6 things to consider before gifting a dog for Christmas

Are you thinking about buying yourself or someone else a dog for Christmas? Consider these things first!

Adding a puppy to your family is not a decision that should come lightly or without much consideration. While it’s a heart-warming sentiment to wrap a puppy in a bow under the Christmas tree, statistically, puppies are surrendered to humane societies or adoption centers the most in the weeks following the holidays. So before making a life-changing decision, think about these things first!

1. Do you have the time and energy to give to the dog?

A new dog is very cute and exciting, but it quickly becomes a huge responsibility. Pet parents should respect the dog enough to give it the life it deserves. That means dedicated training, exercising and plenty of playing. After you come home from a long day at work, make sure you have enough energy left to take care of your pup.

2. Do you have the space for a dog?

While some breeds are good fits for apartment lifestyle, other breeds require room to grow, run and explore. Before wrapping your dog in a bow under the Christmas tree, make sure you are equipped with a yard or large house to allow them the best lifestyle.

3. Can you make this long-term commitment?

Adopting or buying a new dog is not a short-term fad. According to the AKC, the average lifespan of a dog is 10–13 years, so consider that your pooch is going to be along for the ride in whatever is coming up in your life for the next decade. Do you plan on moving or having children or any big life changes? Dogs need stability and routine, so be ready to provide that.

4. Are you financially stable enough to support a dog?

Shelters often have special holiday events to empty the shelters but pets don’t just cost the amount you pay for them. There are a lot of costs to consider before you bring a dog into the family. Be prepared to pay for vet visits, medicine, training, food, toys, and more!

5. What breed is best for your family?

Doing your research beforehand will be super beneficial to choosing the right dog for your family. Some breeds are great with children, others prefer a quiet, calm lifestyle. Some dogs love to run and jump and dig and play, and others can be very mild-mannered. Consider what your family’s lifestyle is like and what kind of dog will best fit that.

6. Be prepared for the unknowns

Adopting from shelters is a great choice and helps so many loving pups find their forever homes! But adopting from shelters isn’t always easy. A lot of dogs come with an unknown history and introducing them to new environments or people can be a really stressful challenge. There’s no way to know how a dog will react to such a big change, so be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. Have patience with them as they adapt to their new life with your family.

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Elissa Weimer is the founder, co-owner, and head trainer of Paw & Order Dog Training that has seven locations throughout western Pennsylvania, Columbus, Ohio, Fort Myers/Naples, Florida, and soon-to-be Houston, Texas. Elissa’s extensive experience and understanding of advanced canine training methodologies and coaching enabled her to establish Paw & Order as a top-tier dog training program in the country. She has developed programs that specialize in all levels of dog training such as, puppy training, basic obedience, intense behavior modification, and works with dogs that have been deemed “impossible” to train. Elissa has been awarded Dog Training Specialist of the Year in 2021, Most Innovative Dog Training Business - South Western Pennsylvania in 2021, Best of the Burgh in 2020, and Best of the Best in 2019-2021.