Its The Dog

Learning through dogs

‘Tis the season

Dingo at 8 weeks old

Some of you may be considering bringing home a new puppy for the holidays. Maybe you’re trying to justify it; the kids will enjoy it; it’ll keep you company during the winter; it’ll be fun. Maybe it’s time for a reality check.

Winter puppies are no fun, house training in 2 feet of snow, bone chilling winds and road salt are only a few of the complications. Dingo was a winter puppy, it took 8 months before he was reliably going potty outside. We had a routine, 3am I’d be up take him outside, then back in the crate, 5 minutes later go back out. By this time he was awake, great. Play for a few hours, potty breaks every 5-10 minutes. By 5am he’d be sleeping in his crate and I’d head for bed. By 7am he’d be awake again and already have gone potty in his crate. I’d wash his bed, play with him for an hour, feed him, again we’d be outside every few minutes. In between I’d be cleaning his accidents because he’d get so cold outside wouldn’t do his business. By spring this was the norm, and it became a battle of breaking the habbit of going potty inside. Once it was warm enough to spend more than 3 minutes outside, we assumed a very strict schedule, and even then there were accidents.

Other issues such as lack of soclialization are common among winter puppies. Due to the weather, lack of day light and, in some areas, winter road conditions, people lack the motivation or the means to take a puppy out for daily socialization. The puppies only social interaction is with the people who live at the house, and occassional guests. This is great if you want a dog who’s unsure about how to interact with other dogs and people.

The point is winter puppy raising isn’t all that fun, infact there are times when you’ll feel overwhelmed, and maybe even consider rehoming or abandoning the dog. The typical christmas puppy will find itself in a shelter by spring, when the family had become tired of their floors being destroyed by urine, or when the adolescent dog begins showing signs of being under socialized and nips the kids. Once the novelty wears off, it’s the puppy who suffers.

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