DR. WALLACE: I know you love pets. I do, too. But my sister’s puppy is driving me nuts. It barks when I’m trying to sleep or study or eat. It nips at my ankles several times a day. It’s not my job to entertain her puppy all day or show it how to act. But what makes it worse is that the puppy’s behavior does not bother my sister at all. She just pets and coos to her little pooch, and calls it her angel. I’ll admit that when the little guy rolls over to get his belly scratched, he’s pretty cute ... but the rest of the time, he can be a terror. What do I do? I’m not sure how much more of this I can take. — Annoyed Sister, Brea, California

ANNOYED SISTER: Speak to your parents, and see if they would be willing to help finance some doggie obedience training. If your family is planning to have this lucky pup for a long-term pet, this might be a good idea, especially while this little guy is young and more amenable to training.

Doggie training classes are usually paid for by the day or by the week, depending on what is needed. They can be a touch expensive, but when the benefits are amortized over many years of good (or improved) behavior, the cost is much easier to justify.

If you or your sister will be celebrating a birthday anytime soon, you could suggest this to your parents as a gift. If not, ask your parents if they would meet the expense of professional dog training halfway with you and your sister. Offer to help your sister raise some of the money needed for the training by babysitting, washing cars, doing odd jobs around your home or garden or even finding a part-time job on the weekends. You didn’t mention your age, but if you speak with your parents, I trust they can help guide you and your sister toward the best way of earning some money for this special project. I think the two of you girls could work together to bring in some funds for this very good purpose.

The good news is that if this young dog is successfully trained, then you and your whole family will truly benefit by having a pet that fits into your home in the most compatible way possible. Good luck.

DR. WALLACE: I’m 14 and considered to be a very mature and considerate young lady. My mom’s friend asked if I’d like to have a part-time job babysitting for her two children, ages 3 and 6. I told her yes and then she told me to complete a Red Cross life-saving course before I could be hired. None of my friends who babysit has ever heard of a life-saving course. What exactly is it? — Serious Sitter, via email

SERIOUS SITTER: The American Red Cross local offices offer a course in babysitting that prepares teens to take superb care of young children. This course is indeed a must for all would-be babysitters.

Stop by your local Red Cross office for more information about the course, which includes life-saving techniques. Maybe you can encourage your friends to join you in taking this excellent program.

The American Red Cross is well known as the nation’s leader in babysitting classes and child care training. It can prepare you and your friends to become some of the most capable, trusted and in-demand sitters in your neighborhood. Many parents are pleased to pay more for a trained babysitter who holds Red Cross babysitting certifications. The American Red Cross offers child care safety training both online and in person. Take advantage of their excellent services, and be sure to let your prospective babysitting clients know once you complete the training.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers and will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at rwallace@thegreatestgift.com.

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