What’s The Best Time Of Year To Get A Dog?

By Richard Cross | Dog Q&A

A calendar of the best time of year to get a dog

Hi Richard, is there a “best” time to get a puppy? If so when is it? I’m thinking of getting a dog over Christmas but have heard lots of bad things about this.

Allen

Dear Allen,

Thanks for the question! It’s great that you’re putting a lot of thought into getting your new dog, as many people rush to get one without thinking everything through.

The short answer to your question is that there is not a best time of year to get a new dog – it depends on your own situation.

When your dog is a puppy it requires plenty of attention, so you should try to get it when you have the most free time. This can help with establishing a training routine and building a bond with the puppy. It also allows you to ease your new dog through the settling period.

Training a new puppy often takes more time and patience than many people realise – especially if this is their first dog. You can’t expect a young dog to come into your home and fit in straight away, and some experts recommend up to three hours per day of training for puppies.

For this reason, you should be prepared to devote a lot time to your puppy during the early stages. If you know the next few months are likely to be busy, now might not be the best time to adopt. It’s common for people take some time off work during the first few weeks to help this process.

Puppies also have small bladders, so they need to be let out to spend on a regular basis. Not doing this can make the house training process much longer.

While older dogs might settle in faster – and may not need as much training – they still require help to feel comfortable in their new environment.

Here are some other things to consider:

  • The Weather. If you’re getting a puppy, you’ll need to spend a lot of time outside during house training. While you can do this in any season, it’s more enjoyable in the summer!
  • The Age of Your Family. As a general rule, it’s not a good idea to get a dog if you have young children or are more than a few months pregnant. Training a new puppy can take up a lot of time, which most parents of young children don’t have! Ideally, you should wait until your children are at school-age before getting a dog, as studies have shown that babies are more likely to be bitten (usually because they provoked the dog accidentally). Young children are also often not responsible enough to be around a dog.
  • Your Grieving Period. If you’ve just lost a dog, it can be difficult to know how long to wait before adopting a new one. This varies between people, but it’s important to avoid trying to fill the hole in your life with a new dog before you’re ready. You also need to consider any other pets you have. Remember, dogs grieve for lost loved ones too.

I’d advise against getting a puppy at Christmas or any other big holiday though. Although we all enjoy Christmas, it can be a more stressful time than we realise. Dogs also require an adjustment period when moving into a new home, which can be more difficult if you have lots of family and friends visiting.

Hope that helps!

About the Author

Richard Cross is a freelance dog writer from the UK. He's written hundreds of articles and guides on dog behaviour, training and health. When he's not walking or playing with his two labs, he enjoys watching sports and reading.