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E. Katie Gammill, AKC Judge/Exhibition Editor


The chaos of Christmas can overwhelm an already stressed new puppy and no ETHICAL BREEDER will sell a puppy to be given as a perhaps, unwelcome Christmas gift.


The stressful season can overtake the pleasure of having the puppy, causing him to suffer needlessly. He's the most vulnerable among all presents, it is best to wait until after the Holidays so a normal routine can be established.


The stressful season can overtake the pleasure of having the puppy, causing him to suffer needlessly. He's the most vulnerable among all presents, it is best to wait until after the Holidays so a normal routine can be established.


There is a solution in how to “give” a puppy at Christmas. Introduce the puppy once excitement has worn down and there is time to enjoy and accommodate his needs bearing in mind the following points:


1.  Young puppies need to sleep 14-16 hours of every 24 hours in order to develop and grow.


2.  Baby puppies must be taken outside after they eat, nap, play and wake up. They need to relive themselves due to a small bladder and this can require hourly attention. Do not scold your puppy for mistakes; discipline at this age may have a negative reaction regarding your bonding with your puppy properly.


3.  Puppies cannot tolerate cold weather. The constant temperature before birth is 99 degrees. Once born, most breeders provide heat so puppies don’t become chilled during the first 8 weeks. Exposure time outside of this environment is limited. Most Christmas puppy’s feet have never touched grass, let alone snow and ice. They have no experience with inclement weather such as snow, wind, rain or sleet.


4.  Puppies are quickly lost in the excitement when unwrapping gifts. They may eat an ornament, a wire ribbon, tree needles, dye or glitter from paper, staples, or tape.


5.  Puppy may be lost beneath wrapping paper and get stepped on or go unnoticed out a door. OR worse, they may be left outside and forgotten!  Puppy feet quickly freeze to icy surfaces and left to the elements, their time is limited.


6.  Puppies cannot eat rich left over’s, chocolate, liquor, grapes, raisins, and especially NO artificial sweetener such as Xylitol which can result in death.


7.  Loud voices, music, and horse play are very disturbing to a young puppy. Do not allow visitors to bring their pets into your home at Christmas if a new puppy is present. The older dog may become aggressive and injure your puppy. IF a child holds your puppy, make them sit on the floor. Puppies can easily leap out of arms and become injured.



If you locate a puppy just for your family, visit the breeder and take a picture. Make a deposit (or pay for) your puppy. Take the picture, a leash and collar, puppy bowls, and toys and place them in a Holiday bag to present to them on Christmas day.


To avoid frustration, pick your puppy up after the Holiday and present it in person to its new owner. Both you and your puppy will be much happier.


Puppies normally aren’t sold until 8 weeks of age. Spending time with the littermates and their mother teaches them discipline and manners. By taking them sooner, they may fail to developed “bite inhibition.” Toy or extra small puppies need to remain with the litter until approximately 12 weeks of age due to frailness, possible hypoglycemia, and temperature regulation.


Inoculations should be current. Puppy should have been wormed. At 12 weeks visit the veterinarian to set up a vaccine and worming schedule. Many inoculations do NOT address all contagious diseases, so keep your puppy isolated from other dogs until it is fully vaccinated. Take a stool sample to your first appoint so the veterinarian can check for internal parasites.


Reputable breeders will furnish you with information regarding registration, house breaking, crate training, and give you a “leg up” on all the do’s and don’ts. By following these instructions, you will build a much better relationship with your pet. Your breeder will be there to answer all your questions and give you support during those puppy days. In fact, most breeders love to hear about the development and achievements of the dog they bred “just for you”. Remember, your special puppy will become your life long companion, so puppyhood is very important and is a positive step toward your future relationship. EST 1998 © Nov 2011 - 1312161-D2112



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