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A Puppy During the Holidays? Think Again.

It’s hard to imagine a more heart-warming sight.  As Christmas morning dawns, an excited child scrambles to the tree, unwrapping a large box tied with a bow.  Inside, his or her new puppy awaits.  Screams of delight ensue and the perfect Christmas morning Youtube video is born.

What a great present, right? Wrong. A dog is for life, not a holiday gift.

Puppies are not presents and should never be a surprise. Choosing to add a dog to your family is a long term commitment that requires lots of discussion, thought and research (check out Choosing A Dog for help). So, whether you’re buying for a child or an adult, if you’re feeling the pressure to find the perfect last minute gift we recommend you consider a sweater instead. 

Even if you have done your research and are truly ready to welcome a new dog or puppy, the Canadian Kennel Club recommends choosing your new addition’s day of arrival with care. The holiday season is not a good time to welcome a new dog or puppy to the family.

Why Not the holiday season?

If we’re being honest, the truth is that the holiday season is the worst time to welcome a new dog or puppy.  In fact, many breeders will insist that a puppy be placed when times aren’t as hectic. 
There are many reasons for this.  First, responsible breeders discourage new owners from thinking of new additions to the family as gifts. Dogs are not presents and should never be a surprise. Second, leaving littermates and entering a new home is stressful enough without the added pressure of noisy gift openings, excited children, loud parties and a steady stream of guests. There may be dinners to make or attend, relatives to visit or a thousand other activities to disrupt your normal routine.  And all of them have an effect on a new dog or puppy.

Too much excitement can easily scare or overstimulate a new puppy. A lack of routine can make early housebreaking attempts more difficult and allow your new addition to begin developing bad habits. Even waiting a few days after the holiday rush can make a huge difference to a successful welcome home.
So don’t be surprised if a breeder refuses to sell a puppy as a surprise or suggests that you defer your puppy’s arrival until a few days after the holiday season. They have the best interests of your puppy and you in mind!
Alternatives to Wrapping Up Rover

There are circumstances where dog-related gifts are appropriate.  Perhaps you have been waiting for a puppy of a specific breed for a while and would like to be prepared for an upcoming arrival. Or maybe Mom and Dad have decided it’s time to start researching breeds.  Whatever the reason, there are many ways to build excitement and enjoy the idea of a new dog or puppy without welcoming a new dog on Christmas morning. 
Here are a few suggestions to consider:
  • Ask your breeder to shoot a video or photo of the puppy that you can show and play. 
  • Wrap a leash, dog toy, dog dish, or training book and put it under the tree. 
  • Give a gift certificate for training classes or membership in a local Kennel Club. 
We would like to wish everyone and their four-legged friends a happy and safe holiday season.
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