Shih Tzu Week 38: March 15 (Day 260) – 21 (Day 266)

Shih Tzu Day 260: March 15 (Thursday)

Tested in the U.S.

"Tested in the U.S.A"? My search to find treats for the shih tzus not made in China is exasperating. While I was looking at PetSmart to see which products were made in China, I noticed some clever packaging. I saw packages that said “Tested in the U.S.” and “Printed in the U.S.” I don’t understand the importance of testing and printing in the U.S., so I imagine the wording is just to trick people into thinking the products are made in the U.S.

I ordered some beef dog treats called Doggy Dollars from Costco, because they are made in the United States and had good ratings.  I’m a little leery, because I haven’t had much luck with beef treat products. I am still confused, because I am not sure if I just need to avoid chicken jerky products from China, or if I need to avoid others as well. That’s what is daunting, since most of the treats I pick up say they are made in China.

I would like to buy U.S. products anyway, just to support U.S. companies, but I don’t understand why companies like Milo’s Kitchen, whose products are made in China, have treats that smell good enough for people to eat, and others have products I can hardly stand to smell.

hard boiled eggs

Since I have been back on a low-carb diet, I have been sharing my snacks more often with the dogs. Thank goodness, the eggs I hard boil are from the good old U.S.A. They all love them. I did read up on giving them to dogs, and found out that they are a good source of protein and fat, which benefits their coat, skin, and claws.

People food no-nos for dogs

I have been checking a lot online about what dogs can and can’t eat. I just ran across a slide show on Web MD that gives foods that are dangerous for dogs. They include avocado; alcohol; onions and garlic; caffeine (such as coffee and tea); grapes and raisins;  milk and other dairy products (this is confusing, since I have been told yogurt is good for dogs, and I have given it to my shih tzus without bad effects??); macadamia nuts; candy and gum; chocolate; fat trimmings and bones (I have heard that you can give them bones that have not yet been cooked?); persimmons, peaches, and plums; raw eggs; raw meat and fish; salty foods (like chips and pretzels); sugary foods and drinks; yeast dough; people medicine, and items from the kitchen pantry. Web MD recommends treating dogs with lean meats; fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, and watermelon; vegetables like carrots, green beans, cucumber slices, zucchini sticks (mine love jicama), and plain baked potato (not raw); and cooked white rice and pasta.

Shih Tzu Day 261: March 16 (Friday)

dog step DILEMMA

I bought Nigel wooden dog steps at Ross or TX Maxx before Christmas, but they aren’t very sturdy. One of the grandchildren stepped on them and broke a step during the holiday season, and John fixed it, but I recently realized that Nigel was acting tentative when he stepped on the bottom step. I investigated and found out it was broken again. This time, I decided to look for new steps. I got online and saw that Bed, Bath and Beyond had some Animal Planet wooden steps that looked pretty as well as functional. It looked like the only store that had them though was Cherry Creek, which is a little further than the one I usually go to. I made the jaunt to get them. However, once I set them up, Nigel wouldn’t go up them. My guess is because they are taller than the other steps, and a little wider. I’ll keep them a few days and see what happens. If Nigel won’t go up them, the other shih tzus definitely won’t.

angels’ eyes

I have been giving Flower and Dottie Angels’ Eyes for their tear stains. Flower’s were much more noticeable, because of her coloring. I think it really helped her. I started giving Dottie the powder about two months after I started giving it to Flower, but I haven’t noticed as much of a change. I am now out, and since it is costly to give it to both of them, I think I will hold off on ordering it again and see how they do without it.

Buddig Turkey Time

Candy came up to the couch at noon, wagging her cute little head from side to side, signaling that it was time for lunch. I started giving them Buddig turkey when I started giving Flower Angels’ Eyes, because she wouldn’t eat it on her food. When I am at King Soopers, I usually buy their Kroger brand, but I just found out that it has about 25 percent more sodium, so I will stick to Buddig from now on.

Shih Tzu Day 262: March 17 (Saturday)

saving $$ on training pads

I didn’t have to put down a new training pad this morning, because the one I put down last night was still dry. It is so nice to not have to change them as often as I had to before. I feel like we are getting somewhere, and we are saving money!

Bully sticks, bully dog

A few months ago I bought an economy size bag of Big Bark All Natural Steer Sticks because I was told they are softer than bully sticks and the shih tzus might like them better.   I still had some left, although I couldn’t remember why. Usually if the shih tzus like something, I don’t have any leftovers. This morning I passed some out. Nigel instantly turned into a little bully. If anyone came near him, he got a murderous look in his eyes and started growling. He also tried to steal them from the other shih tzus. I think that was why I stopped passing them out. I gathered them back up and put them away, so Nigel would get back to his normal, sweet self.

 Shih Tzu Day 263: March 18 (Sunday)

Cute little Candy

Candy seems to come up to the couch more often. Her fur is kind of long and she looks like a little bear, so I have been calling her Candy Bear. John picks her up and holds her for a couple of minutes at least each morning.

She has so much character. I wish I could catch a picture of her when she is outside playing by herself. She was hopping and bopping around by the gate earlier, with an imaginary friend, I guess. It was adorable.

Shih Tzu Day 264: March 19 (Monday)

Christmas in March

Flower waits to be petted.I am not sure where they are hiding them, but every once and awhile, one of the shih tzus gets out one of the flat Christmas rawhide bones I got from Petco in December and starts chewing on it. Today it was Flower who ran by me as if she was sneaking one into Shih Tzu Central, and then sat chewing on it for quite a while. I am not sure why, but it makes me smile when they chew so loudly. I guess it is because they seem to be having so much fun when they do that.

royal canin doggy day spa giveaway

Our Royal Canin Doggy Day Spa Gift Pack giveaway will start April 1.I got an email today from Joe at Royal Canin. He invited me to do a Doggy Day Spa giveaway of their new x-small adult dog food, with some other pet care products, valued at $80. For doing it, the shih tzus would get the same gift, so I said I would be happy to do it. This will be our first giveaway, so I am excited. We will start the contest April 1 and it will last three weeks. I’ll announce on April 1 how the winner will be chosen.

Shih Tzu Day 265: March 20 (Tuesday)

Magic Mesh time?

Candy has been in her apartment most of the day. The weather is warm enough on some days now that I could keep the back door open, so they can come in and out when they want, but I already had a visiting bee — or fly. Not sure which. I saw that Bed, Bath and Beyond now carries the Magic Mesh curtain, so I think I will try it. I remember what a kick I got last fall when the commercial would come on; dogs would bark, and the shih tzus would dash to the door, thinking they had visitors, I guess. I think it was a memory from either their puppy mill days, or their foster home before we got them.

Shih Tzu Day 266: March 21 (Wednesday)

Candy Kisses

Candy came and put her paws up on the couch twice today. I always assume she just wants food, because in the past, when she has come up and I have reached for her, she has run away. However, she seems a little more approachable these days. This time I reached for her very slowly, and she didn’t back away, so I picked her up. She sat there while I petted her, for probably ten minutes, until John drove up. As soon as she heard the truck, she jumped down and ran to the door to wait for him. She did her twisty dance, wagging her butt one way and her head the other, with all paws coming off the floor. I really need to catch that on video some day.

Doggy Dollars Arrival

My Made in the U.S.A. Doggy Dollars arrived today from Costco. The shih tzus weren’t eager to take them, but they did, and I think all of them ate theirs. I wish they had been a bigger hit, especially since I had to buy two big bags of them.

Foot warmer

Nigel loves to sit on a blanket in front of my feet - or on my feet. After John got home, Candy sat on his lap for about 15 minutes getting love. Earlier, Dottie let him give her a face rub for a while. One of the blankets had fallen on the floor, and my feet were on it. Nigel sat on my feet while John held Candy.

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Shih Tzu Day 205: Shih Tzu Improvements

shih tzu memories are secure

It has been quite a month. A computer crash and backup hard drive problem at the same time caused me to lose all my data. Although professionals told me I couldn’t get it back, persistency and lots of computer research led me to do just that. Yesterday, I got to the point where I had even recovered my DayOne files, where I kept my Shih Tzu journal. I am so happy to get back a few lost weeks that I hadn’t transferred to my blog yet. I also recovered ALL of my videos. I was heartbroken that I thought I had lost all those firsts with the shih tzus. I was kicking myself for not having put any up on my site or on YouTube, because I hadn’t yet figured how to edit them. Now everything gets backed up on a backup drive and elsewhere!

attitude adjustment

One of the biggest things I have noticed over the past few weeks is Nigel’s changed attitude. He still gets rambunctious and still has to be corrected, but ever since I brought the “dog house” inside and put him in it when he was picking on the girls, he has not been nearly as possessive of things and doesn’t bully them to where it is unbearable.

Another improvement has been in the “tinkle” department. I got tired of putting the small carpet I put under their two training pads in the washer and dryer, because I could always smell the rubber backing, and it was too hard to wash it by hand. Instead I have been using an old dish drying mat as the base and putting one pad on top of it. For the most part, they are hitting the mark, although I do have to clean up the hardwood floor in the morning, because of whichever dog seems to squat on the edge. The best part is at least they seem to be really trying! I am not sure, but it seems like Flower might be waiting to go outside in the morning.

shih tzu amnesia

Flower and Dottie seem to develop amnesia every morning. I have been coming downstairs at 6 but John usually doesn’t come down until 7. When the dogs hear his footsteps on the stairs, they act like he is an intruder and bark like crazy, throwing in a growl here and there, even when they see who he is. But there is hope. He can now come up to them and pet them and assure them that he is not an intruder, and they do stop barking.

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Shih Tzu Day 118: Strange Shih Tzu Behavior

is that normal shih tzu behavior?

a shih tzu on a brown blanket on a couch.Dottie didn’t start whining until 7 a.m. That was an hour beyond when she started trying to wake me up yesterday. I haven’t been letting the shih tzus in the bedroom, because of past accidents, but I decided to give them the benefit of a doubt. I left the bedroom door open while I brushed my teeth, and Flower ran into the room and started circling. That was my cue to usher her out so she wouldn’t pee on the carpet.

Dottie, Flower, Nigel and I worked our way down the stairs towards the Candy Committee. They did their morning dance and I tried not to fall down the stairs while they did it. During the next part of the ritual, while I was allowing Candy to bite my hand at the bottom of the stairs, Flower jumped up on the couch, which she sometimes does in the middle of her dance. But, instead of jumping right back down, she squatted. I had never seen her do that on the couch, but I knew what usually came after squatting, so I hollered, “Flower!” and tried to get there on time. Too late. She left a big wet spot before she jumped back down. Sigh. Back to housebreaking 101.


a shih tzu on squirrel alert. I had towels under the red blanket, just in case, but it went through everything. I took the cushions off, sprayed cleaner on them and put up a gate around the couch. Flower lost her couch permissions for the day. She can still come up on our couch, but I have to keep an eye on her.

John thought the problem might have been the newspapers I put down when I ran out of training pads yesterday. Candy and Dottie seemed okay with it, but I have noticed that Flower doesn’t do well with change. John said maybe she hadn’t yet associated the newspaper with where she is supposed to pee.


a squirrel in a backyard. One of the other shih tzus was acting odd today. While I was talking to Dottie this morning, she started flailing around on the couch. I could not see that anything was wrong with her. She was rubbing her face against the blanket on the couch at first, and then against my side. I thought her ear might itch, so I tried to help her itch it. When I went to move my hand away, she lunged to bite it; not in an aggressive way, but play bites. I petted her a while and then she settled down. Still not sure if she just wanted affection.

shih tzu squirrel! alert again

three shih tzu puppies chase a squirrel.Candy has been alerting us to the squirrel again. I assume it’s the same squirrel, but maybe not.

Our own personal squirrel, Nigel, has been irritating Candy and Flower today. They have been yapped at him a lot. I am going to have to start yapping at him too. I can’t wear socks anymore, because he insists on taking them off my feet. My feet get cold, but I have to admit that his sock fetish is darned cute.

Nigel continues to irritate Dottie. She leans in close to his face and growls at him when he comes to her side of the couch and puts his paws up on it. I am afraid she might hurt him, so when she did it earlier, I went to move her back and him away and managed to knock my coffee over onto the couch. Well, at least the red blanket will have a companion in the washing machine.

Nigel irritates Candy the least, I guess. She didn’t push him out when he went to lay in her dog bed with her today. It was a very cute sight.

something good

a male and female shih tzu lying on a pink dog bed. I have this bad habit of forgetting to refill the shih tzus’ water bowls late in the day. Today, after I filled one of the bowls up, I went to put it down and two of the shih tzus excitedly ran over to it. John laughed and said they thought they were getting “something good.” When I sat the bowl down, though, they started lapping up the water. I told John it was “something good” after all. All that play makes the shih tzu quartet thirsty.

shih tzu beggars

Sorry to say, our shih tzus are officially beggars. Flower in particular jumps up on the couch at any hint/smell of food. Tonight it was Carroll Shelby chili, however, so I didn’t share.

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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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