Xmas presents or part of a family?
National Canine Defense League coined the slogan "A dog is for life,
not just for Christmas" many years ago. Sadly even today the message
goes unheeded by some. Like most breeders we get a sudden spate of enquiries
for puppies in December, most from families with young children. Often these
enquirers are at pains to point out that whilst they know puppies should
not be given as Christmas presents THEY themselves are of course very sensible
and genuine. It is a fact that such people have done no homework, for even
a little understanding of what a new puppy in a household entails would
cure them of any romantic ideas of smiling children doting on the surprise
puppy under the Xmas tree on Xmas morning.
Like all responsible breeders we try to avoid having puppies ready to go to their new homes at Xmas, however dogs are not machines and exercise their perogative to do things in their own time so it does occasionally happened. Where we do have pups at Xmas we always keep them until the schools go back at the beginning of January before we let them go to their new homes. It means the pups are a little older but they are none the worse for that and it means that life in their new homes is settled and into a routine ready for their homecoming.
Puppies go to their new homes in a very vulnerable state
Why is Xmas such a bad time?
Puppies go home in a very immature
and vulnerable state, they are used to having their mum around to tell
them what they can and can't do, they have a huge sleep requirement, they
need very frequent and regular feeding and considerably more frequent
and regular toilet training. Developmentally puppies are at a learning
and asimilation peak between 6 -12 weeks of age, this is when they learn
fastest and when they integrate best into a new family, it is also when
they are at their most receptive to new experiences. At this age good
experiences are learned and enjoyed for life and bad or frightening experiences
are leaned and avoided or feared for life.
puppy in the home needs a fixed routine
Christmas such a busy, chaotic and unsettled time, the children are off school, the house is in a mess, everyone has to visit relatives, relatives have to visit, children are swamped with a collection of new toys, games and gadgets, the televison is schedules are crammed with popular films, the house is full of sweets and chocolates, cakes, nuts and other luxary food stuffs. Children's friends visit showing off their new presents, children rushing out to show their new presents to their friends. There is no routine at all at Christmas. Consider the following questions;
if going to dedicate themselves to the puppies care over the Xmas period,
that is to say, which adult is going to make sure that puppy is watched
for signs of restlessness and taken outside immedately to relieve themselves,
ensure the puppy is safe at all times, make sure that the puppy properly
accomodated and handled, etc.
Even if there are no young children in the household much of the above still applies. The first weeks in a new home are so critical to a puppies long term development that you will never be starting right with a puppy at Xmas.
Young puppies have a huge sleep requirement
You have decided to increase
size of the family by welcoming a new puppy. No surprises, the children
have been included all the way along, and learned a lot through the
proceess, they understand why some of the exciting breeds they wanted
are not suitable and why you have all ageed on the chosen breed. The
children know that Xmas is bad time to have puppies, but that when they
go back to school after the Xmas holiday the new puppy will be arriving.
The children also know that the puppy will not be a present for them
but a member of the household, a new baby, who will need lots of care,
attention and love. You have all been to see the breeder and met the
bitch who is the Mother to be, you have shared the excitement of the
news that the puppies have been born, you have all poured over photographs
of the litter the breeder has sent you. The whole family is equally
thrilled at going to see the puppies for the first time and on the way
home everyone talks excitingly about which puppy will be yours. The
children are encouraged to buy small presents for the puppy and put
them under the Xmas tree, a little collar, a brush some toys and in
the week after Xmas you all go to see the puppies again taking his presents.
The breeder tells the children how they must look after the puppy, no
rich food or sweets, no walks yet, she reminds them how to hold the
puppy safely and how to groom him. You been through this a dozen times
with them but of course now someone else is telling them they are listening.
The children go back to school, whilst you collect the puppy and bring
him home. The children know that they must spend 20 minutes each day
with the puppy before they can go out and play or start their home work.
Of course they want to spend the whole evening with the puppy - today,
but the routine is established, one to groom, one to help feed and so
on with the duties swapped each day. Whilst the children are at school
each day you and the puppy have time to establish your own routine,
puppy learns to be confident if left when you go out. There are short
training sessions throught the day, socialising expeditions and of course
trips to the school gate so that the children can show off their baby
to their friends. By the time half term comes puppy is happy to wait
at home whilst you take the children out for an afternoon, he ir she
will be just starting to go for baby walks and will know the rules of
the house and everyone in the family will know the routine and their
responsibilites, in other words the novelty has worn off and the puppy
is be a little older and able to take the disruption of the holidays
in his stride.
Caring breeders will never sell puppies at Xmas
There is one other important
point and that is that ,
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