Shih Tzu Day 205: Shih Tzu Improvements

shih tzu memories are secure

It has been quite a month. A computer crash and backup hard drive problem at the same time caused me to lose all my data. Although professionals told me I couldn’t get it back, persistency and lots of computer research led me to do just that. Yesterday, I got to the point where I had even recovered my DayOne files, where I kept my Shih Tzu journal. I am so happy to get back a few lost weeks that I hadn’t transferred to my blog yet. I also recovered ALL of my videos. I was heartbroken that I thought I had lost all those firsts with the shih tzus. I was kicking myself for not having put any up on my site or on YouTube, because I hadn’t yet figured how to edit them. Now everything gets backed up on a backup drive and elsewhere!

attitude adjustment

One of the biggest things I have noticed over the past few weeks is Nigel’s changed attitude. He still gets rambunctious and still has to be corrected, but ever since I brought the “dog house” inside and put him in it when he was picking on the girls, he has not been nearly as possessive of things and doesn’t bully them to where it is unbearable.

Another improvement has been in the “tinkle” department. I got tired of putting the small carpet I put under their two training pads in the washer and dryer, because I could always smell the rubber backing, and it was too hard to wash it by hand. Instead I have been using an old dish drying mat as the base and putting one pad on top of it. For the most part, they are hitting the mark, although I do have to clean up the hardwood floor in the morning, because of whichever dog seems to squat on the edge. The best part is at least they seem to be really trying! I am not sure, but it seems like Flower might be waiting to go outside in the morning.

shih tzu amnesia

Flower and Dottie seem to develop amnesia every morning. I have been coming downstairs at 6 but John usually doesn’t come down until 7. When the dogs hear his footsteps on the stairs, they act like he is an intruder and bark like crazy, throwing in a growl here and there, even when they see who he is. But there is hope. He can now come up to them and pet them and assure them that he is not an intruder, and they do stop barking.

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Shih Tzu Day 151: Shih Tzus Lacking in Socialization Skills

possessive shih tzus

a shih tzuDottie is either very possessive of me or of her position on the couch. This morning, she was sitting by me and Nigel and Flower came up to the couch. I reached my hand out to pet Flower at the exact time she went to snap at her, and she accidentally bit me. It was a surprise more than anything. Her bite didn’t break the skin, but I could see little tooth marks. I think it surprised her too.

shih tzu alert

John and I left the shih tzus home alone this morning. We had a nice breakfast and then went and picked out a beautiful, rustic comforter for our bed. After that, I went grocery shopping and left John home alone with the shih tzus. We weren’t sure how that was going to work out. He mainly stayed in the garage. While he was out there he heard the shih tzus barking, more so than normal, and went in to see if there was a problem. Nothing seemed wrong, except he had left the TV on and there wasn’t a picture. He discovered that the bulb had exploded, so that must have been why the dogs were barking. The TV was a hand-me-down and we’ve already replaced the bulb once in the last six months, so it was time to go to Best Buy and upgrade! Very thankful for their no interest payment plan!

unsociable shih tzus

A shih tzu between two dog beds. Heather, Herman and the boys came back at 7. Candy stayed outside and Flower didn’t move from Shih Tzu Central. Dottie was brave and sat by me for a while. However, when Heather sat on her side of the couch to watch TV, she had to decide if she wanted to sit between me and John or between me and Heather. I put her between me and John, but she only stayed a few minutes before jumping off and joining Flower at Central.

Jordan kept trying to befriend Flower, but she growled at him every time he looked at her. The shih tzus obviously still need socialization training!

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Shih Tzu Day 96: Couch Potatoes

Nice Morning

It has been so nice in the morning. The girls didn’t start barking until 6:30. When I went downstairs I left Nigel with John, to give Dottie, Candy and Flower a little time alone with me. After I fed the dogs, we put Flower up on the grooming table to work on her tear stains a little more. We trimmed some of the stained hair, especially close to her eyes.

Nigel and the Girls

black and white shih tzuNigel is a funny, little thing. Last night, he ran around the yard with Flower a few times. He was a lot slower, most likely because of his stitches. If he had gone faster, I would have had to try to slow him down.

Today, he came up to the couch several times and puts his paws on it, but then just stood there. His paws seem big for his little body. They are very cute. When I put my hand down to pet him, he bites it. Not hard bites — just small, play bites.

two shih tzusThis morning, he strolled over to Shih Tzu Central and inspected their large dog bed, but didn’t try to get on it. That’s good, because the girls probably aren’t ready to get that close to him yet. It reminded me that I need to get him his own bed. I did fold up some blankets for him to use for now.

two shih tzustwo shih tzusWhile he was laying on them, Flower approached him. I don’t think he knew what to do, so he got off and went to stand under my computer stand. I think Flower might want to play with him, but I am not sure she knows how. She is only used to her sisters.

two shih tzusI was a little concerned about Candy, because she seemed a little withdrawn when Nigel arrived. She was spending a lot of time in their corner. However, this morning she came out and started prowling around, watching Nigel and Flower as they gnawed on bones.

I am struggling to get the girls to want to play outside. Whenever I open the door, they run to it, but then look at me expectantly, hoping for food or a treat. I guess that’s my fault.

I went outside with them at 11:30. Walks are out of the question since we haven’t gotten very far with the leash, so I ran up and down the length of the yard. Flower ran behind me. Once in a while she would get distracted, but then she would come back and catch up.

While we were doing that, Nigel wandered over by the shed, away from the girls club. He chewed on one of the bones he has dragged outside. Candy and Dottie mainly sat in the dirt or on the porch.

Couch Potatoes

Nigel keeps coming up to the couch, so I decided to give him some type of step, since he can’t get up on his own. I found a cute box filled with games for the grandchildren and put it next to the couch, on the John side, not the Dottie side. He quickly learned its purpose.

He sat on that side for a while, and then walked across my lap to go lay next to Dottie. She doesn’t appear too thrilled to have another dog trying to enter her space. She moved up to the arm of the couch to keep a little distance.

Candy and Flower roamed around together later in the afternoon. Nigel was on the floor chewing on something. They came near him, but not too close. Nigel got up and went and nuzzled Flower’s face. She backed away quickly. I don’t think they are quite sure what to think of him.

Flower hasn’t come up on the couch all day. I know Dottie keeps her away sometimes, but I think the Nigel factor contributes to her distance now too. Candy did walk back and forth in front of the couch, though, looking a little interested. However, Dottie stared her down and then Flower pounced on her, breaking her concentration.

Nigel aka Elvis was making it hard for me to work for a while this afternoon. He crawled into my lap, which made it difficult for me to reach the laptop keyboard. I let him stay there for a while, then put him back down beside me. I guess I am lucky that the girls aren’t lap dogs. I would never get any work done, unless I abandoned my home office and got a real office job!

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Shih Tzu Day 63: Just Another Shih Tzu Day

Early A.M. with the Shih Tzus

We have no control over our furry, shih tzu alarm clocks. Flower came up at 4, accompanied by Dottie. Sure would love to ask Flower a lot of questions, including why she thinks we would want to get up that early in the morning. Waking us up early had the opposite effect of what she wanted, though. I slept intermittently between her barking spells, and didn’t get up until after 6:30.

Although I mention food a lot, I always forget to mention “how” these dogs eat. At mealtime, Flower gobbles her food down as quickly as possible, jumping back at any noise, no matter how slight. When she is almost done, she rushes over to Candy’s dog bowl.

I have started trimming off a little each quarter cup of kibble, and holding it back in reserve. When Flower makes a move for Candy’s bowl, I call her name and lure her to me by hand feeding her pieces of the dry dog food, one at a time, to let Candy finish her meal without interruption. Dottie is nearly as slow as Candy, because she is missing some of her front teeth. When she eats, a lot of the pieces fall out, and she has to search for it on the porch. Once Dottie and Candy do finish eating, I feed them the kibble bits I have left over, so they don’t feel left out.

Candy and the Grooming Table

Shih tzu being groomedAfter the girls ate, I went upstairs for something and found dog poop and a urine spot on our bedroom carpet. I had heard Candy jumping around up there earlier, and should have known she was doing her “after pooping” dance she does after eating. They were outside for at least twenty minutes after they ate, so I don’t know why she did that. I cleaned it up and announced to John that she was the shih tzu going on the grooming table today.

Shih tzu face.Although she was trying to nip at the dog clippers at first, she relaxed enough for John to clip quite a bit of her body and to even clip a little of her head. Since our goal is to just get her used to the grooming table, we stopped when we thought we were ahead. I tried to give her a Vienna sausage as a reward while she was on the table, like I had learned in dog grooming school, but she wouldn’t take it. She also wouldn’t take it from John when we sat her down on the floor, but she came back and took it from me.

Candy stayed in the living room for longer than I thought she would, after facing the grooming table, but she did run upstairs to regroup. She had to sit in the hall, though, because after she used our bedroom as a potty box, I closed both doors.

More Housebreaking Contraptions

While we’re on the subject of dogs who aren’t house broken, my latest training contraction hasn’t worked out either. This one was a simple tray that you put a training pad on. Then, you snap a “frame” over it that is intended to hold the training pad in place. No one used the training pad while it was on the tray. However, one of the shih tzus was interested. I caught my plastic lover, Flower, trying to gnaw on the edge.

I still have a few options. I can try a dog training spray that is supposed to tempt them to do their business where you spray it, or the spray that is supposed to prevent them from doing their business where you don’t want them to. I also need to investigate dog litter, which I saw at PetSmart. (If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!)

Afternoon with the Shih Tzus

When I came back from grocery shopping, one of the shih tzus had pooped on the training pad. That almost makes me feel that we are getting somewhere in the battle to housebreak our doggies!

The girls didn’t come alive this afternoon, like they sometimes do. Candy stayed upstairs for awhile. Dottie sat beside me, but Flower spent most of the afternoon in the Safe Zone. It’s possible it’s because the hardwood floor keeps the dogs cool.

So Happy to See You!

Shih tzu jumping for treatWhen John came home, Candy didn’t just wag her tail; she nearly wiggled her butt off. Flower barked like he was an intruder. Candy let him hold her after treat time. I am happy about that. I keep reminding them that they should be nice, since he supplies a good deal of their dog food and treats. Flower continued to stay distant, going back to her corner immediately after getting her night-time treat.

I stopped by to visit the girls on the way upstairs. They were all so adorable, lying in their dog beds, I had to scrunch their faces between my hands and sing a chorus of the Stevie Wonder song, “Isn’t she lovely, isn’t she wonderful,” to each little darling dog.

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Shih Tzu Day 24: Mama’s Little Angel Devils

Shih Tzu Confusion

John spent quite a bit of time in the garage, trying to figure out why the garage door would go down most of the way, and then go back up. Each time it went down and then back up, three little shih tzus would run out of their corner, dash halfway across the living room and halt, realizing that I was sitting on the couch. They associate the sound of the garage door opening and closing with me coming home, so the noise really played with their furry little heads.

When we left to go to the zoo with Nikki and Clarke, we put Shiloh in the kennel, to be on the safe side. After we got back, they left for date night downtown. I picked Candy up and set her down on the couch between John and me. She sat there patiently for a few minutes, before sauntering off the couch and going back to their corner. Then, for some reason, Dottie and Flower trotted out and greeted me, wagging their tails. They must have thought there was a treat waiting for them somewhere. It looks like we are getting beyond the stage of them staying as far away from John as possible. They might not greet him with dancing, like they do me, but they tolerate his presence better.

Shiloh, the TV Dog

Shiloh growls at the TVShiloh provided us with a little entertainment tonight. We had decided to watch “Bloodworth.” In the first few minutes, a dog begins barking at a mailman. Shiloh ran up, put his paws on the TV, growled and barked. When I rewound it to see what we had missed, he did the same thing.

The Shih Tzus Run to Mama for Protection

All three shih tzus on the couch at the same time for first timeWhen Nikki and Clarke got back from their date night, Shiloh mainly sat on the couch with them, enjoying his new friends. However, he was sitting on the floor with John for a while. Suddenly, we heard growling, like Shiloh had done earlier to Nikki and Clarke and to John.The growling turned to a strange howling when John swiftly turned the dog over on its back and held him down. He held up his hand and  showed us where Shiloh had bit him. Nikki and Clarke were shocked, so John explained that Shiloh was increasingly showing more signs of aggression and that putting him on his back showed Shiloh that he wasn’t the one dominating the situation.

When Shiloh began shrieking, three scared little shih tzus ran up to the couch and jumped for it, landing by Dottie and me. It was the first time all three of the girls had ever been on the couch with me. In fact, Candy has never jumped on the couch when I was on it. Flower does on rare occasions, although Dottie usually comes up to the couch several times in the day wanting me to pick her up. They sat there for probably ten minutes before Flower and Candy got back down.

In the meantime, John took Shiloh for a walk. When they came back, John sat down on the couch besides me and Shiloh jumped up and sat beside him. He was docile when he went upstairs with us to bed.

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