Ho, ho, ho! Let’s get a puppy…

0r don’t give a dog as a present for Xmas

If you are a regular reader of my posts you will know I am a strong advocate of re-homing dogs. Now, I know I have talked about this subject before but, it is always worth revisiting.

It’s that time of year again and the promotion of taking a puppy or a rescue dog into a home for Xmas is widespread across social media and regular press. I have to be the Grinch with this. It is, sadly, just not a good idea to bring a dog into a new home at Xmas.

There are, of course, many dogs needing new homes and, who will spend Xmas in re-homing centres. People will look at these dogs with dewy eyes, feel sorry for them and bring one into their home for Xmas. I did this once myself – however, I was very experienced with re-homing dogs and understood, clearly, what was required. Let me explain.

It’s a big deal for a dog to be placed in a new home, particularly a rescue dog. These animals may often have come from difficult situations, they may have some behavioural issues they need help with, for instance. These are NOT reasons to fail to consider taking one of these dogs into your home – it is, invariably a very rewarding experience for dogs and humans alike. However, Xmas is not the time to do this. No doubt, many households may be quieter this year (2020  & covid 19) but, many will not.

Bringing a rescue dog into a home at such a busy time for a household is a big ask for such a dog. They, in fact, need plenty of time to settle into their new life, surroundings and learn to live with their new human companions. A, potentially, difficult time for any dog. So, why did I do it with this guy? This is Barney (sadly, no longer with us) – the rather large lap dog.


My good wife Sue and I had rescued quite a few dogs over the years. I was studying to become a canine behaviourist. Barney was in desperate need of a home. I brought him home on Xmas eve. Contrary to the advice I give here. So why?

  • My home at Xmas is fairly quiet – not a constant flow of visitors.
  • The only visitor was my son (pinned by Barney in the picture). He is a natural with dogs and understands them.
  • We were able to introduce Barney, calmy to our other rescued Dalmation – Tess.
  • We had the skills and experience needed to allow Barney to get used to his new life.

Now, there will be some who have similar setups to ours – these are the conditions that dogs coming into a new home need. Calm surroundings, quiet and relaxed, as few new people as possible. Some dogs settle into a new home quickly, others take quite a bit of time.

So, unless you can offer a new dog the sort of environment described above, please resist the urge to re-home a dog at Xmas.

The last group to mention are puppies. Every year and I mean EVERY year, hundreds of puppies find themselves in rescue centres. The short term joy of a fluffy puppy given as a present at Xmas (or any other time for that matter) is often short-lived. People must realise that a dog is a long term commitment that should involve all members of a household. So just don’t do it at Xmas.

Dogs of any age, including puppies, should never be given as presents. The idea of getting a dog should be a family affair – everyone should be involved, everyone should understand the commitment needed to live with a dog. If you then decide it is for you and your family – GO FOR IT – you will be in for an enjoyable ride.