Max was the calmest of his brothers and sisters. While they were running amok chewing ears and tails, he stole our hearts with those big eyes and incredibly relaxed composure. Not to mention — what a cutie patootie!! Look at that face!
At first, he smelled the room, bounced around on his wobbly puppy legs and played with his siblings; but then he cozied up to us and soon fell asleep. He stayed asleep, even when the breeder lifted him up and flipped him upside down.
A few days later, I picked him up and spoke to him during the hour-long car ride. He kept peering at me through the top of the carrier — what a good listener — and promptly fell asleep. Okay, not the reaction I’d usually want, but it was a long ride. When we got home, I introduced him to the empty house — the kids were in school. He took it all in and soon found the doggie crate. I put a piece of his mom’s blanket in there so that he would have a familiar smell. It worked because he went right in and fell asleep. Sleepy little sweetie, eh?
Everything we read about Shih Tzu‘s said that they were not easily trainable because they had a bit of a pompous “royalty” attitude. They are in the toy breed group that are meant to be companion dogs.
They only had it half right. Max was highly trainable. We hung a bell on the sliding door handle — at his nose level — and every time he accidently touched it, no matter how slight, we took him outside. While we were in the back yard, we waited until he did his business and cheered him on, as if he’d completed a marathon. He was very eager to please and this only took about two to three days.
He adjusted to our family immediately and pretty soon, we took him everywhere. Since he was tiny, we even took him into some stores, with permission. Everywhere we went, people loved him. We took him to the elementary school. We took him to the video store. We took him to the Fall Festival, where he won second place in smallest dog. (The other one was a tea cup Shih Tzu). Everywhere we went, people wanted to pet him. We met people of all ages at the Festival and learned something about Max. He absolutely loved people!
He loved them so much that he’d go a bit berserk when someone entered the foyer. He’d jump, and, if that person said something in a high-pitched voice, oh boy! He showed his excitement with a bit of a “spray”. Oh no! Because of this, we trained him to take his excitement out on his toys. Now, when someone’s in the foyer, he doesn’t “spray” them or jump on them. Instead, after a kiss and a scratch, he rushes off to the next room and we hear “squeak – squeak – squeak”. He gets one of his stuffed animals from his toy box.
Max is so gentle that he can be trusted with babies and even….with bunnies. In fact, he plays a little game with bunnies who like to visit our back yard. He looks around for them….they know how to play possum because they stay as still as statues when he is outside. Then, when they twitch or he finally sees them, he chases them, but stops halfway, as if to give them time to escape under the fence. We don’t worry about him hurting them because they are extremely fast and he never even comes close.
We are extremely blessed to have such an amazing dog. If anyone is considering getting a Shih Tzu — my advice is: DO IT! They are truly sweet animals and, if socialized early, are very good with children.
Our little cutie patootie learned many other commands through the years and graduated from an advanced obedience class. I still need to take him to get his AKC Good Canine Citizen and Therapy Dog certifications. Soon.
Feel free to post your dog’s picture here — I’d love to see your “little piece of heaven”.