Puppies are wonderful, and Christmas is a delight. But what about the combination?
Whether this will be your existing puppy’s first Christmas or a puppy is planned as a Christmas gift, here are some tips.
 Never give a puppy as a surprise present. The commitment to care for this young animal needs to be made by the person who will be the owner, after thinking about it a good bit. the only exception to this would be a situation where there has already been a lot of thought and/or discussion on the part of the owner-to-be.
 If you are giving or receiving a puppy at Christmas, consider making the actual arrival of the puppy happen on the 26th or later. Christmas tends to be a busy day for many families, and it can be a day when you leave for Christmas dinner at another home. Of course, there can be exceptions to this, such as a gift to a lonely solitary person who will be home.
 For all puppies in your home, including ones that you already have — plan your gift-giving so that the dog isn’t overwhelmed by hectic activity (specially if you have some kids) and also be sure the dog doesn’t have a chance to eat wrapping paper, ribbons, tape, etc.
 During the holiday season, if you have a tree, be sure the pup leaves it alone, specially when electricity is involved. Breakable ornaments can be a hazard too. When we had a Basenji — a breed noted for its curiosity about everything — we had a small tree that would fit on a table out of her reach. With her, we had to do that for all the years of her life!
 If this holiday does tend to overwhelm a timid puppy or dog, just keep an eye on the dog and go off quietly with it for some special moments. This can be as simple as taking the animal with you briefly when you go to the bathroom and taking some time to pet it there. If the dog or pup is already used to a crate, being in there often reduces stress. There are also herbal tranquilizers or ones you get in advance from your vet, if needed.
 To prepare for a new puppy at any time, see my puppy supplies checklist at:
and my puppy potty training page at:
Happy holidays to everyone, whatever you celebrate!