Is There a Puppy in Your Future?

The holidays are quickly approaching and Christmas seems to be a time when people are thinking of getting a new puppy.

Granted a new puppy is a wonderful gift and is guaranteed to make some little boy or girl very happy.

It is also a great gift for big girls and boys, too.

The important thing here is to be prepared.

Many a holiday pet gift often ends up in an animal shelter because the person either buying it or receiving it, was totally unprepared for the everyday outcome of raising a puppy.

First of all, if the recipient you have in mind is a toddler or a child under the age of 5 years, forget it.

Unless you or the parents have the patience of a saint and can handle 2 very active “in to everything children” it is a very bad idea.


A puppy by itself is a handful at best to raise.

Puppies require time and patience, children require time and patience and together they can drive mom or dad up a wall.

It is best to wait until the child is a little older and has a better understanding of the care and responsibility of having a pet.

If you are thinking that a pet will help instill a sense of responsibility in your child, think again.

Rule number one is do not believe all the promises made to get a puppy will be kept.

Do not give in unless you, too, are willing to take on some or all of the true responsibility of raising the puppy.

Children have short term memories when it comes to “pet” promises.

I am an authority on that subject, having raised six children.

Once you have given all of the above some serious thought and the end result is “there is a puppy in your future,” let us continue with a few more thoughts.

What is the lifestyle of your family like?

Are you an active group that loves the outdoors or are you a quieter computer and book reading group?

It is important to take all this into consideration when looking for a puppy.

If you are active, you do not want a “couch potato dog” nor do you want a dog that requires a great deal of exercise, if your family’s idea of fun is playing board games.

Where do you live?

Are you an apartment or condo dweller or do you have a home with a fenced-in yard?

These are important considerations to think about before you purchase a puppy.

Little puppies have been known to grow into big dogs and big dogs can be a problem in small spaces.

How much time do you have to spend with a puppy?

How much expendable money do you have to spend on a puppy’s care?

Puppies cost money for vet bills, toys and grooming.

Do some research on breeds, even a Heinz 57 variety dog has some definite breed characteristics.

Read the article on my website called “A Dog to Fit Your Lifestyle.”

There are dogs to match just about anyone’s personality and lifestyle.

If at all possible, try to meet the parents of your puppy, this will give you a better idea of what to expect your puppy to grow into.

Be aware that no matter what the parents are like, the puppy can have a different personality.

Some puppies can grow up to be diggers, barkers, chewers and even aggressive, like children, it is hard to know what they will be like when grown.

It s important that a puppy be socialized while it is still home with mom.

Check to see if the breeder allows family members to handle and play with the puppies.

When looking for a puppy take a “squeaky toy” along with you to see if the puppy will play. It is a easy way to see if the puppy is inclined to play fetch or if it is too scared to play with the toy.

Scared and nervous puppies are prone to grow up to be nervous and timid dogs.

Here are a few other tests to try during your search for the “perfect puppy.”

Try turning over the puppy to rub its belly, if you can do that with out too much fuss and the puppy doesn’t urinate on you, that’s a good sign.

Also, pick up a paw and play with its toes, most dogs do not like that, but if the puppy tolerates it, that too, is a good sign. Remember you will have to clip nails and brush legs at one time or another and a cooperative dog is a plus.

Watch how the puppy relates to its littermates, is it too aggressive, timid or does it seem to get along nicely? Does the puppy try to chew on your fingers or anything else that is around? A puppy’s teeth do not start coming in until it is about 12 weeks of age, so early chewing can be a sign of a dog that will grow up to be a chewer.

If you have done your research and found a breed compatible to your lifestyle.

If you realize that for about 18 months, you will have a lively puppy to live with and if you have the time and are willing to make the commitment you, your family and the puppy should have a happy life together

Happy Holidays.