What’d Ya Get for Christmas?
Being the sucker that I am for puppies, I finally broke down and bought the most adorable Papillon puppy for my four year old daughter. Well, actually I really wanted her for myself. Knowing my daughter wanted a dog and with it being Christmas, it seemed to be enough of an excuse to get her. I looked down at her beautiful dark eyes staring up at me, and after she started giving me kisses, how could I say no?
This happens to many puppies, especially around Christmas time. Mom and Dad decide that the best gift for Junior is that cute, little rambunctious puppy in the window of the nearby pet store. “It’ll be the perfect gift” they say, and they tie a great big bow around the pup’s neck and venture home to give it to their son. They were right. His eyes were wide; his smile was from ear to ear as he hugged his new best friend. Mom and Dad look at each other with a feeling of accomplishment, knowing that their son’s life was about to change forever. What they weren’t expecting was that all their lives would change! The cute puppy that was brought home just two months before, had now become the spawn of Satan, chewing and tearing everything in sight (except for the hundreds of dog toys lying around the house), peeing on every rug in the house while his training pad remains dry, barking uncontrollably only at night, and getting bigger and bigger everyday. Mom and Dad are seriously reconsidering their so-called accomplishment.
So what do they do? Or the better question should be what could they have done to better prepare themselves and their home for a new puppy? Well, the first thing is NEVER BUY A PUPPY ON IMPULSE! Unfortunately, most of these little “gifts” become pound puppies, neglected or runaways. If you have been pondering over the idea of getting a pup, as my fiancé and I have, research different breeds first to decide which is the best for your home. If your home is full of antiques or valuables, then a Labrador retriever wouldn’t be the best for your home. You’ll find out quickly that with one swipe of the tail, a Lab can clear the coffee table of everything in its path! If you have toddlers, a toy poodle may not be the best choice. Their delicate bones and their temperaments may not be compatible with a high-strung two year old. Once you have decided on a breed, research breeders. Because my job takes me from event to event in different states, I am lucky enough to be around different breeds of dogs all the time. I get to see how they are around adults, children and other dogs, and especially how they are with their owners. If you can’t be around the breeds for research, go to the nearest library for books on the breed or check out some of the breed books CKC has to offer.
As soon as I knew I wanted a Papillon, I asked the breeder questions, and I read books on the breed; I even featured it as a Breed of the Month. I knew this was the breed for me and my family but wanted to make sure it was the correct choice. So after much more research and several events, I waited about nine months before making my final decision. I knew that before I got a puppy, I had to teach my daughter the proper way to handle a dog, whether it is big or small, and to respect them. She knows that her dog has very delicate bones that can be broken if she handles her too roughly, and that her fur is her hair. She knows that if she pulls her puppy’s fur, it feels the same as someone pulling her own hair. My daughter, at a young four years of age, is absolutely wonderful with dogs. She has taken to “Cindy Lou Who” extremely fast. She has already taught her the sit and stay commands (with my help, of course) and is eager to teach her more.
I have no expectations from my daughter in taking care of our new puppy. It is a group effort. I know that being the adult, it is my responsibility to see that she is fed, has water and is taken outside for walks, but it is everyone’s responsibility to teach her manners, to play with her, and most importantly, to give her lots of love. If she is trained appropriately and taken care of as she should be, I know that she will have a happy life in our home, and our home will be happy to have her for many years to come.