Acquired: Breeder (professional)
Training: I haven't learned care / training techniques
Posted March 1, 2016
I would like to start this out by saying that I love these two. Whatever number the site generates as their grade, I give them a 4.7/5 because the love is totally worth the vet bills and grooming costs and so forth. As a general rule, I dislike little dogs. Of all of the little dogs in the world, I dislike Shih Tzu's the most. I had one before these two, and I loathed it.
Moving right along. These are the most loving dogs I have ever met. Glued to eachother since what I can only assume is birth, the two developed opposing yet identical personalities. Buddy is a little smaller and more hyper and excited and silly. He learned on his own to sit on his hind legs and sometimes walk that way, just to impress you into giving him a treat. Flash, on the other hand, is the one that is likely to fall asleep while he is begging (I have seriously dangled a treat in front of him, and within 30 seconds watched his eyes close and his head bob until he was woken up by gravity).
The two are the best of friends, always next to eachother and doing things together. They are very attached to everyone that they meet, and love other animals. When I first introduced them to my cat (who loathes all creatures that are not feeding her), they were so perfect. She hissed and scratched and growled, and both of them took a step back, sat down patiently, and waited for her to get used to the distance before they inched forward a little bit again. They spent hours at this game (which they never won, but there's something to be said for trying), and subsequent months continuing to try and gain her affections. In fact, they care more about getting her to like them (which will never happen) than they do about dinner. As soon as they see her near, nothing in the world matters except finding a way to make her love them.
As guard dogs, they're terrible. Which, to be fair, they couldn't scare anything even if they tried. It's better that they don't bark at every little thing or growl at strangers angrily. They would just look silly, and they're already pretty silly looking anyway.
Health-wise, they're not good. I had similar issues with the prior Shih Tzu, but it's a common thing that they would have problems with their hind legs. Buddy is mostly fine, but Flash cannot jump or climb stairs at all without very obviously hurting himself in the process. And trust me, he has tried. We had to put up a ramp on the porch stairs so that he could get up and down them. The hip problems (which are the primary cause of his problems with his legs) also cause bladder issues, and either one or the other is always on some kind of medication.
As for grooming, they are long-haired dogs that get nappy and gross if you don't keep them regularly groomed. It's not very expensive, if you can find someone to do it for about 40 dollars, but is definitely not something to overlook. Especially because of the white in their fur, it's very easy for them to appear and feel disgusting if you aren't keeping up with their grooming.
As mentioned at the beginning, though, every moment and every penny has been worth it. These guys are amazing, and I still rate them way up there as some of the best pets I've ever had.