Puppy’s First Christmas

Jessie: In New Hampshire where there several inches of fresh snow blanket the ground.

IMG_0474Back in September one of my sons adopted a puppy. It is wriggly, piddly and exasperating. It is also adorable, cheering and impossible not to love. While I have had  dogs many years ago I have never had a puppy under my roof. I am both looking forward to the gift giving season and feeling a bit baffled by it too.

When I was a child my mother had a pet Pekingnese named Juanita who loved Christmas with a desperate passion. She would lie beneath the tree and snuffle the presents as soon as they started to appear. She, herself,  was a Christmas present  to my mother and one that was a delight to all the family. It went without saying that she would have gifts of her own to open along with the rest of us.

Juanita usually received gifts of doggy treats as she did not have much interest in toys. Sampson, my son’s puppy is a dog of wider ranging tastes. He seems enamoured of all manner of rawhide, crunchy treats, chewy treats, plastic water bottles and a stuffed alpaca named Paco. He races after balls and pounces on a stuffed toy shaped like the Millenium Falcon. He likely has more gear than he needs already.

But I can’t help but feel he needs a few things of his own under the tree. Like Juanita I am sure he will wish to be included, and rightly so. What I wonder, dear readers, is if you have any suggestions for me as to gifts a young pup would enjoy? Should I knit him a sweater? Do dogs really appreciate waterproof booties? What about those toys that you put treats into for them to wriggle out after much effort is expended? Any wisdom you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

Readers, leave a comment with a gift suggestion for Sampson or a Christmas gifting memory of your own for a chance to win a hardcover copy of Murder Flies the Coop by Jessica Ellicott.

75 Thoughts

  1. Most pups are happy with a warm, safe home that is filled with love. A long walk or some outdoor playtime will make it even better. Several people I know love those Kong toys you can stuff with peanut butter or cheese since they will keep a pup out of mischief for quite awhile. As far as waterproof booties, they will provide the owner a fun time watching the pup shake them off it’s paws. An ornament of his own denoting his first Christmas with your family is another cute idea. It sounds like Sampson has just what he needs, a loving family. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. My little Silky Terrier Gidget was an indoor dog and every year when I would put up the tree she would go lay on the tree skirt under the tree for hours every day just watching everyone go by. Even when I started putting presents under the tree she still wanted to lay under there, so I just left her “spot” unfilled. I always had a box of Three Dog Bakery cookies under the tree for her. She’s been gone several years now but I still leave her spot unfilled for the memories. Renee

  3. Our dog loves the laser light and expends much energy chasing it,serving two purposes we laugh good for our health and she gets tired out.

  4. There are so many things to give our puppies! A Christmas/winter collar and matching lead, a cuddly blanket, a sweater or coat, a day at the groomers, balls to chase, bones to chew and there are always hugs to give! It’s like having a new baby at Christmas!

  5. Lily hates clothes and boots. She tolerates her raincoat because she hates rain more. If we put boots or sweaters on Lily, she could win an Academy Award for best performance for a dog who’s been injured – she limps around holding up various paws and looking pathetic. Some special organic treats or a toy is our go to for Lily. She also loves to relax under the tree.

  6. Jax loves balls and treats and squeaky toys. A pillow for Sampson would be cool, so he can claim his spot in the house, whether it be on a window bench or next to someone’s favorite chair. He doesn’t look like he needs a sweater, but maybe a raincoat. I might get one for Jax, too.

  7. A sweater would be so cute! I’ve only ever had cats, and they’re not big fans of clothes. You can’t go wrong with treats for Christmas though!

  8. We have a 14 year old chihuahua for a furbaby. We’ve had him since he was 6 weeks old and he is definitely a big part of our family. Although a smaller dog that your newbie, I think some of the likes and dislikes would be the same.

    Snickerdoodle will put on and wear booties for his Santa photo, but I’ve never met a dog that loves to wear them full time. They all have that am I being punished walk when you try to have them wear them. Sweaters and quilted coats are appreciated if they are an inside dog that goes outside briefly to do their job. However, if they are a full time outside dog their coats have thickened up naturally as with the deer and other critters.

    Treats are a trial and error on what they will eat and like. We give an occasional rawhide stick but since they tend to chew on them to limber them up and then swallow whole, they are very good on the digestion. Haven’t met a pouch that didn’t love Better Than Ears which looks like a rawhide but it’s highly digestible and comes in bacon flavor. Hey, who doesn’t love bacon! When Snickerdoodle was younger, he enjoyed the trick balls or Kongs that you put treats in. Gives them ways to use their energy and get rewarded too. The good thing about those is that come in a variety of sizes so there’s a size for every dog. Toys you just need to take into consideration how tough they are and how hard they chew. Little dogs may have a toy that last forever, but a bigger stronger dog may take one bite and it’s all over for that toy.

    As with people, I think our furbabies enjoy having a space of their own be it a bed or a pillow where they can retreat after they tucker you out. 🙂

    Hope your holidays are filled with many furbaby memories and happy times. Don’t forget to take photos of the furbaby too because those memories will be grand years later too.

    Thank you for the wonderful chance to win a copy of “Murder Flies the Coop”!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  9. I am not a dog expert (I’m a cat lady) so I couldn’t tell you a gift, but that’s a really cute dog!

  10. There are always some gifts for our cats and we send a gift to our daughters dogs too. Treats and toys are always special. You could try a subscription t oBark Box. Your pet will get a box with treats and toys every month.

  11. Bluebell our new Golden Retriever puppy loves her stuffed moose, and we ordered a puppy themed LL Bean stocking for her. We will fill the stocking with all sorts of treats and things for a teething puppy to chew. Golden Retrievers are impish thieves, and she’s give new meaning to “the dog ate my homework” by stealing and chewing a grad student paper.

  12. I haven’t had a dog in over 50 years, but I don’t think new toys ever go amiss. They do get tired of the same ones (with a few notable exceptions!). Doggy sweaters are always great because it sure does get cold in the winter and they really do have to go out in the crappy WX. The dog I grew up with hated to have his sweater taken off to have it washed. He would wait for it to come out of the dryer so he could snuggle into it again. Does he have a nice big soft bed or pillow of his own?

    Have fun with that puppy.

  13. I like the idea above of a holiday collar and lead for the new boy. And a special first year ornament for the tree!

  14. My dog was a rescue that we got when she was a young adult. We suspect she did not have much of a puppyhood, since her attention span with most toys has always been about a minute and a half. However, she did always like Nylabones with the spiky edges (ok, it’s a bit of a vague description!) They probably felt good on her gums. Honestly, her favorite things to play with, which she actually sticks with until she is either tired or runs into something, are my gloves or socks I’ve worn (maybe she can smell me?). She loves to run and flip them in the air. It’s hysterical! So maybe get Sampson a pair of socks and put them on your feet before they are giftwrapped and then put under the tree. Have a fun Christmas! Dogs are wonderful!

  15. Hi Jessie,

    If you don’t already know it, you’ll soon find out that raising a puppy is an exercise in humility.

    Let me explain.

    I’d caution against giving your puppy a doggie sweater as a Christmas gift. On Christmas morning, you’ll go to open his package and he’ll be there with you rapt and fascinated and filled with joy as you pull out your wonderful, hand-made creation. And then you’ll decide that you should put this sweater on your puppy.

    Forty-five minutes later, as you lie exhausted and sobbing under the tree clutching the shredded remains of the sweater you so lovingly created, you’ll watch your puppy happily ignoring you and playing joyfully with an empty box. You never dreamed that it was possible for such a small thing to wiggle and struggle in so many different ways. You’d have thought it would have been a cinch for two competent adults to be able to hold a small puppy still long enough to get a sweater on him.

    You would have been wrong.

    I’m not saying a sweater is a bad thing for a dog to have, especially if you live in New England. But you DON’T want to introduce the puppy to it on Christmas morning when your puppy is as hyped up as a 10-year old who has just scarfed down the equivalent of a five-pound bag of sugar in Halloween candy (or me after a second espresso). Introduce it to him at a time when he’s calm (and preferably already exhausted). Then always associate putting on the sweater with a walk. But don’t try to do it on Christmas morning.

    Sometime I will have to tell you the story of the time we took our new dog on a trip to Yosemite and she went into heat over Memorial Day Weekend with us completely unprepared. It’s a doozy of a tale.

    Much joy to you with the rearing of your puppy. It can be a trial, at times, but there are few things in this world that are better than to have your puppy climb into your lap and go to sleep, trusting in you to keep him safe.

  16. Kong toys come in several sizes and shapes, from balls to shapes that don’t roll around much. I got a ball for a puppy (a strong chewer who needs tough toys) and she loves it even though we have not put peanut butter in it.

    1. Those Kong toys have been mentioned by several knowledgable readers. Thanks for weighing in and helping me to be sure they are worth buying! I will add at least one to his list!

  17. I usually get some treats or a small toy for my uncle and aunt’s dog. Last year, inspired by Liz, it was organic treats. I think I’m going to continue that trend.

  18. Our dogs always had their own Christmas stockings, which hung on the mantel with the rest. Inside were treats and toys. One of the kids would always “help” the pet open it.

  19. The knitted sweater would be so cute. I’m sure Sampson would love some new toys. My kitty will not wear clothes & she’s not really a fan of treats, so she always gets a few new toys.

  20. What a cute puppy! Congratulations to your son. I agree with the idea of giving a Kong, dogs seem to love licking out a treat or peanut butter (at the shelter where I volunteer they use them to keep the dogs occupied while they clean the kennels, and sometimes to give medication) and squeaky toys are always a favorite but pet parents should know to hide them at bedtime otherwise they may awaken in the middle of the night to constant squeaks. I also love the idea of a sweater, especially where you live, and it would be special because you made it. Try to find a pattern that can wrap around the puppy instead of one with leg holes–it would be so much easier to customize the fit and to put on. Also, although they’re more for the pet parents than the puppy, a special food mat, treat jar, water cooler type water bowl, harness for car rides, paw print frame for photos or doggie shampoo. Have fun!

  21. The more chewy toys, the better. That way he won’t hunt for something of yours. We have a stocking for each of our furry buds. There is usually something that smells yummy in the dogs and a bit of loose catnip in the bottom of the kitties. That way they are excited before they even get to their gifts. Have a blast!!

  22. I’ve had dogs that love kongs stuffed with peanut butter and then put in the freezer to freeze solid. They seemed to keep them busy when we had to leave them alone for a few hours. Other of my dogs really liked antlers that we sawed in half for great chewing ( and to help clean their teeth).

  23. Sampson is so cute! My dog loved toys that made animal sounds instead of a squeaker, she would actually talk to them like they were her baby. She also liked the bones filled with peanut butter.

  24. My sweet boy Tyler loves to help open presents. I usually have a few that I put under the tree on Christmas morning. Otherwise he finds them if they are there before then. He loves squeaky toys of all kinds, His favorites these days seem to be the ones that are motion sensitive that will jiggle, dance, make noises and fly everywhere when he touches it. Doggyloot.com is a great place to find wonderful toys and treats. Always free shipping too. Tyler gets a toys and treat package every month from them, lol. I just love your baby Sampson. Plus I love the name. My Sammie lived to be over 21 years old. I cannot wait to hear what he gets under the tree!. Oh and a stocking is good too!

  25. My dogs love antlers. The very beat place to get them is MichiganAntlerArt.com They have the best prices and you can get ones with a softer core that are easier on the teeth. They will help you choose the right size. I have no personal connection to them other than that of a very satisfied customer.

    1. Thanks for the supplier suggestion, Randi! Sampson doesn’t have any antlers yet and what could be more Chrstmasy than that? Well at least if they are from reindeer:)

  26. If he is going to be walked, which I highly recommend, those booties are ideal to keep his foot pads from burning during hot summer walks.
    My sister learned that the hard way one year when taking our Jack Russell terrier on her walk across the Maryland Bay Bridge. Our poor Poco was even sorrier.

  27. Joining in what everyone says about Kongs. They’re fantastic, though different ones work for different dogs.
    Likewise there are games and puzzles they have to figure out how to get the food out of. Our dogs love some, others just frustrate them. As someone said up above, it’s very trial and error.

  28. For our two we get Turkey Flavoured Jumbones, and a couple of bags of more expensive dog treats, however we don’t dare leave them anywhere within teeth range! (this is the first year since we got the dogs that we have a tree – and it is a two foot table top one lol). No need to put me in for the draw as I am in the UK and shipping of a hardback book would probably cost more than the book would in a bookstore!

    1. I am a little worried about the tree here! We always have a large one filled with decorations collected or crafted over the years and it would be very sad if there was some sort of incident! Fingers crossed!

  29. I think that one of those toys that have treats hidden inside of it would be a good gift for Shannon.

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