A Christmas Dog
by Charles Bortell on Friday, December 10, 2010 at 6:09pm
Thinking about getting a shelter dog for a Christmas present? Although altruistic and good intentions, there can be associated problems to consider. However, these problems can be circumvented. Dogs, even within the same breed are unique with their own personalities, traits, and characteristics. You know someone that has a breed X dog. However another dog X may behave somewhat differently. Selecting a dog or puppy on site without the recipient of the gift present loses the ability to “match” personalities of dog and new owner.
The person receiving the gift (dog or puppy) might not be suited for that particular dog. In stead of “picking randomly” a dog for someone, it is better to take that person with you to the shelter to best match dog and new owner. Or the intended recipient may not be totally enthralled about receiving a dog or a particular breed or type. Or a dog selected (breed type) may not be suited for the lifestyle of that person or family.
Another concern is dogs are creatures of habit. They thrive on routine. They like consistency. This is why and how they develop “security”. A secure dog will not have “behavioral problems” like an insecure dog.
Obtaining a dog during the holidays can make adjustment to the “new life” much harder for the dog. Consider that the dog is now in a new environment, new sights, smells, sounds, and people. This alone is confusing enough. The dog has to “adjust” to the new situation. Now consider during the holidays, the human routine is drastically altered and different from “normal circumstances”; that there is more commotion and daily routines are changed. Then there are usually more guests and people visiting than normal. This makes the dog’s adjustment harder. What is problematic is after the holidays. The routine goes ‘back to normal’. Now the dog is confused and feels he has no control because everything is not as expected or what he is used too. Confusion leads to insecurity. Now the dog has to re-adjust to living in his new home and has more anxiety than originally had when first arriving at the new home.
Solution. Instead of selecting a “surprise gift” dog or puppy for someone as a Christmas gift, you can give that person a “gift certificate” you made stating they will be getting a dog or puppy for a present after Christmas. And that they will get to pick and choose that dog or puppy.
Some things to consider when getting a dog for someone as a Christmas present.
1. The person’s lifestyle. Is that person able to care for a dog and be willing and able to be there for the dog.
2. Is the breed they select or mixed breed fitting for them or their lifestyle or family situation. A herding dog might not be the best choice with small children or an active retriever for someone who is sedimentary.
3. Is the dog’s traits and characteristics acceptable to the new owner. Are they prepared to deal with behavioral problems if they occur, such as chewing objects or furniture, submissive urination, or other “unwanted behaviors” if they surface.
4. What are the recipient’s expectations of a dog. Are they really realistic. Do they know what is involved with ownership.
A dog gifted that becomes a burden or unwanted is often subjected to isolation, confinement, or re-sheltered
This makes it difficult for the dog to re-adjust if re-sheltered, and to accept another “new home” later on. With some forethought and preparation, giving someone a Christmas gift of a dog or puppy can be a memorial, happy, and joyful occasion.