Friday, November 18, 2011

Photoblog: Dog Tired

Recently, Stitch has been enjoying some time at home with Aunt Nin. That means he gets to go on walks before it gets dark (which is when Mama usually gets home). On one recent adventure, they took a "lengthier-than-usual" walk, which pretty much did Stitch in.

Here he is, post-walk, napping on his favorite papasan.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Photoblog: Yogini Stitch

Hello, everyone!

Stitch has been quite the busy young dog lately, but I (his mama) have been even busier, hence the lack of blog posts.

That's not to say that Stitch hasn't had the time to pose regularly for pictures. He is, after all, a favorite muse at our house. Over the next few days (weeks?) I will share some of Stitch's adventures via pictures.

Today we start with this: Yogini Stitch - my favorite shih-tzu doing a modified (and seemingly more difficult sideway variety) downward dog. Look at that form!

photo courtesy of Tita Nin

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Sound of Music

Stitch and I have been "together" now for a little over 7 months and I enjoy getting to know him. He loves treats and will do all his tricks for his favorite snacks. He also loves squeaky toys. I also know he likes the outdoors. On warm days, he often sits outside and just sunbathes or watches birds. Most recently, I discovered that Stitch loves music!

The other night, I finally pulled out my bongo drums, a gift from my BFF, from its box and started to play a little bit. Next thing I knew, Stitch was by my side, watching me intently. At first, I thought he was just curious about this new item that he had never seen before. But, no - he was being entertained! His body was relaxed, his tongue was hanging out, and his eyes were focused (yes, his eyes do focus despite his exotropia). To test my hypothesis, I passed the drums to my sister, and sure enough Stitch switched his focus on to her.

He sniffs.
He gets close.
He is pleased!
Time for his solo.
 So I did a little march around the house with the drums, a la the Pied Piper. To my amusement, Stitch followed me as if I was an ice cream vendor on a hot summer day.

I was so tickled by my discovery of Stitch's new found love that I pulled out my ukulele and started playing. No fail; Stitch sat at my feet and looked up at me like I was Jake Shimabukuro at a live concert.

Aloha Stitch
Now, he could be in another part of the house but as soon as he hears the bongo drums or the ukulele, he will go running to the source of the music. (Works better than calling out, "Stitch, come!") Who knew that this little Shih-tzu would have an ear for music?

Drummer Stitch
Craaaazzzzy Drummer Stitch

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Athlete Stitch

Stitch's aunt is training for a half-marathon. So to show our support, we went with Auntie while she did a run last Saturday at Crissy Field.

This was Stitch's first "5K" (mostly walking) and he had a really good time! He sniffed and played nice with other dog-joggers, and got a couple of compliments on how he was such a cute and happy dog. *proud mama beaming*

Here are some shots from our walk.

A shot with the GG Bridge, but he's distracted by other runners

Watching other doggies jog by

"Watching" me as I try to get him to pose

Finally - a good shot!

After the 3 miles, Stitch is worn out...

... but musters the energy to say hi to a little fellow (he loves kids!)

Red stains around his snout = stolen licks of a red  M&M on the ground

The ride home, and he's going down...

And he's out before we even exit the parking lot

Monday, June 27, 2011

Photoblog: Stitch the Shih-tzu

Finally an image of Stitch where he actually (kinda) looks like a Shih-tzu. I think it's time for a haircut.

Hairstyle and photo courtesy of Auntie Nin

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Great Escape

We've had a series of summer-like weather here lately (finally!) Because of the heat, my front lawn has started looking a little ... "less green" if you will (not quite brown yet).

As I have yet to install my sprinkler system, I thought I would water my lawn yesterday evening. I pulled the hose from the side of my house and under my front gate. Not wanting to have to juggle a hose and a very active doggie, I thought it best to leave Stitch in the backyard, with the gate closed. Within seconds, this was what ensued:

Good thing his fat head didn't get stuck!

Of course he would wedge his head under the side of the gate door that opened, so that if I tried to open it, I would break his neck. I also tried to push his head back in, but he's got quite the cranium so that was impossible, too.

Fortunately, our neighbor-dog next door started to bark. This distracted Stitch enough that he pulled himself from under the gate. *sigh*

And for all those concerned, yes, I did block that hole under the gate so he does not put himself in the same predicament again. ;)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Welcome Back, Stitcher!

It's been a couple of months since I've blogged about Stitch. He's had so many adventures since then that I'd love to share soon!

For now, here's a teaser pic of what my little guy has been up to. More to come!

Construction Stitch, buying lumber

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Photoblog: Groomed Stitch II

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had a chance to post new Stitch adventures. However, I did want to post the latest picture from his grooming adventure part 2.

This time Stitch's aunt BFF took him to the independent grooming place near our house, where Stitch's cousin Boo gets groomed. Stitch definitely looks better than the first grooming, but unfortunately the groomers used a blade (#7) that cut his hair too short. We all can't wait until his hair all grows out, but Stitch is still cute as ever. For now, we're enjoying "Naked Stitch."

Here he is with cousin Boo just couple of days after they both got groomed.

Stitch in the foreground

Boo in the background

Friday, March 11, 2011

bosom buddies

Every dog needs a best friend (aside from their people). Someone they can frolick and play with or just be lazy with. In Stitch's case, we thought his best friend would be Boo, BFF's, 8-year old Pomeranian. While Boo (now) mostly tolerates Stitch, my pup has really taken to Aslan, BFF's Birman mix cat. Throughout the day, they can be be seen together, playing or napping. Or as is sometimes the case, with Stitch annoying the meow out of Aslan. They do play very gently with each other, although you will hear the very rare "yip" from Stitch when Aslan's claw gets caught on his fur. Or Aslan meowing in annoyance when Stitch gets in his face too much. Trainer Ally suggested an easy "enough" command coupled with the clicker to get Stitch to back down a bit, which I have been trying lately.

In honor of this awesome duo, I present to you the Stitch and Aslan collection.

*cue The Turtles' "Happy Together"*

they nap together
they shoot the breeze together
they hang out on grandpa's chair together
they goof around together (well, mainly Stitch), they... roll around together?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Photoblog: Flashback to Li'l Stitch

This was taken around Thanksgiving, about a week after Stitch came to live with us. He used to love jumping on Grandpa's chair to sit and watch TV with him for hours. It was only about a week after this shot was taken that Stitch no longer fit in the small space next to Gramps.

Mini Stitch, but with giant paws

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Photoblog: Stitch Around the House

I've been too busy to take pics of Stitch using my fancy camera, until today. So we had a few photo sessions outside (since the storming has stopped, for now) and inside the house. Enjoy!
Shade-bathing Stitch
Model Stitch
Romantic Stitch
Happy Stitch
Serious Stitch

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Puppy School: Part 3 - Graduation

Stitch ended his Beginner's Puppy School last week. I can't believe he's learned so much in just 6 weeks. Some of the basic commands he's learned include sit, down, stay, release, come, and leave it. We still need to refine these commands, but he knows them pretty well. On Stitch's final evaluation, Trainer Ally wrote, "Stitch is a very bright boy and so fun to work with! He has learned a lot of new things in the past 6 weeks and you have both been great students." As you can imagine, I am one proud mom!

So on the last day of class, Trainer Ally "tested" the pups on some of the things that they test for on the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program. For those of you who don't know, the CGC is a program administered by the American Kennel Club that recognizes doggie good behaviors and doggie owner responsibility. It involves a 10-step test that is conducted by an evaluator. If a dog passes, they get a certificate stating they are canine good citizens!

More information about the test can be found on the AKC website (linked above), but here is a summary of the ten things that are on the test.
1. Accepting a friendly stranger- Stitch did this really well
2. Sitting politely for petting - Stitch did this well, too
3. Appearance and grooming - not tested
4. Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
5. Walking through a crowd - Stitch gets distracted when a crowd of people and other dogs walk by him
6. Sit and down on command and staying in place - Stitch did well on this
7. Coming when called - Stitch did this well in class, but needs to practice it in "real life" :)
8. Reaction to another dog - not directly tested, but Stitch is not always comfortable with other dogs. He also tends to prefer big dogs over little ones like him.
9. Reaction to distraction - not tested
10. Supervised separation - not tested

Stitch waiting for his turn at the walking test, photo by BFF

Stitch and I are having so much fun learning good doggie manners and other dog tricks that we've enrolled in the intermediate training classes, which begin this week. We hope to work on the commands he already knows, and learn some new ones, too!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stitch recommends: Tailored Dog Training

If you and your canine friend live in the SF East Bay Area and are looking for an excellent dog trainer, look no more!

Stitch and trainer Ally

Stitch's trainer, Ally, provides private, hour-long dog training sessions, either at your home or at a local park. Her rates are very reasonable and she trains dogs of all ages, sizes, breeds, and temperaments.

Why do we like her so much? Because we have seen Ally in action. She's very gentle, but she's also very authoritative - the dogs respond to her really well! I saw Ally work with a reportedly "difficult" and "problematic" chocolate lab, who responded to her commands as if the lab had been doing them for years. I also saw proof of Ally's effective training methods in her own dogs, two very well-behaved border collies who often assist her in demonstrations for class.

Ally uses positive reinforcement like treats and praises and works not just with the dogs, but with the dog owners as well. She really does tailor her training methods based on her clients' needs. Aside from training, Ally also lends her expertise on things like canine nutrition and addresses specific behavioral issues her clients may be facing with their dogs.

Now if you're into the technical stuff, here it is (info obtained from Ally's website):
Ally has her bachelor's degree in Animal Sciences with an emphasis on Animal Behavior.  She is a current member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), a certified evaluator for AKC's Canine Good Citizen Program and the STAR Puppy Program, and is also a certified trainer through a big-box pet store.

So if you're ready to sign up for private dog training lessons, I encourage you to contact Ally - ask her some questions and find out if she's the right fit for you and your pet.

For additional information, visit Ally's website, Tailored Dog Training (

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day!

Happy President's Day, everyone!

Here's a picture of Stitch and his middle-namesake and look-a-like, Pres. Grover Cleveland, our 22nd and 24th president.

Stitch Grover

Grover Cleveland

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Funny, Silly, Lovey Valentine

I meant this to be my Valentine's day entry, but didn't get a chance to post it.

This is my Stitch, sitting by the window and watching me head to work, as he does so every morning.

He then gets back on his same perch every afternoon/evening as soon he hears my car alarm beep, signaling my arrival. As soon as I walk through the door, I am greeted as if I'm the most important person in the world (at least in his world) and I've just returned from a long, arduous journey.

Now how can you not love the little goober?

That's love.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stitch Marley

My BFF was trying to take a snapshot of Stitch using her cellphone camera. Wiggleworm that he is, this is the resulting image:

She sent this pic to me while I was at work with the caption “your dog on drugs.” I burst out laughing (which of course garnered the attention of colleagues around me, who wanted to get a glimpse of my dog. Which then resulted in me telling Stitch’s story again to those who hadn’t heard yet). One co-worker suggested I do some creative Photoshop work with the pic. I’m no whiz at photoshop, but here’s the result:

"Whatchu tink, mon?"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Stitch recommends: Zuke's Z-Filets

I'm always in search of yummy, healthy treats for Stitch. He loves the occasional Milk-Bone and Beggin' Strips but we recently found a treat that both Stitch and his cousin, Boo, love! It was recommended by Ally, Stitch's trainer, whose doggies love them, too!

These delicious treats are Zuke's Z-Filets High Protein Dog Treats. They are dehydrated but very tender strips of chicken, beef, or venison and have tons of flavor (not that I've tried them, but I can definitely smell them and they smell delish!) So far, we've only tried the chicken, but we'll probably pick up a beef and venison at some point.

Zuke's Z-Filets High Protein Dog Treats, Basted Chicken, 3.25 Ounce

Zuke's Z-Filets use natural ingredients like rice flour, maple syrup, garlic powder and salt. They don't contain wheat, corn, and soy. Although, in the spirit of full disclosure, ingredients include phosphoric acid, sorbic acid (as preservative) and mixed tocopherols, which are "chemical compounds of which many have vitamin E activity," according to Wikipedia. Zuke's also donates a portion of its profits to the Dog and Cat Cancer Fund.

If you get a chance, pick one up today for your pet! They're usually carried by big-box pet stores like Petco and Pet Food Express, but you can also find them at REI or some of your local independent pet stores.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Stitch in Any Language

When my friends and I get bored, we do silly things, like think up Stitch's international names:

Canadian - Stitch-eh
English - Stitchson
Filipino - Kuyah Jhun Sthitch
French - Steesh
German - Stitchmeister
Greek - Stitchanopoulos
Hawaiian - Stitchamehahamaunakoa
Indian - Stitchasurimanerjee
Irish - O'stitch
Italian - Stitchillini
Japanese - Stitchuzuki
Jewish - Stitchenstein
Korean - Kim Stitchee
Mexican - Stitchelcoatl
Polish - Stitchsky
Russian - Stitchnokov
Scottish - McStitch
Swedish - Stitchsen

*Disclaimer: this list is meant to make people smile, not offend them. If this offends you, my friends, Stitch, and I extend our apologies.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Puppy School: Part 2 - Recall

Stitch is now into his third week of puppy school.

Last week he learned the "down" command, given from a distance with the "down" hand signal (palm flat, facing down and parallel to the floor; then bounce a couple of times as if bouncing an invisible basketball).  Trainer Ally also went over "up" to come up for hugs or onto furniture (if allowed), followed by the "off" command, to get them off whatever they were on (like people or aforementioned furniture). Since Stitch was recovering from his surgery last week, we didn't really have time (or him, energy) to practice a lot of the new commands.

This week, however, the conehead is gone and Stitch is back to his regular, energetic self. Just in time, because trainer Ally went over "Recall" and "Stay," and it certainly tuckered out my little guy.

So "recall" is basically the term used for getting your dog to come when he or she is called. Trainer Ally had a great session for recall this week. First, the puppy parents identified their pups' greatest motivator - either a favorite toy or a treat. Ally recommended a tug toy, which works great for Stitch because he loves to play tug-o-war (plus it's a no-cal alternative to treats). Then we did some "restrained recalls" in class. This is how it worked:
  • Trainer Ally holds Stitch [or insert other puppy name here] by the leash
  • Doggie-mama (that's me!) takes the toy and starts walking away from Stitch (For the purposes of the in-class exercise, Stitch "borrowed" a tug rope with a squeaky toy attached at the end)
  • Doggie-mama makes toy really attractive for Stitch (swirl it around, press the squeaky toy, etc.) to get his attention and get him excited
  • Trainer Ally gives the command and Doggie-mama says, "Stitch, Come!"
  • Trainer Ally releases Stitch who runs excitedly towards mama and gets rewarded by playing with the toy
  • This is followed by the "Drop it" command, teaching Stitch to drop the toy (with a treat incentive)
After several exhausting rounds of Recall training with all the pups, we moved on to the "Stay" command.  Stitch was already somewhat familiar with this so it was just tidying up our routine, complete with hand signals:

"Down. Stay. Walk backwards away from puppy. Release! Sit. Praises and Treat."

Stitch, sitting and "staying," albeit slightly distracted

So after a very fun-filled yet tiring class, Stitch and I (mostly me) decided to take a few pictures in his class surroundings. You know, for his puppy scrapbook* and this blog:

Photo-op: Going once...

Photo-op: Going twice...

Photo-op: Gone!

Of course with all that activity and attention, Stitch's only recourse was this by the time he got into the car:

Stitched passed out on the passenger seat.
Yes, he is wearing a doggie seat belt.

*Note: Stitch does not have a puppy scrapbook. I'm not that neurotic. A blog is sufficient.