By Karen A. Soukiasian
Nearly everyone at one time or another has dreamed about waking up Christmas morning to find Santa has left a new puppy or dog under the tree. What could be more exciting than that?
That’s just the problem! Introducing a new, young pup on Christmas Day is too overwhelming and stressful on everyone, especially the pet. It is not the greatest way to start off a relationship, with what will be an important member of the family.
It is important to understand, before including a new puppy into the family; everyone should have a chance to interact with it prior to making the commitment. What most people, especially well-intended parents and grandparents don’t realize is, the puppy they have chosen may not be the right one!
The way the pup may have interacted with them may possibly be entirely different than how it interacts with the children. If the gift is really for the children, than both pup and children must have the opportunity and fun, to “pick” each other.
You may be thinking, but I want to surprise them for Christmas!
No problem. There are wonderful, creative ways to extend the excitement of Christmas morning and receiving a new pet, by hinting and teasing. Let’s face it, which one of us wouldn’t want to look forward to another Christmas day?
Here are a few thoughts on how you can make those hints and teases as enjoyable and exciting as the actual puppy.
Wrap a huge box, containing an envelope with a gift certificate for a puppy or dog
You can do the same with a gift certificate for positive reinforcement, punishment-free Puppy Kindergarten or Basic Obedience classes.
Put a calendar in a stocking, with a date circled in red, during school vacation week, when the entire family will head out to adopt or rescue a new four-legged best friend.
Wrap boxes containing dog toys, food and water bowl, collar, leash and/or pooper scooper!
A wrapped box of Puppy or Dog Chow is a pretty obvious clue of what to expect.
Get a puppy or dog crate, put a stuffed toy dog in it, and a big red bow on it. Your new family member will need it!
A dog bed with a stuffed toy dog on it is also an obvious and cool way of showing what’s to come.
Bottom line: There is nothing more anti-climatic than after all the gifts are open and toys are played with. By extending the excitement of Christmas a bit longer, with the anticipation of a new pet, you will give everyone and the new family member, the opportunity to make sure they all fit together perfectly.
Keep in mind, for the relationship to succeed, it must work both ways. It is just as important for the new pet to feel excited and happy about being with your family.
It will also give you time to explain to your children just how much responsibility a new pet is, and what will be expected of each of them; to make their new puppy or dog’s life as happy, safe, loving and comfortable as possible.
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