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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