Hey, with the Christmas a few days away, a little predictable disclaimer first; a pet is for life, not just for Christmas. Indeed, many dog behaviour experts advise against getting a puppy for Christmas, especially giving one as a gift, as like many toys, kids soon get bored of their new canine friend. And on to the proverbial scrap heap it goes. 

However, if you’ve been given a dog, or have happened to buy one close to Christmas, then hopefully you’re wondering what you need to do next to keep your new pet happy and safe. With this in mind, here are 5 IDEAL things to do if you’re getting a dog for Christmas.

MAKE IT A LOW KEY CHRISTMAS 

While the dog is settling, try not to have big crowds around the house or a hearty, enthusiastic New Year celebration. Dogs can be sensitive in new settings, so a Christmas day full of dozens of kids and adults passing them around may be too much for the pup. Follow the PDSA’s advice on taking care of pets at Christmas and keep them away from table scraps and poisonous plants, too.

ENROL THEM IN AN OBEDIENCE CLASS

Encouraging good behaviour in your puppy will help them grow into a happy, obedient dog. As soon as the dog arrives, look for some local puppy classes where they can socialise around other dogs and start learning some basic commands. Dogs that are untrained will often end up with negative behaviours, such as destroying your home, so learn how to keep them under control while they’re still young.

GET THEM CHECKED BY A VET 

Don’t wait until your dog is sick to take them for their first vet’s visit. You should get them registered with a local practice and take them in for a check-up. Some dogs from breeders can have certain medical issues that your vet will need to check for, and they’ll need their first puppy vaccinations. Some dogs, especially those from rescues, will already have their first jabs, but they may need a booster.

NEUTER OR SPRAY

You can also discuss neutering or spaying your dog at your appointment. The best time to spay or neuter will often depend on the breed of the dog, and while some vets will do it as young as eight weeks, others prefer to wait until the dog is six months, especially for large breed dogs. Your vet will be able to recommend what’s right for your dog.

GIVE THEM THEIR OWN SPACE 

When dogs get overwhelmed or upset, they like to retreat to their own space, usually somewhere that feels enclosed, like a crate. When they’re in this space, it’s important for you and your children not to disturb them, or they may become upset. Get them a space set up before they arrive, especially since the New Year brings big noisy firework displays, which can upset even boisterous dogs.