Shih Tzu Day 367: One Year Anniversary at Forever Home!

Dottie, Candy and Flower head off to Unleashed by Petco.This is Shih Tzu Day 367, the one-year anniver­sary of when Dot­tie, Candy, and Flower came to live with us (this year hap­pened to have 29 days in Feb­ru­ary), on June 30, 2011.

Candy gets fitted with a harness at Unleashed by Petco.

I know I have to catch up on the last month, but I don’t want to miss the oppor­tu­nity to write about today. Since we have got­ten all of the dogs at least semi used to walk­ing on a leash, I decided it would be fun to take them out in pub­lic, par­tic­u­larly since there was an event that sounded fun.

I acci­den­tally ran across an Unleashed by Petco a few weeks ago. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a “mini” Petco. I was fur­ther sur­prised to find out that one had opened up just a cou­ple of miles from our home. As it turned out, it was hav­ing a grand open­ing this weekend.

Dottie enjoys a celebration treat.Candy waits her turn as Flower licks ice cream off John's hand.Why I thought it would be fun to take the shih tzus to it was because I got an email (because I have a PALS card) talk­ing about the give­aways and dis­counts for the week­end, as well as an ice cream social, from 11 to 3 today. I had been try­ing to decide what to do for our anniver­sary, and I thought that sounded very cel­e­bra­tory. I didn’t know if they would be too ner­vous to eat ice cream there, but it sounded worth try­ing. Also, I like the har­ness I had fit­ted for Flower at Petco last week, so I wanted to get one for her shih tzu sisters.

It wasn’t too dif­fi­cult to get them all in the back seat of the car, espe­cially since we went through the same drill ear­lier in the week to take Flower, Candy and Dot­tie in for shots, with Nigel tag­ging along. Dot­tie was shak­ing, but the other shih tzus were pretty calm.

Candy and an anniversary treat.We got to Unleashed at 1, and I imme­di­ately asked some­one if they could help us fit Dot­tie and Candy with har­nesses. The woman I asked sent Patrice over to help us, and I told her that Flower had a medium, but she was a cou­ple pounds smaller and might need a small. Patrice was going to try both sizes on Candy, but she was puz­zled at how to get it on her. I have to admit that it took me a

Nigel investigates the doggy ice cream.

while to fig­ure it out too, and I had been putting one on Flower for days. I was hold­ing onto Flower and Nigel, so I couldn’t show her. With John’s help, we even­tu­ally decided she needed a medium too, and, even though Dot­tie is five pounds heav­ier, she took the same size.

That process was a lit­tle hec­tic. Dot­tie sat by Patrice through­out the fit­tings, but there were lots of peo­ple and dogs there, and Nigel kept try­ing to go make friends with other dogs. I had to keep pulling him back, until Ted, another Petco asso­ciate, came up and played with him.

I had intended on tak­ing pic­tures, but my plan went awry. I didn’t know my bat­tery was nearly dead on my Nikon and my iPhone bat­tery was nearly dead from lis­ten­ing to Pan­dora on a bike ride ear­lier with John. I still man­aged to get sev­eral pic­tures taken before the bat­ter­ies died.

Once we had accom­plished the har­ness fit­ting, I asked where the ice cream was. It was dis­ap­point­ing to learn that although we had arrived at 1, they had already run out of ice cream. My mind was set on it, so I ended up buy­ing some (SweetSpots peanut but­ter and honey) to take home.

I also talked to a Nat­ural Bal­ance rep­re­sen­ta­tive about try­ing yet another kib­ble type, since the shih tzus don’t seem too jazzed about any of the kinds I’ve been given them. I ended up buy­ing Alpha Dog, with lamb, chicken meal and rab­bit. They also gave me some other sam­ples to try.

Flower was the biggest prob­lem child. She was pretty good when we were work­ing on the har­nesses, but later, when I went by the front door, she tried to exit. She didn’t care if it was with or with­out me. I think she’s going into her rebel­lious shih tzu teen years!

Although there was no free ice cream, we did get two pounds of free dog treats from the treat bar on the way out (Nigel is our only shih tzu that really likes biscuit-type dog treats). We also got two $5 coupons to spend when we came in, and there were two more in the bags we got. I’ll use one to get Nigel a har­ness later.

Our out­ing was a lit­tle nerve-wracking, but we got through it. When we got home, I had John slice up some chicken for me so I could make them chicken and apple and chicken and sweet potato treats. Once I had every­thing in the dehy­dra­tor, we put a vari­ety of treats on a tray, includ­ing the dog­gie ice cream, and took them out­side for their own exclu­sive ice cream social. Flower and Nigel loved the ice cream, although Dot­tie didn’t seem to care for it, and Candy would only eat it if I put it on my fin­ger and had her lick it off. Candy pre­ferred the chicken jerky I put out and Dot­tie the rawhide that I wrap fresh chicken around and dehy­drate. It wasn’t the party I planned, but I don’t think they have any complaints.

I know Flower, Candy, and Dot­tie don’t under­stand what this anniver­sary means, but it has been a time for us to look back and reflect. We had some main goals this past year, includ­ing get­ting them used to me, get­ting them used to John, get­ting them used to guests, get­ting them to ride in a car with­out fear, get­ting them to walk on a leash, get­ting them to like going for walks, and get­ting them house trained.

We aren’t com­pletely there, but I think we have made leaps and bounds. Flower can’t wait to go on walks. Candy and Dot­tie will go, but they don’t love it yet. Dot­tie still shakes in the car, but Flower and Candy don’t. Flower, in fact, jumped in the front to ride with me the last two times she went for a car ride. She also got through a vet visit with­out poop­ing on me or the vet. They all wag their tails when I or John comes home, and they will take treats from guests, although vis­i­tors aren’t their favorite pastime.

Yes, we are very happy with the progress we’ve made, and we can’t wait to see what progress we make in the com­ing year. Happy anniver­sary, Dot­tie, Candy, and Flower! We love you!

Oh, and we want to thank every­one who is cheer­ing us on and shar­ing the jour­ney with us!





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Shih Tzu Day 356: Vet & Escape

June 19, 2012

Vet Visit 

Flower and Nigel on the way to the vet.

Flower and Nigel on the way to the vet.

Nigel hasn’t been feel­ing good, so I decided to make a vet appoint­ment for him and take Flower in for her annual checkup at Clear Creek Ani­mal Hos­pi­tal. I put her and Nigel on a cou­ple, and she did well in the car on the way to the appoint­ment. She also did well in the lobby and in the exam room, although she did pee on the floor. I was very proud that she let Dr. Lind­sey exam­ine her. It was quite dif­fer­ent than her exam last year!

Flower with Dr. Lindsey.

Flower’s checkup with Dr. Lindsey.



I shared with Dr. Lind­sey how she had been kicked out of groom­ing class but how she has improved so much since then. She was also good with the other dogs in the lobby on our way out. I stopped at McDonald’s for a Coke and then decided to take her and Nigel into Petco to try on har­nesses. And there the per­fect morn­ing ended!

The Great Shih Tzu Escape

As we were com­ing up to the door to enter Petco, it opened and the noise scared her. She bolted, pulled out of the har­ness she was wear­ing, and ran out into the park­ing lot. I was fran­ti­cally try­ing to fig­ure out how I was going to hold Nigel and chase her when a woman near the door asked if I wanted her to hold Nigel’s leash. I quickly handed it to her and took off run­ning after Flower.

Flower's new harness, which hopefully is escape-proof.

My hope is that Flower won’t be able to pull out of her new har­ness and escape!

I chased Flower for five min­utes, call­ing her name, try­ing to keep my voice calm. She was get­ting dan­ger­ously close to the road, and I was pan­ick­ing, think­ing, “All that hard work and she gets hit by a car!” She finally slowed down and stopped on a grass area near feet from the road. I sat down, opened my purse and pulled out the heart­worm treat from the vet, and then coaxed her to me. When she came close enough, I grabbed her. When I finally got back to the door, I thanked the woman pro­fusely for watch­ing Nigel and took them both inside. I found some­one to help me fit Flower for a har­ness that I hope will be escape free!

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Take Your Dog to Work Day, Friday, June 22

It’s been a while since we’ve posted! We’ve been very busy and Mom hasn’t been much help with our Twit­ter account and is behind talk­ing about our lives at the Freeze home. She promises to catch up soon, because A LOT has been hap­pen­ing here!

In the mean­time, we ran across this infor­ma­tion on the 14th annual Pet Sit­ters Inter­na­tional “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” which is Fri­day, June 22.

We’re lucky. Mom has an office at home, so, tech­ni­cally, we go with her to work every­day. Nigel and Dot­tie sit on the couch with her most of the time. I jump up to see what’s going on now and then. Since all dogs aren’t that lucky, we want all the Humans out there plan­ning to take dogs like us to work to be pre­pared. Fol­low these help­ful tips by celebrity dog trainer, ani­mal behav­ior­ist and radio host Har­ri­son Forbes.

Prac­tice Makes Per­fect: Before to bring­ing your dog into the office, prac­tice polite behav­ior by tak­ing them out to pub­lic places. Let­ting Fido tag along on your next trip to the park, pet store or café patio will help them become more accli­mated to new peo­ple, places and ani­mals. This will help them learn proper behav­ior when greet­ing peo­ple and help them relax in new settings.

Plan, Pre­pare and Pro­tect: Plan ahead and check with your co-workers to make sure every­one is allergy-free and com­fort­able with dogs. Also, pre­pare your work space by hid­ing elec­tri­cal cords, and set­ting out a dog bed and water bowl. Most impor­tantly, make sure your pet is up-to-date on vac­cines and pro­tected from fleas and ticks that can be passed from other four-legged office mates. Use a monthly top­i­cal treat­ment like PetAr­mor®, which is the fipronil-based pre­ven­ta­tive that offers the same pro­tec­tion as Front­line® at about half the cost.

Walk This Way: Learn leash man­ners before step­ping foot into the build­ing. A trick to com­bat leash pulling is to stop walk­ing or stop and walk in the oppo­site direc­tion. When the dog stops and the leash becomes loose, start walk­ing again. Repeat this exer­cise until your dog learns to walk with you instead of pulling ahead. This can be a long and frus­trat­ing process, but it will be effec­tive in the long-term.

Sit and Stay: Con­di­tion your dog to sit and stay on com­mand. This is the proper way to greet co-workers, and will help ensure your work day is pro­duc­tive. Teach “sit” and “down” by prac­tic­ing ahead of time out in pub­lic, and offer­ing a small treat for every suc­cess­ful com­mand. Keep train­ing ses­sions short and grad­u­ally build up to an hour. Once at work, encour­age your dog to sit or lie down in its bed while in you’re work­ing in your office.

Get­ting to Know You: Avoid office dis­putes by ask­ing per­mis­sion before you allow your dog to greet another dog, and don’t force your dog to become ‘friends’ with another dog; let them meet in their own time. Try to keep a loose leash when intro­duc­ing your dog to another. Pulling tightly on the leash may cause your dog to become ner­vous and to growl or snap.

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Shih Tzu Week 49: May 31 (Day 337) – June 6 (Day 343), 2012

The world is upside down, not me!

Shih Tzu Day 337: May 31


Candy and Flower came to the couch after John left, bark­ing, shak­ing their heads at me and scratch­ing my bare legs. Before, I would give in and give them a treat—even though they hadn’t earned it. Now, how­ever, I am going to try to take some­one for a walk when­ever that happens.

Some­how, I need to fig­ure out how to take two sets of dogs for a walk each day, because I don’t think I can suc­cess­fully walk all four at one time with­out John. I bought a cou­pler yes­ter­day from PetS­mart, after Liz, Sadie Shih Tzu’s mom, men­tioned it, and I thought I would try to use it on Nigel and Flower.

Nigel gets very excited when he sees a leash, so he was the first one I approached. I hooked one of the leashes that came with the cou­pler onto his har­ness and called Flower. She approached me, but then ran when I tried to put a har­ness on her. I finally gave up and put a har­ness on Dot­tie. When I tried to attach the leash, she turned around and ran back to Shih Tzu Cen­tral to try to escape her fate.

Candy was already in hid­ing, so it was back to Flower. I thought she might do what she did the other day, so I went to the door with Nigel. I was right; when we got to the door, she bounced over to it. I guess she wants to go for a walk, but she doesn’t want to wear the har­ness. That means I have to some­how teach her to real­ize that wear­ing it means she gets to walk. Dot­tie still wasn’t budg­ing, so I went and got the har­ness off her, and this time Flower let me put it on her.

Houdini has a leash on her collar and harness to keep from escaping.As we started out the door, I real­ized some­thing was wrong. When Nigel ran, they were so close together because of the cou­pler, and she was slower, so it looked like the leash was going to pull the har­ness up over her head. I started to adjust it, but then decided to try some­thing dif­fer­ent. I went back in and got a dif­fer­ent leash for Nigel. Then, I took one leash from the cou­pler, attached it to Flower’s col­lar, and attached the other cou­pler leash to her har­ness. That way, if she tried her Hou­dini escape rou­tine, she should still be attached to me by one leash.

We had a good walk, although Nigel and Flower, run­ning in front of me, kept switch­ing sides and slow­ing down, so I had to keep rear­rang­ing the leashes to avoid being tan­gled up. I know that some peo­ple say you shouldn’t let them run ahead, but I enjoy see­ing them have fun. Flower wanted to stop and smell things along the way, like a nor­mal dog. She has really come far in a year.

Turkey time

The shih tzus have sev­eral favorite times of the day, and they all involve food. I split a pouch of Bud­dig turkey with them at lunch. When I say “turkey time,” Dot­tie and any­one else on the couch jumps off, and they all run to the back door. Now, with some help from me, the females make their way through the Magic Mesh door and line up on the other side, while Nigel waits inside.

I say each name, and then hand them their slice. Nigel gets his first and Dot­tie used to be sec­ond. How­ever, Flower vies for sec­ond posi­tion lately, so I trade off. Candy always demurely stands back until her bossy sis­ters gets theirs and then ten­ta­tively comes forward.

Day 338: June 1


I was gone all day long. When I finally set­tled down on the couch with my lap­top, Nigel took his nor­mal place on my left side, with one of his stuffed ani­mals. Flower and Dot­tie com­peted for a place next to me on the other side, and even Candy came up and let me hold her for a while.

Day 339/340: June 2–3

Sat­ur­day & Sunday

John and I went for a 2-hour, 20-mile bike ride and then to Black Eyed Pea for lunch. I wanted to try to take all of the dogs for a walk today, but then we ended up work­ing on the kitchen. I was also feel­ing a lit­tle lazy because of our bike ride yesterday.

I had some sugar snap peas for a snack this after­noon and offered one to all of the shih tzus. Only Candy wouldn’t take one.

Day 341: June 4


Magic Mesh dilemma

It has been funny watch­ing the dogs with the Magic Mesh screen door. Nigel has no prob­lem going right through it. Dot­tie must be the sec­ond less scared or sec­ond smartest, because she will now walk through it too. For Flower, it’s like some­one who is afraid of revolv­ing doors. She tries to sneak in behind Nigel, espe­cially if he goes through and not beneath it, and the cur­tain opens a lit­tle. If it shuts too quickly, she stops right in front of it. Candy won’t even attempt it. When she wanted in Sat­ur­day night, John went behind her and pushed her lit­tle butt through it.

Walk scares

I took Nigel and Flower for a walk this morn­ing. Flower didn’t fight me at all when I put her har­ness on her and attached the cou­pler to her har­ness and col­lar, and she went will­ingly to the door. They were both very good cross­ing the street and going up the hill behind Wal-Mart.

Nigel did give me two scares though. I wasn’t hold­ing on tight enough to his leash and when he saw the neigh­bor ahead of us with her big dog, Tucker, he broke loose and ran up to greet him. I was afraid that he would try to pick a fight like he seemed to want to do once in Petco. How­ever, he and Tucker were very friendly to each other. Tucker’s mother tried to talk to Flower; Flower kept her dis­tance but didn’t seem afraid.

I had another scare when we were almost home. Nigel ran up to another neighbor’s dog that was not on a leash. This time, the big dog growled; I yanked Nigel’s leash, but he wasn’t budg­ing, so I screamed at Nigel and the dog. Yes, I know. I panic when big dogs are involved. Its owner called it and it ran off. I think next time, instead of walk­ing through our cul-de-sac, I will turn left and take them up the next block, to avoid any more dog encounters.

I intended to drop Nigel and Flower off and take Dot­tie and Candy next, but Candy ran under the table. I took Dot­tie for a solo walk, and she was very good. John said the other day that I prob­a­bly didn’t even need to hold her leash, because she would never try to get away. I think he’s right, but she might feel safer on a leash. When she hears noises, such as work­ers nearby, she stops and looks at me. Still, she isn’t nearly as scared as she used to be. I am so proud of all of them. I think I will have John work with Candy.

Dia­per time?

I am encour­aged by the walk­ing sit­u­a­tion, but I am still hav­ing a house-training prob­lem. This after­noon, while I was sit­ting on the couch, I kept smelling urine. I couldn’t tell if it was the floor or per­haps a nearby blan­ket. My assump­tion is that Flower relieved her­self some­where and I didn’t find it, which usu­ally hap­pens when I step in a pud­dle. Maybe I need to invest in diapers!

Day 342: June 5


This morn­ing I took Candy and Nigel for a walk, and then I came back and took Flower out solo. Candy was all right when we began, but then some­thing fright­ened her and she planted her lit­tle butt on the pave­ment and wouldn’t move. I car­ried her a while and then sat her on the grass. Again, she wouldn’t move. It’s pos­si­ble that her toe­nails are too long or she might have too much fur on her paws. Flower was great. I took one leash off of her for most of the way around, because she wasn’t try­ing to escape.

Delores from BFF Res­cue called and asked if we would take care of a lit­tle Yorkie mix this week­end. I told her we would.

Day 343: June 6



I know we have done what peo­ple always warn dog own­ers not to do: turned our dogs into beg­gars! John has been eat­ing oat­meal in the morn­ing. When he comes to sit down with his bowl, Candy, Flower, and Nigel gather around him, wait­ing to see if he will give them a bite, or bet­ter yet, put his bowl on the floor, leav­ing a lit­tle oat­meal in it.


No more tear stains!I have been think­ing a lot lately about how far we have come with the shih tzus. For one, it is much eas­ier to groom them these days. Flower’s tearstains are nearly gone, although Dot­tie might have some.

Flower now loves to go on walks with Nigel and me, although she rebels at putting on the har­ness and, yes, runs from side to side, tan­gling up the leashes and me. Dot­tie will go when I make her. Candy starts well and ends well, but I have to pick her up in between.

The dogs love Sadie Shih Tzu food!I haven’t weighed them lately, but at least I don’t think they’ve gained weight. All but Candy are a lit­tle more socia­ble when peo­ple come over. I’ve also learned how to make their treats, to avoid dan­gers of food processed in China. And, thanks to Liz and Sadie, I also con­tinue to make the wet dog food Liz made for Sadie before switch­ing to Pets4Life Canine Diets. Oh, and one more thing. All of them except Candy can go through the Magic Door (Magic Mesh)!

Peb­bles and Bamm-Bamm

Homemade dog treats! Not from China!Because of their antics, Candy and Flower remind me of Peb­bles and Bamm-Bamm. They really make me laugh espe­cially when they come alive, rush the couch, put their paws up, and wag their heads at me. It’s not so funny when they start scratch­ing my legs though. Flower also makes me laugh when she sits on the couch arm and growls at me, and when I look over at it, starts thump­ing her tail, which usu­ally means she wants attention.

Where we were a year ago:

Shih Tzu Day 63: Aug. 1, 2011

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