During the holiday season, the "classic" holiday present is a puppy with a big 'ole red bow on its tiny collar. We hear friends and family telling stories of how their children begged and begged for a cute, little puppy for Christmas; movies and TV shows tell this tale on repeat in Christmas specials; even commercials tell us that a puppy makes an excellent gift during the holidays!
I'm biased, so I think a dog or puppy is a great addition to the family, but - and that's a big "BUT"...there are many things to consider and think about before bringing a dog or puppy into your home:
Be prepared for a life-long, 10 to 15 year commitment (or even longer, depending on the breed)! Your SideKick is a living, breathing being - not a succulent to replace after it's been too long since the last watering...
Educate yourself! Thoroughly research the breeds you're interested in, look for trainers and training facilities in your area before bringing the dog or puppy home, and prepare yourself and your family for the challenges a new furry family member may present. Think about and discuss things like house training, how you plan to provide daily mental and physical exercise, what grooming needs (which vary by breed) there may be, how a potential breed's energy levels mesh with your lifestyle, etc.
Most importantly, really consider if you and your family have the time to devote to training and raising a dog or puppy, as well as the willingness to put in the work. Puppies aren't born knowing the rules of the human world, so they need time and a dedicated person to show them the ropes, give them cues (literally), and help them navigate.
Adding a SideKick to the family during the holidays or any time of the year is a huge responsibility - one that should not be taken lightly. And this blog post addresses only a small portion of considerations.
All of that said...feeling a little overwhelmed with a new SideKick - even after you've done your research and prepared for every aspect of dog parenthood - is totally common and understandable! I'm a dog trainer, for goodness' sake, and there were many times when my pupper, Ruby, was little when I wondered what the heck we got ourselves into! Don't get discouraged and don't think any less of yourself for reaching out for help; it takes a village to raise a child, right? Same goes for a furry child!
If a new SideKick (a puppy OR an adult dog) is joining your household this holiday season, congratulations, best of luck, and please feel free to reach out with questions and concerns you have!