You wake up on Christmas morning. The trimmed tree is glimmering with lights. A fresh pot of coffee is brewing in the kitchen. Snowflakes are gently falling outside the window. And to top it all off, a tiny little puppy is snuggled up under a tree branch waiting for your children to wake up and discover them.
It’s a beautiful picture, isn’t it?
But what happens after that picturesque morning when that adorable puppy starts chewing up your shoes or peeing on your carpet or your kids get bored with having to help take your pup for walks and provide him/her with the attention a dog needs?
Sadly, a lot of people get wrapped up in the excitement of bringing home a new puppy without thinking about the long-term needs of a dog. Even worse, after the holidays, many shelters find themselves overrun with “Christmas puppies” that are no longer wanted.
As the holidays approach, I want to take some time to remind you that bringing a dog into your home is a big responsibility. Before you go out and pick up your pup, please take some time to reflect on the following things…
Dogs Are A 10-15 (or more!) Year Commitment
If you bring home a puppy, are you ready for the long haul?
Dogs on average live 10-15 years…some even longer! That’s a very big commitment that you need to be sure you’re willing to make before you bring your puppy home.
There are many other factors that need to be considered due to the longevity of your dog’s life, and we’ll get to those in a minute. But please, take some time to reflect on whether you’re willing to have a dog in your home for the next decade before you make this kind of decision.
If you’re unwilling to commit to 10 years or more, perhaps a goldfish is a better option for your family!
Dogs Are Not Disposable
To piggyback on the fact that dogs are a long-term commitment, I want to remind you that dogs are NOT disposable. It is NOT ok to enjoy your dog for a year or two, then decide you have more important things on your agenda and dump your dog at a shelter.
It’s heartbreaking, and I see it happen all the time.
Do you have plans to…
- Travel the world?
- Begin a career that will have you stuck in the office for 12 hours a day?
- Start a family?
These are all things you need to consider as some life events are incompatible with owning a dog.
Of course, people have children and work full time and are able to provide their dogs with a wonderful life. It’s not impossible. You simply have to be willing to take on all the responsibility that comes with owning a dog and taking on your own life goals and ambitions.
Before adopting a puppy, make sure you have a plan to ensure your pup can live happily in your home regardless of what the future holds.
Caring For a Dog Is A Big Financial Investment
A dog costs far more than a small adoption fee.
To get started with a new dog or puppy you’ll need to invest in…
- Food bowls
- Dog food
- Training program
Then, over the span of your dog’s life, you will incur monthly expenses such as…
- Dog food.
- Flea, Tick, and Heartworm meds.
- Annual vet check ups.
And we can’t forget to factor in other big expenses. Like what happens if your pup gets sick or injured and needs a stay at the emergency vet? Or, what if you want to go on vacation and your dog can’t come. Boarding a dog or hiring a pet sitter isn’t cheap.
Each year you can plan to spend a few thousand dollars on your pup. Are you able to make this kind of commitment?
If your budget is tight, bringing home a puppy might not be the best option. This is something important to think about!
It Is Not Fair To Rely On Your Kids to Care For Your Dog
Your kids have begged for a puppy, claiming that they will play with him, feed him, and take him on walks. But will your children really be able to live up to that promise?
While most kids have the best intentions, it’s unlikely that they truly understand how much work is associated with caring for a puppy.
Will your kids really be willing to pick up dog poop in the backyard every week when it’s snowing or 100 degrees? Will they be eager to take their dog for a walk when their friends are online playing video games?
While it’s important to encourage your kids to share the responsibility of owning a dog, you need to understand as an adult that the care of the dog might end up 100 percent on you.
If you’re willing to do the work, then great! But you cannot rely on a child to do all the work.
Dogs Require Continuous Training, Love, and Attention to Live Happy & Healthy Lives
Finally, it’s important to remind you that dogs are incredible, intelligent animals that are capable of feeling a spectrum of emotions, and they desire to be around their people.
They also require training and stimulation so they don’t get themselves into trouble. This is a lifelong process!
Leaving a dog tied up outside your house and throwing them a bowl of food every day is no way to treat a dog who should be part of your family.
Are you willing to put the work into training your dog while building a relationship that will last a lifetime? Do you have the time and energy to go for a walk, wrestle on the floor, or give your pup a cuddle every day?
If you answered no to any of these questions, a dog isn’t the right pet for you!
If you answered yes to these questions and feel prepared to bring a new puppy into your home, then congrats! It’s going to be an exciting holiday season for you!
To get your started on the right paw, I want to encourage you to check out my Puppy Coach training program!
In this program, I provide EVERYTHING you need to set your new canine companion up for success. Even better, the program contains my Project Moses Video diary–a HUGE collection of videos that shows you firsthand how I trained my puppy, Moses.
A Final Note on Christmas Puppies: Adopt, Don’t Shop!
Finally, if you’re going to be adding a fur baby to your home this holiday season, I want to encourage you to ADOPT!
There are so many amazing dogs and puppies that end up in shelters through no fault of their own. The best part…many rescue centers will let you bring your potential new companion to your home for a trial so you can be 100% certain a dog is a right option for your family.
Giving a dog a home is the best gift you can give this season!
I wish you all a happy and safe holiday season.
The post Christmas Puppies: Are You Truly Ready for the Responsibility of a Dog? appeared first on The Online Dog Trainer.