The answer is just about anyone, but does that mean it’s a good idea to give a puppy as a Christmas gift? No, it’s about the worst gift you could give. Here are three reasons why you should not give a puppy as a holiday gift.
Lights, Camera – Hide Under the Tree!
Just like children, puppies go through developmental stages. One of the most crucial stages of a puppy’s life is the fear/avoidance period, which happens between seven to 12 weeks. On the flip side, this is also the best time for a puppy to leave his litter and bond with his new family.
This is a pickle. On one hand, you want to get a puppy during this critical bonding period, but on the other, you’ll have to be very careful not to scare him, as he may never recover from the trauma. According to PetRescue.com, “It is extremely important not to over-stress or unduly frighten your puppy during this vulnerable time. Fears learned during this first fear/avoidance period can be very difficult to overcome later, even with the best training or behavior modification techniques. In other words, traumatic experiences at this point can have a permanent impact on your puppy’s personality as an adult dog.”
Christmas is chaotic, between the family members – both the two and four-legged – the presents, the lights, camera and action – your puppy is basically freaking out. So unless you want to spend the next 10-15 years trying to correct his fear of all things holiday, don’t get a puppy now.
Puppies have needs – lots of them – and these needs do not go away when they reach adulthood. They are essentially babies with paws.
Here are just a few of the things they’ll need:
- Good food
- Multiple potty breaks
- Potty training
- Crate training
- Play training
- A bed
- Trips to the vet
- Shots and vaccinations
This list, albeit short, is just the beginning of what your puppy will need. Are you, or the person you’re giving the puppy to, ready to take on all of this responsibility for the next 10-15 years?
“Christmas puppies are often impulse gifts, purchased in the spirit of love and generosity that goes with the season, but without the hard self-assessment that goes into asking oneself if one has the time, energy and inclination to give the necessary commitment to raising, socializing and educating a puppy,” says PetRescue.com
Raising a well-adjusted dog requires a lifestyle change. We’re not saying they do not make great gifts, we’re saying that too many times, puppies are given to someone who does not, or simply cannot, make the commitment that comes along with having a dog. This is why it is crucial that you ask yourself the hard questions about whether or not getting a puppy is a good idea.
Sadly, after the newness of the puppy wears off and it becomes a needy creature that cannot be handled, the “Christmas” puppy is often taken to a shelter where it will most likely die.
The story “You Can’t Keep Your Pet? Really?” by an unidentified shelter director that was originally posted on Craigslist and reposted on several blogs, including the Make a Difference Rescue blog, reveals a very scary reality about what happens to puppies that are dropped off at shelters.
“Just so you know, there’s a 90 percent chance that your dog will never walk back out, once entered into the shelter system, purebred or not.”
A lot of folks believe this will not happen to their dog because it’s a cute puppy, a purebred or well behaved, but none of that matters. Here is what really happens when you drop your puppy off at a shelter:
- Your puppy has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop him off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn’t full, and your puppy manages to stay completely healthy.
- If he sniffles, he will probably be euthanized.
- Your puppy will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with other barking and crying dogs.
- He will have to relieve himself where he eats and sleeps.
- He will be depressed and cry constantly for you.
- If your puppy is lucky, there will be enough volunteers working that day to take him for a walk.
- If not, your puppy won’t get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door, and the waste sprayed out of his pen with a high-powered hose.
- If your puppy is big, black, a “bully” breed or breed considered vicious (Pit Bull, Rottie, Mastiff, etc) he was pretty much dead when you walked him through the front door.
How About a Gift Certificate Instead?
If you really want to give someone a puppy for Christmas, why not give them a gift certificate to a local shelter? Most shelters would be more than happy to sell you a gift certificate instead of sending you off with a puppy that will be back in a short time.
Also, you could give the dog lover in your life a starter kit packed with a leash, toys, treats, a gift certificate for puppy training classes and vet visits. That way, when they do find their best furfriend, they’ve already got a great head start.