Shih Tzu Day 356: Vet & Escape

June 19, 2012

Vet Visit 

Flower and Nigel on the way to the vet.

Flower and Nigel on the way to the vet.

Nigel hasn’t been feel­ing good, so I decided to make a vet appoint­ment for him and take Flower in for her annual checkup at Clear Creek Ani­mal Hos­pi­tal. I put her and Nigel on a cou­ple, and she did well in the car on the way to the appoint­ment. She also did well in the lobby and in the exam room, although she did pee on the floor. I was very proud that she let Dr. Lind­sey exam­ine her. It was quite dif­fer­ent than her exam last year!

Flower with Dr. Lindsey.

Flower’s checkup with Dr. Lindsey.



I shared with Dr. Lind­sey how she had been kicked out of groom­ing class but how she has improved so much since then. She was also good with the other dogs in the lobby on our way out. I stopped at McDonald’s for a Coke and then decided to take her and Nigel into Petco to try on har­nesses. And there the per­fect morn­ing ended!

The Great Shih Tzu Escape

As we were com­ing up to the door to enter Petco, it opened and the noise scared her. She bolted, pulled out of the har­ness she was wear­ing, and ran out into the park­ing lot. I was fran­ti­cally try­ing to fig­ure out how I was going to hold Nigel and chase her when a woman near the door asked if I wanted her to hold Nigel’s leash. I quickly handed it to her and took off run­ning after Flower.

Flower's new harness, which hopefully is escape-proof.

My hope is that Flower won’t be able to pull out of her new har­ness and escape!

I chased Flower for five min­utes, call­ing her name, try­ing to keep my voice calm. She was get­ting dan­ger­ously close to the road, and I was pan­ick­ing, think­ing, “All that hard work and she gets hit by a car!” She finally slowed down and stopped on a grass area near feet from the road. I sat down, opened my purse and pulled out the heart­worm treat from the vet, and then coaxed her to me. When she came close enough, I grabbed her. When I finally got back to the door, I thanked the woman pro­fusely for watch­ing Nigel and took them both inside. I found some­one to help me fit Flower for a har­ness that I hope will be escape free!

Related Posts:

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

Related Posts:

Shih Tzu Week 44: April 26 (Day 302) – May 2 (Day 308), 2012

Shih Tzu Day 302: April 26 (Thursday)

Shih tzu with red stuffed animal.Flower has still been sit­ting on her couch a lot, mainly, I think, because Dot­tie is mean to her. They were squab­bling tonight and it was really get­ting on my nerves. It’s just like hav­ing bratty, lit­tle kids sometimes.

Every time Nigel comes up to the couch, he drags up a toy or treat with him. He’s the only one who seems to love toys.

Shih Tzu Day 303: April 27 (Friday)

I went to pick up Dot­tie today and Flower growled her dis­ap­proval. Her bark is def­i­nitely worth than her bite.

Shih Tzu Day 304: April 28 (Saturday)

Nigel Shih Tzu asks Candy Shih Tzu to share her birthday presents. I made chicken jerky for Candy’s birth­day, which is Mon­day. We took Flower for a walk again behind the Wal-Mart. I thought she was secure in her har­ness, but she pulled out of it again. This time, I just sat down on the grass and put my hand out, with cheese in it. She came up to me and I grabbed her col­lar. The next time I attempt to take her for a walk, I am going to put a leash on her col­lar and one on her harness.

Shih Tzu Day 305: April 29 (Sunday)

Flower Shih Tzu in her camouflage peace skirt. Flower is such a funny, lit­tle thing. Today, she was lying on her back, wag­ging her front paws at me. I was try­ing to work on the com­puter, so I didn’t stop to pet her, but when I looked again, she wagged her paws again. I finally gave up and gave her some pet­ting time.

Shih Tzu Day 306: April 30 (Monday)

Happy 3rd Birth­day, Candy!

Today is Candy’s third birth­day! We cel­e­brated with the chicken jerky I made over the week­end and the Frosty Paws that was left­over from Flower’s. I also made dog and peo­ple treats again this morn­ing. I dehy­drated some diced apples for John for oat­meal, and I made more chicken and apple and chicken and sweet potato treats. Candy didn’t eat the Frosty Paws, but the other three loved it. They all love the other treats.

A shih tzu with her face in a cup.Of course, Candy, Flower and Dot­tie didn’t want to wear the birth­day crowns, but they had to wear it long enough for pic­tures. The peace sign top and skirt I bought her (Ross Dress for Less) was too big, so I passed the out­fit on to Flower. I thought they could be twins and I found a size small, but that was too small. I ended up putting her in the Girly Girl dress I had bought Flower.

Shih Tzu Day 307: May 1 (Tuesday)

Rest­less Shih Tzus

I made up a batch of Sadie Shih Tzu food. It doesn’t last long with four shih tzus. I dragged out my old Food­Saver unit to seal the indi­vid­ual bags. When I came back into the liv­ing room, Flower was lying on her couch, with her front paws hang­ing over, watch­ing over every­one, and wag­ging her tail. She has so much char­ac­ter. All four of the shih tzus got rest­less later and started wan­der­ing around. I don’t know how they can be bored, when they should be able to just play with each other. Since they do get bored though, it would be great if I could just hand them some col­or­ing books to keep them busy.

They have a big back­yard and lots of toys. They aren’t to the point where they like walks, so I know that’s not what they want. My guess is when they start wan­der­ing around, they are look­ing for food, but I can’t feed them all day. I did hold Candy for a while, because she looked like she wanted some loving.

Shih Tzu Day 308: May 2 (Wednesday)

Dog food storage

I was dis­ap­pointed that there was ice inside the dog food bags I froze, so I decided to invest in a new unit. I cut open the bag of dog food and rinsed the ice away so I could try again. My unit was prob­a­bly seven years old, so I would imag­ine tech­nol­ogy is bet­ter these days. When I read the instruc­tions on the new unit though, I real­ized one thing I did wrong. They advise that you freeze “wet” food first, and then vac­uum seal it, so I will try that next time.

Flower is being ornery again today. Dot­tie came up to the couch for me to help her up, and Flower growled at her. I guess turn­about is fair play. Dot­tie always sounds more seri­ous when she growls.

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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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Shih Tzu Day 60: The Treat Man

John, the Treat Man, Not the Scary Man

It appears that John might be going from being a Scary Man to being the Treat Man.He has been fol­low­ing Lia’s advice, throw­ing down hot dog pieces when they don’t expect it, so that they will look for­ward to hav­ing him at home. When we got home from church and run­ning errands, Flower started to approach him, with­out bark­ing, but she stopped her­self.  All three came up to him eagerly when he passed out the sweet pota­toe and chicken treats. After­wards, Candy started dig­ging her back paws into the dirt, kick­ing it up around her. It was a cute sight.

No to the Potty Patch

I had high hopes that the Potty Patch would be our answer to car­pets that don’t smell like Par­fum de Urine, and that, if nec­es­sary, the girls would like to do num­ber two on it as well, although that isn’t as big a prob­lem as the other. Once again, my girls thought it was more fun to scat­ter the pieces on the car­pet, then to actu­ally sit on it and do their busi­ness. Maybe I should have sprin­kled some dirt on it, to make it look more like real grass, or, in our case, maybe I should have bought one that resem­bled dying grass.

Candy Joins the Family

Candy had second thoughts about trying to escape.Sun­day evening was very peace­ful. Dot­tie took her place beside me on the couch. Candy chose to join us, instead of hiber­nat­ing upstairs. She spent a lot of time cross­ing in front of us, going from one end of the liv­ing room to the other and back. For some rea­son, Flower aban­doned her usual spot on the hard­wood floor for the com­fort of the blue dog bed.

Later, she jumped up on the couch, land­ing half on Dot­tie. They stayed there quite a while, while John and I watched a few episodes of The Dog Whis­perer. The more I lis­ten to Cesar, the more I real­ize that I tend to reward the girls for bad behav­ior. He also says it’s impor­tant to  begin with struc­ture and then move on to awards/treats.

In one episode, he explained how to put a har­ness on a fear­ful dog. Accord­ing to Cesar, you must first show the dog the har­ness. Then, take a treat and make the dog come to you and take the treat from your hand, through the har­ness. Even­tu­ally, you should be able to slowly put the food in the dog’s mouth and, while she is sub­mis­sive, put the har­ness over her head. I’ll try that next time.

For some rea­son, one episode caught their atten­tion again. They ran out of the Safe Zone as if some­one had flipped a switch. Candy got excited and wagged her tail — a rare occa­sion — turn­ing her head excit­edly. I think they miss other dogs. I hope we can leash train them soon, so we can take them out into the world and see how they react to other dogs.

I’m a Good Guy, Promise”

John wanted to take the dogs out­side with­out giv­ing them a treat, so they won’t expect it every time. Flower and Dot­tie wanted to come back in instantly, but Candy came up to him and they had a pet­ting ses­sion for a few min­utes. When they came in, Candy lay down at his feet. It reminded me of some­thing Cesar said ear­lier to a dog: “I now you don’t know me, but I’m a good guy, promise.” They have to be real­iz­ing that John is a good guy.

I think that Candy touched John’s heart so much that he decided to take them out again later, and this time, really give them a treat. I was work­ing, so I sat that one out too. This time, John was shar­ing Vienna sausages with the girls. He ate one first, watch­ing as three lit­tle noses sniffed the air. Candy came up to him first, win­ning half a sausage. Dot­tie quickly grabbed hers and gob­bled it down. Flower kept her dis­tance, until John called her name. When she came up, she took a bite, but Candy rushed up and stole the rest of hers. John pulled another one out, since Candy had stolen the rest of hers. He also decided to give the rest to Candy, since she is the small­est. And prob­a­bly, since she’s warm­ing up to him the most.

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