How to properly prepare for your new little angel.
The holiday season is a time when many people consider giving their children or other family members a puppy… a fuzzy bundle of joy to share the wonder and merriment of the season with. But bringing a puppy home—especially during the busy holiday—calls for some serious thought and preparation to make sure your furry gift is well-received and well cared-for, not just on Christmas morning, but for the rest of your lives together.
Consider before or after the Holidays.
Keep in mind that a chaotic Holiday morning or loud family gathering can be frightening for a puppy just learning to adapt to a new environment. You may want to bring your puppy home well in advance as an early gift. Or, you may want to wrap a kennel box filled with dog toys, enjoy the surprise reaction the gift gets when unwrapped—then bring the puppy home a few days after Christmas.
With this in mind, we’ve put together some tips we hope will guide you if you’re considering a puppy for Christmas.
Prepare everyone in the family for the responsibility that comes with dog ownership.
A puppy is going to require lots of TLC and special attention for quite some time. Make sure everyone in the family is on board and excited to welcome a puppy—and that everyone will share in the responsibilities of feeding, walking, toilet training, playing, grooming and everything else having a puppy entails.
Agree on some house rules.
All family members should agree on some basic rules before bringing a puppy home. Here are the main questions to discuss:
- Who will feed the puppy? Will each person take a different day or a week at a time? How will you make sure the puppy is fed regularly?
- Who will walk, exercise and play with the puppy? This is important. In fact, you may want to make a chart outlining how often the puppy should be exercised and assign people to take turns walking or playing with him.
- Is the puppy going to be allowed on furniture or beds? It’s important that you decide this in advance and be consistent about it. If one family member lets puppy on the couch and another doesn’t, it can confuse your dog and lead to confusion and unwanted behavior.
- How will you correct him when he makes a mistake? Discuss methods of positive reinforcement that reward your puppy for good behavior. Using tasty Bil-Jac treats can really aid the process.
- Who will potty train the puppy? How will you share the responsibility? Also determine how you want to train him—to go indoors on paper or pads, or outdoors? Choose just one or you risk confusing your pup.
- How will you train your puppy to observe other house rules? Discuss ways the entire family can contribute by using the same verbal cues, accepting and correcting the same behaviors, and using positive reinforcement methods of training rather than punishment.
Stock up on supplies. A new puppy requires a lot of equipment! He or she will need:
- A place to sleep — until your puppy can be trusted to roam the house alone, he should stay in a kennel or wire crate overnight.
- A leash and collar — for walking.
- I.D. tags — be sure to register your puppy with the proper authorities and keep identifying information on a tag attached to his collar.
- Toys — this includes balls to fetch, chew toys, tug toys and toys with hollowed-out centers that you can put food in.
- Grooming tools — you’ll need a brush, comb, shampoo, nail clippers, toothbrushes (with handles or finger-brushes) and special doggie toothpaste.
- Food — a well-crafted dog food like Bil-Jac Puppy Select.
- Treats — specially sized puppy treats are important for training your pup and for rewarding good behavior. Bil-Jac offers a number of delicious treats that can provide variety for your puppy from early training long into adulthood.
Clever Christmas Names
Perhaps you’d like to celebrate your holiday pup by giving he or she a Holiday-inspired name. Here are a few ideas:
- Bell (Belle)
- Bianca (white)
- Chris (or Kris)
- Claws (Claus)
- Jingle (or Mr. or Miss Jingles)
- Nicholas (Nick or Nicky)
- Noel or Noelle
- Ralphy (From A Christmas Story)
- Rudy (Rudolph)
- Sugar Plum
- Virginia (as in, Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus)
- Yul (yule)
And to all a good night.
Whatever way you choose to welcome your new family member, we wish you the happiest of holidays and a long, loving life together!
Are you considering a puppy for Christmas and have additional questions? Have you ever brought a puppy home during the holidays? We’d love to hear about it!