Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sleepy Time for Shih-Tzus

I don't know about other Shih-Tzus, but when it's time to rest, my boys have some peculiar habits.

One thing I have noticed is their little eyes will start closing and their head will begin to droop even while they're sitting up. That's when you know they're really tired.

Other than that they each have a ritual before bed. Bruiser will lie on the floor with his back legs out under the kitchen table. That's phase one of sleepy time. After dozing for a while, he'll move into the family room on his cushions, usually with the "toy du jour".

Rocki, on the other hand, will start off by the garage door around the corner. After catching a couple of zzz's, he moved into the kitchen flush against the wall. He naps for a bit, and then moves over to his favorite cushion seen in the picture. His favorite position for sleep is on his back with his paws in the air and his body touching the wall. Bruiser, on the other hand, likes to curl into a little ball and as the night goes on, his head is on his cushions and his wheels are in the air as well.

The boys like routine and they have found ones that suit them. You could actually set your clocks to them. At exactly 8:45 they start getting into position. By 9:00, they are in one of their various stages of sleep. Of course, early bedtime means early rising, and we have had to adjust our sleep schedules to accommodate it!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Shih-Tzus and Thunderstorms

Last night at about 3:00 a.m. I was rudely awakened by a huge crack of thunder that rocked the house. Knowing that my boys are fearful of loud noises, I crawled out of bed and made my way downstairs.
I found the two of them huddled down a hallway in a corner by the garage door, which is far from their sleep area. However, it is the one place that is not near a window.
I walked over to the couch and they clung to me like shadows. I laid on the couch and both jockeyed for the closest position - Rocki ended up with his head on my head and Bruiser was left to cuddle against my chest under the blanket. Bruiser was shaking like a leaf and no amount of talking to him or stroking him would stop him from shaking as long as the thunder kept roaring.
Now my point in coming around them every time there is a thunderstorm is to show no fear...to be completely calm...and each time I hope that they learn that they are safe and there is nothing to be afraid of. Unfortunately, last night's lesson was in vain.

I waited out the storm with them and finally got them to sleep early this morning. However, they were shaken from sleep by another thunderstorm around 8:00 a.m. and then another one rolled in around 11:30 a.m. The poor little guys are sleeping now...the sky is clear and the sun is shining. Finally, a moment of rest for us all.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Importance of a Good Bed

Dogs are very much like us...they want a comfortable place to rest their heads. This is their haven...it's their sanctuary...it's that one place they go to rest where they are comfortable and feel secure.

Whether you choose to buy a dog bed or make up one on your own, like we've done, make sure that your dogs understand that it's theirs.

As you can see from the picture, I bought some faux fur sheepskin rugs from Ikea, bought a body pillow (top back) from Costco for $12, and then the black mat is from a pet store. It has soft fake fur on the top and a rubber backing on the bottom and stays cool. In the winter they sleep on the black portion...in the summer they like to flip it around and sleep on the rubber portion. In any event, you can find the boys sprawled in many different ways in their sleeping "quarters". Sometimes they lie on their backs like humans with their bodies buried in the faux fur and their heads resting on the body cushion. Other times, they contort themselves among the different pieces and improvise. Sometimes, when they're in a snit, they like to tear their bed apart, beat up the cushions and then they sit and wait for me to put it all back to together.

I've also seen very creative ideas for dog beds. One idea was to take an old night table, put a cushion on the bottom shelf and create a drape that hangs from the "drawer" area so your dog has a little boudoir to sleep in. Other people just prefer to buy something ready made.  In any event, make sure their bed is out of the way so when they're sleeping you're not going to step on them. Even a little corner in one of your rooms will suffice. Ours is in the family room as that's where we spend a lot of time and the boys are most comfortable with us in the same room. But use your imagination and don't be afraid to pick up different types of fabric and cushions to create a unique sleeping area for your dog.