December 23, 2012

A Puppy for Christmas?

Today I heard one of my friends talking about possibly getting her five year old a puppy for Christmas. She had a number of reasons why she felt like this year was the perfect year to let her son have the puppy he’s been asking for. Are you thinking about doing something similar for your child(ren) for Christmas or some other special occasion?

I’ve thought about it myself, but after doing a little bit of research, I have decided against it. Below are just a few things to think about before you bring home that little puppy on Christmas morning.

1.      How responsible is your child? If you are purchasing the puppy (or any other live animal) for your little one, and giving it to him/her as his/her own pet – then you need to take an objective look at how responsible your child is. At five, is your little one really old enough to care for a puppy like it should be cared for? And remember, a puppy doesn’t stay a “puppy” for long. They grow and get bigger and at a much faster rate than your child will, too. If you are still having to remind your child to brush his teeth, put clothe in the dirty clothes hamper and pick up toys before bed, then he/she probably isn’t ready for the responsibilities associated with caring for a puppy.
 

2.      Have you researched dog breeds? The worst thing you can do is call about an ad in the paper listing puppies for sale. Even if they are Golden Retriever pups, that particular breed may not be right for your family. Buying a family dog is not something that should done on a whim. To ensure everyone in your family loves the dog and that the dog will find it’s “forever” home with you and your family, you need to make sure you find the breed that’s right for you and your family. Visiting www.akc.org is a great place to start your research.


3.      Have you found a reputable breeder to buy from? Again, don’t answer an ad in the local paper advertising puppies for sale. Once you have determined the breed that will fit your family’s lifestyle the best, you need to find a reputable breeder to buy from. The national club for the breed you’ve chosen will most likely have reputable breeders listed on their website. These are the people you should buy from because they are breeding with the intention to better the breed. Your “backyard” breeders (like those who place ads in the newspapers) are just breeding to make money. When you purchase from a reputable breeder, you will most likely be placed on a waiting list. You should also expect to pay several hundred dollars, or more, for a dog. That might sound high, but it’s worth it knowing the dog is of sound breeding, decreasing the chances of serious health problems in the future.

As you can see there is a lot to consider when thinking about purchasing a puppy for your little one for Christmas. And, unless you have done your research and can answer the questions above in a positive manner, you should probably wait a while before adding a new(four-legged) member to the family. Sticking to gifts such as toys, new dresses, video games and books are probably more suitable.