We've all seen videos on YouTube or TV - little boys and girls opening up their Christmas presents and a puppy pops out of the box. The kids squeal in delight, and a tear comes to our eyes. What an exciting time! And then the puppy pees on the carpet or bites one of the kids or tears up a new gift or swallows an ornament. This puppy is a living, breathing animal with needs of its own - it has to be fed, walked, played with, trained, taken to the vet. And, unfortunately, the excitement of Christmas gifts fades fast. Reality begins to creep in. Oops.
Can you get a puppy for the holidays? Sure. But instead of having the puppy pop out of a pretty present, do it differently. First, remember that if you are getting a puppy for your kids, it is still your puppy. Even if you are getting it to teach your kids responsibility, the ultimate caretaker is you. So you have to want a puppy - and the time and expense that comes with it!
You can still surprise the kids at Christmas - and this way it will be an even bigger surprise and a bigger treat because you and your kids as a family will select the puppy together. Instead of having a puppy under the tree, get puppy supplies such as dog bowls, grooming brushes, a leash and collar, a book about puppy care, etc. Put them in separate boxes and wrap them up so there are multiple presents. Your kids will look at you quizzically, wondering what's going on, but then the light goes on! THAT'S the video you want to see!
Choosing the Right Puppy
How should you choose the puppy? Do you want a purebred or a mixed breed dog? With pure bred dogs, you know what an adult dog look likes and to a lesser degree the temperament, which you can read about in their breed description. With a mixed breed, it's a guessing game as to what he will become, but you can take a look at the breeds he's composed of to make an educated guess.
Look at the physical characteristics - size, weight, color, length of hair. Coat is important because the dog is going to have to be groomed, and some dogs need grooming more than others.
Then there's temperament. If you're a busy mom and your kids are busy with school, a dog who needs 2-3 hours of exercise a day is not a good match. Breeders can tell you about their breed, both the good stuff and the bad stuff, so you will know about your puppy before you bring him home.