AAAAAWWWW….. What a sweet and adorable image, Christmas puppy! Who would not love one? Just think about all the joy and cuteness and mischief and fun and sweetness and playfulness and love that comes with the puppy. So YEY whatever could be better?
When choosing a dog more often than not, dogs are chosen based on appearance—whichever breed or size or colour appeals to us. Or maybe you loved Eddie on the TV show Frasier and thought “Adorable! I would love a Jack Russell Terrier!”
But as with human relationships, outward attraction alone can be a poor predictor of long-term happiness. What’s a better criterion? Compatibility.
To get the right dog, first consider life-style. Do you run 5K every morning or enjoy the occasional Sunday stroll? Do you want a dog that can come along when you go camping? On holidays? Or maybe fishing? What level of training and mental exercise are you ready to provide your dog with? Is competitive agility something you are planning on or would you be happier with a couch buddy?
Next, consider personal preferences. Are you tolerant of barking or does it drive you crazy? Is shedding okay or a big no-no? Do you find exuberance charming or exhausting? And so on.
Compiling a shopping list (…short hair, medium-sized engine, good with cats…) may strike as too businesslike. But factoring in lifestyle and temperament compatibility drastically increases chances of having a happy, life-long relationship with your dog.
You are still sure you want a dog for Christmas and you have done the homework and found the perfect match. Well there are still some things to get done. Before bringing your dog home, set up a confinement area. This is a place for your dog to stay when you can’t provide 100% supervision. For example, when you are out or busy around the house and can’t keep your eyes on him the entire time. It prevents chewing accidents, toileting accidents, and teaches your dog to be alone.
‘Confinement’ may sound harsh, but having a confinement area is the best possible start for your dog in your household. People often give a new dog the run of the house right away. Then, when he has an accident on the carpet or chews on the table legs, they confine him, and confinement becomes a punishment.
Instead, give your dog a safe place from the beginning, and let him make a gradual and successful transition to his new home. He will be much happier and your furniture will remain intact.
Next are the must have supplies: Food; everyday meals, chews. Equipment; long and short leash, flat collar, head halter or harness for walking, ID tags. In-home management; crate, Kong, treat ball. Toys; a variety – rope, plush toys, soft and hard rubber toys. Dog care tools; canine toothbrush & toothpaste, nail clippers, brush.
It is also good to find out about different dog services around your area; is there a force free trainer who could help you with the training? What about dog walkers for the days that get so busy that time runs out? And also reputable boarding kennels or dog minders when your dog cannot come with you…
A dog is a living, loving being that requires a commitment for the next 10 to 15 years. So it is all well and good to decide that for yourself and your family, but it is not a decision you should make for someone else. So please, please, please do not give a puppy or a dog as a Christmas present!
The above great poster by Mighty Dog Graphics!