NO PUPPIES for Christmas!

This article entitled “Why Christmas is the Wrong Time for A New Pet” says it all.

“If you are absolutely set upon getting your family a puppy for Christmas, consider this alternative instead: Purchase a leash, a collar, a good book on raising a puppy, a gift certificate for a veterinary checkup, a gift certificate for puppy socialization classes from one of the local obedience instructors, a book or video tape on the topic of how to select the right dog for your family (there are several, including even a computer program that purports to help you do this), or a gift subscription to one of the dog-oriented magazines.”

Wrap these up and put them under the tree. As family members unwrap the various pieces of the “puzzle”, their delight and anticipation will grow. They will gradually understand what this present is! Then, after the Christmas tree is taken down and the frenzy of the holiday season is behind, the family can once again enjoy together the anticipation and excitement of discussing and selecting a breed, selecting a breeder, selecting an individual pup, and so on. This will increase the family’s mutual commitment to, and investment in, the well-being of the newest family member. It will be a project the family has done together, which is a wonderful way for any adoption to commence. This will not decrease the enjoyment of your new puppy; I guarantee it. It will increase it by many fold. And it will be a better start both for the puppy, and for the long-term relationship between dog and owner(s). A dog with a good introduction to its adoptive family is much more likely to become a long term companion rather than just another tragic statistic.

Please remember to support your local shelter!

Happy Holidays!

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