Shih Tzu Nearly St. Patrick’s Day

Again, nearly a month has gone by since we last posted! We posted right before Valentine’s Day and now it is nearly St. Patrick’s Day! We have had a house guest, my step­daugh­ter Can­dace, for nearly a month. At first, the shih tzus weren’t sure what to think and barked as if she were an intruder, every time she came through the door or down the stairs, much like they did with John when they got here. Now, how­ever, they have three peo­ple that they trust. She is another dog walker and she pro­vides them with food, so she must be okay. They will even allow her to pet them on occasion.

Flower in bathtubI decided to con­tinue try­ing to bathe the shih tzus in the tub, par­tic­u­larly since Nigel gets so scared in the sink. I have only exper­i­mented on Flower lately, how­ever. I was amazed at how calmly she sat there, for a good ten min­utes, until she decided she’d had enough. It was a far cry from the day in groom­ing school where she looked pos­sessed by a demon.

Red Excalibur DehydratorI broke down and finally bought an Excal­ibur dehy­dra­tor. Since I was splurg­ing, I splurged more and bought a red one! I made the first treats in it yes­ter­day. I decided to try chicken-wrapped apples because they always end up squishy in my last dehy­dra­tor  I was very happy with them! They looked store bought to me.

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Shih Tzu Valentine’s Day 2013

Hi Y’all! Flower here! We are try­ing to help Mom keep our blog up to date, so I am tak­ing my turn to update it.

Today was Valentine’s Day. We got a Valentine’s Day gift, but it wasn’t any­thing with hearts or any­thing. Mom told us what she could have got us. She could have got us Valentine’s Day dog bis­cuits, but she said that Dot­tie and Candy would turn up their lit­tle black noses (even more than they are already turned up!). She said she could have bought us stuffed ani­mals, but we already have a ton, and only Nigel usu­ally plays with them. She reminded me that I only play with them when I have pent-up energy, and I just shake them around for a few sec­onds and then drop them. So, what Mom did do was make us an extra big batch of home­made dog treats: chicken wrapped apples, which we love! We could smell them in the dehy­dra­tor all day, and we couldn’t wait to have some!

Mom said to make sure to talk about Aunt Can­dace. Aunt Can­dace is stay­ing with us for a while. At one time, we wouldn’t have known what to do about that, but now, we’re get­ting used to peo­ple. I even came up to her while she sat on the couch today and let her pet me. She laughed and told Mom that I was play­ing with her for the first time. I guess I was.

We went for a Valentine’s Day walk with Aunt Can­dace and Mom. As usual, Mom held the flex leash for Nigel and Can­dace held mine for a while. Dot­tie and Candy’s leashes trailed on the ground. When we got behind Wal-Mart, Candy tried to race me again. She ran fast and I could have beat her, but Mom can’t run as fast as Candy, so she won again! She always wins! Mom keeps say­ing she is going to get me a longer leash, so I can race Candy bet­ter. I think that’s what she should have given me for Valentine’s Day!

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Shih Tzu Special Treat From Chewy: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Jerky

Hi every­one! It’s me, Dot­tie! Most of our friends know that Mom is very par­tic­u­lar about our treats. She used to buy treats for us at the store but when she found out that many of them came from China, she began dehy­drat­ing chicken, sweet pota­toes, apples and other yummy stuff to make us chicken jerky, chicken-wrapped sweet pota­toes, chicken-wrapped apples, and even chicken-wrapped rawhide. As a spe­cial treat, she took some of the left­over ham from Thanks­giv­ing and made us ham bites!

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Jerky

Some­times Mom runs out of treats before she can make more, though, and then we don’t get any. That’s never good! Because of that, when she goes to the store, she’ll look at “emer­gency” treat pack­ages. If they say they are from China, she puts the pack­age right back down! If they are made in the U.S., or at least NOT in China, she’ll get us some­thing as a spe­cial treat.  And some­times she gets stuff for us from She par­tic­u­larly does that when she is going to spend more than $49, because of the free shipping.

Last week she ordered Blue Buf­falo Wilder­ness Trail Treats Chicken Jerky from Chewy. She said it was good for us because it’s 100 % grain free and DOES NOT come from China. Also, the only ingre­di­ents were chicken, dried cane molasses and salt.

Flower, Candy, Nigel and I loved it! There was one thing about it we didn’t like, how­ever. Mom wanted to just try it so she got a lit­tle bag that didn’t go very far between four shih tzus! Next time, maybe she will buy us a big­ger bag!

Oh, and we were happy because it gave Mom an idea. After we ate the bag, she made us chicken jerky (yes­ter­day!), and she added a lit­tle molasses, just like Blue Wilder­ness! It was really good!

If any­one knows of other good­ies for us not from China, please let Mom know! Also, if your Human hasn’t vis­ited, tell them about it! They have lots of yummy stuff, and even toys and other fun things!

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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 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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