My family got our first dog 12 years ago a little bit before Christmas and at the beginning of this year, I got my first own dog.
Both of these dogs were raised during different seasons, the first during the winter months and the second during the summer months and I want to share with you my experiences in both of these scenarios and which option may be better for you.
Every owner that has raised a puppy during both the warmer months of summer and colder months of winter will agree that the warmer months, in general, are better for raising a puppy for a number of reasons including longer and warmer days.
But now you must be thinking about what kind of advantages does the winter even offers if any.
Housetraining | Winter vs. Summer
When you get a young puppy between 8 and 10 weeks old you won’t be getting a lot of sleep because they will wake up in the middle of the night frequently.
Now, obviously anyone would prefer to go outside with your puppy in the middle of the night in your pajamas when it’s fairly warm outside rather than in the middle of the winter having to march through the snow.
Having to housetrain during the winter isn’t ideal if you’re planning on getting a small breed of dog, like most terriers.
We got a Yorkshire Terrier during the winter and the year we got him it was impossible to take him outside due to a lot of snow that we had that year.
Housetraining was nearly impossible and we trained this tiny puppy housetraining inside (which doesn’t make a lot of sense, I know) but there was no way we could bring this little puppy outside when the snow was taller than he was.
I imagine that this process would be a little more manageable if you get a breed that is medium-sized and above or more cold resilient like a husky.
There is only one advantage of housetraining in the winter that I have heard of which is that most often the puppies will learn it faster because they want to get back inside the house where it’s warm.
So, these puppies will hurry to get their business done as soon as possible to be able to come back inside and therefore learn the concept of housetraining faster.
Housetraining in the spring and summer is a lot easier and less stressful but even in the winter, it isn’t impossible depending on the breed of the puppy that you are getting.
Socializing | Winter vs. Summer
We had a hard time properly socializing our winter puppy because obviously the days were short and dark.
The real struggle when socializing your puppy during the winter is that the experiences that they have with other dogs, people and scenarios (going for a walk, visiting the vet, going to a pet store, etc.) should be positive experiences.
If you have the tiniest puppy that has to walk out in the cold on a walk or while going to the vet then those experiences won’t be positive for your puppy.
Yes, you can take them in a car or bus (in warmth) too but walking a dog is and should be something that your dog should enjoy quite a bit as you’ll be doing this hopefully daily for years to come.
Walks will be important for getting your dog to do their business anywhere but your yard, socializing him with all the situations that he may need to know in his future life and getting him enough exercise (trust me, puppies can have a lot of energy!).
If you get your puppy anywhere between loosely November to February I would recommend going to puppy classes, especially if it is your first puppy.
When we got out the first puppy we had no idea of anything and I admit that we didn’t socialize him very well. The puppy class helps with a lot of that especially getting along with other puppies.
Plus your puppy will have played so much with the other puppies that he will come home completely exhausted.
Can It Be Done During Winter?
Of course, it can be done but in my experience, it may be easier and you could possibly see better results when you raise a puppy during the long-day summer months.
Obviously, there will also be people that live high up in the north where it’s dark for months on end and even there it’s possible to raise a puppy and have him be socialized well.
Your puppy can also have a good time being raised in the snow and playing outside when it’s cold.
My recommendation for anyone new to raising a puppy is to be sure to take a few weeks off from work to get your puppy settled in and give him basic training, get him all his shots as well as meet a lot of new people, things and sounds.
After your puppy has adjusted and maybe even sleeps through the night already, you could even ask your employer if you’re allowed to bring him to work. Make sure that he’s house trained before this though!
Don’t forget that you shouldn’t bring your puppy with you everywhere though. Yes, he needs to learn how the world works but he also needs to learn that being home alone for a few hours is not the end of the world.