Every year as the Holidays approach, the topic of giving a pet as a gift comes up. Owning a pet is a lifetime commitment that every family member needs to agree upon. This is an important process every family should take together. Pets should never be given on an impulse.
Hold family meetings to create rules about caring for the dog before you get the furry family member. Where will he sleep and eat? Who will walk him and clean up after him? Will he be allowed on the couch, the bed, and in all rooms of the house? Who is financially responsible? What kind of dog fits in with the family dynamics – large or small, young or old, active or low energy? Adding an animal to the family is an important decision.
Making sure the family has time for the new pet is essential to the puppy’s development into a well behaved dog. A stressful introduction can have negative effects and hinder a safe, successful integration into the family.
If you plan to give a pet as a surprise you need to realize that the new owners may be too occupied with holiday preparations, celebrations, guests and overall activity to give the new pet the attention he needs for proper housetraining, crate training and overall puppy manners.
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. It can be hard to keep ornaments, tinsel, decorations, wrapping paper, Poinsettias and other poisonous plants out of reach of the new pet.
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’s serious about wanting a dog, consider giving books on dogs, a leash, 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.
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery county and northern Chester County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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