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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