Shih Tzu Progression

I hate to think when the last time was that I made a post! All I can say is that our puppy mill shih tzus seem to progress daily!

Take today, for example. When we were sitting on the couch this morning, John commented about a time when the female shih tzus would bark whenever he came downstairs, acting like he was an intruder. Now, they act as happy to see him as they do to see me, and they spend a lot of time letting him pet them.

Also, Candace passed her cosmetology practical test yesterday and I told her I would take her for lunch and we would celebrate with a mimosa. After she arrived, I went to put on my boots and Flower jumped on the couch and began pawing at me. Some people might not realize what that symbolizes, but after looking back at notes from last January, it’s significant.

Candy, freshly-groomed, on the way to the park

When I put my boots on, Dottie, Flower and Nigel think it means one thing: We are going for a walk! A year ago, that would not have been a reason to get excited — except for Nigel. That would have been a reason to run and hide. Now, however, I had to tell them I was sorry and promise them a walk when I returned.

Dottie and Candy catching up on a walk

What happened when Candace and I returned was another glimpse of their progression. I brought the orange juice and champagne to the table for our celebration. About ten minutes later, Flower, Nigel and Dottie came to see what was going on. A year ago, the girls would have stayed in their corner. A few months ago, they would have possibly come and sat by me, but they would have otherwise been unsociable shih tzus.

Flower gets lovin' from Candace.

Now, however, Candace stooped to pet Flower and Flower moved closer to be petted. A little later, Dottie followed her lead.

After Candace left, all the shih tzus started roaming around the living room and staring at me. The snow kept me from taking them yesterday, but I didn’t want to disappoint them again, so I got down the harness box. Flower flew down from the couch, her tail wagging, and Dottie wandered over. I never know what Candy is going to do, but even she wandered towards the door and waited for me to put her harness on her.

Nigel and Candy explore an unfamiliar backyard.

Once outside, the shih tzus sniffed their way along the cul de sac and then towards the open area behind Wal-Mart, Dottie and Candy trailing their leashes behind them, and me holding on to Nigel and Flower’s. We ended up having to take a different route, though. We started going east, but school had let out early, and a handful of teenagers were throwing snowballs at each other. Flower and Dottie trotted along, Candy raced towards them barking (odd behavior for her!), but Dottie stopped in her tracks as if to say “Danger!”

I finally gave up and turned them around. Instead, we walked along the main road, beyond where we usually turn to go home. The condo complex on the next block is getting a new fence, so the fence has been tour down. Nigel, Flower and Candy wandered through the backyards, fascinated by new territory, until I turned them around to go home.

With all the progress, I do have one thing to work on. I try to feed the shih tzus equally, and although Nigel and Candy stay thin, Dottie and Flower are definitely looking a little “plump.” John has taken to calling them his little “Fat Girls” (after the “Fat Boys” in the recent version of Alice in Wonderland. So, our big goal for this new year is to slim down our little angels!

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