Puppies born in October are usually ready for their new homes by Christmas. I know of many families that have chosen to add their new family member over the holidays. For a time of year that is already magical, it seems like the perfect time to bring home a puppy.
Christmas Morning Bundles
The idyllic image of decorations, shiny lights, and warm pajamas on Christmas morning, is then multiplied by the addition of a fluffy puppy. The recipient of this gift is usually ecstatic.
Lets just face it, baby animals are adorable. You don’t have to be an animal lover to melt for their squishy little faces. Breed and breeding don’t seem to mean a thing when you see their pretty coats and wiggly bodies.
What happens 6 months down the line when that little, huggable pup turns into a wild and rambunctious “teenager”? Maybe the dog turns out to be bigger or more high energy than you expected. Maybe now there’s a baby on the way or a move on the horizon.
Whatever the cause, all through the summer rehoming groups and Craigslist saw post after post of dogs that needed to be rehomed, and so many of them were because the dog became “too much”; either they needed more time than people had, or were just too much of a challenge.
Think Beyond The Puppy
Puppies inevitably grow up and change. Though we cannot plan for life events and surprises, thinking ahead and saying “what if…” can often help you decide if now is a good time to add a dog of any age to your home.
Puppies will potty and chew and bite and destroy. Different breeds and stages bring with them different problems. Are you ready to face those challenges? If you adopt a power breed (German Shepherd, Mastiff, Catahoula) are you willing to put in the training to make sure they can be safely controlled? If you choose a smaller working dog (Heeler, Australian Shepherd, Rat Terrier) can you give that dog a job so they do not become destructive?
Think Beyond “The Cute Factor”
The “Adopt Don’t Shop” movement is a nice catchphrase, and adopting a shelter dog is a wonderful thing however, pure breds also have their place in our lives. Pure breds as well as the “designer” mixes like the Labradoodle are bred for specific purposes and “jobs”; knowing why you want a dog should be a huge part of your consideration.
A reputable breeder will do genetic and health testing to prevent diseases and disabilities. They will also breed for disposition. A breeder who knows what they are doing will be able to help you find the perfect energy and personality match for your family and lifestyle.
A mutt litter, or accidental breeding has a lot more unknowns, but can also be healthy. With all the news about puppy mills in the area, please adopt puppies from a reputable rescue group or shelter, as they are more likely to make sure that your puppy has been properly vaccinated, wormed, and possibly microchipped. The organizations listed in “Another Puppy Mill” are great resources.
I recommend you do shop. Either purebred or mutt can turn into a lifelong companion or a troublesome pet. Take time to find the breed or breed mix, energy, and personality that is best suited to you. Bringing home the right pup won’t eliminate your problems, but it can make a world of difference.