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Why Christmas is the perfect time to get a dog

A dog is for life, not for Christmas.

Yeah, like you didn’t know that.

Really though, the holidays can be the ideal time to adopt a dog. I sort of cringe when I hear otherwise, that the holidays are the worst time to to get a pup, that puppies should never be given as gifts.

The holidays are not the best time for everyone to get a dog, of course. This time of year is stressful enough already. Some of us travel. Some of us have all kinds of family visiting (often with their pets!). These are perfectly justifiable reasons not to get a puppy.

But … there is never a “perfect” time to get a dog. The holidays just might be the best time for many of us. So what if there are extra decorations and clutter around for a pup to get into. Most of us have clutter all the time!

Reasons to get a dog over Christmas:

Cute black lab mix lying in his dog bed

Everyone is home during the holidays to help with dog care.

Lots of people take extra time off over the holidays. This will come in handy when the pup needs to go outside every few hours during potty training.  The kids are also home to help because of Christmas break. And since no one has to get up early for school or work, this is a perfect time for kennel training and conditioning the dog to being left alone.

Most of us commit to new goals at the end/start of the year.

This seems like the perfect time to make a commitment to a new dog and to get excited about all the training, exercise and socializing he will need.

The holidays are a relaxing time for many families, not chaotic.

Many of us go out of our way to relax during the holidays. I do. I sit around eating good food, enjoying my new gadgets, going for walks, taking naps or just talking with family. This seems like a pretty good time to add a new dog to the mix.

Gifts don’t have to be a surprise.

Obviously it’s a bad idea to run out and buy a puppy to surprise your girlfriend for Christmas. It would be much wiser to surprise her with some dog supplies and give her some time to think about what kind of puppy she wants.

Or even better, what if the two of you start planning for a dog several months in advance (like in August). Then you could pick out your dog together around Christmas as your gift to one another. If you have kids, it’s wonderful to involve the entire family in this process.

Even if the dog is for your child, it doesn’t have to be a surprise. Take the time to plan ahead for the dog and teach your child that getting a dog is a long-term commitment.

The holidays are all about giving.

How about opening your home and your heart to a homeless dog in need? Together, you and your family can give a dog the best gift of all – love.

If you are thinking about getting a dog this Christmas, let me know! I am very excited for you and even happier for the lucky dog who gets to share his life with you!


Thursday 29th of November 2012

I agree with this post. We adopted recently, and I had it in my head that Thanksgiving could be a really good time for socializing our dog with lots of family coming into the house. At first she was fearful of my father, but with lots of treats, and petting, and after meal walks, she warmed up to everyone quickly and got tons of loving attention.

Lindsay Stordahl

Thursday 29th of November 2012

Good to hear!

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 26th of November 2012

Yes, a fenced yard is very convenient and nice to have! I'm sure you and your dog Luna love having one.

May Affre

Tuesday 21st of February 2012

I also want to add, while I have had my dog for almost two years, I believe contrary to some shelters who judge me, I am good for him. Not only do I get up early for playdates, or make time to go for long hour walk, I also go out no matter the weather. I still go out for at least an hour walk in low temperatures or in snow up to my knee or in rain as long as my dog enjoys it. Of course, there are days that I wish I could not go, as I don't necessary enjoy the cold midwest wind or the fact that I get soaked no matter how I dress up, snow gets in my boots... I know how much my dog has a voice in the matter. If he wishes to go, then we are going. Not to say that he controls me. It just makes me happy to see him happy when out. He loves the snow, buries his head in it. I am not the type of person who will take that from him. I also believe in balance, so if we go out and if it gets to be too cold for me or him, then it is time to go. It works for us. I presume I knew when I got him, Curley that being active and going out was a requirement: he's a jack russell terrier. I knew I wanted an active dog and I committed myself to respect his needs: lots of exercise and adventures outdoor. Each dog is different, some require less outdoor times.

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 24th of February 2012

In general, I think people without fenced yards actually do a much better job exercising their dogs than people with yards. I am a dog walker, and I see all kinds of dog owners. That is my general observation.

May Affre

Tuesday 21st of February 2012

I absolutely agree with you. While, I see why some rescue groups are itchy about letting dogs go for adoption around holiday time, I view it as judgmental and ignorant on their part. At Christmas' time, I was involved with rescuing more dogs. Tommy the black lab mix, I ended up fostering was one of these dogs I was informed was awaiting to be PTS. I fought for him, would more rescues be less judgmental of potential owners, more dogs would be saved. Like Luna, I planned months ahead the arrival of a dog, I knew I just was ready to care for a dog, so over the summer my boyfriend and I seek to adopt a dog. Many rescues judged us for living an apartment, however they were wrong. My dog may not live in a home with a yard, but he goes out 2-3 times a day, each for over an hour, also we have playdates throughout the week, as early as 7am at the dog park or other forest preserves. These rescues did harm to their dogs, they prevented them from finding a home who understands the responsibility of taking care of a dog. My dog is happy and well cared for. I also know other owners who had the same unpleasant experience of trying to adopt and got turned down for not having a fenced yard. These people are though the ones to go daily to the dog park, make the time to ensure their pet's happiness. I get weekly emails of various rescues that send me pictures of dogs in pound, these dogs for most are sweet dogs like Tommy, but ignored by rescues because not pure breed or because they don't have room for new dogs as they turn down potential owners. Every week dogs are being euthanized because some shelters are too picky. There is a difference between being picky and being cautious. Many prospective owners are being discouraged to adopt because of a silly fact: they rent or don't have a "fenced" yard. I am sorry but having a "fenced" yard, may be just as bad. How many dogs out there never got to seek adventures beyond their caregivers' yard. This is not right either. Shelters need to revise their policies and realize people who seek to adopt are already making a commitment, they should support it. Many people could get a dog on petfinder without questions ask, even for a fee less than shelters require. Plus, people who "choose" to adopt, already demonstrate that they care. They are willing to save a life and know that adopting means not just providing a home, but requires some "work", as most adopted dogs have "issues". These prospective adopters demonstrate they care, they don't judge that these dogs are not "puppy" or "pure breed" or without luggage.

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 21st of February 2012

Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I'm so glad you rescued Tommy. Even though he is a lot of work, he is worth it.

That's the main problem - rescues are waiting for these "ideal" homes while millions of dogs are killed every year. I think they can live with a less than "perfect" home if it means being alive! Heck, I am far from a "perfect" owner, but I am pretty sure my dog and cats are very happy.


Wednesday 7th of December 2011

When I was trying to adopt a dog this summer I was shocked by the number of rescues that would not even talk to me because of something they didn't like on my application (I rent, don't have a fenced in yard, my last dog was hit by a car....) There were dogs that I would have LOVED to adopt but the organizations wouldn't give me the time of day. Luckily, I found a wonderful organization that was able to see beyond those things and I found a great dog match to bring home. After all, lots of people who OWN their own home end up loosing their home to foreclosure and need to move anyway these days. And lots of people who have a fenced in yard just use the yard as the only form of exercise for the dog.

As for adopting during the holiday season- I have a flexible work schedule and always take off 2-4 weeks of work when I adopt a new dog. I see it as bringing a new child into my home- we need quality time together to bond in the beginning. However, most people can not do this so I would think that the holidays, when they already have off from work, would be perfect. But "surprise" puppies-any time of the year- just seems like a terrible idea! My partner and I co-raise our dogs and I could not imagine choosing one without her. What would happen if she didn't like the dog? I would be stuck with hearing things like "YOUR dumb dog just...." for the next 12 years!!!!!!!! No thank you.

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 9th of December 2011

Great points! I'm glad you were able to adopt a dog from an organization that appreciated you as an adopter. I'm sure you have one lucky dog!