Shih Tzu Mystique
All About Your New Puppy!!!
Congratulations on adding a healthy, well-socialized
Shih Tzu Mystique puppy to your family!
FOOD: We feed Royal Canin Puppy Mini kibbles to our Shih Tzu – until they are a year old. It builds a thick, healthy coat, high energy, and a nice, firm stool. If you prefer to use a different type of food, transition your puppy slowly. Too many changes at one time can take a toll on their little digestive systems. Replace a small amount of food with your new food for a few days, and gradually increase the new and decrease the Royal Canin. Shih Tzu do well with free-feeding or regularly scheduled meals, which every method works best for your schedule.
Our puppies and dogs love Milkbone puppy biscuits, and I break each one into a couple of pieces as treats and as training aids. If you can find the Milkbone Minis, those are ideal and only 5 calories! Also, they LOVE Dentastix. Fine to give a mini Dentastix every day; I have so many that they only get them 3 times per week. When they hear that bag rattle, they go CRAZY!
If you have a Chinese Imperial Shih Tzu (very small) please have raw natural honey on hand. You should give your young puppy about 1/3 teaspoon (using a baby oral syringe) at least once a day, especially if it has been a while since he or she ate. This can prevent hypoglycemia, which can be fatal in a short period of time. If your puppy ever seems lethargic, difficult to rouse, or otherwise disinterested, give a dose of the honey.
MEDICATION: Your puppy comes to you up-to-date on his or her shots, and will have been treated with Revolution topical heartworm/internal/external parasite medication on the first day of the month in which you receive him/her. This is a very comprehensive treatment that will prevent horrible skin diseases such as scabies (mange), as well as being a flea and tick preventative. Talk with your
vet about continuing this regimen! You will receive the shot record for your puppy, and a health certificate if your puppy is shipped to you.
WATER: Our Shih Tzu drink only filtered water from a water bottle (the kind with the little metal marble at the end of the spout). This prevents facial staining, and if you keep your Shih Tzu in full coat, you will soon recognize the importance of the water bottle! It prevents messy, sloppy drinking/drizzling, and prevents the wet, smelly face that can result. You can get a 16 oz. bottle that would hang on the side of a pen or crate, or purchase a free-standing design (which we use for all our Shih Tzu) from Paws Creations (www.pawscreations.com). Your puppy has used this type of water bottle since he or she started drinking water at about 3 weeks of age, and may not know what to do with a bowl of water!
If your puppy has a white mustache and shows any sign of facial staining due to eye tears, try a few drops of lemon juice in their water at all times. The acid in the lemon juice may help prevent the red staining!
NECESSITIES: There are SO MANY things you can buy for your new baby, and go ahead and splurge! Some things you want to have on hand for sure, though, are a Slicker Brush. If you are going to let your Shih Tzu go to full coat you will also need a 7 ½ inch Pin Brush without the balls on the tips (Vellus makes a good one, available at Small Dog Shop, http://www.showpaps.com/pinbrushes.html; I cannot find them at the pet store!). The slicker brush is great for legs and paws even when the Shih Tzu is in full coat.
I use a variety of hair products, depending on whether the Shih Tzu is in full coat and the color of the coat. White Lightening is great for those that are mostly white. I use it on the white portions of my tri-colors. White on White is great, too, and is safe for all colors. Select a conditioner that you like; I use several products, including the human conditioner, Infusion 23 (recommended to me by a show breeder of Afghan Hounds). Chris Christianson makes great products for maintaining a show coat. You can find most products through Amazon, petedge.com, or cherrybrook.com. A Spray on Conditioner is a must for daily grooming. It helps detangle knots before they become mats! Brush your puppy every day in the beginning, whether he or she needs it or not! It will get the puppy
accustomed to grooming. When your puppy is small, any quality tearless puppy shampoo will suffice. NOTE: Please do not use any flea/tick shampoos on your puppy – there is a possibility it may cause seizures.
This year I tried a new inexpensive brand at WalMart – the Pet Head Detangler. It works beautifully – spray it on a tangle/mat, squeeze it into the tangle, and you can separate much of the mat out with your fingers! I have paid 10 x this much for detangling products, and they have not worked as well. And this smells like Strawberry Yogurt! Pet Head has other products that I like as well.
When your puppy is about 4 months old, and if you are not already doing a puppy cut, you will need to pin the hair up out of the eyes. You can buy non-latex ¼ inch Grooming Bands for this (www.petedge.com), or use orthodontic bands! Shih Tzu have a “chrysanthemum” on their nose; the hair there grows straight up, so you have to train it down over the sides of the very short nose, or you can trim it if you are not going for a full coat. When the puppy is small, I use a toothbrush around the eyes and nose; it is less scary for him/her.
Hint: do not pull the hair too tight when you band the top knot, as the puppy will rub and scratch. Just use a rat tailed comb to separate the hair that you are going to tie up; pull the front hair (from as close to the outer edge of the eyes that will reach) together and band it fairly low between the eyes; try to leave at least 1/8 inch before the band. It might seem like making it tighter will help it last longer, but it does NOT! Depending on the thickness of your puppy’s coat, wrap the band either twice or three times. This will need to be done nearly daily, and maybe more often if you are going to take the puppy out to show it off! To remove the band, use little cuticle scissors or band nips, and be very careful not to pull the band and twist the hair, or accidentally snip some of the hair. Resist the urge to pull a band out of the hair, even if it seems loose; you will break a few hairs, and eventually you will have a very thin top knot! The Shih Tzu head piece is everything when in full coat!!! You can also add a bow, either a barrette type or one with a band on the back. You can find show bows by Googling it. Paws and Tails makes some simple ones nice for younger dogs, showy but not too expensive and in a variety of colors.
For small puppies I use regular finger nail clippers for toenails; you will want to clip them at least once every 2 weeks. When the nails are big enough you can switch to regular small dog nail clippers. You will want a pair of small, sharp scissors to snip the hair between the toe pads every month, as it grows just as fast as the rest of the coat, unlike dogs with “fur.”
ODDS & ENDS:
Your new puppy will be growing the first set of teeth, and will get adult teeth around 6 months of age. Have lots of toys on hand, some soft and cuddly, and some meant for chewing. Your puppy will make a toy out of anything – a leaf, a piece of rope, or your flip flop! Please know that your favorite suede slippers have two of your puppy’s favorite scents – leather, and FEET! It’s cute when they chew on them while you are wearing them, but you might not be happy with the results in the morning…..
You will want to keep your young puppy in a restricted area when not under your direct supervision to help avoid accidents, and to provide more structure for his or her young life. There are some wonderful play pens, gates, etc. to make this more manageable if you do not have a conveniently small area to restrict their living space. I never recommend keeping the puppy in a bathroom with the door closed; you can foster separation anxiety easily if you do that. A walk-through gate is a nice solution. Bindaboo makes a very handsome wrought iron walk through gate that is more permanent, and we use those throughout our house to restrict our Shih Tzu to certain areas and keep them from wandering upstairs!
Iris makes a nice play pen, as well, with a little doggy door on the front. (If you Google these items, or enter “puppy play pen” in Amazon.com, you can find the best prices).
I highly recommend the Iris Puppy Playpen. Durable, easy to clean, and easy to move to a different location if desired. Here is a really great suggestion if you have your playpen on a solid surface such as hardwood, Pergo, Tile etc., and if you ever need to place it on carpet for sure! We purchase inexpensive Plastic computer chair mats. We cut the mat to fit exactly to the dimensions of the pen, and use clear silicone or hot glue to attach the vinyl to the bottom of the pen. Removable with a utility knife if hot glued, and oh, so easy to clean up any accidents, spills, etc. This saves us SO much time!
Outward Hound makes a great car seat with a harness clip for safety; it is easy to install and remove, and holds the puppy up high so he or she can see out the window! Holds dogs up to 20 lbs., and PetCo carries it most of the time.
Shih Tzu Mystique
Our puppies are in Phase III of their training/socialization when they leave our home. Our schedule is consistent! Here is an example of our average day.
6:00 – 6:30: Everybody up! Puppies go outside for the first potty, a little play to work up an appetite.
7:00 – 7:30: Breakfast, and right back out again to do more potty business and for play time (only about 15 minutes if it is hot outside). Play time in the house!!!
12:00: Out for potty break; then Lunch.
12:30: Potty outside, then play, play, play!
Naptime is when everybody crashes out again!
4:00: Potty outside, then dinner. (We don’t give food after 4:00 p.m. after the puppies are 12 weeks old. When they are younger, we leave the leftovers there for them to nibble on, and leave dry kibbles in a bowl in the playpen throughout the night).
4:30: Outside for play and controlled mischief!
5:00: Naptime again (puppies need to rest A LOT!)
Evenings we play by ear. We are usually holding the puppies or playing on the floor, or letting friends enjoy the puppy love! During much of this time they are often asleep on our chests or in our laps….
9:00-10:00: Puppies are down for the night in a freshened bed, with fresh water and dry kibbles available. At 16 weeks, we crate train the puppies for overnight only, and only if the new family requests it.
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