Thinking about getting a Dog for Christmas?

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As the holiday season draws closer, our emotions get heightened. 

Not a bad thing, as the positive emotions of joy, peace, and the security of family can spread out and create a warm happy feeling of just being alive. 

So let us add more love to the family, and bring a pet into our pack? But is this the right decision? 


Perhaps it is. The love of a puppy's cute little face asking only to be loved. However be aware that emotions trump logic every time. So are you prepared for the extra work that this cute little critter will bring? 

My advice is, before making that decision, watch a few episodes of one of Caesar Milan's TV shows. (Dog Whisperer and others) Dogs have a lot of needs, so try and shut off the love for a moment and walk through a week of your families life. Who will take responsibility for cleaning up the messes while potty training? Who will feed the dog at the right times. (if you just leave a bowl of food out all the time, you are not a great dog owner fyi)


And then there is the behavioral training. Especially if you get a more challenging breed. If not given the proper training they will become dominant i.e the pack leader of your house, and they will bite, especially guests but sometimes your children. 

Do your research people and think it through, so you will not be returning that cute little ball of fur to an animal shelter, because your lifestyle dictates that you do not have the time or energy to be the pack leader and train your pet properly. 


And btw you will not get this message from the "pet industry". Any companies whose mandate is to sell more pet food for example, want you to go out there and get a pet, why not two as he needs a companion!


Tubularsock Added Dec 12, 2017 - 12:42pm
Stephen, excellent advise on pet responsibility. Tubularsock has spent his life with dogs and the reward is well worth the work but many people don't realize the work involved.
For a successful dog pack the alpha MUST be you! It makes the entire experience rewarding. If you can't pull that off best you not get a dog.
Tom C. Purcell Added Dec 12, 2017 - 1:30pm
Many people don't realize the work involved but equally - many do not realize how much in return your dog can give you, when you do put in the time and energy, with patience and fortitude.  
I'm a Veterinary Technician by trade, and I adore the canine-human bond.  I have 2 canine residents in my home, both a major part of the family.  
Stone-Eater Added Dec 12, 2017 - 1:33pm
To your title:
Thanks for the tip, but we already have a full fridge and decided for a Swiss Cheese Fondue with lots of Kirsch :-)
Tamara Wilhite Added Dec 12, 2017 - 9:30pm
You're right that not enough people think about the work involved in having a pet and being successful with it long term.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 12, 2017 - 9:36pm
I personally don't have a problem with folks who take their dog for a wok for Xmas supper. Keep stirring clockwise...
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 12, 2017 - 9:52pm
Thanks Tubular. You know I think one has to be the pack leader, where humans are involved as well; Firm but with no emotion. 
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 12, 2017 - 9:54pm
So true Tom. That bond is a special thing, and dogs can add so much balance and stability from a mental health perspective.
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 12, 2017 - 9:57pm
Tamara, perhaps if they did, there would be a lot less dog poo on the walking paths. 
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 12, 2017 - 9:59pm
Stone, are you not get tired of the same old thing, live a little man! :)
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 12, 2017 - 10:00pm
Jeff, is it counter clockwise if you are south of the equator?
Tubularsock Added Dec 12, 2017 - 10:19pm
Stephen, Tubularsock would agree but would only add that being "open" as apposed to firm and "with love" as the emotion of choice.
But Tubularsock "feels" that you know that.
Great post, thanks.
Flying Junior Added Dec 13, 2017 - 2:27am
The first dog I ever owned was a beautiful black and white sheep dog from Santa Ysabel.  He was the kind of dog that more or less trained himself.  All I had to do was teach him to walk on a leash and run beside a bicycle.  He was an angel with infants and toddlers.  Nursery school teachers used to let me bring him up to the playground gate so the wee-uns could play with him.
I used to see Golden Retrievers for sale in Ramona and made up my mind that a Retriever would be my next dog.  Happily, we got two from a healthy line.  William was the pick of the litter and Chauncey was his little sparring partner since they were pups.  Beautiful dark red dogs, like Irish Setters. 
You know what I mean when I say that these types of hunting dogs are roamers and need a lot of play time, wilderness adventure and exercise.  We started out on the right foot.  Puppy class with off-leash social time, basic commands, including, "wait!" finally graduating with the Canine Good Citizenship certificate.  So far, so good!  I remember one of the first times we took them down to Old La Jolla, walking them in the beach neighborhood we encountered two old Goldens.  They just walked calmly beside their owners with no leash!  How was that possible?  Ten years later, my two finally reached that point of perfect training.
The only thing that really made it possible for me was getting laid off for almost an entire year from one of my jobs.  We live on a canyon wilderness interface.  Every morning, I took them out to the edge of the Mesa.  I let them play around off leash to the north, where there was nowhere for them to go.  If they ran behind the houses to the cul-de-sac the other direction, I could drive down there and catch them.  Often I walked them to the cul-de-sac and let them run down the hill and just go wild.  Once they clambered down to the industrial park at the bottom of the hill.  I spied them darting around warehouses and driveways.  I called desperately.  They always came home.  For a time they became enamored of running down to the creek and coming home muddy.  Eventually I found an old whistle that always brought them back home.  My neighbors always knew it was me calling my dogs.
Whenver we had the time we took the dogs out to the local mountains or down to the local oaks and sycamores for off-leash trail hiking.  Then we got into going to the Del Mar Dog Beach for off-leash ball throwing and socialization.  They love the water.
A couple of years later, William got the wanderlust and routinely ran off in our relatively safe neighborhood, usually at night.  I would drive around and around calling his name and inquiring after him.  Every time I found him, he would always come to me.  Sometimes people called me up and met me on a street corner.
Now we just let them run out to the canyon every morning and any hour of the night or day during spring and summer.  All of the neighbors know them and nobody ever calls Animal Control.
I could never repeat that training curve.  I was thinking of getting a Scottish Terrier or a Dachsund next time!
Stone-Eater Added Dec 13, 2017 - 6:12am
I've got nothing against dogs, my daughter had a white Maltese, a cute little dog - and REALLY quiet - that's what I like. I hate those little bastards which bark constantly !
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 13, 2017 - 7:52am
Tubular, calm but assertive is another characteristic of a good pack leader. Yes it all has to come from love though. 
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 13, 2017 - 7:55am
Stone, I am just joshing with you and your comment. I have no doubt that you respect all living things. Dogs are not for everyone though, and I agree those yappy little dogs are a nuisance. However those little dogs have become the pack leaders, which is why they are so dominant. 
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 13, 2017 - 8:01am
Flying Junior, what a great post! So many good points you described about dog behavior. Some dogs like your first one do seem to be almost maintenance free and behave themselves. But there is no guarantee. You do have to invest time to have a well behaved and trained dog, there are no shortcuts. Picking the right breed for your lifestyle is critical. Terriers are stubborn and usually require a strong pack leader with lots of time. 
Jeff Michka Added Dec 13, 2017 - 10:42am
SH asks: Jeff, is it counter clockwise if you are south of the equator?Perhaps, but every time I think about people taking their dogs for a wok, I'm reminded of the guy in Singapore that got bounced from a S'POREAN VET SCHOOL, IN THE 90S BY LEE KWAN YEWS PEOPLE FOR A POST ON THE NET TITLED "How to Wok a dog."  Yew anbd company were not on;y fascists, but had no senses of humor, as their "Internet posting squad" lacked same.
Stone-Eater Added Dec 13, 2017 - 11:13am
I'd be too lazy to keep a dog. Too much going out on all weather.....I had a Bonobo monkey as a pet in Mali and a wild pig as a "watchdog" in Mexico. That was fun, but there we had a lot of space available and were living in houses, not in flats like most people here in Europe.
Shane Laing Added Dec 13, 2017 - 6:01pm
Had a Scottish Terrier she died not long ago. 16 years of walks no matter the weather, cleaning up dog crap. feeding, vets bills a whole lot of work. I wouldn't have missed it for anything.
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 13, 2017 - 6:16pm
Stone I would not say you are lazy, just that you realize that a dog would not enhance your life, as it is now. 
Some feel the need to add a dog(or any pet for that matter) to the household, to somehow make everything complete. 
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 13, 2017 - 6:18pm
Shane, we have a standard schnauzer, which is a terrier type breed, and he has the same tenacity that you describe. He is my physical trainer. 
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 13, 2017 - 6:20pm
Jeff thanks for clearing up the reference, figured it was something like that. Yikes! 
Ari Silverstein Added Dec 14, 2017 - 9:30am
I don’t think a dog should ever be bought for Christmas or any special occasion for that matter.  The decision to get a dog is a life changing event, one should not get one to accommodate the desire to give a great gift.  The decision should be researched and only in the rarest of circumstances will the right dog for your family be ready to go home around Christmas.  I would also add that unless you are prepared to feed it, clean up after it and walk it, you should not buy it for someone else.
Tom C. Purcell Added Dec 14, 2017 - 11:09am
Do you have a pet, Ari?  A dog?  I'm curious because I've never known or heard of few Jews that love and respect animals.  I'm not being malicious, I am curious.
Stone-Eater Added Dec 14, 2017 - 12:55pm
Here in Europe having pets mean an escape of loneliness in many cases. A sad development.
Stone-Eater Added Dec 14, 2017 - 12:59pm
I'm not sure if that comment to Ari is sarcastic, but in general: It depends where you live and what you can afford. In the ME and Africa, also Asia, animals in the household provide food (Chickens) or watch the house (dogs, geese). It has nothing to do with whether the owner is a Jew, a Muslim or whatever sort of believer in some sort of nirvana or paradise.
Treating animals as "humans" in a household or for patting is a sign of wealth - and/or loneliness in a cold society.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 14, 2017 - 5:33pm
Do you have a pet, Ari?  A dog?  I'm curious because I've never known or heard of few Jews that love and respect animals.  I'm not being malicious, I am curious-Of course, Tom's love of dogs had to get around to his hatred of Jews, and another Nazi Tom attempt to dehumanize Jews for his own purpose.  Hey, dog tastes greasy and a tad gamey.  A good bowl of Aso adobo is better than none at all.
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 14, 2017 - 6:45pm
Ari, I would have to agree with you. Unless a very special circumstance where you knew the person really well. (and that they are ready for all that pet ownership entails)
And if you did all the work,  (like say a mother whose kids thought they wanted a pet) you would actually be the owner, not the kid. 
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 14, 2017 - 7:27pm
Stone I agree owning pets is a cultural thing to a large degree, and depends on what your ancestors did. If your grandfather and father owned Great Danes for example, good chance that you will too. 
John Minehan Added Dec 16, 2017 - 10:08am
Dogs are wonderful animals.  As a result, they are entitled to have competent ownership. 
I sometimes think ownership of pets should be more on the order of a trust relationship than an ownership relationship, as with an object, like a car or a pencil or a chair.  
Stephen Hunter Added Dec 16, 2017 - 3:48pm
For sure John, and it is so sad when they do not get proper attention; both physical and mental.