Every year comes the message "A Dog Is Not For Christmas, its for life"
A living puppy should not be thought of in the same category as a Christmas toy. A puppy that makes it first appearance, as a gift under the Christmas tree is more likely to be thought of by children as an object or a toy, rather than a family member.
Whilst walking around the Christmas Bazaars and markets do not be tempted to take a dog home with you. If you see a particular dog that you like then arrange with the charity in question to collect the pet a few days after Christmas when everything has settled down. You can then go to the shelter by appointment to collect your new dog or cat. As a sign of good faith one would expect you to make a deposit donation.
I would urge readers to certainly not consider giving a friend a pet for Christmas. If you are thinking of a new pet then give a thought as to how old you will be in ten years time, and where you might be living. Are you prepared to attend training classes? Young dogs are destructive; can you supervise a young dog for the next year? If you do not have a baby what will you do with the dog when a baby arrives? If you have to return to your homeland due to ill health, what will you do with the dog? Most important can you afford the vets fees?
It is always a good idea to check if your vet is offering an emergency service over the Christmas period and to keep the telephone numbers handy. Vet fees are double for out of hour's emergencies. If your dog is going into kennels now is the time to check that your pet has up to date vaccinations. Check you have enough medication for the holiday period.
Christmas is the time that we celebrate and we humans do make a lot of noise and have a lot of strangers around the home. This can be a distressing time for our pet dogs and cats Do try to keep to your routine and please do not forget those essential walks. Our Christmas crackers can be terrifying to a nervous dog and it is worth considering a homeopathic remedy called "Rescue" Five drops on the tongue really calms pets and also humans!
Christmas trees are pretty but watch out your pet might be fascinated with the decorations. It is a good idea to keep the tree off the floor and to keep any electrical wires out of reach from pets. The tree lights should only be on when pets can be supervised.
Many dogs and cats have been known to swallow decorations, cracker ornaments and tinsel threads. Watch out for those fruit bowls, which might have walnuts, peach stones and Brazil nuts and of course as we all know human chocolates are dangerous to our pets and can kill. Choc drops made for dogs are not dangerous they do not contain theobromine.
Christmas is the time that we feast and drink and of course we are apt to over eat but I am afraid that dogs often suffer the worst for overeating. No pets should ever be given any form of alcohol and certainly no bones from the Turkey. Yes I agree that there is no problem giving your pet a Christmas treat but please avoid fatty scrapes and do feed in moderation. Never leave tempting treats lying around the floor and remind the children to stop feeding the family pet with sweets.
Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.
by David the Dogman
David is a Canine Behaviourist who works and lives in Marbella, Spain. Tel/Fax (00345) 2883388. His web site is located at: www.thedogman.net. David has his own radio and TV shows, and writes for many newspapers and magazines. David has been working with dogs for many years and started his career in Israel, working on the Border Police. He has been involved in all forms of training, including air sea rescue, air scent work, and has trained dogs for finding drugs. David has devoted the past 10 years to studying behaviour and the very passive approach. He does not use choke chains, check chains, or any form of aggression.