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They say a puppy isn’t just for Christmas – what key factors should people consider before thinking of giving a dog as a gift?
A dog – especially a puppy – is a huge commitment for any household. It’s a commitment in time, patience, money, energy and knowledge. To my mind, then, you have really got to want a dog, and completely understand the ramifications of dog ownership to invest in all of that. If someone gifts you a dog, therefore, it should not be a surprise or something done on a whim.
If you are thinking of giving a dog as a gift, you’ll need to be completely sure that the recipient has enough time to exercise, train, play with and take care of a new dog, seven days a week. Just because they might work from home these days does not necessarily mean they have time on their hands. Puppies, in particular, need regular attention; they need to play and they want to play with you! You can’t schedule a young dog into your work day and expect that to turn out well. I know people who work from home, who imagined getting a puppy would enhance their lives. In reality, they got frustrated, disappointed and upset before finally employing a dog walker (which is sort of missing the point really). Never underestimate the time you must devote to any dog.
Dogs need clarity, calmness, consistency and kindness in their lifelong training and this takes knowledge, self-knowledge and buckets of patience. Is the person you are buying a dog for, prepared to learn? Will they be able to pay insurance, food and vet bills? Do they have bags of energy to meet the needs of an energetic and playful canine companion?
If the answer to all of this is absolutely, yes – then still delay buying someone a dog until after the festive season. Christmas is usually a noisy, family time, with over- excited and, possibly, fractious people; a situation which is unlikely to meet the needs of a new dog.
Rescue homes overflow every January, with good dogs which have come from unfortunate environments. It is our responsibility not to add to this burden.
What is your view on re-homing rescue dogs? Presumably great care must be taken by both parties when re-homing?
I have re-homed a number of dogs (as well as bought puppies) and I am a strong
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