There are many people who feel strongly opposed to giving puppies as Christmas presents, and they have done for years, but the Dogs Trust has been very opposed to it and very publicly since their slogan is “A Dog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas”. This year, they’ve created the campaign called Socks Trust of which the basic premise is that you should give socks, not dogs at Christmas. You can actually buy socks which feature a variety of dogs which were handed over around Christmas and boxing day and this money goes to the charity to work towards helping more and more dogs. Unfortunately, the socks sold out within a day, but you never know, they may restock!
Puppy-buying for a Christmas present is dangerous for so many reasons and for many people involved. An under-socialised puppy has more potential to be dangerous than a well-socialised puppy. The same goes for a poorly-trained puppy, or a neglected puppy. A lot of people don’t even realise how much training a puppy needs; it’s not just treats and convincing it to sit. You have to lead-train it, house-train it and of course the basic training like recall, sit and stay. It also needs socialising with dogs, people, strangers, other animals, various experiences and anything it might encounter in its life. This creates a balanced, confident dog.
It is amazing how many puppies are genuinely handed into rescues purely because they grew and they’re not as cute and fluffy as before… Since volunteering with the Dogs Trust, I’ve heard so many horror stories of people handing in dogs around boxing day (that’s barely a day to get used to the dog) because the dog hasn’t learnt to toilet outside overnight, or they’ve mouthed someone and they think the dog’s vicious or nasty. People buy puppies this time of year because children like the idea but children can’t be held responsible for the dog’s welfare, and they can’t anticipate the level of hard work puppies require. However, adults can and should, yet they often don’t and this is where the problems lie.
Imagine you’re a tiny puppy, thrown into a family environment, possibly with another dog, maybe a cat. It’s stressful; you don’t know anyone and naturally everyone wants to hug you and kiss you constantly, so you have no chance to get used to your new home. Then add in the fact that it’s Christmas, with potentially other family members coming round, friends visiting, food cooking, excitable children etc.. It’s really the least ideal time to get a puppy.
Long story short, don’t get a puppy this Christmas. If you’re sure you want a dog and have properly thought it through for a long time, then wait for a few more months and get a rescue dog (most rescues won’t rehome over Christmas). That way, you know you’re sure and you can help a dog that needs helping. A lot of rescues have puppies anyway; Dogs Trust have a scheme called Puppy Partners where you can sign up to be notified when they have your perfect puppy in. The more specific you are, the longer you may have to wait but it’s a lot cheaper, more ethical and means you know you’re sure about getting a dog.
Here are some cute little pups from Dogs Trust Loughborough in August:
Give socks this Christmas.