So, after Fred’s week away he is back home with Mum and Dad. I am so very happy to report that his, almost exemplary, toilet training has continued. He is now 4 months old and has had the odd accident which I am calling ‘Mum and Dad’s’ accidents. They still haven’t got the hang of praising him enough, for example, I was chatting with my mother on the phone a few days ago and she was distracted because Dad had taken Fred out to the garden for a wee. Why this needs two of them I have no idea but hey, at least they are focussed on him. They wanted to go out and get some shopping so were trying to get him to wee before he was put in his crate. My Mum called out to Dad and asked if he was “going” and I heard a distant “He was in the middle of doing it and now you’ve put him off!” and bickering ensued as I sat waiting to continue my conversation. Sigh! I told Mum to tell Dad to praise him so she shrieked this information across to him and I heard a feeble “good boy Fred.” I said he has to make his tail wag, be more enthusiastic and let him know he’s done exactly what they wanted him to do. Dad “sort of” did.
My Dad and I can clash on training ideas, he trained our gun dogs when I was a child and the methods he was shown are completely frowned upon today. There was lots of Top Dog talk and “He will do as I say!” but explaining the training style that I employ has been easier than I thought although, it still causes some disagreement. Dad has a strong opinion and can be outspoken and he never suffers fools gladly. So I was amazed this week when I called him up for a catch up and he went straight into tales of Fred and then asked me to call him down the phone!!! I was speechless. I have no idea what has happened to my Dad but this little ball of fluff has completely softened him.
Further tales of Fred followed, Dad started telling me of the many people they’d met on holiday who owned Shih Tzus too. He said he’d shown them pictures of Fred on his phone and these people would say how “exceptionally cute” he is. I asked Dad if he’d bored these people but he was insistent that they really wanted to see pictures and hear about him. Then he told me he’d met a lady in the Doctors surgery that morning who also had a Shih Tzu and all she did was talk about it. She told him about his mad five minutes every night before he fell asleep, how she grooms him, which groomer to use, how affectionate he is, how quiet he is, how funny he is and Dad told me how much she went on and on and on. He really didn’t understand what I was laughing at.
Yes, I did call Fred down the phone.
By Susan Pitcher