Can we have a puppy for Christmas?
Christmas lists are being written and no doubt some children – and adults – will be putting a puppy at the top of their wish list. But stop and think for a moment, the Dog’s Trust regularly run their adverts ‘A Dog is for Life’ with good cause. Bringing a new family member home at Christmas presses lots of positive emotional buttons and yes, you are not in the usual routines of work and school so possibly have more time for a few days. However, Christmas can also be chaotic with lots of excitement, not what a new and frightened puppy needs or indeed an older dog you are rehoming. What they need is calm and quiet to get used to their new family and surroundings.
If you plan ahead it can be great to have a new friend in your home. Maybe it is ‘yes we can get a puppy’ – or rehome an older dog, but let’s do it after the holiday in that flat period when routines re-establish themselves? The presents on Christmas Day could be all about getting your home ready for the new arrival.
The PDSA have drawn up a helpful list:
- A crate – they love their own safe space to go to
- Food and water bowls
- A complete puppy food (your vet/the breeder or rehoming centre will be able to advise you on what is best)
- Collar and tag (a legal requirement)
- Harness and lead
- Car restraint
- Lots of toys
- Puppy pads for toilet training and disinfectant for the inevitable accidents
- Poo bags
- A brush or comb for home grooming
- Toothpaste (one for dogs!) and toothbrush
- Cleaning kit – shampoo, cloths and towels
You can then use the holiday to make sure your home and garden are puppy/dog proof. Inside the house electric cables need putting where they can’t be chewed, you may need some ‘baby gates’ to restrict access to certain areas in the house such as stairs. The garden needs a thorough check for any little gaps they might be able to squeeze through and are there any poisonous plants that need removing? Also get registered with a vet and groomer so you are not waiting for that important first appointment – vets can usually fit you in within a couple of days but groomers can have long waiting lists!
A new dog needs company to settle in and gentle, respectful treatment. Children need to know that putting them into a unicorn outfit on day one is not going to make for a happy time! The whole family – adults, children and pooch – need training so think about where you will get this help and agree on consistent words and behaviour. Friends with dogs will be full of recommendations of where to go.
You will need to be able spend a couple of weeks devoted to the new addition and getting them used to being left for a couple of hours while you do your chores, remember dogs are pack animals and need company. If you work, how will you manage walks and popping back to give them a comfort break? Obviously here at VIPPIES we are very happy to help you with home visits or doggy day care.
Have a good hard think about what the house rules for you and the pup will be:
- Will your puppy sleep with you? Great when they are small and cuddly but will you want a bigger adult dog pushing you out of bed in a few years?
- Where will you feed them? Will you allow them to have scraps from the table?
- Where will their crate and bed be? They need their own space as much as they need you.
There is a wealth of information online to help you make good choices.
It is a wonderful thing to share your home with a four legged friend, but it is a lifetime commitment of 15years+ if you are lucky. Enjoy it!