Shih Tzu Week 36: March 1 (Day 247) — March 7 (Day 252)

Shih Tzu Day 246: March 1 (Thursday)

Stop cleaning!

Flower lounging in a dog bed. I have been busy cleaning house. I’m not sure where I got the energy. I cleaned the living room, kitchen, and bathroom today. The female shih tzus don’t like it when I clean, for a few reasons. One, if I am cleaning, I am not sitting in my place on the couch, with my laptop before me. They really don’t seem to like change. Plus, when I am moving around and not sitting, they seem nervous. Sometimes Flower follows me around, but usually, they stay inside Shih Tzu Central and watch me. Then, when I do sit down, Nigel, Dottie, and Flower are immediately there. Nigel climbs up his stairs, Flower jumps up, and Dottie waits for me to help her up.

Shih Tzu Day 247: March 2 (Friday)

China Awareness

In the past, I wanted to praise some of the dog food and dog treat companies who produce our shih tzus’ favorite products. However, I have to back up and say it appears I have been wrong in praising some of the companies. One of my wonderful readers wrote and mentioned that she thought some of the treats I feed the dogs are on the list of treats from China to be wary of, since, according to the Food and Drug Administration, they are treats that may have caused kidney failure, liver disease or Fanconi syndrome, in dogs in the U.S. and Canada. Ironic for us, since the shih tzu originated in China!

From what I have read, including at, it is mainly chicken jerky pet treats — my dogs’ favorite treat — that appear to be causing illnesses in canines. Sorry to say, out of more than 600 complaints by pet owners and veterinarians, several point to brands  I have fed my shih tzus for months: Milo’s Kitchen (produced by Del Monte), Canyon Creek Ranch and Waggin’ Train (both produced by Nestle Purina PetCare). That is a huge disappointment, and I am embarrassed that I didn’t look into this earlier after a mention from another reader about some Costco products that come from China. Thank God, though, my shih tzus don’t seem to have fallen victim to what other dogs have.  I guess now I know why so many coupons are readily available for Milo’s Kitchen and Waggin’ Train!

FDA regulators do say that repeated tests have not shown an absolute tie to any brand or manufacturer. As a result, the FDA hasn’t recalled any specific products, so they remain on store shelves. FDA regulators have asked consumers to report problems, and supply jerky treat samples and medical records of dogs that may have become sick or died after eating these products.

So, what does someone do when their dogs just love those treats? I guess you look for products made in the U.S. Believe me, I have checked shelves at local big box stores, grocery stores, and pet supply stores, and that is almost impossible. So, I am on a search for treats I know are safe. If you have any suggestions, please let us know, and we’ll start reporting what we find.

Shih Tzu Day 248: March 3 (Saturday)

My stepson Gabe, his girlfriend Crystal and her daughter Avi stopped by. Nigel ran to greet them, and, as usual, the females went to Shih Tzu Central and waited for company to leave.

I started my search for U.S. chicken jerky treats. Well, it was not named by the FDA as a concern, but the Dogswell Breathies Chicken Breast with Mint & Parsley I just bought is made in China, as are the Cadet duck treats, but I haven’t seen anything about duck being an issue? Also, the dogs love the Canyon Creek Ranch Yam Good product, which is duck fillet wrapped yams, so I need to figure out if that is OK? Help, if anyone knows.

Shih Tzu Day 249: March 4 (Sunday)

Shih Tzu Bath Time

Nigel stands guard at the back door. My organization continues. I organized the kitchen drawers and refrigerator. Then, we tackled the challenge of giving half of the shih tzus baths. We chose Nigel and Flower. Flower had a little too much hair in her ears, so she had a hard time, but she was very brave. As usual, our little boy didn’t want his bath, so we had to fight him every step of the way.

Shih Tzu Day 250: March 5 (Mon.)

Dottie got her bath this morning. John and I started working out downstairs this morning to prepare for spring biking. Flower ran down like she normally does when I am down there, and then stopped and ran back upstairs when she saw that the Man was down there too. However, she couldn’t resist, and she was back five minutes later, sniffing around.

I spent a few hours trying to organize my pictures of the shih tzus. I have way too many files, since I was organizing them by day. Now, I have put them into weeks. I must have bored the dogs, because they all fell asleep.

Shih Tzu Day 251: March 6 (Tuesday)

Comfy Shih Tzus

John came downstairs this morning after getting ready for work, and Nigel and Flower calmly looked at him — from HIS place on the couch. Nigel went on chewing on his bone and Flower went on doing nothing. John finally sat down on the other couch after telling them they sure looked comfortable.

After John left, Candy came over wagging her head at me, and then the others gathered around. For some reason, the shih tzus think that John leaving the house means they get a treat. I usually accommodate them, but now I am trying to break them of the habit of coming up to me when he leaves, expectantly. Instead, I have been waiting until 11:30, and then I feed them small pieces of turkey.

So, instead of offering food, I petted Candy for a while this morning. A little later, Nigel mysteriously came up with a chew stick. He sat on the floor chewing away, while Candy sat next to him, just watching him. Flower, sitting on the non-Dottie side of the couch, leaned over and watched him too, as if his chewing was the most interesting thing in the world. I am not sure why his chewing was so fascinating to them.

When he was done, he climbed up his stairs and plopped down next to me, ready for his nap. He is such a baby boy. He couldn’t possibly get any closer to Mom. I remember when we first got him, and his behavior was sometimes very annoying. I admit, he does get a little too overbearing with the girls sometimes, but he is such a little lover and such a cutie.

Dry training pads

The female shih tzus stare at a broom as it nears them.I have been forgetting to say that I have only been throwing out the training pad once every day or so. For no apparent reason, however, Flower did pee on John’s side of the couch the other day. I think she was nervous, since I had been up and down cleaning a lot.

I did see some improvement in that area. John swept out Shih Tzu Central while they sat it it, and although they huddled together, the shih tzus didn’t look too freaked out about the broom coming so close to them.

Shih Tzu Day 252: March 7 (Wednes.)

Shih Tzu Pee Rug

In recent months, we kept a “pee” rug under the training pad, because of mis-positioning of shih tzu butts, resulting in wet hardwood flooring. It was washable, so I threw it in the washing machine every week or so. However, the unpleasant smell of urine always wafted up from the basement, and when I threw it in the dryer, that smell mixed with that of the rubber backing. I finally had a bright idea.

We have an anti-fatigue mat that doubles as a kitchen mat and a mat for dog grooming, because it cleans easily with a wipe of a wet rag. I bought one to put under the training pad, and threw away the tainted pee rug. It seems to be working good. Plus, one edge is straight, so I fold an edge of the pad under it, near the wall, and it keeps it in place a little better.

We still have some misses, so I just take a paper towel and wipe up the mess and the floor around it. It’s been working great, and no more pee smell, once I toss the used training pad.

Celery for shih tzus

I accidentally discovered that Nigel and Flower like celery. I dropped a piece of celery on the couch, and when I turned around, Nigel had it between his paws and was chomping away. Dottie and Candy, my particular shih tzus, wouldn’t try it, but Flower did. John was concerned, because he thought celery might be dangerous for dogs. I researched it and according to many cites, including Barf World, found that, indeed, dogs can eat celery! Good, since I need to find them healthy treats to replace Chinese chicken jerky treats!

Go away!

Candy's second home is under her trailer. Tish and the kids were ove for awhile. Evita and Dulcea cornered Candy and petted her, but I asked them to stop, since she didn’t look like she was having much fun. Dottie took a treat from Junior, and of course, Nigel would eat anything from anyone.

The dogs still don’t like when people come over, but they now get back to normal ten minutes after the door closes. In fact, shortly after they left, Flower and Nigel were play fighting next to me, and when I looked over, Flower was sitting on him. Such a cute little family.

Daddy’s home

When Dad comes home, Candy wags her butt, instead of just her tail. When he picks her up, she smells his face. I think she is starting to love Daddy.

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Shih Tzu Day 103: The Shihtzuation with Nigel

crazy little thing called Nigel

A shih tzu howlinga shih tzu in his dog bed.Our household is getting used to Nigel. John has been his biggest fan since day one. I think he’s adorable, but Nigel can be a handful. This morning he crawled into my lap and stayed there for awhile. Every now and then he would look up at me with a very sweet expression. I jokingly told John that when/if he leaves, we will retire his little black skull sweater, like when sports figures’ numbers are retired. John suggested we could frame it and hang it on the wall.

shih tzu with a Milo's Kitchen bag.shih tzu with tongue out of mouth.Flower and Candy are getting used to him too. At first, it seemed like they weren’t quite sure if he was replacing them. No, I don’t know how dogs think, but they did seem to retreat a little. I just kept giving them lots of love and telling them that this was their home and they were staying. I think Dottie accepts him, but she just tolerates him, kind of like when she tolerates when Flower wants to enter “her” space on the couch.

waggle, waggle

two shih tzus a shih tzu and a childEvery once in a while, Candy and Flower will suddenly leave Shih Tzu Central to saunter in front of the couch, going who knows where. Usually, they head for their home under the dining room table, like it was one of those makeshift forts kids make, thinking that once there, no one else will see them.

shih tzu begging for pizza.Sometimes, they turn right around and saunter back. It is really cute when they stop in front of my computer stand, where I can’t see them, and nuzzle or slightly lick my toes. Then, when I look down, Flower will do her little head waggle and Candy her butt waggle.

I always tell them to come up and see me, but usually, Candy walks on by. Flower often comes closer, puts her paws on the top edge of the couch, stretches and then slides clear down to the floor until she is flat. It is so cute, but I don’t know why she does it. It would be interesting to see what she would do if Dottie wasn’t queen of her end of the couch and Nigel didn’t reign over the John end. Usually when they start getting restless, I herd them outside, give them a Milo’s Kitchen dog treat or something else, and then try to get them to play in the yard.

I love you this big

Nigel with dog treat in mouthMy shih tzu trio couldn’t be more “my girls” than if I had birthed them. As Scottie McCreery, the reigning American Idol would say, I love them “this big.” I acknowledge their dysfunctions and fears. I have more patience with their idiosyncrasies than I ever thought I would have with a canine companion. Still, I have to admit that it is refreshing having a puppy in the house that loves people easily and hasn’t learned fear.

two shih tzus on a couchI know that Nigel’s life was different. I wish I knew what it was. John doesn’t understand how anyone could turn Nigel over to an animal shelter. Looking at him and seeing how he loves people, I assume he had a loving home. Maybe his family just couldn’t afford taking care of him when he had pneumonia. Maybe he was sick before that. We will never know, but it’s easy to wonder about his life before.

All we know is that the last couple months of his life were tough, but he seems very well adjusted. It was heartwarming watching the way that he completely trusted Leticia and Candace’s children, climbing into every lap that was available.

We also thought it was so cute the way that John’s sister Lynda and her husband Jeff embraced him, even though Jeff joked about him sneezing all over him. I imagine that is aftereffects of the pneumonia. He does sneeze a lot, and his big eyes always water. Despite that, he is so cute.

I thought he seemed a little down this afternoon. He was very excited when I got home though. I’m not sure what happened. Earlier he was resting by Dottie, with his head on her side. Since they are the two couch dogs, that’s par for the course. Maybe she gave him one of her ferocious growls, telling him he was intruding on her space. I try to stop that when I am there, but I can’t always be there.

in the ring

Candy and Flower picked a play fight with each other this afternoon. They were fighting in their make-believe ring for quite a while, their paws up. Well, they look more like dancing ponies than wrestlers. I saw Nigel watching them, and thought he probably wanted to play, but they haven’t yet accepted him, either in the morning when they get up or later in the day, in their “reindeer games.” My hope is that they will accept him soon. After all, they sure know what it’s like to be a dog down on their luck!

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Shih Tzu Day 70: Milo’s Kitchen Time Is Happy Time

I could really get used to sleeping this late. I heard a few barks very early this morning, but then silence, allowing us both to sleep beyond 7:00! John especially appreciated the reprieve. I do miss the energetic romps in the grass, however. If we get up after 6:30, our former puppy mill mothers don’t seem to have any interest in exploring the yard.

three shih tzus waiting for Milo's Kitchen chicken jerky This morning, John was outside when they ate. Our chairs had gotten wet the night before, so he was standing in the doorway. Flower doesn’t like change, so she was on guard for sudden movements. She would take a bite, look up anxiously, take another, jump back, come to her dog bowl, glance at him nervously, and then repeat the actions.three shih tzus waiting for dog treat

I try to be very careful of not making sudden movements, such as crossing my leg or lifting my arm, because Flower and Candy jump when I do. In fact, they jump at most noises, including the sound of kibble hitting their aluminum dog bowls. My poor, small nervous dogs. As Nicolette Larson would say (and as I’ve probably already said before), “It’s Gonna Take A Lot of Love.”shih tzu with paw on knee waiting for treat

Once inside, Dottie took her place beside me on the couch, staying there while I worked on my laptop. This time, Candy lay by my feet on the carpet. Flower went to Shih Tzu Central and stayed on the communal dog bed for most of the morning.

shih tzu one eye showing fixated on dog treat The dogs came alive once again late in the afternoon. I sent them outside to play, but it didn’t work. Too bad they don’t like to fetch or any of those fun dog games.

About a half hour after they came back in, I saw Flower start to sit down on the carpet, but I knew that wasn’t her sitting stance. It was her peeing stance. I got up and told her sternly not to pee there, while walking towards her, but it was too late. I tried to pick her up and put her on the training pad, but she took flight, escaping underneath the table. I put a paper towel down on the wet spot barely visible on the carpet and sat it on the pad, hoping she would figure out what the fuss was about.

I guess I have been wrong for assuming Candy is the main culprit when it comes to peeing on the carpet. As fo Candy, she makes good use of the pad. She loves to take naps on it, or to chew on treats on it. I don’t know if she ever actually uses it for its intended purpose, however. Now that I caught Flower peeing on the carpet, I’m not really sure who uses the training pads. At least Dottie.

Candy wagged her tail for John again when he got home. When he gave out the Milo’s Kitchen chicken jerky outside, Flower got so excited she first used Dottie as a footstool and then broke her “don’t touch the treat man rule” and came up and put her paw on his leg. Another first. Every victory counts.

John has also been trying to get them to scratch at the screen door when they want in, so we can leave them outside unsupervised at times. Today, they were outside on the porch for probably twenty minutes until Flower finally barked to be let in.




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Shih Tzu Day 61: A Manless House

4:15 is too early!

Last night I told myself, and John, that I would get up at 6 and come downstairs with the girls, since I am behind on my work. If I haven’t explained, John’s job doesn’t dictate that he is up at the crack of dawn, so we tend to want to stay up late and sleep in beyond that time. It didn’t quite work out. Two of my furry alarm clocks came up at 4:15, with Dottie scratching on the bed and Flower barking. We said “ssssh” and “quiet” many times until Flower finally gave up and left the room. I don’t know, but Dottie probably stayed there on the floor.

They came back a half-hour later, and we still didn’t stir. At 6, since they had interrupted my sleep, I couldn’t convince myself to get up. John decided he would try to get them to go outside to do their morning business, since they have been going outside with him for treats. He succeeded. I got up shortly after that, and they had come inside. They gave me a little dance and then I started getting their dishes together.

back to the grooming table

I hope Flower overcomes her grooming fear soon.When the shih tzus came in, I cleared off the temporary grooming table and went and put the leash on Flower’s collar. When I think back about our earliest days with the girls, I realize that in itself is an achievement, considering how hard she struggled when I first tried. If she could, she would run, and if not, she would flatten herself against the wall and snap her teeth together, trying to nip at me.

I sat her up on the table and let her smell a Vienna sausage. She wouldn’t bite at it. John turned on the clipper to do her paws. She sat still for the first paw, but got restless on the second one. I know I am not supposed to let her touch me while she is getting groomed, since, as Lia says, that is a reward and she hasn’t earned it, but since we still don’t have a grooming arm, that’s the only way I can keep her on the table right now.

We finished the second paw, and then realized she had pooped on the table. Poor thing. She didn’t seem frightened, but that’s always a big sign that she is. We decided she had been good enough and had enough for the day. We praised her and John rubbed her face, scrunching it up, like Lia does to dogs, telling her how good she had been.

My constant companion, Dottie.When we put Flower down, she started to run away without claiming her treat, but I called her back, and she came and took a bite. I took the rest of the Vienna sausage into the living room and gave Dottie a bite and handed the rest over to Flower to finish it off, for being good on the table.

When Lia is grooming, and the dog is good, she says, “Nicely Done!” I want to find my own saying for when they are good. I have one for when they are hyper, which is, “Chill, Winston,” from “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” I also have some Ludacris lyrics for when I am trying to get the dogs to follow me on the leash. They are,  “When I move, you move, just like that.”

three companions

I’m not sure why, but all three of the dogs have been in the living room since I got home from running some errands a few hours ago. I don’t think I saw Candy run upstairs all day. If I was her, I would be up there. It has to be cooler in her swamp cooled room than it is in the living room. I am trying to keep the treats to a minimum, but I gave them small pieces of Milo’s Kitchen chicken jerky. They hadn’t had it for awhile.

Candy stayed with us all day, instead of hibernating in her upstairs room.Having three shih tzus lying around makes me want to do something to keep them from being bored. I got up from the computer and led them outside, knowing they would think they were getting yet another treat. Instead, I walked out onto the grass and started walking around the yard. Flower and Dottie followed me, while Candy found a comfortable place to sit. I ran a while, with Flower and Dottie running behind me. Then, I went and picked Candy up and had her run with me. When I put her down, she ran a little bit before sitting down again. I know it’s not much exercise, but they do get a lot running up and down the stairs in the morning and running around the yard at the break of dawn. It will have to do until we can teach them to walk on a leash.

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Shih Tzu Day 37: Candy The Lap Dog – Kind Of

Candy, the sort of lap dog

I have been wondering how the shih tzus would handle their next round of company: my mother, her niece, Becky, visiting from Midland, Texas; her daughter, Teresa; Teresa’s 16-year-old daughter, Heather, and her 19-year-old son, Alex.

When the visitors first arrived, the shih tzus exhibited their normal unsocial behavior. Candy fled to her corner in the dining room, beyond the table and chairs. Flower ran from Shih Tzu Central, jumped up onto my couch, jumped back down and ran to hide behind the dining table. And, yes, she did leave a trail of poop behind her, particularly on the couch where I had been planning on having my guests sit. I explained her problem and went around the living room and dining room, picking up poop.

Dottie stayed at Shih Tzu Central, growling her disapproval. It always surprises me when she growls, since she is so passive. Shiloh, of course, wandered around visiting everyone personally.

All of our guests are dog people. Heather and Alec attempted to get to know all of the shih tzus. Dottie eventually took treats from them, but the other two kept their distance.

I did something I hadn’t ever attempted to do. I went and got Candy, picked her up and held her on my lap, even though, like her sisters, she is not a lap dog. She stayed there, calmly, for at least thirty minutes, before letting me know she was tired of company. When I let her down, she wandered back to the corner in the dining room, where she could watch at a comfortable distance. I explained to our company that, regrettably, none of the girls were lap dogs.

who stole the Milo’s Kitchen chicken jerky?

While our visitors were here, we watched YouTube dog videos they told us about. One particularly funny one was about a guy trying to find out which of two dogs had stolen the cat’s treats. The video was even more appropriate after I returned from a late lunch.

When I walked in the living room, I spotted a torn and empty Milo’s Kitchen chicken jerky bag on the floor. I realized that after letting Alec and Heather try to bribe the dogs, I hadn’t put away the treats. I don’t know where they had put them, but someone had found them. I thought that the 18 oz. bag had been at least half full.

I assume that the shih tzu sisters shared the bag, while poor Shiloh, in his kennel, had to watch them have all the fun without him. What surprised me was that none of them exhibited signs of an upset stomach. Of course, no one confessed to the crime.

Shih tzu poopy

While I was cleaning up poop earlier, my mother commented that she never expected to see me cleaning up after animals. I agree. This is all new to me. John was the one who mostly cared for Joey, a genuine lap dog.

I definitely am getting a lot of experience in the clean up area now. After company left, I had to give Flower’s back half a bath. After using plenty of shampoo and water and using the scissors to cut out some particularly problem areas, Flower was back to normal. I only hope I can keep her that way for a while.

I also made a discovery today. I know that at least one shih tzu uses the training pad regularly. I know Dottie does, although she gets as much on the carpet as the pad. This evening, I watched Flower squat down right next to the pad. I ordered her to stop, but before I got there, she had done her business.

We still have plenty of work ahead of us, including housebreaking and creating a genuine lap dog or two!

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