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  • Deb Bauer

I Got a Christmas Puppy!

On a green background, a puppy wearing a Santa hat sits with a paw on a wrapped gift with red ribbon.  Text says: Holiday puppy?  Thinking about your new puppy's needs and doing a bit of planning in advance can make your holiday much more calm and pleasant.  Management in place, set up a routine, have a safe place for sleeping, enrichment ready, advocate for your puppy, don't overwhelm, lots of quality together time, things may take extra time.

I brought home a Christmas puppy!

There are lots of opinions about getting a puppy at the holidays. Some people think it’s a great idea. Others are totally against it, saying you should wait until after the holiday is over to bring home that puppy.

No matter when someone brings a new puppy into their home, it should always be a well-thought-out decision. Puppies are a LOT of work! And the holiday season can be a lot of work too.

This Christmas I have brought home a new puppy. I’m getting much less done on a daily basis than I had hoped, and that goes along with having a new puppy who needs more of me during her transition to a new home.

I’ve put key management tools into place - using gates to keep her in the same room with me so supervision is a super helpful one. I can also then give my other dogs a break from the puppy by having them on the other side of that gate.

I set up a routine quickly. Routines are helpful with puppy housetraining schedules, and help a new puppy know what to expect. They enjoy being able to predict what will happen next. But a routine is also super helpful for me, as I know after a day or two when to expect my puppy to play, sleep, eat and do business.

Sleep is imperative for a new puppy. They play hard, but also need to sleep often to refresh their batteries. Sleep also helps a puppy make a smoother transition to your home. A puppy without enough uninterrupted sleep becomes highly overstimulated and this leads to behaviors such as barking, mouthing, and high energy.

I have enrichment options ready - bones, a variety of toys and chews, things for my puppy to shred, and so on. Puppies enjoy novelty, so having something new to give her when I need to get something done works great!

When we have guests coming and things get a bit hectic, it’s important not to let your puppy get overwhelmed. Brief periods of time when they can say hello to guests in a supervised and calm manner, followed by periods of sleep or an enrichment toy in a safe out of the way place will help keep your puppy feeling safe and happy.

Since my puppy can’t speak up on her own in a way that most people understand, it’s my job to watch her body language and behavior for clues that she’s had enough or is becoming overstimulated. It’s my job to advocate for her and let people know politely that she needs a nap now.

Remember that this puppy is a baby, and everything is new to her. She has been used to having company of her mother and littermates all the time, and now she needs your company. Puppies feel safest when they are with us, so as much as possible, I let my puppy stay close to me.

Lastly, my usual activities are taking extra time. So, if I am in a hurry to get things done, I become frustrated. I have been asking for help when possible and taking my time to get things done while I attend to my puppy’s needs. I am also more tired than usual, due to constantly supervising a puppy and getting a bit less sleep, so taking care of my own needs is also a priority.

If you’re getting a holiday puppy this year, please take some time to think about what your needs will be, and what your puppy’s needs will be. A little bit of planning in advance will go a long way toward keeping things enjoyable.

If you find you need some extra support setting up a plan for your holiday puppy, please reach out. I’m happy to help get you started on the right paw! I also offer virtual puppy training for all puppies (blind and deaf too!) to be sure your pup will grow into their full potential as a happy, contented family member.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Red background with red bubbles, white snowflakes falling and frost on the window pane.  A collage of photos of a fluffy white blind and deaf puppy experiencing her first Christmas.  Photos include her facing a stuffed Santa Claus with a small decorated tree, sleeping with a Santa hat on her head, and wearing a red and white scarf.

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