Shih Tzu Day 551, Week 78: Review of 2012

I am very happy to say that this year with the Shih Tzu Sisters and Nigel has been full of improvements. Yes, there have been some frustrations, but the achievements more than make up for them. I went back over our journal to refresh my memory on our goals for 2012 and it was a very pleasant trip down memory lane.

Dottie Shih Tzu in the snow 2012

The Shih Tzu Clan and the Man

I commented last December that the shih tzus were getting to various stages with the Man. They have come so far now that I believe he is now Dad to them. That is one of our biggest victories. Although Nigel and John have been close since the day Nigel came to live with us, at one time, Flower, Dottie and Candy would all bark like crazy each morning when he came downstairs, believing him to be an intruder. That gradually stopped happening earlier this year. Candy was the first female shih tzu to grow close to John, jumping in the air and wagging her tail like crazy when he comes home in the evening. Eventually, Flower joined the welcome committee. These days, Flower will willingly come to him for food and treats and, on occasion, jumps up onto the couch between us, where she is content to sit for at least several minutes. Dottie is still more cautious, but even she wags her tail when he gets home in the evening. Dottie’s usual position was the furthest corner of the couch, away from John, and even as far away from me as she could get. Now, like today, she sits right next to me, and even leans across me to get petting from John sometimes, or when I am not sitting on the couch, sometimes even cautiously walks over to him for a few minutes of petting before venturing back to her corner.

Shih Tzu Walks and Car Rides

Candy Flower and Nigel Shih Tzu December 2012

One of my big goals of the year was to get the shih tzus used to walking. That was definitely no problem for Nigel, who came to us fond of walks and car rides. After some early discouragements, we earnestly began our dog-walking attempts in April. First we walked them around the back yard. Then, we started walking them to the nearby Wal-Mart and around a common area in back. We had a few scares when Flower balked and was able to pull out of her harness and run from us. We were lucky that we wee able to coax her back, and a new harness helped keep her in control. Candy and Dottie were also obstinate about not wanting to go for walks, and developed the habit of planting their butts on the ground. Dottie eventually got to the point where, like Nigel and Flower, she got excited when I got down the harness and leash basket. Candy is still a little wishy-washy in this area. We usually have to coax her, but she seems to like it once she is doing it. None of the female shih tzus wanted to go for a car ride when we got them, but that changed when we started taking them to Majestic View Park, particularly for Sunday walks. Now, Flower gladly jumps in the car and Dottie trots out and waits for me to pick her up and put her in it. We often have to fetch Candy from a hiding place, but once she is in the car, she’s fine, and she seems to enjoy the park walks as much as the others.

Dottie and Candy are so well-behaved on walks that we will often drop the leash and let them walk themselves, when we are in safe areas. In fact, we’ve granted Flower and Nigel that same privilege on rare occasions, but we keep a very watchful eye on those two! Nigel tends to want to run to greet strangers and Flower just wants to run!

Nigel Candy Flower and Dottie Shih Tzu in Snow 2012

Shih Tzu House Training

Another area that needed work was house training, which went hand-in-hand with the issue of how to get them to go out of the house to do their business. In the summer we installed a Magic Mesh screen door. Nigel quickly learned how to exit and enter through it, with Dottie learning from him and Flower the next shih tzu to get the hang of it. That cut down on the number of accidents inside. However, the cold weather meant that the screen door wouldn’t be much help. We installed a doggie door a friend gave us and Nigel again was the first to tackle that challenge. We haven’t had as good luck in that area. Flower has also figured out how to go through it by scratching at it with her paws. She uses it several times during the day, either to do her business or to see if there is a squirrel around to torment. Dottie will only go through the doggie door if someone holds it open, and Candy doesn’t want to have anything to do with it. Although Flower tends to do her business outside now, over the holidays she, or possibly Dottie, decided to start peeing on the couch again. It might have been due to the increased amount of visitors because I haven’t had to wash the couch covers for days now. Candy isn’t as standoffish as she once was, but she still tends to rush up the stairs when there is too much noise or activity for her. Although she is very good about doing her business outside in the morning, she does sometimes relieve herself on our bedroom carpet during her alone moments upstairs. Dottie seems to be the only shih tzu that uses the training pad in the living room. Sometimes, though, she still prefers to run upstairs, try to get me out of bed, and if she doesn’t succeed, pee on the bedroom carpet. Even if John is downstairs in the morning before I get up, she won’t go outside when he opens the door. The good news is that where they once barked to get me up at 4:30 a.m., they now don’t bark until 7 a.m.! That makes it a little easier for me to work with their schedule.

Shih Tzu Food and Snack Time

Earlier in the year I also started making their food from a recipe we got from Sadie Shih Tzu. I still use it, but sometimes we simplify it and instead of putting it in meat loaf pans, simply bake it on a cookie sheet. (The simplified recipe calls for ground beef, ground turkey, canned pumpkin, diced green beans and pureed sweet potatoes.) We have also made progress in the snacks I feed them. I used to buy their treats but had so much trouble finding treats made in the U.S.A. that I now make most of them, with one exception. Their favorite treat is rawhide sticks covered with chicken. I don’t buy them if they are made in China, but Petco and PetSmart make some made in other parts of the world, so I buy them, wrap seasoned chicken around them and dehydrate them. I also dehydrate their other treats, such as chicken and apple and chicken and sweet potato.

Shih Tzu 2013 Resolutions

We have some resolutions for 2013. One, I still want to make the step up to an Excalibur dehydrator. My round Nesco American Harvest works great, but I did borrow a LEM, similar to the Excalibur, and love the trays that slide out and the size that allows me to dehydrate more snacks at a time and makes it easier to dehydrate taller snacks, like chicken-wrapped apples. I think I can rationalize the price because of the heavy use, but I haven’t been willing to make that step yet. I would like to find a way to perfect the house breaking, so we will continue to work on that. One big step will be to try to remember to shut our bedroom door during the day! I would also like to teach Flower not to bark at squirrels, which would probably make the neighbors happy. We have had good luck getting rid of tear stains for the most part, particularly with Flower. However, we continue to struggle with keeping four shih tzus groomed. We bought a Wahl Peanut recently, for some areas that are hardest to groom, but we need to take the time to experiment with it! We’ll be back to let you know how we do with these goals! Suggestions are always welcome, and we’d love to hear about some of your resolutions and victories!

We wish all of our readers and friends a very Happy 2013!

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Shih Tzu Day 392 (July 25): Nutro Small Breed Taste-Testing Party!

Nutro taste-testing party preparation

table with Nutro crunchy treats.

Well, it finally happened—our Nutro small breed taste-testing party! The day began with washing dog blankets and beds, and then, I managed to get all four shih tzus bathed. John couldn’t help before leaving for work, so I did it myself, as quickly as possible. I towel dried them but then let them air dry.

Our first dog guests, Rosey and Mimi, arrive.


I wanted to make a fresh batch of doggy hors d’oeuvres, even though the dogs would be sampling Nutro biscuits and treats. I made a quick trip to the store for apples and sweet potatoes and made all three of our shih tzus’ regular treats: apple and chicken, sweet potato and chicken, and chicken jerky.

Leticia came over at 2 o’clock, with Oriana, Rema, Junior, Evita, and Cea, my party committee. Their job was to set up the taste-testing table in the backyard, putting out the pomegranate, banana, peanut butter, and apple treats, as well as the reading material supplied by Nutro. They also had the responsibility of filling the goody bags. Nutro sent 10 gift bags, dog bowls, collars, packages of wet food, and 4 lb. bags of Nutro Natural Small Breed kibble. They also sent picture frames, decorations, and glue.

Flower was beautiful but aloof.While the children took care of their tasks, Leticia and I did the shopping. Nutro had graciously given us a Visa card for people food, so we bought lots of fruit for a big fruit bowl (which she decorated with the top of the pineapple), veggies, pickles, olives, a variety of rolls, meats, cheeses, flavored mustards, sweet potato tortilla chips, and Pringles.

Chelsea Girl wasn't sure what she thought of all the dogs.


I also picked up Apothic white and Apothic red wine as well as a bottle of Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling, and Crystal Light appletini and lemonade for the children. When we got back, Leticia was on food detail, with Junior helping, while I checked on the taste-testing table, which looked great.

Guests begin to arrive

Our first guest, John’s sister Lynda, arrived at 6 o’clock. Shortly after that, our neighbor Jan arrived with her cockatoo Chelsea Girl.

Owner, 2 shih tzus and malteseOur first dog guests arrived a little later. Many of our readers know how we came to have our shih tzus, but I will relate the story briefly, since it has to do with these guests. John had been particularly close to our Yorkie Joey, and when she died, he wasn’t sure if he wanted another dog. I always told him, though, that I didn’t want another one—I wanted several, and I wanted a variety, like Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne’s clan.

Shaymus and BeBe arrive at the party.In early 2011, I met a sweet foster dog at PetSmart named Bella. I found out she was a shih tzu. A little later, my niece Heather had a party and I befriended a shih tzu there. After those two encounters, I was sure I wanted a shih tzu. John and I were taking a bike ride one Saturday morning that June when he pointed out a dog running on the bike path. It looked like a shih tzu—a very scared shih tzu running for its life.

Max surveys the partiers. We ended up finally catching the dog, after chasing her for two miles, and bringing her home with us. Over the next 48 hours or so, I came to really like Rosey. That Monday, though, I made a trip to PetSmart’s clinic; they checked her for a chip, found one, and tracked down the shih tzu’s owner, Jane. As it turned out, Rosey lived with another shih tzu (Tuffy) and a maltese (Mimi). They were very happy to get her back.

Rosey investigates the toy box.

I knew I was going to miss Rosey. That incident led to me looking online for a shih tzu to adopt, and eventually, to us taking in Flower, Dottie, Candy, and last but not least, Nigel. Last week, when I was making out my invitation list for the party, I thought about Jane, Rosey, Tuffy, and Mimi. I didn’t have Jane’s number, but I knew where they lived, so I stopped by and extended an invitation. I wasn’t sure if they would show up, so I was very happy to see them at the door, with Jane’s sister Kathy, and her schnauzer-Chinese crested, Beau.

Chloe arrived ready to taste Nutro treats and make friends.The next guests to arrive were our neighbors, Todd and Kelsey Silvernail, with their new boxer puppy Dexter, their friend Chad, his dog BeBe, and Shaymus, a friend’s Boston terrier that we had met previously. Although this was a small breed taste-testing party, we didn’t discriminate against bigger dogs like BeBe!

When another neighbor, Dorothy, showed up with her dog Chloe and Max, her daughter’s Yorkie, I was surprised to find out that she knew Jane. Their sons had been in band together years ago, and it had been a while since they’d seen each other.

Beau made a new people friend (Chad).With their arrival, we had nine doggy guests! Other people guests to join the festivities included my friend Karleen and her daughter Cassidy, as well as another friend, Susan, and her daughter Allison.

Party poopers

I would love to be able to say that Flower, Candy, and Dottie enjoyed the festivities, but, sadly, they did not. When I take them walking (a recent big victory!), Flower tries to run up and investigate any dog. You would think she would be more comfortable in her own home, but her and Dottie withdrew to Shih Tzu Central as soon as people and dogs started showing up, and Candy retreated to her corner outside. Nigel, of course, greeted each person and dog.

Dottie and Cea at Nutro taste-testing table.After the party had been going for sometime, I carried Candy over to Cassidy, to get a picture of them near the taste-testing table. Candy might not have enjoyed it, but she stayed still, and Dottie allowed Cea to hold her a while. I was encouraged and carried Flower over to Lynda. Flower did what she used to do when she was afraid—pooped on Lynda’s foot, and then jumped out of her arms and ran for the backdoor. I brought her back out later, and as long as I held her she was okay, but she had no interest in joining any of the dog activities.


Evita with Tuffy shih tzu at Nutro taste-testing table.Since it was a taste-testing party, we had good intentions of seeing which dogs liked which Nutro treats best. I didn’t taste any, but as far as scent, the pomegranate was my favorite. Beau and Nigel seemed to like all of the flavors.

Shaymus seemed fondest of the peanut butter treats and the banana ones. We had written down more results on the banners by the treats, but the wind picked up and blew them around the yard, so we couldn’t tell which results went with which treats.

Cassidy and Candy at the Nutro taste-testing table.

(After the party, I tried the taste test again with our female shih tzus, since they wouldn’t try anything with guests around. I have never been able to get them to eat crunchy treats, but Flower tried all of the flavors, and ate all of them but the banana, which she spit out. Dottie and Candy sniffed, and then politely turned their finicky noses away.)


Boston terrier and shih tzu with Nutro goody bag.Jane and Kathy had planned on only staying a few minutes, and although they were the first to leave, they were there for much longer. Kathy said we had given Beau the best night of his life! I think we said goodbye to our last guests around 9 o’clock.

As each person got ready to leave, Rema handed out a bag of goodies for each dog. We were given a coupon book that we could give to one lucky winner, bearing 12 $35 coupons for a free 15 lb. bag of Nutro Natural Choice dog food.

Todd, Kelsey, Dexter, Chad, Shaymus and BeBe prepare to leave.I was so happy with the turnout, though, that I passed the coupons out to all the guests instead. Thanks Nutro, for giving us this opportunity to bring together dogs, family, friends, and neighbors, for a great time! The only thing that would have made the party more complete is if our dog blog friends from around the world would have been able to join us! Please visit our Facebook page for more pictures!

Cassidy and Allison visit Dottie, Candy, and Dottie at Shih Tzu Central.

Rema loads the Nutro goody bags into Jane's car.

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Shih Tzu Day 367: One Year Anniversary at Forever Home!

Dottie, Candy and Flower head off to Unleashed by Petco.This is Shih Tzu Day 367, the one-year anniversary of when Dottie, Candy, and Flower came to live with us (this year happened to have 29 days in February), on June 30, 2011.

Candy gets fitted with a harness at Unleashed by Petco.

I know I have to catch up on the last month, but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to write about today. Since we have gotten all of the dogs at least semi used to walking on a leash, I decided it would be fun to take them out in public, particularly since there was an event that sounded fun.

I accidentally ran across an Unleashed by Petco a few weeks ago. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a “mini” Petco. I was further surprised to find out that one had opened up just a couple of miles from our home. As it turned out, it was having a grand opening this weekend.

Dottie enjoys a celebration treat.Candy waits her turn as Flower licks ice cream off John's hand.Why I thought it would be fun to take the shih tzus to it was because I got an email (because I have a PALS card) talking about the giveaways and discounts for the weekend, as well as an ice cream social, from 11 to 3 today. I had been trying to decide what to do for our anniversary, and I thought that sounded very celebratory. I didn’t know if they would be too nervous to eat ice cream there, but it sounded worth trying. Also, I like the harness I had fitted for Flower at Petco last week, so I wanted to get one for her shih tzu sisters.

It wasn’t too difficult to get them all in the back seat of the car, especially since we went through the same drill earlier in the week to take Flower, Candy and Dottie in for shots, with Nigel tagging along. Dottie was shaking, but the other shih tzus were pretty calm.

Candy and an anniversary treat.We got to Unleashed at 1, and I immediately asked someone if they could help us fit Dottie and Candy with harnesses. The woman I asked sent Patrice over to help us, and I told her that Flower had a medium, but she was a couple pounds smaller and might need a small. Patrice was going to try both sizes on Candy, but she was puzzled at how to get it on her. I have to admit that it took me a

Nigel investigates the doggy ice cream.

while to figure it out too, and I had been putting one on Flower for days. I was holding onto Flower and Nigel, so I couldn’t show her. With John’s help, we eventually decided she needed a medium too, and, even though Dottie is five pounds heavier, she took the same size.

That process was a little hectic. Dottie sat by Patrice throughout the fittings, but there were lots of people and dogs there, and Nigel kept trying to go make friends with other dogs. I had to keep pulling him back, until Ted, another Petco associate, came up and played with him.

I had intended on taking pictures, but my plan went awry. I didn’t know my battery was nearly dead on my Nikon and my iPhone battery was nearly dead from listening to Pandora on a bike ride earlier with John. I still managed to get several pictures taken before the batteries died.

Once we had accomplished the harness fitting, I asked where the ice cream was. It was disappointing to learn that although we had arrived at 1, they had already run out of ice cream. My mind was set on it, so I ended up buying some (SweetSpots peanut butter and honey) to take home.

I also talked to a Natural Balance representative about trying yet another kibble type, since the shih tzus don’t seem too jazzed about any of the kinds I’ve been given them. I ended up buying Alpha Dog, with lamb, chicken meal and rabbit. They also gave me some other samples to try.

Flower was the biggest problem child. She was pretty good when we were working on the harnesses, but later, when I went by the front door, she tried to exit. She didn’t care if it was with or without me. I think she’s going into her rebellious shih tzu teen years!

Although there was no free ice cream, we did get two pounds of free dog treats from the treat bar on the way out (Nigel is our only shih tzu that really likes biscuit-type dog treats). We also got two $5 coupons to spend when we came in, and there were two more in the bags we got. I’ll use one to get Nigel a harness later.

Our outing was a little nerve-wracking, but we got through it. When we got home, I had John slice up some chicken for me so I could make them chicken and apple and chicken and sweet potato treats. Once I had everything in the dehydrator, we put a variety of treats on a tray, including the doggie ice cream, and took them outside for their own exclusive ice cream social. Flower and Nigel loved the ice cream, although Dottie didn’t seem to care for it, and Candy would only eat it if I put it on my finger and had her lick it off. Candy preferred the chicken jerky I put out and Dottie the rawhide that I wrap fresh chicken around and dehydrate. It wasn’t the party I planned, but I don’t think they have any complaints.

I know Flower, Candy, and Dottie don’t understand what this anniversary means, but it has been a time for us to look back and reflect. We had some main goals this past year, including getting them used to me, getting them used to John, getting them used to guests, getting them to ride in a car without fear, getting them to walk on a leash, getting them to like going for walks, and getting them house trained.

We aren’t completely there, but I think we have made leaps and bounds. Flower can’t wait to go on walks. Candy and Dottie will go, but they don’t love it yet. Dottie still shakes in the car, but Flower and Candy don’t. Flower, in fact, jumped in the front to ride with me the last two times she went for a car ride. She also got through a vet visit without pooping on me or the vet. They all wag their tails when I or John comes home, and they will take treats from guests, although visitors aren’t their favorite pastime.

Yes, we are very happy with the progress we’ve made, and we can’t wait to see what progress we make in the coming year. Happy anniversary, Dottie, Candy, and Flower! We love you!

Oh, and we want to thank everyone who is cheering us on and sharing the journey with us!





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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!

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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

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