It is every kid’s favorite dream gift – a cute little puppy under the tree (or in the Easter basket or for his birthday). The same dream is the responsible breeder’s nightmare! The for-profit breeders don’t see it that way, of course, since money is their favorite dream. Let us explain what the puppy’s first days should be like so you will understand why this is not a good time to introduce a puppy to the family.
Holidays are for fun and games and excitement and joy. Puppies are, too, but it takes special effort and planning for you to have the pleasure that owning a puppy brings. To introduce a new puppy, you need to plan ahead and provide the comforts and the necessities. He will need a rigid schedule and he will need a quiet place that makes him feel safe and comfortable. He will need to be crated most of the time and you will need to be able to concentrate on his training from the moment he enters your home. See Crate Training to understand how important these are to his future and to your pleasure in owning a puppy.
From the moment he leaves the breeder, he will need quiet and tender care. He needs his regular food on the same schedule he is accustomed to. He needs water from his home source to be mixed with your water so that he adjusts to the new water. He needs constant watching (but not constant holding) and he needs no visitors for several days while he adjusts to his new surroundings. Constant handling can make his young body sore, too much running around can be tough on immature muscles and bones and overeating can upset his tummy. In fact, any foreign substance can be dangerous and that includes gift wraps, toy boxes, toy parts and leftovers from the table or food dropped on the floor.
Does this sound something like the time you brought that baby home from the hospital? It should, because all young creatures, human or canine, have similar needs. If you are buying your puppy from a reputable source, you may find it hard to even purchase a puppy during a holiday time! Knowing the pitfalls, most breeders will expect you to wait until holiday time is over before you take the puppy home with you.
Does this mean that a Christmas puppy is out of the question? Probably not, but there are other ways to have the surprise without harming the puppy. The usual best option is to purchase a properly sized crate, food and water bowls, a couple of leads (one to keep in the car at all times), safe toys and a small bag of the correct dog food. These can be spread under the tree or gift wrapped or assembled in some fashion that says “Surprise!” to the recipient(s).
And speaking of surprises, even adults should NEVER receive a living creature as a gift without prior knowledge! What you think of as the ideal and unique present may well end up in the pound a few weeks later when the busy new owner finds he/she cannot housetrain a puppy while working 40 hours a week!
We hope that each potential puppy buyer will want only the best environment for the new baby in the household and will understand that this is the major desire for every reputable breeder as well. You will also want to read Before You Buy Your Puppy and Creating a Puppy You Can Live With prior to making a selection.
For more information on the care of Bichons, consider including a copy of “Your Bichon Frise” with your other gifts. This booklet tells you how to take care of him once he is in your home and can be ordered from BFCA for $6.00 ($1.00 goes to the health fund). See Boutique for details. Happy Holidays!