Shih Tzu Day 63: Just Another Shih Tzu Day

Early A.M. with the Shih Tzus

We have no con­trol over our furry, shih tzu alarm clocks. Flower came up at 4, accom­pa­nied by Dot­tie. Sure would love to ask Flower a lot of ques­tions, includ­ing why she thinks we would want to get up that early in the morn­ing. Wak­ing us up early had the oppo­site effect of what she wanted, though. I slept inter­mit­tently between her bark­ing spells, and didn’t get up until after 6:30.

Although I men­tion food a lot, I always for­get to men­tion “how” these dogs eat. At meal­time, Flower gob­bles her food down as quickly as pos­si­ble, jump­ing back at any noise, no mat­ter how slight. When she is almost done, she rushes over to Candy’s dog bowl.

I have started trim­ming off a lit­tle each quar­ter cup of kib­ble, and hold­ing it back in reserve. When Flower makes a move for Candy’s bowl, I call her name and lure her to me by hand feed­ing her pieces of the dry dog food, one at a time, to let Candy fin­ish her meal with­out inter­rup­tion. Dot­tie is nearly as slow as Candy, because she is miss­ing some of her front teeth. When she eats, a lot of the pieces fall out, and she has to search for it on the porch. Once Dot­tie and Candy do fin­ish eat­ing, I feed them the kib­ble bits I have left over, so they don’t feel left out.

Candy and the Groom­ing Table

Shih tzu being groomedAfter the girls ate, I went upstairs for some­thing and found dog poop and a urine spot on our bed­room car­pet. I had heard Candy jump­ing around up there ear­lier, and should have known she was doing her “after poop­ing” dance she does after eat­ing. They were out­side for at least twenty min­utes after they ate, so I don’t know why she did that. I cleaned it up and announced to John that she was the shih tzu going on the groom­ing table today.

Shih tzu face.Although she was try­ing to nip at the dog clip­pers at first, she relaxed enough for John to clip quite a bit of her body and to even clip a lit­tle of her head. Since our goal is to just get her used to the groom­ing table, we stopped when we thought we were ahead. I tried to give her a Vienna sausage as a reward while she was on the table, like I had learned in dog groom­ing school, but she wouldn’t take it. She also wouldn’t take it from John when we sat her down on the floor, but she came back and took it from me.

Candy stayed in the liv­ing room for longer than I thought she would, after fac­ing the groom­ing table, but she did run upstairs to regroup. She had to sit in the hall, though, because after she used our bed­room as a potty box, I closed both doors.

More House­break­ing Contraptions

While we’re on the sub­ject of dogs who aren’t house bro­ken, my lat­est train­ing con­trac­tion hasn’t worked out either. This one was a sim­ple tray that you put a train­ing pad on. Then, you snap a “frame” over it that is intended to hold the train­ing pad in place. No one used the train­ing pad while it was on the tray. How­ever, one of the shih tzus was inter­ested. I caught my plas­tic lover, Flower, try­ing to gnaw on the edge.

I still have a few options. I can try a dog train­ing spray that is sup­posed to tempt them to do their busi­ness where you spray it, or the spray that is sup­posed to pre­vent them from doing their busi­ness where you don’t want them to. I also need to inves­ti­gate dog lit­ter, which I saw at PetS­mart. (If any­one has any sug­ges­tions, I’d love to hear them!)

After­noon with the Shih Tzus

When I came back from gro­cery shop­ping, one of the shih tzus had pooped on the train­ing pad. That almost makes me feel that we are get­ting some­where in the bat­tle to house­break our doggies!

The girls didn’t come alive this after­noon, like they some­times do. Candy stayed upstairs for awhile. Dot­tie sat beside me, but Flower spent most of the after­noon in the Safe Zone. It’s pos­si­ble it’s because the hard­wood floor keeps the dogs cool.

So Happy to See You!

Shih tzu jumping for treatWhen John came home, Candy didn’t just wag her tail; she nearly wig­gled her butt off. Flower barked like he was an intruder. Candy let him hold her after treat time. I am happy about that. I keep remind­ing them that they should be nice, since he sup­plies a good deal of their dog food and treats. Flower con­tin­ued to stay dis­tant, going back to her cor­ner imme­di­ately after get­ting her night-time treat.

I stopped by to visit the girls on the way upstairs. They were all so adorable, lying in their dog beds, I had to scrunch their faces between my hands and sing a cho­rus of the Ste­vie Won­der song, “Isn’t she lovely, isn’t she won­der­ful,” to each lit­tle dar­ling dog.

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Shih Tzu Day 62: Candy Wags Her Tail for Daddy

tail-wagging Candy

Shih tzu on carpet.I think we had a major vic­tory last night. When John got home from work, Flower for­got that she had spent the whole week with him and barked fero­ciously, as if he was an intruder. Dot­tie just hung back, but Candy greeted him with a wag­ging tail. That’s pretty good, since Candy’s tail rarely wags. Flower didn’t bark for very long, how­ever, espe­cially after John passed out the Milo’s chicken jerky.

Dottie’s turn on the table

Dottie was patient on the grooming table, but wouldn't walk on the leash.We are going to try to either put one sis­ter on the leash or do some type of groom­ing every day. This morn­ing, we put Dot­tie on the table. We trimmed around her paws and a lit­tle on the bot­tom of her feet, gave her her treat and put her back down. Flower is always too ner­vous to eat a treat on the table, put Dot­tie did.

panic mode

Shortly after John left, I was mess­ing around with my blog site, try­ing to fig­ure out why I couldn’t set up email sub­scrip­tions cor­rectly. Right after that, it showed an error. I pan­icked, since I hadn’t backed it up for a while. It turned out that Fat­cow was hav­ing a prob­lem. Thank good­ness. I did back up the site as soon as it came back up.

Candy’s turn with the harness

Candy took a few steps in the harness, following a Vienna sausage.The girls all seemed so bored today, lan­guish­ing on the car­pet, floor or in the dog­gie beds. I decided they should get a lit­tle fresh air, and while they were at it, Dot­tie could have another leash and har­ness les­son. Dot­tie was stub­born, and didn’t want to budge, though, so I tar­geted Candy.

I tried to do what Cesar rec­om­mended, intro­duc­ing the har­ness to her, and giv­ing her a bite of the cho­sen treat, Vienna sausage again. She took the bite and didn’t seem too dis­turbed by the walk-in har­ness, so I put it on her. I didFlower was relieved to avoid the grooming table and leash. have to carry her out to the mid­dle of the grass. She didn’t walk as much as Flower did the other day, but she did take a few ten­ta­tive steps. She’d stop, I’d offer a small bite of the sausage, and she would take a few more steps. I didn’t want to push her too far, so I made it a short ses­sion. I split the last sausage between the three of them.

Candy went upstairs for a short time after we came in, but then she came down and spent most of the after­noon with us. I think that’s another good sign.

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Shih Tzu Day 61: A Manless House

4:15 is too early!

Last night I told myself, and John, that I would get up at 6 and come down­stairs with the girls, since I am behind on my work. If I haven’t explained, John’s job doesn’t dic­tate that he is up at the crack of dawn, so we tend to want to stay up late and sleep in beyond that time. It didn’t quite work out. Two of my furry alarm clocks came up at 4:15, with Dot­tie scratch­ing on the bed and Flower bark­ing. We said “ssssh” and “quiet” many times until Flower finally gave up and left the room. I don’t know, but Dot­tie prob­a­bly stayed there on the floor.

They came back a half-hour later, and we still didn’t stir. At 6, since they had inter­rupted my sleep, I couldn’t con­vince myself to get up. John decided he would try to get them to go out­side to do their morn­ing busi­ness, since they have been going out­side with him for treats. He suc­ceeded. I got up shortly after that, and they had come inside. They gave me a lit­tle dance and then I started get­ting their dishes together.

back to the groom­ing table

I hope Flower overcomes her grooming fear soon.When the shih tzus came in, I cleared off the tem­po­rary groom­ing table and went and put the leash on Flower’s col­lar. When I think back about our ear­li­est days with the girls, I real­ize that in itself is an achieve­ment, con­sid­er­ing how hard she strug­gled when I first tried. If she could, she would run, and if not, she would flat­ten her­self against the wall and snap her teeth together, try­ing to nip at me.

I sat her up on the table and let her smell a Vienna sausage. She wouldn’t bite at it. John turned on the clip­per to do her paws. She sat still for the first paw, but got rest­less on the sec­ond one. I know I am not sup­posed to let her touch me while she is get­ting groomed, since, as Lia says, that is a reward and she hasn’t earned it, but since we still don’t have a groom­ing arm, that’s the only way I can keep her on the table right now.

We fin­ished the sec­ond paw, and then real­ized she had pooped on the table. Poor thing. She didn’t seem fright­ened, but that’s always a big sign that she is. We decided she had been good enough and had enough for the day. We praised her and John rubbed her face, scrunch­ing it up, like Lia does to dogs, telling her how good she had been.

My constant companion, Dottie.When we put Flower down, she started to run away with­out claim­ing her treat, but I called her back, and she came and took a bite. I took the rest of the Vienna sausage into the liv­ing room and gave Dot­tie a bite and handed the rest over to Flower to fin­ish it off, for being good on the table.

When Lia is groom­ing, and the dog is good, she says, “Nicely Done!” I want to find my own say­ing for when they are good. I have one for when they are hyper, which is, “Chill, Win­ston,” from “Lock, Stock and Two Smok­ing Bar­rels.” I also have some Ludacris lyrics for when I am try­ing to get the dogs to fol­low me on the leash. They are,  “When I move, you move, just like that.”

three com­pan­ions

I’m not sure why, but all three of the dogs have been in the liv­ing room since I got home from run­ning some errands a few hours ago. I don’t think I saw Candy run upstairs all day. If I was her, I would be up there. It has to be cooler in her swamp cooled room than it is in the liv­ing room. I am try­ing to keep the treats to a min­i­mum, but I gave them small pieces of Milo’s Kitchen chicken jerky. They hadn’t had it for awhile.

Candy stayed with us all day, instead of hibernating in her upstairs room.Hav­ing three shih tzus lying around makes me want to do some­thing to keep them from being bored. I got up from the com­puter and led them out­side, know­ing they would think they were get­ting yet another treat. Instead, I walked out onto the grass and started walk­ing around the yard. Flower and Dot­tie fol­lowed me, while Candy found a com­fort­able place to sit. I ran a while, with Flower and Dot­tie run­ning behind me. Then, I went and picked Candy up and had her run with me. When I put her down, she ran a lit­tle bit before sit­ting down again. I know it’s not much exer­cise, but they do get a lot run­ning up and down the stairs in the morn­ing and run­ning around the yard at the break of dawn. It will have to do until we can teach them to walk on a leash.

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Shih Tzu Day 60: The Treat Man

John, the Treat Man, Not the Scary Man

It appears that John might be going from being a Scary Man to being the Treat Man.He has been fol­low­ing Lia’s advice, throw­ing down hot dog pieces when they don’t expect it, so that they will look for­ward to hav­ing him at home. When we got home from church and run­ning errands, Flower started to approach him, with­out bark­ing, but she stopped her­self.  All three came up to him eagerly when he passed out the sweet pota­toe and chicken treats. After­wards, Candy started dig­ging her back paws into the dirt, kick­ing it up around her. It was a cute sight.

No to the Potty Patch

I had high hopes that the Potty Patch would be our answer to car­pets that don’t smell like Par­fum de Urine, and that, if nec­es­sary, the girls would like to do num­ber two on it as well, although that isn’t as big a prob­lem as the other. Once again, my girls thought it was more fun to scat­ter the pieces on the car­pet, then to actu­ally sit on it and do their busi­ness. Maybe I should have sprin­kled some dirt on it, to make it look more like real grass, or, in our case, maybe I should have bought one that resem­bled dying grass.

Candy Joins the Family

Candy had second thoughts about trying to escape.Sun­day evening was very peace­ful. Dot­tie took her place beside me on the couch. Candy chose to join us, instead of hiber­nat­ing upstairs. She spent a lot of time cross­ing in front of us, going from one end of the liv­ing room to the other and back. For some rea­son, Flower aban­doned her usual spot on the hard­wood floor for the com­fort of the blue dog bed.

Later, she jumped up on the couch, land­ing half on Dot­tie. They stayed there quite a while, while John and I watched a few episodes of The Dog Whis­perer. The more I lis­ten to Cesar, the more I real­ize that I tend to reward the girls for bad behav­ior. He also says it’s impor­tant to  begin with struc­ture and then move on to awards/treats.

In one episode, he explained how to put a har­ness on a fear­ful dog. Accord­ing to Cesar, you must first show the dog the har­ness. Then, take a treat and make the dog come to you and take the treat from your hand, through the har­ness. Even­tu­ally, you should be able to slowly put the food in the dog’s mouth and, while she is sub­mis­sive, put the har­ness over her head. I’ll try that next time.

For some rea­son, one episode caught their atten­tion again. They ran out of the Safe Zone as if some­one had flipped a switch. Candy got excited and wagged her tail — a rare occa­sion — turn­ing her head excit­edly. I think they miss other dogs. I hope we can leash train them soon, so we can take them out into the world and see how they react to other dogs.

I’m a Good Guy, Promise”

John wanted to take the dogs out­side with­out giv­ing them a treat, so they won’t expect it every time. Flower and Dot­tie wanted to come back in instantly, but Candy came up to him and they had a pet­ting ses­sion for a few min­utes. When they came in, Candy lay down at his feet. It reminded me of some­thing Cesar said ear­lier to a dog: “I now you don’t know me, but I’m a good guy, promise.” They have to be real­iz­ing that John is a good guy.

I think that Candy touched John’s heart so much that he decided to take them out again later, and this time, really give them a treat. I was work­ing, so I sat that one out too. This time, John was shar­ing Vienna sausages with the girls. He ate one first, watch­ing as three lit­tle noses sniffed the air. Candy came up to him first, win­ning half a sausage. Dot­tie quickly grabbed hers and gob­bled it down. Flower kept her dis­tance, until John called her name. When she came up, she took a bite, but Candy rushed up and stole the rest of hers. John pulled another one out, since Candy had stolen the rest of hers. He also decided to give the rest to Candy, since she is the small­est. And prob­a­bly, since she’s warm­ing up to him the most.

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Shih Tzu Day 60: Back on The Leash Again

5:45 Wake Up Call

My furry alarm clocks aren’t going off at the same time these days. This morn­ing, my wake up call came at 5:45. I stayed in bed too long, because one of my ladies left a pud­dle on the bed­room carpet.

My exper­i­ment this morn­ing was feed­ing them and then rush­ing back to bed before I became too wide awake. My fan­tasy was to maybe get at least another hour of sleep before we had to get up and get ready for church.Sunday morning leash lesson 2

The girls weren’t hav­ing it though. They fol­lowed me back upstairs. Dot­tie kept scratch­ing at the side of the bed and whin­ing. Flower kept bark­ing. I tried to tell them calmly to let me sleep, but my voice got louder when they wouldn’t stop. I guess we’ve cre­ated lit­tle mon­sters. I should make them sleep in Sunday morning leash lesson 3ken­nels and just let them out when I come down. I hate to think of my life being ruled by these cute, lit­tle furry creatures.

Finally, at about 6:30, John said he’d get up and go down­stairs. There was a good chance that his appear­ance would scare them and they would let me sleep. How­ever, I was wide awake by then and Sunday morning leash lesson 4thought turn­about was fair play. I came down­stairs, calmly put a leash on Flower and car­ried her into the kitchen. I must have looked seri­ous. It took only that much for her to poop on the floor, miss­ing my clothes and feet, thankfully.

I car­ried her out, sat her on the grass, and gen­tly tugged on the leash. No go.  One of the peo­ple at PetS­mart had told me that Sunday morning leash lesson 5some­times peo­ple put pup­pies in har­nesses, pick them up, lean over and walk them “above” the ground, so they get the idea and then start touch­ing their feet to the ground until they walk. I tried it a few times, but it didn’t work.

I finally just told myself not to look, and took some firm steps away from her, know­ing she had to fol­low me or fight the lease. She fought the leash until John told me to let him try again. This time, I brought out one of the black har­nesses, hop­ing we had tight­ened it enough that she couldn’t get out of it. As expected, she fought him for a few min­utes and then did get out of her harness.

I decided the leash would have to do. I came up to her, now in her inside Safe Zone, and she sat there as I put the leash back on her. This time, I grabbed a hot dog on the way out. I coaxed her with it until she finally took a cou­ple of steps towards me. Candy and Dot­tie were both out­side and came run­ning, either to see what was hap­pen­ing with her sis­ter, or because they smelled the hot dog.

I don’t know if this is the right way to train, but I decided that every time Flower  took some steps, they would all get a piece of hot dog. We walked back and forth across the yard sev­eral times. I hope that all the dogs’ brains reg­is­ter that they will get a treat when one of them is on a leash.

My method seemed to work well. When I was done, I just let go of the leash, so Flower would drag it around a while. She came right up to the porch and sat by me. She didn’t even seem afraid of John, who was sit­ting next to me.

Some­times it seems over­whelm­ing when I think of all that we need to accom­plish. We need to teach them to walk on a leash, to ride in a car, to not be afraid of being groomed, to not be afraid of peo­ple, to not poop and pee on our hard­wood floors and car­pet. Life with three for­mer puppy mill dogs is def­i­nitely not boring.

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