This time of the year everybody is looking for that perfect gift. Is a puppy a perfect gift?
It could be, given you thought about what it means to get a puppy for somebody or even for yourself.
Make sure you are not giving in to a child younger than age 10, unless you are 100 percent aware that some adult will end up taking care of the puppy.
I see it over and over again. Somebody will call me for dog training, and when I get to the clients they tell me, "We bought the puppy for our kids and we would like them to be the trainer of the new puppy."
That is great. I love for children to be growing up with a dog. It can teach them a lot about responsibility and it is nice for a child to have a trusted friend to talk to and play with.
It could all be so nice, however, in reality, children lose interest very quickly. Most kids do not want to get up in the middle of the night to walk the dog while it is still young and being housebroken.
When the children come home from school, most of them have sports, homework and things to do other than care for the dog.
A young puppy is known to get into everything, so sooner or later a child's favorite toy will be destroyed. That is the time children start disliking their new friend and some of them will even handle this situation unfairly for the animal.
What's mom to do when the young puppy runs after the child and trips it to the floor? Sure you start working with the kid and the dog, but how much time and patience does mom have?
Most people will get through that first year of puppy- hood and children in the same household, however, I also seen many cases where the dog was given away before it even turned 1 and that is not fair.
Please make sure before you buy a puppy that you are able to bring it up in a proper manner.
Keep in mind that a young puppy needs lots of training and is very time consuming. It needs to be walked anywhere from six to10 times a day during the first couple of weeks. It needs to be fed and exercised a lot, depending on the breed, some more than others.
Puppies need to be loved to grow up to be wonderful dogs. Do not get a puppy if you know it will spend eight to 10 hours alone in a crate each day because life is so busy.
Also, think about the breed you will choose. Make sure to educate yourself on the needs of your new friend. A Labrador retriever is very different from a little Jack Russell terrier, and so on. If you really feel your family is ready for a dog, maybe you should foster one for a couple weeks to see how a dog will fit into your life.
Many shelters are looking for foster homes in order for dogs to stay stable and not lose their ability to be placed in a real home one day.
Please do not misunderstand me. I make my living in the pet industry and would love for you to have a new puppy.
But I also know how overwhelmed people can get with their new puppies and I am just trying to prevent problems for the pet and the owner.
Thank you for being responsible and reading this article.
Birgit Edler is the owner of Canine College in Juno Beach, which offers grooming, training and day care services for dogs and cats. Call (561) 626-0552 or e-mail Caninecollegefl@yahoo.com.