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
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.
a list of what is important to you about your dog, i.e. shedding, size, barking, etc.
a list of absolutes about your dog - for example, I am allergic and need a hypoallergenic dog
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?
everyone in your family as excited to own a dog as you are?
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?
supplies do you need to care for your dog?
there other animals in the home and if so, are they accepting of other pets?
you financially prepared for the $1000-$2000 a year it can cost to care for and feed a dog?
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.
you have family in your home for the holiday?
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.
Tips for finding your Christmas Puppy at your local animal shelter.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Tips for finding your Christmas Puppy at your local rescue group.
- Rescue groups generally have an application process that can take a few weeks. Start early. Fill out your application truthfully and fully.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
Tips for finding your Christmas Puppy at a reputable breeder.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.