Shih Tzu Day 124: Halloween for the Shih Tzus

bad start for Halloween

a shih tzu keeping an eye on a squirrel.a squirrel running along a fence.





Halloween for the shih tzus began with one of them throwing up yellow bile. It was one of the female shih tzus, because I found it when we came downstairs. I smelled all of their breath to see which shih tzu it was, and Flower had the bad breath. John said that didn’t necessarily mean that she threw up, since she could have eaten someone else’s. Gross, but I know it could happen. I don’t think that is the case, though, or else two shih tzus would have bad breath. None of the dogs acted sick, so I don’t know what caused the problem.

morning shih tzu squirrel notification

two shih tzus in black and white clothes. a shih tzu at the door wearing skull sweater





a shih tzu in polka dots and one in skull sweater. a shih tzu wearing a black and white polka dot dress with hood.





two shih tzu sisters wearing black and white polka dot dresses.a shih tzu and a trick or treater.





Candy spent a lot of time outside this morning prowling the perimeter again, looking for squirrels. Every once in a while, she would bark and summon the troops outside. What’s funny is that the dogs can’t always see the squirrel very well, so he will be running one way and the shih tzus will be running the other in search of him. Nigel doesn’t always join in on the squirrel hunt. Sometimes he lets the girl shih tzus do the chasing and he lays in the grass chewing on a bone.

shih tzu door greeter 

I took Nigel to PetSmart and Petco. I dressed him in his black sweater with the skull on it for Halloween. He was very excited to get to go in the car. He did very well, until he saw a big dog in Petco and his dog aggression came out. He started barking, growling and straining at the leash, so I had to pick him up and carry him until the dog was in another part of the store.

two shih tzus that look like werewolves. three blurry shih tzus with weird eyes.





When I came home, I dressed up the girls. They didn’t have costumes, but I dressed them all in black and white. Dottie and Flower wore matching polka dot dresses. I had returned Candy’s black and white houndstooth dress that was too small, but I finally found a medium, so I dressed her up in that. I definitely spend too much time looking at dog clothes at Ross! It took me a while to catch Candy to put her dress on her, since she kept running under the dining room table.

I knew that no one but John and me would see the girls, but I still thought it was fun. As I thought, Nigel was the door greeter, once the trick-or-treaters started arriving. He ran to the door every time the doorbell rang. When the doorbell wasn’t ringing, he ran to to the door anyway, waiting for the next group of children to come along. Again, the only problem we had was when a group came up that included a big dog, who waited in the driveway. Nigel showed his dog aggression again, so I’m sure the parents were glad to be off to the next house. Well, the good news is that Nigel is great with children and small dogs, so that is still better adjusted than Joey was and the shih tzu sisters are.

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Shih Tzu Day 123: Four-Month Anniversary

four months with the shih tzu sisters

a black and white shih tzu in a black and white dog bed with red and white treat.I am almost a month behind on my blog. I hate to admit that, but we just celebrated Thanksgiving and I haven’t even covered Halloween! Please bear with us as we try to catch up! To set the stage, it is October 30, Sunday morning, and this is our four-month anniversary with the shih tzu sisters. I don’t think Dottie came upstairs until 7:15, which is a wonderful change from the 4:00 wakeup call I got from her when she first came to live with us.

I ran out of food for the shih tzus, so I gave them leftover chicken, rice and cream of mushroom soup for breakfast. As my friend Deb would say, it was like “doggy crack.” Flower finished hers quickly and rushed over to eat Candy’s, grabbing up a big blob before I hollered and got her to drop the stolen goods. Inside, Nigel ate his with one or two bites.

treats in a dog bed. Later, I had to rush outside and get Nigel, because he wanted to play with the girls and they didn’t, so they were yipping. I know that neighbors don’t like yipping dogs, and I live in fear of an ominous letter stating that the shih tzus are waking people up. I was barefoot, the grass was wet, and who knew where the smelly, brown land mines had been planted this morning, but I hurried out before throwing on shoes. I am still trying to teach him that when a lady says no, it’s not maybe, but NO.

While John made pancakes later, Dottie rested beside me. Flower slept in a dog bed and Candy and Nigel continued to play outside. When all the dogs were back inside, I gave them all a red and white rawhide treat. Pretty soon, I realized that Nigel had rounded them all up and stowed them away in his dog bed. I redistributed them.

After that, he snuggled up next to me and stayed there while I watched the “Right Stuff” as homework for a writing project I am working on regarding General Chuck Yeager, “sound barrier breaker.”

a shih tzu under a trailer with a dog treat. I don’t know what happened, but while we sat there, Flower jumped up on the couch like vampires were chasing her, her eyes huge. Later, I heard Flower yipping at Shih Tzu Central. Nigel was no longer at my side, and I immediately said, “Nigel!” When I looked down, however, only Flower and Dottie were in sight. I saw a red and white mini rawhide treat between them and thought that might have been the cause of contention. It’s highly likely that Dottie wasn’t able to keep hers earlier, since both Nigel and Flower are such thieves. But poor Nigel, since he is the shih tzu who usually gets the blame for any ruckus.

dog walking = exercise

I visited my doctor this week for my annual physical. As usual, we talked about any changes in health, etc. I brought up the subject of exercise. My doctor is a bicyclist, and last year I shared my newfound interest in that sport with him. I had told him that John and I had bought “beach cruiser” bikes and that I was riding almost everyday, with John and I riding the bike paths on the weekends. I proudly proclaimed that between May and November, I put more than a thousand miles on my bike.

two shih tzus However, I also told him that we had adopted a trio of shih tzus and that it had changed our schedule, and as a result, John and I weren’t getting that much exercise because we were riding our bikes a lot less. I told him that, in fact, we had only managed a handful of bicycle outings this summer. I don’t think I took my bike out alone more than twice. I had gotten in the habit of hopping on my bike when John left for work, but now I get up and spend time with the shih tzus before I start working.

My doctor also has dogs, and he asked if we took ours for walks. He was surprised when I said we did no dog walking because the shih tzus did not like walks. I said we had to leash train the shih tzus against their will. I doubt that anyone had dog walking duty at the puppy mill where the shih tzus came from, although they possibly exercised in a dog run.

I realized that I am so used to our shih tzus’ issues that I sometimes forget they aren’t “normal” dogs. If their fear or dislike of a leash — and maybe the unknown world — was the only issue, we might be further along with our dog walking. However, there are the grooming issues and the housebreaking issues.

Looking back over the last four months, the shih tzus are so much better now with me in many ways, but they do still fight me when I try to get them walking on a leash. John is a lot sterner, and when he has the time, he gets some results. I definitely need the shih tzus to be more comfortable with both of us, since to walk four dogs, I need a dog walking companion! My conversation with my doctor made me determined to try harder, and that included a Saturday dog walk.

We took Dottie and Nigel for a walk this afternoon. Dottie was shaking when we stopped to talk to some cul de sac neighbors. As I stood there, Dottie started walking, just to get away! That was a small victory, since she was walking on a leash. We headed towards Wal-Mart, a block away. We climbed a small grass-covered hill and once we started walking on even ground, she trotted along. I was surprised at how well she did. She got a gold star in leash walking!

Flower the couch wetter

I have determined that Dottie is our “trembler,” at least at times, and Candy is our “loner.” Flower is our little “bed wetter” — or at least she would be, if she got up on the bed. She definitely is our “couch wetter.” I gave her back her couch privileges, but she is losing them again! She peed on the red blanket when we were gone on our walk.

I just don’t understand what causes that. I have to congratulate her for some improvement though. While we were outside later, we could hear the children next door playing loudly. Flower’s eyes got big. She would normally scamper for the door, but she turned and looked at me instead. I told her it was OK, and she stayed where she was.

When I went back inside, I left the door open, since Nigel and Candy were still playing. After a little while, Nigel scampered in like a rabbit being chased. When I looked at him, he had a red and white rawhide treat in his mouth. I think he stole it from Candy and thought she was in hot pursuit, but she wasn’t.

My couch was soon occupied by Nigel, Flower and Dottie. Candy acted like she wanted to come up too. She wandered up and down on the floor, in front of the couch, looking up from time to time. Finally, when she got close enough, I picked her up and sat her near me.

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Shih Tzu Day 122: Ideal Shih Tzu Morning

shih tzu morning miracles

two shih tzus on a couch.This was quite an ideal Saturday morning. I didn’t hear Dottie on the stairs until 6:37. I went back to sleep and didn’t wake up until 7:10, when Candy barked that it was time to come downstairs.

John had a neck ache so he got up when I did. When I opened the door, Dottie and Flower started to rush in, but stopped short when they saw the Man. The shih tzu sisters still danced around me, but only in the hall. The Candy Committee was waiting at the bottom of the stairs for our hand and toe biting session. Dottie snuck a few toe bites in as well.

a female <em srcset=shih tzu on an animal print throw” width=”300″ height=”225″ />And, miracle of miracles, Flower ran over and peed on the pee pad, as if to say, “Look, Mom. I waited to show you that I could.” She probably wants her couch privileges back. I sprayed puppy training spray on the pad, so maybe it is working. If so, I should have bought it earlier.

Flower, Dottie and Nigel waited in the kitchen for me while I put their bowls of hamburger, rice and veggies and Taste of the Wild kibble together. No one succeeded in stealing Candy’s food. Either she is eating faster or my image in the doorway continues to keep the other shih tzus away. Flower sauntered over by the bowl, but didn’t do anything.

a black and white <u srcset=shih tzu on an animal print blanket.” width=”300″ height=”225″ />After they ate, I let Nigel out for the kibble scavenger hunt. I went in to clean up dishes from last night and none of the shih tzus instantly came to the door to be let in. Flower, Candy and Nigel all roamed around the yard. I think Dottie did her business and then just sat on the porch watching them.

While I worked on the computer this morning, John watched YouTube videos on his iPad. Dottie gave up her couch end position to Flower, I think to avoid having Flower sit by me.

a <em srcset=shih tzu with a pig ear treat in his mouth.” width=”300″ height=”225″ />The most excitement to the morning was when Nigel decided to rest in one of the girls’ dog beds, and then decided he also wanted Candy’s red and white rawhide treat. I decided not to interfere. She yip, yip, yipped, but eventually gave the treat up to the bully. Those things are pretty popular. The pig ears I bought are also popular with the shih tzu gang.

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Shih Tzu Day 121: Further Housebreaking Dilemmas

shih tzu cat alert

Candy woke us up barking at 6. John went downstairs to investigate and said there were cats fighting in the backyard. Our guard shih tzu sounded the alert about three times.

Our housebreaking dilemmas continue. When I came downstairs, there was a big, wet spot on John’s end of the couch. My guess is that it was Flower. I hate putting pee pads on the furniture, but I did.

a shih tzu on a hardwood floor.When I talked to someone at PetSmart, he told me that we might have to just do what people do with puppies and kennel train her. I hate to do that. To be fair, I feel like I would have to only do that with Flower. I imagine her in her kennel watching her shih tzu sisters running around enjoying their freedom.

I’ve considered blocking off our couch or putting the cushions up before we go to bed. I think Candy and Flower like sleeping on it, so that would end that. Also, we could shut them all up in shih tzu Central at night. I like to give them the freedom to run around and to come up the stairs in the morning. I’ll have to think about it more.

dog bed habits 

When the shih tzu sisters came to live with us as foster dogs, BFF Rescue let them bring a blue and white dog bed and a grey dog bed with them. The grey dog bed was getting a litter tattered on the bottom, so I replaced it recently with a pink and white one. Candy normally lies in the pink one, but since she also likes lying down in the corner in the dining room, I put the grey bed over there. She has been getting use out of both of them.

Flower continues to spend some of the time in the blue dog bed and an equal amount of time “behind” the dog bed, resting her head on it. I’m not sure why she does that. Maybe she just feels “safe” behind it?

will the shih tzu sisters be lap dogs?

two shih tzus in conversation.When I interact with the shih tzus, I sometimes think of Delores at BFF saying that they will get in our laps at some point. I have serious doubts about that. They seem perfectly content at arm’s length. Nigel, on the other hand, likes to cuddle up next to me, which makes it hard to work. He definitely wants to be a lap dog. He climbed up on my lap today, and surprisingly, the way he was laying, I could actually reach the keyboard, so I let him stay there a while.

false alarm

I’m not sure what was going on outside this afternoon, but the shih tzus heard a noise and they all ran to the front door, I guess thinking it was the Treat Man. Candy was shaking her tail feather. About ten minutes later, they heard it again, and Flower, Candy and Nigel ran to the door together. It was so cute.

something even more disgusting

So, there might be something more disgusting than your shih tzu peeing on the couch — your shih tzu pooping on it. Yes, I know. Gross. But Flower managed to do it today, and since she wouldn’t clean it up, I had too. Since the spot had to dry off, there wasn’t much dog property. Dottie sat with me after the clean-up job. Candy lay on the floor, watching us. Nigel was chewing on a treat contently in his dog bed, and Flower sat next to the bed, watching him.

While I was watching her, I was noticing how much her eyelashes have grown back. I’m not sure if they were bothering her eyes, so I think I will let them grow back for a while. She is such a cute little Maybelline baby again. I call her Marilyn, but I know Marilyn Monroe didn’t poop and pee on couches and carpets!

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Shih Tzu Day 120: Wild Shih Tzu Banshees

breakfast twist for the shih tzus

a shih tzu lounging on a couch.The shih tzus got a twist on their breakfast food this morning. I normally mix together rice, ground beef (or ground chicken or turkey) and frozen vegetables. I have wanted to try Sadie Shih Tzu’s homemade dog food recipe, but I still haven’t gathered all the ingredients at once. I did compromise though. We bought veal, turkey and ground beef and mixed them together. Then, instead of the normal vegetables (carrots, corn, green green beans and peas), I used more of a fall mix, which included squash, baby carrots and zucchini. They all seemed to like it. Of course, they had their kibble too.

a shih tzu next to a stuffed elephant. Nigel is still the most adventurous when it comes to food, meaning I think he will eat anything. John had toasted and butter and bananas for breakfast, and he shared the banana. I tried to give Flower some banana, but she dropped it out of her mouth and Nigel grabbed it up and ate it. Nigel also grabbed up a carrot that fell off the floor. The girls hadn’t tried a raw carrot before, but John put one in front of Flower and she chewed on it a little and took a bite.

wild shih tzu banshees

I gave the shih tzus something to chew on a little later. I could hear Nigel chomping away from his position on one side of the couch and Dottie and Flower on the other side. After that, I had to abandon the children for several hours, because I went to meet a former coworker for lunch way across town.

a shih tzu on a dog bed.The three youngest shih tzus were a little rambunctious after I got back this afternoon. Candy and Flower were wild shih tzu banshees running up and down across the floor, scuffling with each other. Nigel was running up and down too, but I think he was mainly trying to join in. It must have been wild shih tzu girls day, because they mainly ignored him. It’s very hard to tell when they are really irritated with each other sometimes or just play fighting. I don’t understand how all of that wild shih tzu face biting doesn’t result in injury.

After their frenzied play, Nigel, Candy and Flower sprawled out on the floor in front of me, in a sort of line. It was about time for John to get home, so they could have been listening for sounds, or their play just plain tuckered them out.

Nigel sat on John’s lap all night. He sneezed about ten times in a row. I’m very conscious of that, since he had pneumonia when he got here.

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