My parents had booked their holiday way before they had met little Fred so they were concerned about leaving him behind. They were even thinking about cancelling their holiday for their new baby. Ideally, when a family decide to have a new dog they would and should, plan it around their holiday. Not many people will jump at the chance of looking after such a young pup that isn’t fully house trained. Not to say there isn’t anyone out there that will and obviously I know a few through some of our Host Families.
My sister was certain looking after Fred would be the perfect solution. My parents wanted me to have him, they seemed to be under the impression that he would be fully trained after a week with me! As I live so far away from them it made more sense for my sister to have him. My dear old Nan thought it would be best for her 88 year old sister to look after him!!! Knowing how well my sister has trained her own dogs (with my advice lol) I knew she’d be perfect for the job and she was.
Fred arrived with a little check list of how to feed him, tuck him up at night and how to play with him. My parents have seriously changed since we were kids. His first night, he cried and cried. Toilet training wasn’t much better as he widdled everywhere in the house and my poor sister couldn’t leave him alone for a second as he would cry. As the week went on the more secure he became, he started to ask to go out to the toilet, he no longer cried at bedtime and he just settled in his crate. Sid and Babs were another story though.
When they first met previously, it was quite rocky. Sid the Chug, was more relaxed but not at all overjoyed and Babs the 6 month old teeny Chihuahua, was not, by any stretch of the imagination, impressed. Sleeping arrangements were fine, Sid has always slept upstairs with my nephew while Babs and Fred have their own crates. All very controlled and safe. After lots of short gentle walks to the local park they gradually warmed to each other. By the end of the week, I am very pleased to report, Babs and Fred got on like a house on fire! They played a lot and cuddled up together for naps. Sid on the other hand took to hiding upstairs out of the way of the childish little upstarts. Poor Sid, he needed his house back. I think deep down my sister did too, she said having the three dogs was harder than she thought it would be and she kept getting tangled up on walks with the three dog leads. I can tell you now, that really does take some practice.
I was getting phone calls and texts throughout the week of how the 3 were getting along, my sister did extremely well. Fred went home 95% toilet trained, happy and exhausted. Sid is happy now he can relax on his ground level. My sister is missing him, dreadfully.
Let's keep our fingers crossed that all of the training she has done will stick. Having never had a Shih Tzu in our family before this is a new experience for us all. He is such a dear little dog, so gentle, funny and loving. I’m almost tempted to get my own.
by Sue Pitcher