Most of us have heard of the old slogan, ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’, and most of us understand that message. A dog is not just a Christmas present that can be cast aside in favour of other presents once the novelty has worn off. A dog is an ongoing commitment that lasts beyond the initial excitement when it first enters your life.
Should you get a dog at Christmas?
So, is it OK to have a puppy at Christmas? Well, if I answered ‘no’ to that question I would be a hypocrite; we had our dog Fern (now six years old) just before Christmas as a 10-week-old puppy. Our two boys were aged 14 and 11 at the time and were going to be submerged in all things Christmas besides the new puppy.
If you are planning to have a puppy at this time of year – here are some things to bear in mind. Firstly, having a puppy at any time of the year is likely to be a major upheaval. Everyone forgets just how much hard work they are and if you have never had one before you are in for a shock!
Therefore, you should be prepared to plan Christmas around your new puppy rather than expecting your puppy to fit in seamlessly around your Christmas plans.
Be prepared and plan ahead
There will be things to address such as housetraining and there is a distinct possibility that Santa Claus won’t be the only one disturbing your sleep! You will need to be prepared to get up in the night to let your puppy out – possibly more than once.
You should also expect your festivities to be interrupted by the puppy’s needs so watching your favourite film without being interrupted is unlikely.
Human households can be frantic with excitement especially when children/visitors are present, so plan to give your puppy a quiet place to retreat to where it can rest without being disturbed.
Also, make sure he or she is not given lots of Christmas treats otherwise you could end up with more than your fair share of mess to contend with. Don’t give your puppy anything other than the food it is used to and stick to its feeding routine.
Supervise children at all times when they are with the puppy and spend some time educating them regarding what to expect – the puppy will have an impact on their Christmas as much as yours.
When the Christmas break ends…
There is something to be said for having a puppy at holiday time as you are off work and have plenty of time to devote to settling it in, starting house training, beginning some basic training, getting it used to everyone in your household and regular visitors.
However, don’t forget to include introducing him/her to being left alone for short periods especially if you are going back to work after the holidays.
Suddenly being left alone can be quite a shock after having all that attention and it’s natural for a dog to feel insecure when left alone. Many of them get used to it if you increase the time, they are left for slowly but surely.
Of course, having a puppy at Christmas can bring a lot of joy to a family if you enter into the commitment responsibly and expect there to be some disruption to your normal Christmas routine.
A dog can be a great family member and with the right approach could be the gift that keeps on giving!