Last autumn, I was contacted by a lady (we’ll call her Maxine) who was hoping to get a new puppy in the spring. I remember being thrilled to discover that, months in advance of actually bringing her puppy home, Maxine was already researching appropriate socialization, reading Dr. Ian Dunbar’s Before and After You Get Your Puppy, and trying to find a trainer to get her puppy on the right path to good behavior. If only all puppy owners were so well-prepared for the arrival of a fluffy, beautiful bundle of fur, kisses, needle-sharp teeth, and excess energy.
I’m happy to say that this conscientious puppy parent recently brought home her first puppy and attended her first puppy class with me last Wednesday. She arrived with her beautiful puppy, a lot of enthusiasm, and one of the best ideas I’d heard in a long time…the concept of the “Puppy Shower!”
When a woman gets pregnant with a child, her friends and family throw her a baby shower. When a woman gets married, her friends and family throw her a bridal shower. These “showers” are intended to provide the future mother or bride with the items she’ll need to start her new life while simultaneously surrounding her with support from those closest to her in this new, exciting adventure. Talk about two birds, one stone! Showers are fun and happy events intended to celebrate exciting new transitions in our lives.
Maxine told me that her friends and family threw her a “puppy shower.” A surprise party intended to celebrate the puppy she’d been planning on bringing into her home for so long, those closest to Maxine arrived at her house with puppy-related presents and a perfect socialization opportunity. Knowing personally how adorable Maxine’s new puppy is, I can’t imagine she had a hard time convincing her well-wishers to provide the puppy with lots of treats, affection, physical and social stimulation.
Dr. Dunbar recommends that any new puppy meet “100 people in the first 100 days of life.” Puppy parties are a great way to meet this critical socialization goal, provided that the puppy is given frequent breaks and that all experiences are positive for the puppy.
I loved the idea of a “Puppy Shower” so much that I really put some serious thought into what I may give as a gift to a client, friend, or family member were I invited to such a party. I hope that in the comments section, dogsters will share their own ideas about potential “puppy shower” gifts, as the list I am providing is by no means intended to be exhaustive.
Gift suggestions will be split into the following five categories: toys, education, time, management aids, and incidentals.
Casey’s Top 5 Puppy Shower Gifts
I. TOYS! Instilling a great love for play with toys during puppyhood really helps pet owners “wean off treats” in training their adolescent or adult dog. If I were making a “toy gift basket”, I’d likely include at least one of each type of toy mentioned:
II. EDUCATION! Well-educated pet owners are more likely to have well-behaved dogs. Education is, arguably, the most important gift of all for pet parents. Educational gifts for pet parents may include:
III. TIME! Sometimes the best gift of all is your time. A home-made coupon booklet offering your time to help the new puppy owner may be invaluable. Coupons may be for:
IV. MANAGEMENT AIDS! Management is critical to prevent dogs from rehearsing unwanted behaviors. Management aids may include, but are not limited to:
V. INCIDENTALS – there are many other useful gifts for puppy parents which do not fit neatly into the mentioned categories. These may include, but are not limited to:
That said, all dogsters are invited when I get my next puppy (undoubtedly a Chow or Saint Bernard), provided I can convince my best friend Melanie to host a puppy shower for my new pooch!