Shih Tzu Day 114: Housebreaking Setback

back to house­break­ing 101

A shih tzu protests being accused of not being housebroken (subject: housebreaking)I said yes­ter­day that we had accom­plished a house­break­ing goal by mov­ing the train­ing pads by the back door. The pads went back into the din­ing room this morn­ing because two inci­dences demon­strated a house­break­ing setback.

First, think­ing that house­break­ing was at a dif­fer­ent level, we let Dot­tie and Flower come in the bed­room, and some­one took the oppor­tu­nity to pee on the car­pet. Also, when I went down­stairs, I saw that Flower had peed on the red blan­ket on her couch. They are again barred from com­ing in the bed­room, and Flower got couch priv­i­leges taken away. So we are not as far along in our house­break­ing as we thought. I should have appre­ci­ated our accom­plish­ments in house­break­ing Joey. There is a big dif­fer­ence in house­break­ing a Yorkie puppy and puppy mill dogs.

a shih tzu between two couch cushions.House­break­ing isn’t the only dif­fer­ence between Joey and the shih tzus: lick­ing is another. She used to lick faces, arms, hands. Not the shih tzus, though, but the sur­prise me at times. Flower came up once today and licked my feet, then quickly walked away. No idea if that was affec­tion or what. Maybe she was apol­o­giz­ing for the house­break­ing problems.

The morn­ing frolic

a shih tzu chewing on a yellow bear.I try to keep the shih tzus out­side as long as pos­si­ble, as part of the house­break­ing plan. I think Candy wanted to play after break­fast, but Nigel ran in with the other girls. I opened the door later and she started to come in. Nigel started to go out the door, paused and then turned around and got behind her. I guess he was going to push her in if she changed her mind.

a shih tzu in someone's arms.Then the morn­ing frolic started near the din­ing room table. When I started to clean off the table, Nigel wan­dered over to his dog bed and started loudly chew­ing on a bone. Flower rivaled the noise play­ing with Yel­low Bear. Actu­ally, she wasn’t play­ing with it. Yel­low Bear has a round plas­tic thing attached to him, and Flower likes chew­ing on plas­tic, so that’s what was caus­ing the noise.

While they chewed, Candy sat under a din­ing room chair mak­ing pecu­liar noises. There didn’t seem to be any­thing wrong. I got the impres­sion she might have been try­ing to get Nigel’s atten­tion, but I doubt if he could hear her over his loud chewing.

groom­ing goes bet­ter than housebreaking

shih tzu with ears up like a rabbit.At least we seem to be doing a lit­tle bet­ter with groom­ing than with house­break­ing. We got the kids’ faces and paws trimmed today. We are grow­ing out their hair a lit­tle, so we didn’t get out the clip­pers. They were much eas­ier to man­age because of that. We also cleaned all of their eyes.

shih tzu getting eye cleaned with warm water on a cotton ball.Candy ran to hide under the trailer after we were done, Dot­tie acted as if it was busi­ness as usual and Flower ran back to Shih Tzu Cen­tral. Flower used to get so stressed out after get­ting on the groom­ing table, but that must not have been the case, because she imme­di­ately started chew­ing on something.

Nigel dis­cov­ers the basement

two shih tzus playing.

I had to make a trip to the base­ment after my dis­cov­ery that Flower needs a lot more house­break­ing work. My washer and dryer get quite the work­out these days. Nigel never used to know where I went when I went to do laun­dry, and he used to scam­per upstairs to look for me, not under­stand­ing that the base­ment stairs and other stairs are in oppo­site direc­tions. How­ever, he finally fol­lowed me far enough to see where I was going. He ran down­stairs when I went down and wan­dered around until it was time for us to go back up.

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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 110: Dog Play and Dog Treats

Exper­i­ment­ing with dog treats again

a shih tzu near a dog bed.I exper­i­mented with dog treats again today. I still haven’t quite fig­ured out which dog likes which dog treats. I threw sev­eral out on the floor, to see who would go for what. Flower and Nigel seem to be the most ver­sa­tile as far as dog treats go. They all seem to like pig ears, and Nigel and Flower really like the bully sticks. It’s touch and go with the Green­brier Ken­nel Club mini red and white rawhide bones, pressed rawhide bones and retriever rolls from the Dol­lar Tree. Some­times these dog treats lie around for days, and then some­one picks up one and begins to chew on it and all the other dogs want it. Then it’s back to bone wars.

a shih tzu pulling a sock off. Today, the other three grabbed a Beefeaters pig ear strip, but Candy chose a red and white rawhide bone. Dot­tie usu­ally likes the rawhide bones too. Nigel doesn’t seem to dis­crim­i­nate between dog treats. He likes any­thing, and is expert at unrav­el­ing the Oinkies pig skin twists, but some­thing has to be elim­i­nated from his diet, because he has been stink­ing up a storm. My guess is the rawhide dog treats, which I have debated giv­ing the dogs, because I have heard such mixed opin­ions about rawhide.

Over­all, at the top of the dog treats list is a good-old fash­ioned, real dog bones from the meat depart­ment with real mar­row in the mid­dle. I bought some this week. Five min­utes after I passed them out, Flower had col­lected three in her bed, so I had to con­fis­cate two and redis­trib­ute. They are a lit­tle pricey where I found them, at five dol­lars for five small bone pieces. Not bad if you have one dog, but giv­ing them to four dogs makes a difference!

A dif­fer­ent life

a dog stretched out on a couch.I was think­ing today how dif­fer­ent life is from a year ago, when I edited or wrote alone in my quiet house, some­times with the TV on in the back­ground. Now, it’s nor­mal to have to pet a dog on each side between mak­ing edi­to­r­ial cor­rec­tions. I also used to worry about for­get­ting to take my eyes off the com­puter screen for long lengths of time.

a shih tzu chasing another shih tzu.Jump­ing up dozens of times a day to open the door when Nigel scratches at it, to either come in or go out, changes that. Plus, watch­ing the shih tzus when they start play­ing also gives my eyes the oppor­tu­nity to rest from the com­puter. Def­i­nitely, I laugh and smile more than I used to, because how can you help it with so much cute­ness around?

My couch gets more and more use these days. While I worked on my lap­top this after­noon, Nigel rested on one side of me and Dot­tie and Flower on the other. Dot­tie seems to be get­ting used to the fact that she can’t always have the very end of the couch. She didn’t growl today when Flower sat there. Flower stayed on the couch for some time. Their body lan­guage is so dif­fer­ent. Dot­tie lies down, her head down, Nigel cud­dles up right next to me and Flower looks like she is always on guard.

Nigel still seems a lit­tle put off at times that he can’t always get them to play with him. He espe­cially can’t under­stand that when I get up in the morn­ing, they want to play with me. That is “our” time, from when I walk out the bath­room door until when I go into the kitchen and start putting their break­fast together. He lunges at Candy and then Flower, but they ignore him or yap at him. I always think of Rudolph not being a part of the “rein­deer games.”

Since the girls were ignor­ing Nigel this morn­ing, and I had gath­ered up all the dog treats, he decided to look for atten­tion else­where. He sat at my feet and began pulling a sock off my foot. Some­times I let him take them off, but some­times I stop him. Today, I allowed him to pull one off before I retrieved it.

Candy and Goo Goo Doll

I was watch­ing Candy trot across the floor today. With her fur longer, she reminds me a lot of the Per­sian cat we used to have, Goo Goo Doll. They could have been good friends.

two shih tzus on a couch.We got Goo Goo Doll, named after one of my favorite bands, at the same time we got our York­shire ter­rier, Joey. About a year later, we brought home a Rot­tweiler for my teenage step­son, who was liv­ing with us. Bo, who came from a farm, seemed like he got along with both Joey and Goo Goo Doll. How­ever, our son kept him down­stairs in the day when we were gone. One day, how­ever, Bo got loose. Goo Goo Doll was dead when we got home. It broke my heart, and Bo went to a home with­out cats.

I think Goo Goo Doll even had the same type of tem­pera­ment as Candy. After think­ing about the sim­i­lar­i­ties, I picked up Candy, hugged her and car­ried her around a while, and then I sat down and put her on my lap. She lay there for a while before she got restless.

I knew she had answered Nigel’s call to play a lit­tle later when I heard a rapid pit­ter pat­ter of lit­tle paws and looked up to see her run­ning by, Nigel behind her, with Candy’s tail in his mouth.

Fly­ing Flower

two shih tzusI have a lot of nick­names for Flower, but John gave her a new one: Fly­ing Flower. He calls her that because of the way she flies across the floor and leaps up on the couches, and because of the way she leaps and dances when I come down the stairs, when she is going to get break­fast and when I come home from some­where. Some­times she twirls around in the air in a com­plete cir­cle before touch­ing her feet to the ground again.

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Shih Tzu Day 31: Leash Training with the Comfy Control Harness

I'm not budging from this spot.

leash train­ing for Dottie

John woke up at 4:30 this morn­ing and took Shiloh down­stairs. I thought the shih tzus would come pranc­ing up the stairs, but he was very quiet and they didn’t rus­tle. How­ever, the shih tzu sis­ters did come up to get me at their usual time of 5:30. I tried to ignore them, but it’s dif­fi­cult to ignore so much cute, even that early in the morn­ing. I finally got up and took them out­side. Then, I had mercy on them and fed them early too.

When we came inside, I sat Candy on the couch with me, and Flower jumped up too. As is the usual case lately, Candy didn’t fight me, but as soon I let her, she jumped down. Flower, how­ever, sat in the cor­ner of the couch and let me pet her. She didn’t leave until I stopped giv­ing her all my attention.

Shiloh chose to sit in Dottie’s cho­sen spot, on the right side of me, so I had to help Dot­tie up to the other side of me, where John usu­ally sits. She tried to sit on my lap, but I think it’s uncom­fort­able for her when I am stretch­ing my arms out to type (my lap­top sits on a TV din­ner stand) so I moved her back to where I had set her down earlier.

Whatever you think you're doing, it's not working.

I decided it was time to do a lit­tle leash train­ing and I chose Dot­tie as the guinea pig.

I got her in the Comfy Con­trol har­ness and we took her out­side into the exer­cise area for our leash train­ing ses­sion. I asked John if I needed to give her a treat, but he thought we were just teach­ing her typ­i­cal behav­ior and that she didn’t need one. I’m not sure I agree with that.

Giving me one of my favorite treats won't make up for what you did.Maybe the treat would have been in order if we had suc­ceeded in our leash train­ing ses­sion, but that didn’t hap­pen. She didn’t shake, but she didn’t walk either. She sat down, stiff­ened up and wouldn’t move. John tried to encour­age her by tug­ging on the leash while call­ing her name, but he ended up drag­ging her a few inches. He tried to lift her up on all fours, but her back legs froze. Flower and Candy came out­side to see what was hap­pen­ing and started bark­ing, believ­ing that John was try­ing to hurt her.

This morning was exhausting. We decided to take Dot­tie out to the front yard to con­tinue the leash train­ing where her sis­ters couldn’t try to defend her, but we didn’t have results there either. It’s obvi­ous that I have to do a lit­tle research on how to get a fear­ful dog to walk while on a leash, so I will be doing Google searches and view­ing YouTube videos on the sub­ject before we try any leash train­ing again.

Dot­tie seemed remark­ably calm 30 min­utes later. I gave her one of her favorite treats, Canyon Creek Ranch apple and chicken wraps, for her trou­bles. The other girls calmed down too, but it was a step back in their rela­tion­ship with John. It’s pos­si­ble that I need to do the leash train­ing, with him coach­ing, since they trust me more. I have just always looked at him as the dog trainer, but these girls obvi­ously aren’t Joey, or the other dogs John has had.

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Shih Tzu Day 21: The Terrier Makes Himself at Home

Shiloh, the Ter­rier: There’s a Strange Dog Fol­low­ing Me

Back to our Ter­rier guest, Shiloh. Once he had sniffed out his sur­round­ings, he fol­lowed me all over the house. I hate to say this, but I wasn’t crazy about the idea of this dog fol­low­ing me every­where. I admit it. Par­tially, I felt dis­loyal. After all, Dot­tie, Flower and Candy don’t yet feel that secure, so usu­ally only Dot­tie fol­lows me. Very qui­etly. Very slowly.

Hav­ing three shih tzus sit­ting in their safe zone in the cor­ner all day, to emerge for brief peri­ods of time, is much dif­fer­ent than hav­ing an ener­gized dog fol­low­ing you. I was get­ting a lit­tle ner­vous. I envi­sioned him needed lots of atten­tion — more than I could give. My vision was he could pal around with John, since the shih tzus won’t.

Shiloh took it upon him­self to take John’s seat on the couch and also to sit on Flower’s couch. Flower must not have wanted to fight him over it. She jumped on the couch next to me and Dottie.

Shiloh Enjoys a Brief Walk and Invades Our Bed

When John got home, Shiloh ran up to the door and greeted him enthu­si­as­ti­cally, wag­ging her tail and putting her paws up on his leg. John was sur­prised. Although Joey, our Yorkie, was his dar­ling, lately, he’s used to mainly hav­ing three sets of shih tzu eyes stare at him from afar when he comes in.

John took one look at him and said, “That’s not a Boston ter­rier.” Okay, this is an hon­est blog, so I have to tell you that John thought Shiloh was kind of pecu­liar look­ing. He deter­mined that he might be a terrier/chihuahua mix. I guess I have to look at pic­tures on line to see what other dogs look like him.

John hasn’t walked a dog since months before elderly Joey died, so he con­sid­ered putting the leash on him and tak­ing him out. I told him that the doc­tor at Clear Creek Ani­mal Hos­pi­tal said he loved to walk.

Shiloh eagerly accepted the offer and fol­lowed him out the door. He said Shiloh did won­der­ful on his ten-minute walk and that it was obvi­ous that he was used to some­one tak­ing him for walks.

Once they got back, the shih tzus mainly ignored him, except Flower. Unless you can keep a con­stant watch, it’s hard to see who is caus­ing trou­ble, but a few times, I heard Flower growl­ing at Shiloh and saw them cir­cle each other, and a few times, leap towards each other, mouths open. I put myself in alert mode, hop­ing I didn’t have to pull them apart. They backed away. Maybe Flower was try­ing to size him up, or maybe to tell him that she was the pack leader, and he’d bet­ter not try to take that role.

Shiloh goes into his ken­nel eas­ily, so he must be used to it. He crawled in there before bed, so I thought he would be fine, but then he started whin­ing. As soon as I let him out, he ran upstairs and jumped onto the end of our bed. I gave in and decided I would let him stay there. After all, he prob­a­bly hasn’t slept on a bed for a while. I do admit, though, that I didn’t like it. My girls don’t even sleep on the bed, so I really hated a “stranger” com­ing in and tak­ing that position.

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