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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Race for the crate

When I got Spike, Teri warned me that he would go into his crate reluctantly, and be great once he was in. "You have to give him a push to get him in sometimes," she admitted.

Tonight I had to laugh. "Wanna go to bed?" I said aloud, unclipping the long leash that lets Spike roam the courtyard.

He barely let me help with "wipe your feet" on the entry rug before he belted his way into the kitchen, stood in front of his crate, and waited eagerly for me to open the door. He jumped in the minute the door swung aside, backing up to the far end so I would get out of his way.

Of course, I had put some drops of sardine oil on a few dry dog food pieces before I sent him outside. He's no dummy. There's always food of some sort waiting in the crate, even if it's just an Omega-3 fish oil capsule. From reluctant to racer.

Proving again, every owner trains their dog for their own priorities.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


We're back to dog smell. We've gone from Petco perfume to "au doggie." It's a relief. No pet should stink of artificial flowers.

After the yoga class Saturday, I took Spike to a new dog park. There are fences around 'natural' areas of trees and ferns. The dogs roam and run the cedar bark trails together. It's at least a coupla acres, so they have a good time. Rubbing shoulders with the big dogs quickly restored the fur scent!

When we got home after the park, Spike ran around the yard madly, getting the long leash wrapped up in shrubs (oh, the suffering of our little boxwoods as he barges between the trunks). He loves the bird food that drops under the cage because it has egg in it - but looks so guilty when I tell him to "leave it."

Spike is apparently not intimidated by any dog. He enjoyed playing with the bigger dogs. He ran around with them more and faster than he does with the little guys in the small dog park. Don't know if it's because he thinks he's a big animal (despite his size.) He was 1/3 the height of the next smallest dog.

"Did you wash him on warm and dry him on hot?" asked our son when he saw how tiny Spike looked today.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Close shave

I've been clipping Spike's face and feet, but today he got a close shave at Petco. I couldn't believe it was the same dog... he lost a size or two along with 2" of hair. The lion tip of his tail is gone - he looks like a miniature version of a lab.

All day, Spike's been scooting along the floor, putting the horrible perfume of the groomer on the rugs. Ugh. Dogs are not meant to smell like cheap teenage cologne! His ears are short short short, in spite of the "short summer clip all over, but leave his ear tips long." Oh well, the groomer was busy, and I was delighted to have his toenails clipped, teeth cleaned, and face shaved.

We went for a walk to show him off, and got lots of smiles. It's back to the red harness: without neck hair, the collar can slip over his ears.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mighty hunter... not

We started the day with a three mile bike ride. We stopped twice to talk to people walking their big dogs. "Oooooh, that would be so handy," each exclaimed when they saw Spike running alongside. "Isn't he too little? We hope you put him in the basket sometimes," said one. Well, Spike loves the run or trot, and hates the basket, which he rides down our gravel driveway. I try to keep his paws relatively clean after the run on the streets and a turn on the park lawns.

Today was mostly the adventure of mouse-hunting again. None have been caught in the traps inside the benches, although there are "signs" of them being around. Spike has developed to a fine art getting the yard leash tangled in the legs of benches, porch supports, and shrubbery. When he's ready to come in (usually not for 20-30 minutes), he's wrapped around a post. Or...his 40' leash is tied down to 5-10'.

I grip his collar so he doesn't gallop away, unclip his lead, and begin to unwind it. I'm amazed at how much mileage he gets out of a romp in the front yard. As far as I know, he's still under the illusion that he's a mighty hunter. I keep watching his "dooty" for signs of success at catching a mouse, and am always relieved when he's hopeless as a hunter. Pretty soon the mice will be used to him and let him follow them home. HA HA

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Last bitter pill to swallow

We're done! The last quarter-pill has disappeared down an eager throat. It's not that the medicine, prescribed by the vet for Spike's ears, is tasty. But dip it in peanut butter, stick on a few pieces of dried dog food, and YUM YUM. Down it goes!

Spike had a busy day outside in the courtyard, on his leash chasing mice. We are being overrun with mice, probably getting fat from feasting on the birdseed dropping from the finch cage. Ugh. I even found droppings in our old car.

The traps are set, then sprung without results. I may have to resort to poison in the woods where they nest. Spike can't get there because of the 4' concrete wall around the courtyard. Luckily, his leash is too short to go around the wall into the trees. It would be a final bitter pill for the rodents, to harm rather than heal (like Spikey's).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Haircut day

Oh, this dog has hair. And it grows. Constantly. We've worked out a deal. He holds still enough for some progress in cutting feet or face hair, and I give him a piece of dry dog food (sample pack from PetSmart). It only takes 2-3 pieces for him to catch on that, while it is unpleasant, it's not the end of the world.

End result? he can see out of his cute eyes again, and he looks more like a puppy than ever. As for me, I'm tired and ready for a novel or movie.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just a squeaky shoe

Spike's kept busy for almost an hour, finding the squeaky shoe. He will keep looking until he finds it - I've thrown it into closets, under foam bedding and desks, over the rail into the living room below, and he always works until he has it. Then he brings it back and sits happily in front of me.

Then he barks as I squeak it so he can fetch it again. What a hoot. And what good exercise - up the stairs, down, run around, run back... he's amazing. And exhausted. He throws himself down for a snooze.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Spin the doggie

It's another lamb-on-dry day for Spikey. (More lamb juice on his regular food). He fairly sprang into the crate to have his lunch.

He's a very tired pooch from all the activity yesterday... so he's been resting most of the day. Mind you, he got into the toybox this morning and was piling one Beanie Baby after another in a corner of the dining room rug. He he. I had to remind him they all belong to me, and he just gets to play with them.

He did get a lot of treats for "find" and "fetch" and is doing well on his invention = a doozy: "Spin!" He was leaping up for a treat ("dance" = walk on hind legs) and happened to turn around. So we did it a few times with a command. For pieces of lamb, of course.

Now, when he's desperate to be noticed, he waits until I am watching, gets on his hind legs, and spins. From his doggy brain: "C'mon. You should be trained by now. What kind of a dog friend are you? I did the trick, now hand over the treats. I mean it!" (upon which he adds another spin if necessary.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Doggy park

After a 3 mile jog this morning, we had lamb for lunch. And that means juice on the dry food for Spike. He waited impatiently for me to finish making our lunch so I could get his to the crate. No sense in wasting peace and quiet; nice to have no one looking soulfully at us at the dinner table, so he usually eats in his crate while we're eating. Doesn't seem to mind, either.

We went to the small dog park after a quick post-lunch snooze. Between 5 and 10 dogs there at a time, people coming and going. Some people visit the park every day with their dogs. We've been twice, but will go again. It was breezy, the wind twinning the sunshine for pleasant temperatures.

It's interesting to see the temperament of dogs. Some dogs are cuddlers and stay near their owners. Others chase each other around, bounce off the edges, and bound through the grasses. Spike is not so much a runner. He's not a cuddler - once he knows where I am, he'll stroll by occasionally but not pay me too much attention. But he pees on every bush. Twice. And hangs out on the fringes of the pack. He doesn't get rowdy or excited, but is curious and aloof. Doesn't mind the whole sniffing thing, as long as no one puts a paw on his shoulder. "Back off, Buster!" says his body language.

He let me know when he was done. Walked over and stood in front of me until l asked, "Want to go for a walk?" He walked around the park with me, not leaving until I clipped on the leash and walked back to the car with him. He showed no interest in any dogs on our way out.

When we got home, he disappeared into the kennel on the porch for an hour to chew the lamb bone. He especially loves the joint - it disappears completely. The raccoons will be by tonight to get what he left (not much). His breath is sweet, unlike the smelly doggy breath after dry dog food.

He's worn out - sleeping beside me as I type. Won't be long and he can sleep in his own bed and I in mine. I love Sundays, a day of rest. What a good God - who else would have thought of how to make his creations rest, rather than work harder!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fly, baby, fly

"Where is it?! Find!" That's the signal for finding stuff. Spike's getting good at crawling over and under all kinds of place to find the new squeaky toys. He's persistent, and always gets a reward for nosing out a toy. Sometimes it takes 5 or 10 minutes, but he works until he can bring it back.

Today a big fat fly has gotten into my office. It is buzzing around. We probably could have skipped our 3 mile bike ride this afternoon. Spike rushes around the room madly, trying to catch it. He goes so fast he pushes his step-stool to the desk under and skids rather than getting up. I have to reposition the seat, and up he jumps. Then down. Then around. From one window to the other.

The fly is crazy-making. Spike almost snaps it up when it lands on a low file cabinet, but it gets away just in time. I think about swatting it and just getting rid of the droning buzz, but he's having too much fun.  And getting a lot of exercise in the process. Whatever's inside him, this cute little mutt is built to hunt.

He whines as the fly rests. "Fly, baby, fly! And I'll be right there..." It zooms into the room, and he launches himself in another attempt as it cruises by.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Walking fools

This morning we did a 'short' two-mile walk, getting warmed up as the rain sprinkled on us. Then this afternoon when the sun came out, Spike jogged 3 miles while I rode my little Brompton. I'm getting to know my neighborhood in new ways - up hill and dale. This is not a flat part of the word. Makes me thankful for 1st gear on the 3-gear bike. We're walking fools.

There's something about terriers! Spike pulls on the lead or goes just to the end of the lead so there's a little slack, but he won't walk right at my side. Sigh - it's hard work training a determined little guy. He'll pay attention for less than half a minute, even after we slow or change direction. I think we'll hit a few obedience classes when summer is over and we're settled in.

Spike is lying beside my desk, snoozing. Almost time to go to the crate for the night. He's such a compliant little guy... on the surface. Someone somewhere must be missing this doggie. He is almost perfect. So glad he lives here! (Thanks again, Teri and the rest of you at POPP.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A good day

I had to return a book to the library, so I shoved the bike in the car, popped Spike in his carseat, and off we went. We got out a mile or two from the library. Spike got his run with the Walky-Dog attached to the bike, I got sun and fresh air, and the books were returned on time.

Next to the library, RiteAid was open. We went inside, and the checkout gal didn't mind when I wheeled the bike, Spike running alongside, inside the store - I was originally looking for a bell he can learn to ring to go potty outside.

Nope. No bell. But they had $2 squeaker toys. Spike perked up for two of them, so I tossed them in the basket. He's squeaked the life outa one already - it still works fine, but it sure is noisy!

We went out on the pier on our way home, watching the eagles soar and dive for fish. Spike stuck close, though he's too big even for a bald eagle. Now he's resting in the sunshine, lying on the desk by the window as I try to study. Fabulous weather, good books, a good dog. It's a good day.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Before church, Spike found himself on the long lead outside the door. "Go outside," I begged him. Nope. He's determined to catch the little mouse that lives around the birdcage and catches its seed overflow. He twisted the long leash through the casters on the cage, in an around the rebar of the trellis, and through the shrubbery. Oh my, what a mess. I unclip him as I hang onto his collar. It takes a while to untangle the lead.

But he doesn't want to come inside. Some day he's determined to catch the mouse.

After I got home, I took Spike for a run on the bike. After 3 miles, he was panting but not done in. He got excited again the minute I clipped on the long lead. He's sure he's about to catch that pesky rodent. Finally I get him inside to unclip the leash.

Within a few minutes, we're out the door again. He's in his doggy-pack and gets lots of admiration when we arrive at our friends' house. I leave him in the car: it is cool, raining, and overcast. I have just a quick stop to make before we head home, back to a mouse hunt again, then inside for supper. Long fun day. I love Sundays.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Goin' fishing

Spike discovered the fish in the saltwater tank this morning. He could hardly contain himself, hopping back and forth to watch them zooming around the rocks.

He kept looking at me like, "Aren't you going to do something?" He's watched me clean the glass before, but the fish must have been hidden. After I left the guest room, he kept running back to check out the aquarium. Always new adventures in the household.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Reward and punishment

Well, rewards for Spike, anyhow. And punishment for me - poop on the DR rug, which I suspect were left earlier today. I took Spike "outside" 5X before 2pm, so there is no reason he should have given me such a present. It was raining when we went out, so maybe he didn't feel like lingering. Ugh.

The rewards were many: he gets a little piece of dog treat for every trick he'll do. Come, down (he's an expert at that now), sit, go outside, go to bed (crate), dance (walk on hind legs), and - wonder of wonders - he fetches for food treats. Practically tosses the toy at me and sits right in front of me, panting "C'mon, where are the goodies?!"

We put him in the little 4X8X4' covered kennel on the back porch while we went for supper. I was worried a few weeks ago that "something" could get him because the lamb bone had disappeared. However, we found that the cat next door is pretty handy with his paws, and sticks them through to snag leftovers. So Spikey is safe enough, especially with the little doghouse at one end, though I wouldn't leave him out overnight.

He hadn't touched his toys. He was wagging his tail at the door impatiently, waiting for me to get him as soon as he heard the car drive up. He could hardly stand still long enough for me to get a leash on him to take him up the driveway and back inside.

Nice to be so eagerly anticipated and awaited! Can't remember our teen children ever being that excited when W and I walked in the door. HA HA