It’s the season to give…
It’s one of my favourite times of the year!
Many families give their Christmas pups to their loved ones in the spirit of generosity.
This I find so amazing…
I love seeing dogs leave shelters and go to loving homes.
Sometimes families overlook possible challenges in the excitement of getting a Christmas dog. Adopting a dog to your family must be carefully considered and discussed before you make a decision to adopt.
Dog ownership is a lifelong commitment. From training and exercising, to socializing, to caring for your dog, it is an ongoing commitment.
These are the five questions that you should ask before adopting a dog.
#1: Are You Ready to Take on the Additional Responsibility of Christmas Puppy Care?
Although it may seem like a glamorous job, owning a dog is hard work.
These four-legged babies require lots of attention and time every day.
The first thing to consider is who will care for the pup every day. While everyone can help, there should be only one person responsible for looking after the pup.
It’s more than playing fetch. It involves making sure your dog is well-fed, bathed and exercised.
Are your children old enough to take the dog on a walk or feed the puppy?
The kids won’t be able to handle all the responsibility. So, do you or your partner have the time and energy to take the dog on walks every day, sometimes multiple times, and allow him to go about his business? Do you have the time to take your dog to the vet and to groom her regularly?
You may not be able to adopt a new dog if you are already busy with family or work.
Children who are very young will not be able or willing to understand the daily duties of caring for a dog.
They may also feel jealous of the dog, as the pup will demand a lot from you, which could cause you to spend more time with your children.
You and your family must be prepared to take on the new puppy’s work.
#2: Are You able to afford a dog?
It is a significant investment to get a dog.
I don’t just mean the actual cost of the dog (many shelters charge adoption fees), but also the costs associated with caring for and raising a dog.
You’re probably thinking about the obvious costs.
Treats and toys
But there are many other expenses you will need to consider.
Equipment such as a crate and dog beds will be needed.
You can also get supplies such as cleaning products for your dog in the event of an accident.
Or leashes, food bowls and shampoo.
Do you have to spay or neuter your dog?
Are you looking to put a fence up in your yard?
You might also consider hiring a trainer, or investing in a puppy obedience course.
All of these items come at a high price.
Do you plan to send your dog to doggy care or board them for vacations with family?
You should research the cost of these facilities in your locality, as they can be quite expensive.
These are the basics, but they don’t include any emergency costs.
For example, if your dog eats chocolate chip cookies from the counter and becomes sick. You can also imagine your dog running around in the backyard and breaking their leg.
Are you able to afford all these unexpected and expected costs?
To get an idea of the amount you will need each month to provide for your dog, make a list. Include any training and medical costs.
It’s important to understand your financial situation to determine if you are ready to pay the ongoing, long-term costs of keeping your dog happy and healthy.
#3: Are you ready for the commitment to training that will last a lifetime?
Classes for puppy obedience are very popular.
These basic commands are used to socialize your pup and teach basic training commands such as “sit” or “stay”.
But it’s something I’ve said before, and it’s something I’ll repeat again…
Training your dog is not a one-and done type of interaction.
It is something that must be nurtured and strengthened over time.
It’s more than just your dog knowing to “sit” and “stay.”
Training your dog is about developing a trusting relationship with them.
You’ll be able to tell if they’re near a busy street or in a dog park that they’ll listen to you and respect you.
Training your dog is all about learning the rules of the house. For example, jumping on the bed and chewing toys are not allowed.
However, training does not end when your dog is potty-trained.
Dogs are animals. They are driven by their primal brains. We need to provide them with good leadership, guidance and consistency.
That’s something you can’t switch on and off.
Dog ownership is a way to live. This requires consistency in communication and commanding your dog.
This applies to all family members. It can cause confusion for your dog if mom tells them “no dogs on the couch” but dad allows them to jump up to view TV. Everyone in the family must be familiar with the rules and follow the training.
It’s not enough to say goodbye to the Christmas Puppy excitement.
Are you willing to take on a lifetimelong journey with your dog and continue training him throughout his life? If yes, you may be ready to add another dog to your family.
#4: What do you think about your current (and future) lifestyle?
A dog brings joy and playfulness to your life. But, the truth is that a dog is just like bringing home a baby.
It might seem that your dog will fit right in with your daily life. It’s the opposite.
Your life must be adjusted to accommodate your dog’s needs.
This is why it’s important to consider how a dog could change your life.
It’s easy to get lost in Christmas Puppy excitement but how will you feel when the excitement has subsided?
Are you a gamer who likes to lounge on the couch with your dog after work? Dogs must be exercised and taken out often.
Are you a travel enthusiast? It’s important to consider whether your dog will be traveling with you, or if your dog will need to stay at a boarding facility. Your dog might feel neglected if you are often away from home for work. You will also have to pay a lot of boarding costs.
Are you planning to have children in the near future? Are you moving to a new place? You’ll have to make sure your dog feels at ease with all of these life changes.
Do you find yourself constantly on the move? You’ll have to take care of your dog while you work long hours, or if your kids are involved in sports, lessons, and other activities.
If your life is already hectic or overscheduled, adding a dog to your routine will only make it more busy and increase your stress levels.
The stress will be picked up by your new dog. You don’t want to have a dog that is a burden. I want you and your dog to have a happy experience.
Lifestyle is an important factor when considering getting a dog. Not just any dog… but the best dog for you and your family.
#5: Which Kind of Dog Would You Choose?
If you’ve asked yourself all the questions above and still want to adopt a dog…CONGRATULATIONS! !
Before you pull the trigger, you should consider what kind of dog you want.
It is not a smart idea to grab the first dog that comes along.
Each breed is unique and will work in your family dynamic.
Lifestyle was not the topic. A Labrador Retriever or Border Collie would suit you if you live an active lifestyle. You might be more comfortable with a Pug or English Bulldog if you lead a more relaxed lifestyle.
You or your family members have allergies so you want a dog that sheds less or is hypoallergenic like a Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog or Poodle.
Are you able to house a large breed? You might consider a smaller breed if you live in an apartment.
Knowing when you are ready and which dog type will work best in your family will help you build a lasting bond with your new pet.
As we approach the joyful holiday season, a new member of the family might be the perfect gift. However, you need to understand the commitment and responsibility that comes with having a pet.
Are you looking to add a puppy to your family? Send me a photo! I love seeing happy adopted dogs and smiling faces all year.
Are you really ready for Christmas? Five Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Family – The Online Dog Trainer.