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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