Issue 1: December 08

Dear Max,

It seems Santa thought our home could use a second dog, and an annoyingly cute, spirited puppy at that. He keeps biting at my ears, slobbering on my toys, and stealing all MY attention. This does not make sense to me, and I am none too happy about it! How can I convince my humans that I am more than enough dog for this family?

- Grrrrudgingly Yours

Dear Grrrrudgingly Yours,

I have been in your position before and, trust me, I understand how it feels at first. But let me tell you, if you can come to terms with the new addition, he might just turn out to be your trusted companion, playmate, and bark-ner in crime. That's how it is with my girl, Schatzi, whom my people brought home a while back. Now, there were a few things my people did-and yours can, too-to show what important and beloved members of the family we still are:

First, they allowed me to maintain my identity. My kennel, for example, is all mine-no puppies allowed-and the same with my favorite snuggle spot and food bowl.

Next, they were careful to make all of our interactions together positive experiences. It did not matter if they were trying to get Schatzi and me to play together, or just playing with us separately in the same room, they always made it rewarding with lots of treats, my favorite toys, and plenty of reassuring comments such as "good boy," "nice dog" and "we love you."

They also stopped letting her do the little annoying stuff like nip at my ears after I made it clear that is definitely not something I am comfortable with. What can I say-I have my dignity, and I need my space, especially around my face.

Last but not least, they made sure I still got my share of one-on-one dog/human time, with special ear rubs and snuggles dedicated to me and me alone. I love that time!

But I have also come to love Schatzi, and I think the same can happen for you. With the help of your humans-and all those yummy treats-giving this little guy a shot might not be such a difficult and terrible thing after all!

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