March 15, 2014
Toys and Squeakies
You’d think that all dogs would love playing ball and fetching in a roughly similar fashion. However, you might be surprised to learn that Shih Tzus, at least, play differently. As a matter of fact, each Shih Tzu has strong likes and dislikes, just like people, which fit their various personalities. Of all dogs that I’ve seen, Shih Tzus seem to be the most individualistic, most out-of-the-box players.
For instance, Ling Ling, from the moment she trotted into our home and hearts, has been crazy about stuffed toys and squeakies. Furthermore, it wasn’t good enough to just chew on them. She had to carry them around, roll on her back and play with them with her paws, just like a baby, and later, when we got a yard, do laps around the yard carrying a stuffed toy. She also loves having Daddy throw a toy for her to chase.
When Ling Ling was little, she couldn’t carry a toy very far because it was usually bigger than she was, so she developed this bobbing sort of run where she ran a bit, bobbed to get the toy off the ground again, rinse and repeat around the yard. Even after she grew bigger than the toy, she would run with this bobbing gait. Apparently, in her mind, this was the correct way one ran with toys. Once the Princess gets a mindset, it almost takes dynamite to change it.
Shoes and Chews
Because, when we got Ling Ling, I had been dogless for a several years, and because I was still a novice about Shih Tzus, I expected Oreo to play the same way. Therefore it shocked me to find out he didn’t play at all the same. He had little interest in stuffed toys or squeakies. And, at six years of age, he is still just a novice in the joys of squeakydom. His only other interest in playing with squeakies, is using them to torment the “girls.” What he does enjoy messing with are shoes, usually my crocs, which he carries around and chews on. Fortunately his teeth, although sharp, are small and little damage is done. Going down the list, the only other thing, besides hardened rawhide chews, that Oreo truly enjoys playing with is…Ling Ling.
It is quite the sight to see the youngsters wrestling. Ling Ling is now fourteen pounds lighter than Oreo, with little fat on her frame. She is wiry and strong, made much stronger by her bouts with Oreo, since he could, if he wanted, take her down in seconds. But he doesn’t. He is very gentle with and protective of her. That doesn’t mean he won’t rough her up some, but he usually lets her have her way and wouldn’t intentionally hurt her.
I know this from my ringside seat, my heart in my mouth, as I watch Oreo leap on top of Ling Ling in a move that promises to crush the life out of her little body. Contrarily, she wriggles out from under him and starts snapping at his jaw whiskers, all the while emitting a shrill, scolding bark. Pretty soon, she’s got him on the run to Daddy for safety, with his tail tucked between his legs. And that’s the way the Princess does it!
That brings us to Tilly Tot. Since she is a quite a bit older than the other two, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, I was a bit dismayed to find out that she loved her toys as much as Ling Ling. See, this posed a dilemma since they often wanted the same toy. We started buying three toys of the exact kind, color, size, and squeak volume. Didn’t make a difference. The girls wanted the same one. And Ling Ling usually won.
The Wisdom of Tilly Tot
However, I learned about the wisdom of Tilly. I would get all cranked up about Ling Ling being mean and taking the toy right out of Tilly’s mouth. Ling Ling is stronger, younger, and much fitter than Tilly, so it’s no contest. But it doesn’t bother Tilly. She just goes and does something else. Once she shows she isn’t interested in the toy, Ling Ling loses interest, too. As the Princess wanders off, Tilly quietly walks over to the toy she wanted in the first place and starts chewing on it.
How about your dog?
What entertaining way
does s/he have of playing?
And how do you respond to this style?
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(Next week watch for Part 2 of “Let the (Doggy) Games Begin!”)
Copyright © 2013 by
Sandra Bell Kirchman
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