Family DogA Puppy For Christmas?


Why it’s more fun to involve the kids in the search, then pick up the puppy after the holiday. Sensible and safer too.





E. Katie Gammill, AKC Judge, Exhibition Editor


Buying a puppy at Christmas time to give as a gift is NOT a good idea. However, there are ways you can give the gift of a new puppy and make it a fun, family affair without the puppy getting lost in the shuffle at Christmas time.


Buying a puppy at Christmas time to give as a gift is NOT a good idea.Puppy might swallow an ornament hanger, tinsel, bows, or paper. He may piddle on wrapping paper or hide under it and get stepped on. Rich food and treats upset the stomach. The puppy may become lost in the activities. Puppies require sleep and should have a special place to go.


If you want a registered puppy, go into Go to the search engine, put in your breed of choice. This takes one to breed clubs. They will explain your breed, longevity, health concerns, temperament, and required care. It explains the history of your chosen breed. Reputable breeders will be listed and most do health checks and certifications. This is expensive and your puppy may cost more, however this is to be a “family member” for life, so take this into consideration.


Reputable breeders will allow you to come on the premises to see the sire and dam. They encourage visits and take a deposit to hold said puppy until after Christmas, allowing you to enjoy the Holiday with less stress.


If you want a mixed breed, check your local newspaper. Visit the breeder to see the puppies and their parents. Ask the proper questions. Was this litter raised in the house and is it socialized? Is this litter wormed? Has this litter been checked by a veterinarian and do they have the required puppy shots? Will you allow me to choose my puppy, take a deposit, and let me pick it up the day after Christmas? A truly concerned breeder prefers you do this.


Puppies need interaction with their litter and the mother teaches them discipline... This is especially important for working or guard dogs, and larger breeds. Buying a puppy before eight weeks of age will lead to bonding and behavioral problems later on in life. Reputable breeders will NOT sell a puppy before eight weeks of age as they understand this. They may encourage you to pick up the chosen puppy the day after Christmas and make it a family affair.


Breeders of cross bred pets will NOT offer health certifications. Do not feel a cross bred puppy is healthier, as the genetic make-up will be haphazard which allows undesirable characteristics to come down from both parents. Many feel cross bred dogs are healthier. They are NOT! No one documents those that die, nor do they care WHY the puppy died. It simply isn’t true.


The American Kennel Club and AKC breeders spend millions a year to determine breed problems. Once determined, they address the issues and cull those animals carrying genetic defects. Records are kept of these individuals and they are hopefully eliminated from the gene pool. Those sired by healthy parents will have health certifications in their background, however, this testing is costly, and therefore your puppy will cost more. This does not guarantee problems won’t arise, but it certainly cuts down on the opportunity for your chosen breed to have them. Remember every dog, purebred or mutt, carries genetic defects (and virtues) that can easily surface when breeds are crossed. This is why the AKC monitors new breeds and has an approval process to accept them. It gives breeders time to eliminate genetics problems and to “set” type.


Toy and small breeds must be paper trained or have a place to potty in the winter. They cannot handle inclement weather. By the same token, short nosed breeds cannot handle hot weather. Therefore, do not put your small puppy outside alone, winter or summer. Stay with your puppy. If your yard isn't fenced, use a lead! If you shut that door, your attention goes elsewhere and your puppy is at the mercy of the elements.


Many small breeds are difficult to house break. Do not scold eight week old puppies for accidents, they cannot control them. Take them out hourly. By four months, the puppy will start to figure this out for itself. Until then, get out the spray and a brush or offer papers or a private place. Responsible breeders raise puppies in a very clean environment and this will assist with housebreaking greatly.


If you buy from an AKC breeder, many send a “puppy pack” with a piece of the bedding, toys, leads, food, chew bones, and instructions. You can call the breeder any time with questions. Most will encourage you to take your puppy to the vet for a check up and to set a schedule for further vaccinations.


Christmas day, instead of bringing a small puppy into the home during the confusion, buy some bowls, leads, toys, and treats and pack them in the box with a picture of the puppy for your child. After Christmas, take your family back to the breeder and let the AKC breeder assist picking the proper puppy for the personality of the child. Welcoming a new puppy should be a family affair. A veterinarian emergency on Christmas day is NOT desirable.


E. Katie Gammill, AKC Judge/Exhibition EditorThere is excitement and anticipation of having a puppy after the holidays. Company is gone, the papers are picked up, and you are ready to welcome your new furry member of the family. Starting a puppy out right will give you years of enjoyment be it a cross breed or a registered dog.


If you prefer, visit your local shelter and adopt a dog of choice. Loving homes are at a premium due to the economy and other unavoidable situations. Shelters welcome donations as well as towels, blankets, food, or crates. Whether you adopt a shelter dog, buy an AKC registered dog, or a cross bred puppy, they all require the same attention and affection. May your family and your chosen pet have a very Merry Christmas!

Copyright 2012


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