The holidays have arrived! It’s the season of giving, and we love finding the perfect gift for our friends and family – after all, there’s no better feeling than giving someone special a present that brings a big smile to their face.
Here at Bark Busters, we know very well that nothing lights up a room quite like a puppy. We are very familiar with the trend of giving pets as gifts and over the years have spent ample time consulting on the topic. Now, as the holiday season kicks into high gear, it’s time to answer once and for all: would we recommend giving a dog as a gift?
Unsurprisingly, the answer is complicated. Giving the gift of a puppy (or a dog of any age) can be one of the most wonderful presents a person ever receives – that is, if they have expressed that they want and are ready for a pet, and if they are capable of caring for one long-term. Gifting a puppy or dog to someone who has never expressed interest in a pet, or giving a puppy to a young child without consulting their parents? It’s simply not a good idea!
All of which begs the question – how do you know if someone is ready to become a pet owner?
Step One: Consult the Pet Ownership Checklist
First and foremost, it is important that the potential recipient has expressed interest in having a dog. If you’ve never heard them talk about wanting a pet, then abort your plan immediately! However, if they have spoken about it before, proceed by asking yourself the following questions:
- Can they commit to 10-15 years of care?
- Are they ready and willing to handle the financial commitment of a pet (food, supplies, vet bills, etc.)?
- Do they have time in their daily life to exercise, interact, and play with a puppy?
- How often are they at home?
- What kind of environment will the animal live in? If they live in an apartment, does the building have any restrictions on pets?
- What type of pet will best fit into the recipient’s lifestyle?
- Are there already animals in the home? Will a new pet fit in or get along with the other animals?
An important note: if the new dog is for a child, the responsibility for caring for it will ultimately fall on the parents. Children are still developing and growing, and their wants and interests change over time. Pet ownership is for the long-term, and the entire family needs to be 100% on board.
Step Two: No Surprises, Please
Once you’ve answered these questions affirmatively, the next step is to ask the recipient directly if they are ready to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet.
We know this takes away the "surprise" of your gift, but it is better for all parties concerned if everyone is fully on board and ready for pet ownership. If they are prepared for the job, consider wrapping up a leash, dog toy, dog bed, food, or other necessities, then go pick out their new furry friend together when the time is right.
(PS – we hear that gift certificates for Bark Busters Home Dog Training make excellent presents for dog owners of any kind!)
Step Three: Make a New Friend
Dogs can be a wonderful holiday gift, but they are a much larger commitment than the new succulent or tool set you had your eye on.
We strongly recommend the recipient not only be aware of this gift, but also have a say in what type of dog they bring home and when they receive it.
While your dreams of placing a surprise puppy in a box with a bow may be dashed, never fear – when everyone agrees that a dog is the right gift, the lack of surprise is more than made up for by the lifetime of joy and excitement to follow!