How Much Is That doggie in the window?
A Puppy is a bigger gift that you think
Maybe the doggie isn’t in the window -most likely you saw it on-line or in the newspaper. Are you considering a puppy as a Christmas present? If you are, there are many things to consider: cost, time, breed, commitment and training.
The actual cost of the puppy can range from “free to a good home” to a thousand dollars depending on the breed. To adequately care for the puppy you will have veterinary expenses, which include an exam, vaccines and spray/neutering. Of course your puppy will need food, which for a large breed can be expensive. You will also need supplies – a collar, leash, bowls, crate, identification tag, chew toys, shampoo, nail clippers etc. There are also fun purchases like doggie clothes and costumes! It is a good idea to have an emergency fund just in case. Plan to spend around an average of $1,200 per year after the initial expenses.
Puppies also require a great deal of time. They need to have water, food, exercise and attention on a daily basis. Socialization is extremely important before your puppy become a well-socialized dog.
There are many breeds to choose from. The first choice to consider is whether you would like a purebred or a mix(mutt).
President-elect Barack Obama
jokingly called this his “major issue” as he is trying to decide between getting a puppy from a shelter or breeder since his daughter (Malia) is allergic. He stated a lot of shelter dogs are mutts, like me. So whether we’re going to be able to balance those two things, I think, is a pressing issue on the Obama household.
Obama is correct that many of the shelter dogs are mutts. However from my previous experience at animal shelters, if you are interested in a particular breed you can request it.
According to the American Kennel Club, some dogs that are good for people with allergies (because they have less dander) are: the Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Chinese Crested, Irish Water Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Maltese, Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Schnauzer, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless).
Remember that a dog is an every day personal commitment. Think ahead to where you expect to be in eight to at least fifteen years before you adopt. Commonly the large breeds
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(Great Danes) have shorter life spans while the toy breeds (Chinese Crested) have longer life spans.
This should be considered, especially if you are purchasing a dog as a present:
Training is another requirement of dog ownership that involves both a financial and time commitment. Since Christmas is such a busy time, it is best not to adopt a puppy during the holidays.
Wait until there is less activity in your household and you have returned to a “normal” schedule. This will make training your dog less stressful.
My recommendation would be to adopt a dog from a humane society or rescue group. There are many benefits in doing so.
These dogs have been examined by a vet, given vaccines, neutered/spayed, provided flea protection.
The dogs that I have worked with and adopted from shelters have had prior training and are less expensive than breeders. Don’t get me wrong I do not have anything against breeders, some of my dogs have come from breeders.
However there are so many dogs that need permanent, loving homes that are currently either in foster care or an animal shelter. Please consider giving them a second chance. You will be saving a life and yours will be enriched.
Darlene Koza is a certified dog trainer and owner of Scooter’s School of Sit & Stay in Dansville. For more information, go to www.sitandstay.org.