Ask Kathy About Offering A Dog As A Gift

By Kathy Santo | Updated: April 22 2019

Student’s Question:

“My mother has always wanted a dog, and I want to surprise her with a puppy for Christmas. Do you have any suggestions?”

Kathy’s Answer:

Just one. Don’t.

Besides being one of the most chaotic times on the calendar, the fact that your mother isn’t going to be in on the decision – one that she’ll have to live with for the next ten or more years of her life – makes your gift a potential nightmare. I’ve heard hundreds of stories about people who were positive that someone in their life would love to have a dog as a gift, only to find out, after buying the dog, that they were wrong.

Evidence of this unfortunate, but all-too-common holiday occurrence is waiting for you at your local animal shelter. And even if you are right about your mother wanting a dog, you may be wrong about her desire to actually acquire one. Sometimes the idea of something is more exciting than the reality of actually owning it.

Still 100% certain that she wants to own a dog? Fine, but how do you know what type of dog she would like to own? Size, temperament, energy level, grooming requirements, puppy vs adolescent, purebred vs shelter dog? All of those things are very personal, and essential pieces of information to know when picking the right dog.

In my opinion, the best Christmas gift that you could give your mom would be a book about dogs, and a certificate for “The Dog Of Your Dreams.” That way, if she’s on board with the idea, the two of you could have a wonderful adventure searching for her perfect four-legged companion.

Kathy Santo has spent her entire career as a dog trainer and handler, training dogs and winning over 500 obedience, agility and Canine Good Citizenship titles. Working with her own dogs, she has achieved every competitive obedience title the American Kennel Club (AKC) has offered and earned the prestigious AKC “Obedience Trial Champion” title (OTCh) multiple times.

In Waldwick, Kathy teaches classes, private lessons, and oversees the training of her student’s dogs using her extensive knowledge, experience and intuition to handle problems from the benign to the serious. Her engaging personality has won her the respect and friendship of her many students, who now consider themselves part of her extended family.


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