four months with the shih tzu sisters
I am almost a month behind on my blog. I hate to admit that, but we just celebrated Thanksgiving and I haven’t even covered Halloween! Please bear with us as we try to catch up! To set the stage, it is October 30, Sunday morning, and this is our four-month anniversary with the shih tzu sisters. I don’t think Dottie came upstairs until 7:15, which is a wonderful change from the 4:00 wakeup call I got from her when she first came to live with us.
I ran out of food for the shih tzus, so I gave them leftover chicken, rice and cream of mushroom soup for breakfast. As my friend Deb would say, it was like “doggy crack.” Flower finished hers quickly and rushed over to eat Candy’s, grabbing up a big blob before I hollered and got her to drop the stolen goods. Inside, Nigel ate his with one or two bites.
Later, I had to rush outside and get Nigel, because he wanted to play with the girls and they didn’t, so they were yipping. I know that neighbors don’t like yipping dogs, and I live in fear of an ominous letter stating that the shih tzus are waking people up. I was barefoot, the grass was wet, and who knew where the smelly, brown land mines had been planted this morning, but I hurried out before throwing on shoes. I am still trying to teach him that when a lady says no, it’s not maybe, but NO.
While John made pancakes later, Dottie rested beside me. Flower slept in a dog bed and Candy and Nigel continued to play outside. When all the dogs were back inside, I gave them all a red and white rawhide treat. Pretty soon, I realized that Nigel had rounded them all up and stowed them away in his dog bed. I redistributed them.
After that, he snuggled up next to me and stayed there while I watched the “Right Stuff” as homework for a writing project I am working on regarding General Chuck Yeager, “sound barrier breaker.”
I don’t know what happened, but while we sat there, Flower jumped up on the couch like vampires were chasing her, her eyes huge. Later, I heard Flower yipping at Shih Tzu Central. Nigel was no longer at my side, and I immediately said, “Nigel!” When I looked down, however, only Flower and Dottie were in sight. I saw a red and white mini rawhide treat between them and thought that might have been the cause of contention. It’s highly likely that Dottie wasn’t able to keep hers earlier, since both Nigel and Flower are such thieves. But poor Nigel, since he is the shih tzu who usually gets the blame for any ruckus.
dog walking = exercise
I visited my doctor this week for my annual physical. As usual, we talked about any changes in health, etc. I brought up the subject of exercise. My doctor is a bicyclist, and last year I shared my newfound interest in that sport with him. I had told him that John and I had bought “beach cruiser” bikes and that I was riding almost everyday, with John and I riding the bike paths on the weekends. I proudly proclaimed that between May and November, I put more than a thousand miles on my bike.
However, I also told him that we had adopted a trio of shih tzus and that it had changed our schedule, and as a result, John and I weren’t getting that much exercise because we were riding our bikes a lot less. I told him that, in fact, we had only managed a handful of bicycle outings this summer. I don’t think I took my bike out alone more than twice. I had gotten in the habit of hopping on my bike when John left for work, but now I get up and spend time with the shih tzus before I start working.
My doctor also has dogs, and he asked if we took ours for walks. He was surprised when I said we did no dog walking because the shih tzus did not like walks. I said we had to leash train the shih tzus against their will. I doubt that anyone had dog walking duty at the puppy mill where the shih tzus came from, although they possibly exercised in a dog run.
I realized that I am so used to our shih tzus’ issues that I sometimes forget they aren’t “normal” dogs. If their fear or dislike of a leash — and maybe the unknown world — was the only issue, we might be further along with our dog walking. However, there are the grooming issues and the housebreaking issues.
Looking back over the last four months, the shih tzus are so much better now with me in many ways, but they do still fight me when I try to get them walking on a leash. John is a lot sterner, and when he has the time, he gets some results. I definitely need the shih tzus to be more comfortable with both of us, since to walk four dogs, I need a dog walking companion! My conversation with my doctor made me determined to try harder, and that included a Saturday dog walk.
We took Dottie and Nigel for a walk this afternoon. Dottie was shaking when we stopped to talk to some cul de sac neighbors. As I stood there, Dottie started walking, just to get away! That was a small victory, since she was walking on a leash. We headed towards Wal-Mart, a block away. We climbed a small grass-covered hill and once we started walking on even ground, she trotted along. I was surprised at how well she did. She got a gold star in leash walking!
Flower the couch wetter
I have determined that Dottie is our “trembler,” at least at times, and Candy is our “loner.” Flower is our little “bed wetter” — or at least she would be, if she got up on the bed. She definitely is our “couch wetter.” I gave her back her couch privileges, but she is losing them again! She peed on the red blanket when we were gone on our walk.
I just don’t understand what causes that. I have to congratulate her for some improvement though. While we were outside later, we could hear the children next door playing loudly. Flower’s eyes got big. She would normally scamper for the door, but she turned and looked at me instead. I told her it was OK, and she stayed where she was.
When I went back inside, I left the door open, since Nigel and Candy were still playing. After a little while, Nigel scampered in like a rabbit being chased. When I looked at him, he had a red and white rawhide treat in his mouth. I think he stole it from Candy and thought she was in hot pursuit, but she wasn’t.
My couch was soon occupied by Nigel, Flower and Dottie. Candy acted like she wanted to come up too. She wandered up and down on the floor, in front of the couch, looking up from time to time. Finally, when she got close enough, I picked her up and sat her near me.