House-training is one of the key issues we get asked about by new puppy owners. And hearing that they need to take the little pupper out every hour or so during the day AND NIGHT is often met with groans and rolled eyes. Setting an alarm at regular intervals through the night is not most people’s idea of fun. And that’s in the summertime… Trips outside at 1am and 4am in the middle of winter, waiting for a sleepy pup to pee is really not the highlight of dog ownership for anyone. But if you get your pup at Christmas, not just winter, there are more things to consider as a responsible dog owner. When a pup is taken away from their mum and siblings – their whole world, and everything that feels safe – they need a calm environment to settle into. They need routine, and calm interactions, and gentle play. They need to sleep, and investigate their new surroundings in safety. And they need to bond with their new family. At Christmas, there is generally a deficiency of routine. The pup will be trying to make sense of a world that is topsy-turvy. You won’t want to pause a film mid-way to take little pupper out to the cold for a comfort break… but you better, else you’ll be pausing it to clear up a little mess instead! He’ll be exploring his new world, which for a dog is mostly via nose and mouth, and at Christmas there are a lot of rich foods around which could upset his tummy. And turkey bones which splinter easily. Not to mention chocolate and raisins which are both highly toxic to dogs. The best time to get a puppy is when you’ll have a chunk of time (at least a week) to devote solely to the pup, with as few external distractions as possible. And I’m not saying don’t get a pup during winter (we did), but make sure that you have thought through everything that comes with a new dog (we didn’t). Do you think you’ll be ok getting up at multiple points at the night, putting on boots and a coat to take your little bundle of fluff outside in the freezing cold? Or would you rather wait until it’ll be a tad warmer..?

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