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Do you think that Grandma would be less lonely if she had a dog to keep her company? Or the kids would learn responsibility if they had a dog to care for? And wouldn't a dog be the perfect gift?
Please reconsider. As the holidays approach, the subject of getting and/or giving a puppy or shelter dog as a present arises. Owning a pet is a lifetime commitment, one that every family member needs to agree upon. It is never a good idea to get a dog on impulse or even choose one for another person.
Giving a Pet: If you plan to give a pet as a surprise, consider that the new owners may be too occupied with holiday preparations, celebrations, and guests to give the new pet the attention he needs for proper house-training, crate training, and overall puppy manners.
Receiving a Pet: Holidays are a hectic time of year for most households. Introducing a pet during this time may cause stress for both the new pet as well as younger family members. The chaotic times of the Holidays may create a potentially hazardous environment for the unfamiliar puppy, especially if the household is not used to having a four-legged creature under foot. For example, it may be hard to keep ornaments, tinsel, decorations, wrapping paper, poinsettias, and other poisonous plants out of reach of the new pet.
Making sure the family has time for the new pet is key for the puppy to develop into a well-behaved dog. A stressful introduction can have negative effects. You want a smooth transition during a period when you have some quality time to spend with your new dog.
To improve the chances of a successful adoption, introduce pets during a relaxed, quiet time when the family can devote full attention to helping the animal adjust.
If you know someone who is serious about wanting a dog, consider giving books on dogs, a lead, collar, or dog training gift certificate, along with a note saying a dog of the recipient's choice comes with it. This will help ensure the lucky family receives the dog they want.