Shih Tzu Day 551, Week 78: Review of 2012

I am very happy to say that this year with the Shih Tzu Sis­ters and Nigel has been full of improve­ments. Yes, there have been some frus­tra­tions, but the achieve­ments more than make up for them. I went back over our jour­nal to refresh my mem­ory on our goals for 2012 and it was a very pleas­ant trip down mem­ory lane.

Dottie Shih Tzu in the snow 2012

The Shih Tzu Clan and the Man

I com­mented last Decem­ber that the shih tzus were get­ting to var­i­ous stages with the Man. They have come so far now that I believe he is now Dad to them. That is one of our biggest vic­to­ries. Although Nigel and John have been close since the day Nigel came to live with us, at one time, Flower, Dot­tie and Candy would all bark like crazy each morn­ing when he came down­stairs, believ­ing him to be an intruder. That grad­u­ally stopped hap­pen­ing ear­lier this year. Candy was the first female shih tzu to grow close to John, jump­ing in the air and wag­ging her tail like crazy when he comes home in the evening. Even­tu­ally, Flower joined the wel­come com­mit­tee. These days, Flower will will­ingly come to him for food and treats and, on occa­sion, jumps up onto the couch between us, where she is con­tent to sit for at least sev­eral min­utes. Dot­tie is still more cau­tious, but even she wags her tail when he gets home in the evening. Dottie’s usual posi­tion was the fur­thest cor­ner of the couch, away from John, and even as far away from me as she could get. Now, like today, she sits right next to me, and even leans across me to get pet­ting from John some­times, or when I am not sit­ting on the couch, some­times even cau­tiously walks over to him for a few min­utes of pet­ting before ven­tur­ing back to her corner.

Shih Tzu Walks and Car Rides

Candy Flower and Nigel Shih Tzu December 2012

One of my big goals of the year was to get the shih tzus used to walk­ing. That was def­i­nitely no prob­lem for Nigel, who came to us fond of walks and car rides. After some early dis­cour­age­ments, we earnestly began our dog-walking attempts in April. First we walked them around the back yard. Then, we started walk­ing them to the nearby Wal-Mart and around a com­mon area in back. We had a few scares when Flower balked and was able to pull out of her har­ness and run from us. We were lucky that we wee able to coax her back, and a new har­ness helped keep her in con­trol. Candy and Dot­tie were also obsti­nate about not want­ing to go for walks, and devel­oped the habit of plant­ing their butts on the ground. Dot­tie even­tu­ally got to the point where, like Nigel and Flower, she got excited when I got down the har­ness and leash bas­ket. Candy is still a lit­tle wishy-washy in this area. We usu­ally have to coax her, but she seems to like it once she is doing it. None of the female shih tzus wanted to go for a car ride when we got them, but that changed when we started tak­ing them to Majes­tic View Park, par­tic­u­larly for Sun­day walks. Now, Flower gladly jumps in the car and Dot­tie trots out and waits for me to pick her up and put her in it. We often have to fetch Candy from a hid­ing place, but once she is in the car, she’s fine, and she seems to enjoy the park walks as much as the others.

Dot­tie and Candy are so well-behaved on walks that we will often drop the leash and let them walk them­selves, when we are in safe areas. In fact, we’ve granted Flower and Nigel that same priv­i­lege on rare occa­sions, but we keep a very watch­ful eye on those two! Nigel tends to want to run to greet strangers and Flower just wants to run!

Nigel Candy Flower and Dottie Shih Tzu in Snow 2012

Shih Tzu House Training

Another area that needed work was house train­ing, which went hand-in-hand with the issue of how to get them to go out of the house to do their busi­ness. In the sum­mer we installed a Magic Mesh screen door. Nigel quickly learned how to exit and enter through it, with Dot­tie learn­ing from him and Flower the next shih tzu to get the hang of it. That cut down on the num­ber of acci­dents inside. How­ever, the cold weather meant that the screen door wouldn’t be much help. We installed a dog­gie door a friend gave us and Nigel again was the first to tackle that chal­lenge. We haven’t had as good luck in that area. Flower has also fig­ured out how to go through it by scratch­ing at it with her paws. She uses it sev­eral times dur­ing the day, either to do her busi­ness or to see if there is a squir­rel around to tor­ment. Dot­tie will only go through the dog­gie door if some­one holds it open, and Candy doesn’t want to have any­thing to do with it. Although Flower tends to do her busi­ness out­side now, over the hol­i­days she, or pos­si­bly Dot­tie, decided to start pee­ing on the couch again. It might have been due to the increased amount of vis­i­tors because I haven’t had to wash the couch cov­ers for days now. Candy isn’t as stand­off­ish as she once was, but she still tends to rush up the stairs when there is too much noise or activ­ity for her. Although she is very good about doing her busi­ness out­side in the morn­ing, she does some­times relieve her­self on our bed­room car­pet dur­ing her alone moments upstairs. Dot­tie seems to be the only shih tzu that uses the train­ing pad in the liv­ing room. Some­times, though, she still prefers to run upstairs, try to get me out of bed, and if she doesn’t suc­ceed, pee on the bed­room car­pet. Even if John is down­stairs in the morn­ing before I get up, she won’t go out­side when he opens the door. The good news is that where they once barked to get me up at 4:30 a.m., they now don’t bark until 7 a.m.! That makes it a lit­tle eas­ier for me to work with their schedule.

Shih Tzu Food and Snack Time

Ear­lier in the year I also started mak­ing their food from a recipe we got from Sadie Shih Tzu. I still use it, but some­times we sim­plify it and instead of putting it in meat loaf pans, sim­ply bake it on a cookie sheet. (The sim­pli­fied recipe calls for ground beef, ground turkey, canned pump­kin, diced green beans and pureed sweet pota­toes.) We have also made progress in the snacks I feed them. I used to buy their treats but had so much trou­ble find­ing treats made in the U.S.A. that I now make most of them, with one excep­tion. Their favorite treat is rawhide sticks cov­ered with chicken. I don’t buy them if they are made in China, but Petco and PetS­mart make some made in other parts of the world, so I buy them, wrap sea­soned chicken around them and dehy­drate them. I also dehy­drate their other treats, such as chicken and apple and chicken and sweet potato.

Shih Tzu 2013 Resolutions

We have some res­o­lu­tions for 2013. One, I still want to make the step up to an Excal­ibur dehy­dra­tor. My round Nesco Amer­i­can Har­vest works great, but I did bor­row a LEM, sim­i­lar to the Excal­ibur, and love the trays that slide out and the size that allows me to dehy­drate more snacks at a time and makes it eas­ier to dehy­drate taller snacks, like chicken-wrapped apples. I think I can ratio­nal­ize the price because of the heavy use, but I haven’t been will­ing to make that step yet. I would like to find a way to per­fect the house break­ing, so we will con­tinue to work on that. One big step will be to try to remem­ber to shut our bed­room door dur­ing the day! I would also like to teach Flower not to bark at squir­rels, which would prob­a­bly make the neigh­bors happy. We have had good luck get­ting rid of tear stains for the most part, par­tic­u­larly with Flower. How­ever, we con­tinue to strug­gle with keep­ing four shih tzus groomed. We bought a Wahl Peanut recently, for some areas that are hard­est to groom, but we need to take the time to exper­i­ment with it! We’ll be back to let you know how we do with these goals! Sug­ges­tions are always wel­come, and we’d love to hear about some of your res­o­lu­tions and victories!

We wish all of our read­ers and friends a very Happy 2013!

Related Posts:

6 thoughts on “Shih Tzu Day 551, Week 78: Review of 2012

  1. We love, love, love these pho­tos of the sis­ters and Nigel in the snow. The one of Dot­tie in her red coat is our favourite. Lots of con­grat­u­la­tions on a great year and happy 2013 to you all.

  2. Love all of these pic­tures!! It is just too much cute to han­dle. Can’t wait to hear how the groom­ing comes along this year. Keep us posted on the new trim­mer; I am con­sid­er­ing get­ting one for our two lit­tle guys, and would be inter­ested to hear how that one in par­tic­u­lar has worked for you!

    • Thank you so much, Jes­sica. John has been using the Peanut for their paws and he really likes it! He says it’s a lot eas­ier to use than the large one, plus it works well between their eyes.

  3. I groom my Yorkie and I am no expert for sure. I use human scis­sors for lay­er­ing and that really helps. It won’t come out in chunks and look pro­fes­sion­ally trimmed! It is za best!

Love to hear from you!