Category Archives: enrichment


This year on 2/13/17 Cody and I will be showing in New York. What an exciting time for Tian Mi Shih Tzu. I invite anyone interested to watch live streaming of the Shih Tzu breed judging at 1:30 on the Westminster web site located at There will be links for each breed to watch them live. I don’t expect any big win but it will be a nice experience and we can hope to get an award of merit.



9/2/2015 – TEAR STAINING

Tear staining is the topic of 50% of my emails. No one likes the look of that dark staining on their precious baby white face. Tear staining is not a subject that has a quick fix.

This is written as my opinion and should not be taken as gospel, it is not meant as a way to avoid going to a vet or seeking professional diagnoses.

REASONS FOR TEAR STAINING – genetics, bacterial infection in eyes or ears, clogged tear duct, drinking from a bowl, yeast infection, allergies, poor hygiene, health issues, and over tear production.

Genetics – Some lines have habitual staining and I tend to steer clear of these lines. Pay attention to the line of dog you buy. If the parents faces are stained and your new puppy has a white face, chances are your puppy will be stained in no time.

Bacterial infection – If your dog has severe staining and it just never seems to get better. Your dog might have gooey stuff coming from his eyes. Your vet is the only one who can tell you if your dog has a bacterial infection. A course of antibiotics may be needed.

Clogged tear duct – Eyes are a very serious matter so if you think your dog has something going on with the eyes see a vet ASAP.  If your dog has a history of the tear duct getting clogged you should was his eyes every day with a face wipe for dogs or a warm cloth, gently massaging the area under the eye where the tear duct is.

Over tear production can be caused by many things. In young dogs it is most likely caused by teething. It can also be caused by lashes laying on the eye. Some breeds like SHih Tzu are very hairy and hairs getting in the eyeball are not uncommon. You can pull the hairs out of the corner of their eye and just luck them out with your fingers. There is a laser surgery for this but they will grow back. Maybe a little slower but your fingers are much cheaper and if you make it a part of regular grooming, your dog will tank you. Sometimes if the top lashes get to long they will continually drag in the dogs eyes. Another common grooming habit is to cut the lashes off. Some dogs are worse than others.

ALLERGIES – oh the dreaded word with Shih Tzu. Honestly most Shih tzu suffer from seasonal allergies just like we do. (Im not talking about allergies where they chew their skin and itch until they bleed) At times when pollen is high and you are feeling a bit stuffy and teary eyed, your dog is most likely experiencing the same thing. They cannot tell us and they don’t complain so many times it goes unnoticed. This is when you notice staining at the corners of the mouth as well.

DRINKING FROM A BOWL – When your dog drinks from a bowl the water sits on the face furnishings.  As with anything when water sits weird funky things start growing in it. One this is red yeast. Red yeast will stain the face.

POOR HYGENE – If hair is allowed to grow on the dog without trims it will lay on the eye and cause over tear production and discomfort to your dog, eventually causing an ulcer and many other issues with the eye.  If you cannot groom your dog, make sure you get him or her to a groomer every six weeks to maintain the face hairs.

HEALTH ISSUES – The only time in Bailley’s life she was stained was in the throws of her Cushings not being under control. Persistent face staining can be a sign that something is seriously wrong with your dogs immune system.  Her face staining concerned me terribly and I was on the verge of telling myself, that is what happens when dogs get old. NO, its not! An older dog can and should have just as white a face as they did when they were young.



As I said before, there is no quick cure once your dogs face is stained. Bottled water, boric acid and cornstarch, adding buttermilk to the bottle, adding vinegar, none of these thing prevent tear staining. I have been showing and breeding Shih Tzu for 15 years and I have tried it all. Every dog in my home has a white face. I think I may have figured it out. Here are my suggestions.

Buy a dog from a line that does not present heavy tear staining. I do believe with every part of my being that some lines are predisposed to this. Some breeders do not seem to understand this and they keep breeding off the same lines thinking its a fact of life and they need to be more diligent in their treatments. The being said, environmental factors lay a big role as well.

If you visit your vet on a regular basis and have a CBC blood panel done every year, normally you can rule out health issues. If you notice staining and blood has not be done within a year, I suggest having it done just to be certain there are no underlying causes. If there is an issue your vet will treat the underlying cause. Sometimes a course of antibiotic will do the trick.

Get a water bottle and train your dog to use it. Use peanut butter or cream cheese to lure your dog to the water. Some dogs are harder than others but most adapt within a day or two.

If allergies are present that can sometimes cause a small infection in ears, clogged tear duct, sinus infection, etc. just like in humans. Sometimes I will use a product called Tylan. It comes in a powder and can usually only be bought is large quantities.  Tylan is the main ingredient in Angel Eyes, which most people have heard of. Tylan is a low grade antibiotic used in farm animals.  I will only use this product for about two weeks and normally that is enough time to get rid of the funk. I put the powder in their water.  I add what I would equate to about 1/16 a tsp.  There are measuring spoons sold in pinch, dash and smidge. I put a pinch in a 32 – 44 oz bottle and a smidge in anything smaller.

DO NOT GIVE TYLAN TO PUPPIES. Tylan will effect new teeth emerging. It is very tempting at this age to use a quick fix , it is not uncommon for puppies to stain while they are teething. This is when you use other methods. Which brings us to clogged tear ducts. This can happen in adults as well as puppies but puppies do tend to have more issues with it. You can massage the area under the eye where the ducts are twice a day to prevent as well as treat this issue.

I use #1 All Systems White Lightening shampoo on EVERY dog I have in my possession, every time I bath.  This includes dogs I groom, dogs who have lived with me for 15+ years, show dogs and boarders. I have been doing this for about 10 years and I have never noticed breakage or dry over processed hair due to the use of this product.

Feed a high quality food. Normally a fish based food is best for dogs who have issues with staining.

Keep your dog groomed. Make sure there is no hair laying in or on the eye. When you groom you can gently rub your finger under or at the corner of the eye and bring any hairs off the eye ball. You can pluck these hairs with your fingers and it will help. Shih Tzu are hairy dogs and hair is a constant issue.  There is not a Shih Tzu on the planet who has not had hair grow in their eyes at some point or another. It is part of the breed and if you own one diligence will help prevent problems.

If allergies are a problem I will use a 25mg Zyrtec



I thought since July is National Pet Hydration awareness month I would talk about how much our pets drink. How much is enough? Too much?


Water consumption can give signs about our pets health. Keeping an eye on your pet’s water consumption is important because too little can result in dehydration, urinary tract issues like kidney stones, and organ failure.

Too little water can be signs of  pancreatitis, parvovirus, or leptospirosis

Too much water can be a sign of Cushings or diabetes.

Dogs can drink to much water and get water intoxication. Symptoms include staggering/loss of coordination, lethargy, nausea, bloating, vomiting, dilated pupils, glazed eyes, light gum color, and excessive salivation. In severe cases, there can also be difficulty breathing, collapse, loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and death.

Hydration test – Lift the skin at the back of your dogs neck and then let it go. If your dog is well hydrated, the skin will fall quickly back into place. The skin of a dehydrated dog will fall more slowly and form sort of a tent.

Click on this link for a handy calculator that gives you a general idea of what your dog should be drinking.


Over consumption of water is most often seen in dogs who like to stay in the lake or pool all day lapping or bite at the water continuously while playing or dogs that swallow water unintentionally while diving for a ball. An over amount of water in the body results in inadequate sodium content in the bloodstream. Make sure to monitor your pet for symptoms of water intoxication and take frequent breaks form the water.

Of you notice your dog is drinking to much water on his own from the bottle or bowl, a trip to the vet is in order for evaluation by a professional. Be sure to make note of other weird things going on with your pet like urinating on the floor, for a dog that is previously house trained. Bloating, not eating, over eating?


Be sure to praise your pet when he or she drinks from the bottle or the bowl. Make water easily accessible by placing water in the areas your pet is most often. Add sodium free broth to your pets food or just to a bowl to make drinking more appealing. Make sure your feeding a balanced diet and not just dry kibble. Try adding canned food to your pets diet with water like a gravy. Try some of my recipes and cook for your pet adding water as you go.

Water is the most important thing you can do for your pet. Be conscience of how much they are drinking.

7/2/2015 – DO DOGS DREAM?

So, if dogs feel emotions, do they dream? What do they dream about? Well, anyone who has shared their life with a dog has probably seen their precious baby twitch or yelp while they sleep. Do you wonder, is this a dream? Are they chasing something? Is it a bad dream?

Research proves dogs do dream. After doing an experiment on rats scientist discovered that while rats sleep they are replaying situations of running through mazes they experienced earlier, The brain waves while sleeping were exactly the same enabling scientist to pinpoint the exact location in the maze the rat was awake, while asleep.

Research conducted in 2001 by Matthew Wilson and Kenway Louieof MIT has proven that during sleep, even the brain wave patterns of human and dog are also alike. At the structural level, the brains of dogs are similar to those of humans. Also, during sleep the brain wave patterns of dogs are similar to that of people, and go through the same stages of electrical activity observed in humans, all of which is consistent with the idea that dogs are dreaming. It is concluded dogs dream of similar things humans do. Events of the day are played out. Possibly chasing a ball or barking when their human companion returns home.

Dogs normally enter REM stage of sleep after about 20 minutes of uninterrupted sleep. Below is a short video of Bailley dreaming, I wonder if she dreams of flying as I do?

6/19/2015 – DENALI

WARNING – This is serious stuff!

“When someone you love walks through the door, even if it happens five times a day, you should go totally insane with joy.”

The short film below, entitled “Denali,” is told from the point of view of a dog. Ben Moon photographer/ surfer tells the story of his journey and heart break of letting go. Ben Moon was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in 2004. Denali was there through it all providing only the healing comfort a dog can for Ben’s recovery. In early 2014 Denali was diagnosed with cancer.  Ben promised to never let him suffer. According to Ruffwear, he told him it was okay to let go. But after production began for the “Denali” film a week later, Ben asked Denali if he could stick around for another month. Exactly one month later, at midnight, Denali developed a bad cough. Moon and Denali played on the beach the next day. The following morning he gave Ben the look — it was time to go. Denali passed away at age 14 1/2 years old.