December 14, 2010 // Franchising.com // ENGLEWOOD, CO. — Cute and cuddly and oh-so-sweet, puppies are eternally appealing. And while a darling puppy might seem like the perfect gift choice for your child, remember that many such presents end up at animal shelters.
"Be absolutely certain the gift recipient wants a puppy or a dog," Liam Crow, CEO and master dog behavioral therapist, Bark Busters USA. "A pup is not some battery-operated toy you can play with, then store away in the closet."
If someone on your gift list wants a dog, consider giving a gift certificate for one instead. Wrap a can of dog food or a fancy collar and include a note saying a puppy (or dog) of the recipient's choice comes with the gift.
Adding a puppy to your life is, on average, a 15-year responsibility. Raising a happy, well-balanced puppy requires an enormous time commitment and so a young pup is not a suitable choice for every dog-lover. Dogs of other ages also make perfect companions. For example, most senior dogs tend to be calmer, have more predictable behaviors, and are already housebroken.
If the intended recipient seems ready for a puppy, be sure s/he is also ready to participate in training and managing all aspects of the responsibilities of dog ownership. "If it's your child who wants a puppy, you as parents must be realistic and acknowledge that the bulk of dog care will invariably fall on you, not the kids," said Crowe. Most children are simply not ready to apply themselves to taking care of a dog until they are of high school age.
Whoever ends up taking care of the puppy, give your pup the best chance for a long and happy life with his family by following these tips.
"You owe it to your new puppy to give him every opportunity to develop a long-lasting, loving relationship with his family," said Crowe. "Be prepared, patient and consistent. Puppies learn through experience and association. The more consistent you are, the faster your puppy will learn and the happier he—and you—will be."
Bark Busters, the world's largest, most trusted dog training company, started in Australia in 1989 and came to the United States in 2000. Since inception, more than 500,000 dogs have been trained worldwide using its dog-friendly, natural methods. With 250+ franchised offices in 40 states and more than 400 offices in 10 countries, Bark Busters is continuing its mission to build a global network of dog behavioral therapists to enhance responsible dog ownership and reduce the possibility of maltreatment, abandonment and euthanasia of companion dogs. Bark Busters is the only international dog training company that offers guaranteed lifetime support. SPCA International selected Bark Busters dog behavioral training services as the "Best of the Best" in its category. No other training company or dog trainer received such a distinction. To fetch a trainer in your area, call 1-877-500-BARK (2275) or visit www.BarkBusters.com, where dog owners can complete a Dog Behavioral Quiz to rate their dogs' behavior.