Friday, December 21, 2007

Puppies for gifts

Please do not give a puppy for Christmas unless you are sure that the recipient loves dogs. Too many people treat a puppy like it's a cute toy. As soon as the pup grows into that stage where it's awkward and no longer cute, is too playful, and is destructive, they get rid of it. They either take it somewhere and abandon it or take it to a dog pound. They should realize that the dog will eventually grow up and become a loving, loyal member of the family--if allowed to do so.

Make sure that the recipient treats the dog humanely. Dogs are social animals and think of themselves as family members. They should never be kept chained up for long periods. Dogs can become neurotic from being chained too long. Some become overly shy, some become addle-brained, and some become vicious. It's not natural, for in the wild they roam free. A fenced area, even a small one, is better.

The recipient should also:

1. Allow the dog indoors during extreme weather--thunderstorms, freezes, heat, etc. Some people do not like giving dogs free run of the house, and keep it in a certain room or area. That's far better than letting him freeze to death or have a heat stroke.

2. Always keep water handy--in cold or hot weather.

3. If in an apartment, take him for frequent walks. He'll look forward to this treat. Or take him for a drive. Many dogs are nuts about riding in cars.

4. Keep the fleas and bugs off with Advantix, Frontline, or other effective repellents. This is good for both the dog and the owner.

5. Have it neutered or spayed. Always make sure that her shots are up to date. Have the vet examine her at least once a year.

6. Play with him. Dogs love to play, and this is a pleasant way for humans and dogs to bond. Show him love and affection, and he will give it back tenfold.

Keep in mind that dogs are like people. They have different temperaments and personalities. By and by most dogs are loyal, loving, playful, intelligent creatures, but you'll find the occasional dog that is shy, has a mean streak, or is a "clumsy nitwit." These traits can often be successfully treated with the right combination of discipline and TLC.

Be cautious about giving a pup to a family with a small child. Small children can be cruel to a dog without meaning to be. The dog may grow up resenting a child because of tail pulling and such. This can end up with another dog in the pound or on the streets. Note: Never leave a child, who is too small to realize that tail-pulling hurts, alone with a big dog.

Finally, dog ownership requires responsibilities and expenses. Make sure that the recipient understands that. We love to surprise friends and loved ones with Christmas gifts, but a pet is the one gift that shouldn't be a surprise.

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