Shih Tzu Day 152: No More Company! Yeah!

happy shih tzus: we have our house back!

We don’t know what’s going on, but Mom and the Treat Man spent the night on the couch (I guess they call it a sofa sleeper) again last night. Us shih tzus were wondering if they are going to sleep there all the time?

a <u/>shih tzu's eye at a kneeWe waited until 5:30 and then went to Mom’s side of the sofa and scratched to wake her up. She got up and fed us. She asked us shih tzus to come in right after we ate and did “our business.” We didn’t know why, but it was because she wanted to go back to sleep! We didn’t let her though. Nigel kept scratching at the door, and she kept getting back up to let me, Nigel and Dottie go in and out. It was fun!

a <strong/><strong>shih tzu</strong> in a dog bedAll four of us shih tzus are really happy that there is no more company! Let’s see. What else. We were restless today, but didn’t know what we wanted to do. We kept going up to Mom’s feet to get her attention. I scratched her ankle, because she wasn’t paying attention. Oops. I guess I scratched it harder than I thought, because she said, “Ow!”

She finally got up and gave us some string cheese. Yum! Shih tzus — at least us shih tzus — love string cheese.

We were playing a lot and Mom said we were being “rambunctious.” Even Dottie played with me and Nigel for a while. Candy didn’t feel like playing, I guess. She was just roaming around. Oh, and when Nigel was busy, she went and lay in his bed. She really likes it. He doesn’t seem to mind that she lays in it sometimes. I’m not sure why she likes it so much though. It doesn’t seem that special to me.

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Shih Tzu Day 118: Strange Shih Tzu Behavior

is that normal shih tzu behavior?

a shih tzu on a brown blanket on a couch.Dottie didn’t start whining until 7 a.m. That was an hour beyond when she started trying to wake me up yesterday. I haven’t been letting the shih tzus in the bedroom, because of past accidents, but I decided to give them the benefit of a doubt. I left the bedroom door open while I brushed my teeth, and Flower ran into the room and started circling. That was my cue to usher her out so she wouldn’t pee on the carpet.

Dottie, Flower, Nigel and I worked our way down the stairs towards the Candy Committee. They did their morning dance and I tried not to fall down the stairs while they did it. During the next part of the ritual, while I was allowing Candy to bite my hand at the bottom of the stairs, Flower jumped up on the couch, which she sometimes does in the middle of her dance. But, instead of jumping right back down, she squatted. I had never seen her do that on the couch, but I knew what usually came after squatting, so I hollered, “Flower!” and tried to get there on time. Too late. She left a big wet spot before she jumped back down. Sigh. Back to housebreaking 101.


a shih tzu on squirrel alert. I had towels under the red blanket, just in case, but it went through everything. I took the cushions off, sprayed cleaner on them and put up a gate around the couch. Flower lost her couch permissions for the day. She can still come up on our couch, but I have to keep an eye on her.

John thought the problem might have been the newspapers I put down when I ran out of training pads yesterday. Candy and Dottie seemed okay with it, but I have noticed that Flower doesn’t do well with change. John said maybe she hadn’t yet associated the newspaper with where she is supposed to pee.


a squirrel in a backyard. One of the other shih tzus was acting odd today. While I was talking to Dottie this morning, she started flailing around on the couch. I could not see that anything was wrong with her. She was rubbing her face against the blanket on the couch at first, and then against my side. I thought her ear might itch, so I tried to help her itch it. When I went to move my hand away, she lunged to bite it; not in an aggressive way, but play bites. I petted her a while and then she settled down. Still not sure if she just wanted affection.

shih tzu squirrel! alert again

three shih tzu puppies chase a squirrel.Candy has been alerting us to the squirrel again. I assume it’s the same squirrel, but maybe not.

Our own personal squirrel, Nigel, has been irritating Candy and Flower today. They have been yapped at him a lot. I am going to have to start yapping at him too. I can’t wear socks anymore, because he insists on taking them off my feet. My feet get cold, but I have to admit that his sock fetish is darned cute.

Nigel continues to irritate Dottie. She leans in close to his face and growls at him when he comes to her side of the couch and puts his paws up on it. I am afraid she might hurt him, so when she did it earlier, I went to move her back and him away and managed to knock my coffee over onto the couch. Well, at least the red blanket will have a companion in the washing machine.

Nigel irritates Candy the least, I guess. She didn’t push him out when he went to lay in her dog bed with her today. It was a very cute sight.

something good

a male and female shih tzu lying on a pink dog bed. I have this bad habit of forgetting to refill the shih tzus’ water bowls late in the day. Today, after I filled one of the bowls up, I went to put it down and two of the shih tzus excitedly ran over to it. John laughed and said they thought they were getting “something good.” When I sat the bowl down, though, they started lapping up the water. I told John it was “something good” after all. All that play makes the shih tzu quartet thirsty.

shih tzu beggars

Sorry to say, our shih tzus are officially beggars. Flower in particular jumps up on the couch at any hint/smell of food. Tonight it was Carroll Shelby chili, however, so I didn’t share.

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Shih Tzu Day 113: Chaos at the Shih Tzu Zoo

The shih tzu zoo

two shih tzus playingtwo shih tzus playingI was looking around at the kids this morning and thought, “This is a shih tzu zoo!” At the time, Nigel was snuggled up to my left side. Dottie was lying on the other side. Flower and Candy had come alive, after a nap in their dog beds, and were wandering around the floor. What is amazing is that I do fairly well as a zookeeper.

two shih tzus playingJohn has been surprised at that too. I was the one who really wanted a Yorkshire terrier and the one who picked out and named Josephina Ballerina, aka Joey. However, John was the one who gave her the most care. A lot was different when we had Joey. For the first several years, I worked full time out of the house. For the last eight years she was with us I did my newspaper editing worked at home, but my editing and writing duties were out of control, so I never seemed to have time for her. Luckily, she was John’s baby, so that didn’t matter so much. He got up in the morning and fed her and fed her when he got home in the evening. She sat on his lap whenever he was sitting down.

When I decided I wanted a shih tzu, I gave it a lot of thought, because I knew I would need to be more involved. I haven’t had such a hectic schedule since leaving the paper three years ago. The timing seemed to be right. Of course, I planned for one shih tzu, not for several to overrun the house! I do love my shih tzu zoo though!

shih tzu romp time

After the shih tzus ate their breakfast and did their business, Dottie, Flower and Nigel scurried inside. Dottie and Flower don’t seem to have a big desire to stay outside since the weather is getting colder. Nigel usually wants to go right back out, so I don’t know why he came in with them. I told him to go play with Candy, and he did go back out. They had a half-hour romp.

When they came inside, they started playing in the dining room, but I had the back door open a little, so they danced outside onto the patio again. Loud noises outside brought them back in, and Flower joined the other two shih tzus. Since we haven’t gotten the girls used to walks yet, I’m glad they are getting “Nigel exercise.”

Candy went back outside a little later and sat by herself. I know she always liked being by herself, and I think she still does. She still loves to wander around the yard. When she sits on the porch, though, she looks towards the door sometimes, like she is waiting. Maybe for the little boy shih tzu to come out and play? Maybe not, though. I have a tendency to read into things.

couch competition

two shih tzus sparring.two shih tzus sparringFlower has been sitting by Dottie and me quite a bit lately. However, she had a problem today. She came and sat in front of the couch and kept looking up at it, but Nigel and Dottie were sprawled out taking up all the room. Flower went over and checked out the dog steps I bought from Ross Dress For Less, which Nigel uses to get up on the male side of the couch. She sniffed them, and eventually tried to step on one, but it moved and scared her. She investigated them again later, but they might be a little short for her, because she didn’t try very hard to use them. Eventually she wandered back over to Shih Tzu Central.


two shih tzus sparringAfter that, Nigel carried a small bear and some treats up onto the couch. Flower decided she wanted one of the treats and took it. It was probably one the male shih tzu stole originally from the girls anyway. The result was another bone war. When Nigel tried to get it back, Flower started yipping at him and jumped off the couch. He followed her down, but then she jumped up on her couch to escape him. He responded by stretching his neck out and going “woo, woo, woo,” like he was howling at the moon.

The couch situation has also caused Dottie to often sit closer to me now than she used to, because of competition for the couch corner. Today I was typing and felt something at my side. Dottie was sitting as close as Nigel does, rubbing against my sweater and looking up at me. She didn’t appear to be in pain or to be wanting anything, so I thought maybe she just felt like being close. When I thought about it further, though, she could have just been trying to figure out why my sweater pocket smelled like the dog treats I had in them the other day.

Kong enjoys the outdoors

a shih tzu with a retriever rollWhen I was deciding what treats to give the shih tzus, I came across the Kong I had bought the girls. They weren’t very interested, but I thought Nigel might be. I filled it with peanut butter, but he wasn’t interested either. That was surprising, since I thought Kongs were all the rage with dogs. Maybe they aren’t all that to shih tzus. Later in the afternoon, though, I noticed that the Kong was outside, with the peanut butter still inside. I imagine Nigel smuggled it out when I wasn’t looking. He didn’t want the peanut butter, but he likes the act of smuggling.

The shih tzus are much more into their variety of bones. Candy’s main interest today was a retriever roll from the Dollar Tree. I love watching her eat them, because she handles them so gently, holding them delicately between her front paws and nibbling like a rabbit.

New Dog Bed Relocation

four shih tzusNigel doesn’t seem to like to keep his dog bed in one place. Today, he grabbed it with his teeth and moved it continually until he finally had it right in front of the door. Maybe he wants it there to be the first one to greet John. After he finally stopped and got in it, Flower went and sat next to him, off of the bed, for at least 10 minutes.

Training Pads

I might be getting somewhere with the training pads. I have moved them clear over by the back door now, so they are no longer in the living room or dining room, and the shih tzus have been using them. I counted three spots when I came downstairs this morning. Since the goal is to get them to do their business outside whenever possible, I positioned jingle bells above the training pads. My hope is that I will hear them and can get there before they do anything, so I can get them outside in time. I don’t think I have them positioned correctly yet, though, because I never hear them jingle. Either that, or the shih tzus are tiptoeing around.

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Shih Tzu Day 111: Candy and her Boy Dog

The trouble with boy dog friends

girl and boy dog friendsCandy and her boy dog friend have been frolicking again, inside and outside. I know she enjoys playing with Nigel, but there are times that she does not want his attention. I always know when that is the case, because she yips loudly and looks like she wants to bite his little boy dog face off. I have had several stern talks with him that when a lady says “no,” it’s not “maybe,” and he has to stop and not force her to play. If he learns that, she might like him better and go out on more dog play dates. Of course, it would also help if he stopped stealing her bones and the other girls’ dog treats. Then they might all like him better.

Nigel and the cable guy

I had to have Comcast send a cable guy out today because of trouble with my cable box. Nigel greeted him at the door with his tail wagging and was practically sitting on his lap when he sat down on the couch to do some programming. Not my girl shih tzus, of course. I was in the kitchen and heard a low growl. I asked him what happened, and he said, “I don’t know! All I did was make eye contact!” It was actually kind of funny. My girl dogs are definitely different than our boy dog.

I don’t really think it’s a case of girl dogs or boy dogs, however. It’s more likely because of their time at the puppy mill. From Nigel’s behavior, he probably had a good home at one point before ending up at a shelter, so he has a lot better social skills. He definitely wouldn’t make a very good guard dog!

A boy dog in Shih Tzu Central

a black and white shih tzu on a dog bed. After the cable guy left, I took Nigel for a walk to tire him out. I sure don’t have a lot of stamina since I stopped taking regular bike rides. Running up the hill beside him tired me out! When we came back, I had the back door open for the dogs and a bee came in. I was trying to figure out where it went and looked over at Shih Tzu Central; it was flying around near Nigel, and he was trying to bite it. I was thinking that he looked funny trying to bite at it, and then I realized something. He was “at Shih Tzu Central” trying to bite it. He was actually lounging on the blue dog bed.

Four shih tzusFlower and Candy didn’t seem to think anything about having a boy dog in one of their beds in their private corner, although Dottie seemed slightly put out. They all mainly just ignored him. Since that was the case, I thought I’d work on a little bit of togetherness and moved his bed in there as a test.

He lay in there for a while without any reaction from the girls. However, he didn’t stay very long and seemed lost without his dog bed being in the living room, so I moved it back out.

Dry training pad

The training pads I have down were dry all day. It’s possible that the girl shih tzus are learning how to hold it until they go outside. I didn’t find any evidence that they had gone anywhere else in the house. My fingers are crossed.

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Shih Tzu Day 109: Touch and Go Leash Training: Flower Escapes!

Leash training trials and tribulations

The girls started barking at 6:45 this morning. I got up a little after 7 so they would stop barking and John could sleep. Candy and Nigel played outside for a while after eating.

two shih tzus preparing for a walk. We decided it was time to do a little leash training again. Of course, Nigel needs no training. He would love to go walking everyday, and I hope we can accommodate him. Our leash training class continued this morning with Candy. There is a grass area behind our local Wal-Mart that is perfect for walking. She did okay, although ever so often, she stopped. i can’t say that she had fun, but she wasn’t as stressed out as she has been on previous walk attempts.

a shih tzu on a leash. We were brave and decided to continue our leash training with Flower. First, when I picked her up, I guess she knew something was up, because she pooped, right down my favorite light blue jeans. I didn’t want to postpone our walk, so I grabbed a microfiber cleaning cloth and water and scrubbed at the spot and then grabbed another one to clean off Flower’s butt. Once we rinsed her off, we put her in the harness we just bought from PetSmart.

a shih tzu resting on a porch.She seemed to be doing okay today, although I knew the leash training was stressing her out. She walked a little with me, very slowly, and then ran a while with John. Suddenly, though, she escaped her leash and harness. It was panic time. If she ran east, she would be running towards Sheridan, a busy street, and if she ran south, towards the apartments behind Wal-Mart. If she ran west, she would run towards our house, but have to cross one street and who knows where she would go from there. Running north, she could escape through an entrance leading to the back of Wal-Mart.

a black and white shih tzuI stayed calm, calling her name and trying to lure her with liver treats. She kept darting back and forth, while John tried to grasp her collar. I was standing near a tree, and she kept coming back to where I was, but if I took a step, she would run again.

In the meantime, I was still holding onto Nigel’s leash, and he was distracting me. John finally told me to put Nigel’s leash around a pole that I imagine was there to make the tree grow straight. I did that, and then concentrated on again luring Flower with the treats. She finally came close enough for me to grasp the ring on the front of her collar. I guess we will have to continue her leash training in our backyard for now. That was a little too scary.

The rest of the day

two shih tzusI was hanging clothes up upstairs after we got back when I realized that my little shadow Dottie was always one step behind me. She is such a sweetheart. When we went back downstairs, Nigel the bone collector had collected several of the girls’ bones in his dog bed. I took a few away and put them back at Shih Tzu Central.

I heard a pitter patter of paws a little later and realized that Candy and Nigel had another play date. They started their waltz-wrestle-boxing match near the dining room, but later moved on to Shih Tzu Central. Later, I noticed Nigel nuzzling Flower, attempting to get her to play. I wonder if Candy thinks he’s two-timing her?

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