Christmas Puppy


Monday, August 10, 2015  / by Christine Butler




Who can resist the urge to have your children or special someone wake up to this on Christmas morning?


They look so sweet and it is such an exciting time to get to surprise someone with a warm, fuzzy puppy.  But... a few weeks later you could have this instead

puppy_destructionIf you are considering a puppy as a present here are some must know tips to make it easier on you, your shoes, and your family.  Your decision to get a puppy should begin with research.  Boring, I know, but it will be helpful in the end.  Every breed of dog was bred to do a job.  It is important that you understand what those jobs are in order to understand what type of energy level and training needs your dog will have.  And remember, rescue dogs are still a "breed" or "breeds" of dog so understanding the different breeds will help you know your dog better.

  1.  Make a list of what is important to you about your dog, i.e. shedding, size, barking, etc.
  2.  Make a list of absolutes about your dog - for example, I am allergic and need a hypoallergenic dog
  3.  What do you want to do with your dog?  Are you an active family who wants to hike and bike with your pooch? Or are you looking for more of a friend to sit on the porch with?
  4.  Is everyone in your family as excited to own a dog as you are?
  5.  Based on your family's lifestyle is there a need for a schedule with the dog.  Who will feed it, walk it, clean up after it, and train it?
  6.  What supplies do you need to care for your dog?
  7.  Are there other animals in the home and if so, are they accepting of other pets?
  8.  Are you financially prepared for the $1000-$2000 a year it can cost to care for and feed a dog?
  9.  Will you be traveling over the holiday?  And if yes, what will you do with the puppy during that time?  A puppy that has not had all of it's vaccinations cannot stay at a boarding facility.
  10.  Will you have family in your home for the holiday?
  11.  Have you considered that a dog lives anywhere from 8 -15 years depending on the size and breed?  Are you prepared to make this commitment, regardless of moving, babies being born, etc?

Once you have completed your homework it is time to begin the search for your perfect Christmas puppy. If you are looking for a breeder or a rescue begin your search with plenty of time to look for the right dog to fit your needs.  Remember, all puppies are cute - do not choose on looks alone. Puppies do not stay puppies forever.puppy_to_grown_dog


checkmark Tips for finding your Christmas Puppy at your local animal shelter.

  1. The shelter can be a scary place.  Dogs can be shy and reserved or even scared when they are in the shelter.  If the shelter has the space, take the pup into a play area and spend some time with him.  It will give him a chance to relax and let you see a little of his true personality.
  2. Not all dogs in the shelter are strays.  Over half of the dogs in an animal shelter are there due to owner surrender.  This means that some of these dogs will not have very good manners and will need training and patience to help them reach their full potential.  It will be work but it will be worth it and you will be saving a life.
  3. The local shelters do not always provide vaccinations, heartworm testing, etc.  Be prepared for a trip to the vet after you get your dog and ensure all vaccines are up to date, schedule your spay/neuter if it has not already been done, and begin your heartworm and flea and tick preventative.
  4. Be patient with your new dog.  He is in a new environment and needs time to adjust.  It normally takes a dog about 10-14 days to settle into a new place.  His true personality will begin to come out during this time and you will have a better understanding of what his needs are.
  5. Schedule your puppy training!  Give your pooch the best chance at being loved and adored by your family by learning how to communicate well with him and helping him to understand your expectations.

checkmarkTips for finding your Christmas Puppy at your local rescue group.

  1. Rescue groups generally have an application process that can take a few weeks.  Start early.  Fill out your application truthfully and fully.
  2. Contact your veterinarian and let them know that you have filled out an application and that the rescue group may be contacting them.  This is a busy time for your vet's office so giving them some notice will be helpful.  They can be on the lookout for the phone call or email from the rescue group.
  3. Do your research on the rescue group.  Many groups begin with good intentions and sometimes get lost in the shear numbers of dogs that need to be saved.  Ensure that the the dog you are interested in has had testing for heartworms, has been vaccinated, and has been spayed or neutered if age appropriate.
  4. Be prepared for a home visit.  Many rescue groups want to do an in-home interview to ensure their rescue is going to a safe home.  They have spent countless hours and quite a bit of money to prepare this pup for you.  Do not be offended that they want to see the pup's potential forever home.
  5. Schedule your puppy training!  Even though your dog has been in a foster home there may still be some manners, socialization, and obedience work that needs to be done.  There is always a transition period for a dog when they enter a new home so be prepared to help ease your new pet into your home.

checkmarkTips for finding your Christmas Puppy at a reputable breeder.

  1. Do your research!  Just because a breeder has a great website and beautiful pictures of rolling hills and a pond does not mean that your puppy is being raised in these conditions.  Check out the BBB for any complaints, read online reviews of their kennel, and talk to them.
  2. A reputable breeder will generally have a waiting list so begin early.  A breeder who is breeding to better the breed will almost always have their puppies sold before they are born.  I prefer the breeder who recommends the dog for the client not one who lets you choose based on when you paid your deposit.  A good breeder has spent 8-12 weeks with these puppies and knows their personalities.  If you have shared your family's dynamics, wants, and needs with your breeder who else is better to help you choose the right puppy with the right temperament for your family.
  3. Do not be offended if the breeder does not want you to "tour" their kennels.  Puppies are very susceptible to diseases and many can be carried in on your shoes or clothes.  A reputable breeder should have an area  where you can visit the puppies (when the age is appropriate) and where you can meet the parents (if they have both parents on site).  If your breeder has the parents on site but does not want you to meet them you should be very concerned and not purchase from this person.
  4. A reputable breeder wants to know about you and your family - not just sell you a puppy.  This should be a relationship and not just a business transaction.
  5. Schedule your training!  A new puppy has a lot of transition ahead to get settled into your home.  The puppy may not have been separated from his litter mates prior to you taking him home.  Be prepared for a few sleepless nights.  Give your pup the push in the right direction by being prepared with your puppy training plan.

Well, it looks like you are ready to begin.  Remember, this is an 8-15 years or more commitment.  Be patient and do your homework and the right family member will be there.  I always recommend ADOPT BEFORE SHOP but if you must shop please make sure you are using a reputable breeder.  At  Hilton Butler's K-9 Bootcamp we offer a free Puppy Recruiting Program.  We will help you sit down and answer some of the questions above, decide on a breed or mix of breed, and help you in search for the right puppy.  If the dog is local we will even go out and temperament test the dog to ensure it is the right fit for your family.  This is a completely free program and can be utilized by anyone (you do not have to be in the Dallas area).  We would love the opportunity to help you find your new family member.  Please visit us at the link below for more information about puppy recruiting.



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