Live Chat With Spike!

7 03 2009

UPDATE: Thanks to all who joined me in the chat tonight.  I look forward to doing it again.

This Thursday at 9 PM EST, I will be hosting a live chat for you to ask me your dog behavior questions.  I am using a neat service called TinyChat.  For those of you that have dog behavior questions, but you have not yet submitted them to me, now is your chance to do it without the delay necessary for me to write an entire article addressing your question.  Please note: I may use the situations from the chat to help other families struggling with similar issues.

To participate in the chat, check back HERE at 8:50 PM on Thursday, March 12 to get the link for the chat.  Click it and join in.  It really is that easy.  My friends that use Twitter will see a tweet in my stream at 8:50 PM as well, with a link to the chat.

If you have an in-depth or uncommon question for me, please send me a short e-mail ahead of time describing the issue, so I can fully develop my suggestions to you.  My paw pals, their families, and other interested parties are all welcome to join.  I intend for the chat to last until 10 PM, but I am happy to extend it if necessary.



Spike’s Pack: March 2009 Nominees

7 03 2009

It is time to introduce the nominees for Spike’s Pack for March 2009.  Voting will commence Sunday morning at 12:01 AM and conclude Tuesday night at 11:59 PM, all times EST.  Congratulations to all those nominated, and good luck in the voting.

Nominee #1 – Webster Lee

spikes-pack-webster-leeWebster found his mom as he was on the lam.  His mom had no idea at the time, of course.  When she pulled into a parking lot, in customary fashion, she opened the door and talked to him.  After a half hour of coaxing, he got in the car.  He went home with her, and he considered his options.  A life of uncertainty or a loving home with four females?  He eventually worked his way into the house where the ladies promptly fell in love with him, and he had a home.

His mother, being the responsible dog lover she is, immediately placed an ad in the paper to find his owner.  The owner saw the ad, responded, crushing his new mother.  She had fallen hard.  As luck would have it, he had fallen quite hard himself.   After three days, the original owner called again and said that he was miserable.  He would not eat, and he was generally depressed.  She asked if Webster could return, as he was heartbroken without the love he experienced.  His new mom welcomed him back into her loving home, and they have been together ever since.

Nominee #2 – Duke Richard II


Duke Richard II is 3.5-year-old Jack Russel mix, adopted from the Austin Humane Society.  At the time of his adoption, Duke was a scruffy dog with a long wiry white coat and a bad case of heartworm. His adoptive parents had him shaved shortly after they took him home and were quite surprised to learn he had TONS of spots underneath all that white hair!  Duke underwent heart worm treatment (that was a scary time) and is now healthy and happier than ever. Duke has the most personality of any dog I have ever known.  He loves to dance, cuddle, play, and keep the squirrels out of the yard.

Duke has a younger sister, Sophie, who was also adopted from the Austin Humane Society.  The two of them LOVE to play and wrestle, but most of all they love to spoon.  On a warm Austin day, you’ll find Duke swimming in Lake Travis and enjoying some Frosty Paws.

Like Spike, Duke is a working dog and very computer literate, writing his own blog.

Nominee #3 – Buddy & Granger Tylka
Buddy and Granger Tylka are the best boys a Mom could wish for.  They eat all of their breakfast, use the potty outdoors, play nicely together (even when they rough-house) and let their sister dress them up in Boas and Mardi Gras beads when it is tea time.   They like to hang out together all of the time, they are brothers, but brothers from different mothers!  Buddy is a rescue pup who is 11 years old and was adopted 8 years ago.  He is ½ husky and ½ golden is is a lovely fluffy golden sweetheart.  Granger is going to be 4 soon and he has been Buddy’s brother since he was 4 weeks old.  He’s a Georgia Brown Dog  – he’s brown and he’s from Georgia!  With great personalities, and lots of love they would like to join Spike’s Pack!
Nominee #4 – Cici Hecht

She is a 2 year old Dalmatian polka dottie pink bellied pit bull mix.  She was rescued from a bad situation in Las Vegas, NV when she was six months old.  She has one polka dot ear and muted polka dots all over her body and one black ear and loves to show off her belly.  She likes to use the couch in the picture to camouflage herself when playing hide-and seek.  She is the sweetest, friendliest dog on the planet and loves to practice tongue foo.  You’ve heard of drive by’s, Cici offers lick by’s to strangers and all who walk nearby (she has a foot fetish and also enjoys untying shoe laces)… She is available for foot washing and shoe cleaning/untying  services.  Cici is also available for tail wagging, sniffing out cats, chasing bikes, skateboards and motorcycles, and bug and lizard stalking.

Cici’s friend, Bruce wrote this poem for her:

Dog exists. Wherein lies the proof?
Inspired once again, this time by CiCi, the pink-bellied pit,
who consistently breaks local tail-wagging ordinances.
Yes God spelled backwards is Dog.
And we bow and say Wow!
God, many perceive to be in the heavens, but dog is on earth;
four legs on the ground. Yes, they say all dogs go to heaven,
however Dog is a bridge, between man’s instinctive nature, (the garden) and the mind, as Dog has adapted to please Man.
A wag of the tail, shining eyes, a playful gait and a grateful Soul,
all reminding us of a certain perfection. All of this encourages us not to take life too seriously, to be playful in the moment.

Nominee #5 – Snickers & Sonny Bear Miller


Snickers is a Fourche Terrier — a Westie/Yorkie mix.  He was adopted from a rescue in Chicago, IL. when he was a year old.  Snickers was very fearful and slow to trust when he was first adopted, but with time, patience, discipline and love, Snickers came around.  Now, he loves to run around Grant Park, chase his friends in the dog park and get as many belly rubs as he can from his Mom.

Sonny Bear is a Yorkshire Terrier who came to live with Snickers and his Mom in 2007, when he was only 6 months old.  He came from a home where he was kept in crate up to 20 hours a day.  The owner could not take care of him and asked if he could join Snickers’ family.  He fit in immediately!  Funny thing though:  His name was originally Snickers! For about a week, Sabrina had two dogs named Snickers, but changed Snickers II’s name to Sonny Bear.  It fits him to a tee!  Sonny Bear loves to play fetch, wrestle with his brother and play in the dog park.

Their Mom feels like the luckiest woman in the world to be able to provide a forever home to these two beautiful and loving dogs!

Nominee #6 – Oliver M.

spikes-pack-oliver-mOliver is a 7 month old Beaglier, a mix between a Beagle and a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, and his parents think he’s the cutest puppy ever!  His cute face and ears get him out of most trouble.  Oliver is almost done with housebreaking, and he is a very fast learner, but he can be awfully stubborn!  Oliver has 2 cat siblings – one is an older brother, Steve, and the other is a same-age sister, Maya.  Oliver plays with his brother and sister very well – just like a puppy – biting, chasing, rolling around!  Steve is a bit of a loner, but we can tell Oliver and Maya will be life long friends.  When Oliver was a 6 week old puppy he had a black face, head and ears with some white markings.  Within the first 2-3 months his entire head and ears turned blonde! His parents could not believe he was the same puppy!  He loves sneaking into the bathroom to grab some toilet paper to chew on, as well as chewing up moving boxes!  Most of his relaxing time is spent with us in bed at night or next to us on the futon in the office.  Oliver is very social, and he loves being around people – Just HATES being in his crate!

Again, congratulations to everyone for being nominated.  Don’t worry if your favorite pet does not win the March vote, because all nominees will be included in future votes as well, just like the Hall of Fame for my favorite sport to watch on TV with Mom, baseball.  Once nominated, potential packmates will not be forsaken, as I want to grow my pack to its full potential.

Feel free to spread the word about your choice (be creative by using forums, posting on web pages, and calling all of your friends and family) and vote as often as PollDaddy will let you.  Re-visit this same post after midnight on the 8th to kickstart the voting.  We will announce the winner on Wednesday.  Good luck to all of the nominees, their friends and family.

Get your vote on!

Weighing In On The First Dog

5 03 2009

Anyone that wants to give a dog a GOOD home must be great people, but deciding on a type of dog to join your family can be a big decision.  I am happy to see that the Obamas are doing their homework to find the right dog, weighing every option.  Adding a dog to your family is a big responsibility, and if anyone out there is thinking about running out and getting the same dog as the first family, you need reconsider why you want a dog.

The predictors out there have been pointing to a Portugese Water Dog strongly, but I hear there is still some consideration of a Labradoodle.  Either way, the First Lady has indicated that they will be rescuing their choice from one of the more than 250,000 deserving dogs needing a home currently residing in a shelter, rescue or foster home.  As I am sure you expected, this is a choice I strongly support.  Being a rescue dog myself, I wish everyone would find their four-legged family members from the same place.




Read the rest of this entry »

Barkhunt Teaser Clue Prizes

4 03 2009

For the teaser clue issued in the 4 PM EST hour during #woofwednesday:

Barkhunt Teaser Prize #1

For the teaser clue issued in the 8 PM EST hour during #woofwednesday:

Barkhunt Teaser Prize #2

Spike Says: BARKHUNT Round Two

4 03 2009

This Thursday night, my pawpals at Paw Luxury, Best Bully Sticks, Four Legged Media and I will be playing host to the second round of Twitter’s first scavenger hunt, Barkhunt.  Take a look at some of the awesome prizes, pics from the winners at our first round, and the rules.

The hunt starts PROMPTLY at 9 PM Eastern Standard time for the first clue, so do not wait until the last minute to follow each of us on Twitter.


How Could You?

3 03 2009

The following is an essay included in a book titled, “Pieces of My Heart” by Jim Willis.  I requested his permission to republish this essay, so that I can dedicate it to anyone who has ever known the love of a good dog, especially to those of you who have rescued a good dog and who know what a fantastic friend a “second-hand” dog can be.

When I was a puppy I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was “bad,” you’d shake your finger at me and ask “How could you?” – but then you’d relent and roll me over for a bellyrub.

My housetraining took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed, listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because “ice cream is bad for dogs,” you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.

She, now your wife, is not a “dog person” – still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a “prisoner of love.”

As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch – because your touch was now so infrequent – and I would have defended them with my life if need be.

I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams. Together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway. There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered “yes” and changed the subject. I had gone from being “your dog” to “just a dog,” and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You’ve made the right decision for your “family,” but there was a time when I was your only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said “I know you will find a good home for her.” They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog or cat, even one with “papers.” You had to pry your son’s fingers loose from my collar as he screamed “No, Daddy! Please don’t let them take my dog!” And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a goodbye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.

After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked “How could you?”

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you – that you had changed your mind – that this was all a bad dream…or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited.

I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table, rubbed my ears and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood.

She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured “How could you?”

Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said “I’m so sorry.” She hugged me and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn’t be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself – a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. With my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my “How could you?” was not meant for her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever.

May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

Please take a moment to share this with anyone you know who needs to read it.  If you would like to print a copy, Mr. Willis has graciously provided a .pdf to share in that way.

The next time you have a couple dollars left over after keeping your house in order, please consider donating it to one of the “Good Guys” on the right sidebar or here here and here, one of the shelters or rescues over on Spike’s Shelter Dogs, or your local shelter or rescue.

Teach Your Dog “STAY” And “WAIT”

28 02 2009
This girl is working on a STAY

This good girl is working on a STAY

Before we begin, I would like to note something about the STAY and WAIT commands.  Remember, these are two DIFFERENT commands.  How do you know which one to use?  It depends on the distance.  For example, if Mom says, “Spike, SITSTAY,” I learned that Mom will keep pretty close to me (usually within six feet) when she releases me.  However, if Mom says, “Spike, SITWAIT,” she may not even be in the same room when she releases me.  Simple, right?  Not really.  It is very important that you not teach these commands at the same time, and I suggest that you teach the STAY command first. Read the rest of this entry »