Cookie Review

Spanky and I spent the afternoon yesterday at the Fidos For

Me and Spanky
Me and Spanky

Freedom Open House.  Spanky arrived on the scene, exuberant and straining on his leash, as this building is also where he has been participating in Nosework class lately. He would not stop for petting until he completed a full building sweep and determined it to be free of “hides.” As if a mastiff isn’t distracting enough, he then made a show of rolling on his back and being generally disruptive during the service and hearing dog skills demonstrations (“Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”)

Homemade doggy cookies

Homemade doggy cookies

Despite his less than model behavior, he still managed to meet a number of new people and was rewarded for his “efforts” with 4 packs of homemade doggy cookies. We independently reviewed these cookies based on taste, drooliness (this was considered a PLUS on the doggy scale, a MINUS on the human scale), and interest in a 2nd serving.

20150802 Hungry Hippo

First up, was a doggy cookie labeled “Tuna Melts.”  Spanky is especially discerning when it comes to being introduced to new treats and he took a few seconds to sniff it before taking it from my hand.  He then proceeded to savor it: holding it in his mouth and drooling for another 3-5 seconds, before deciding to chew it.  He seemed to really enjoy this treat and quickly returned for another.  For my part, this cookie smelled and tasted fishy, but had a pleasing consistency.  While I am a fan of tuna, it didn’t appeal to my human sensibilities.  This cookie gets 5 paws from Spanky and 2 feet from me.

Tuna Melts

Tuna Melts

5 paws

2 feet

Next up was an cute spongy ball. Spanky took it right away, chewed it up and came back for more! To the credit of this little ball, there was a minimum of drooling, because of the moist, soft consistency. I was also happily surprised to find that this little ball was sweet and quite tasty. I would actually eat this as a human treat. This cookie gets 5 paws from Spanky and 5 feet from me.

Sweet Little Ball

Sweet Little Ball

5 paws

5 feet

Third to the table was a small cookie that reminded me of a gingersnap. Spanky seemed to have gotten the hang of this “game” by now, and was eagerly looking forward to his next treat. I offered him this little star and he snatched it up and swallowed it whole. I didn’t have enough data to provide a score, so I went ahead and gave him a 2nd cookie. He repeated the same, and came back for more. Personally, I liked the soft, but firm consistency. It was a bit bland for my tastes, but based on Spanky’s behavior, I must assume he liked it. Also, given how quickly he devoured it, it was only minimally drool-producing. Therefore, this cookie gets 5 paws from Spanky and 4 feet from me.

Disappearing Star

Disappearing Star

5 paws

4 feet

Last, but not least was a more traditional looking doggy cookie in the shape of what I think was a bear. Spanky’s enthusiasm for the Cookie Review had certainly not waned and he was literally bouncing with excitement, awaiting the next item on the menu. He quickly took this cookie from my hand and proceed to chew and drool excessively. Given the larger size of this cookie, pieces also fell from his mouth, providing Spanky with an extended gastronomic experience. To the human palate, this cookie seemed more like a cracker. I could perhaps see eating it with a bowl of soup, but not as a stand alone. It was also the messiest of all the cookies, which impacted its human rating considerably. This treat received 5 paws from Spanky and 2 feet from me.

Drool-worthy Cracker

Drool-worthy Cracker

5 paws

2 feet

It is clear that Spanky found all of the cookie options to be quite delicious, and he has kindly requested that the human refrain from sampling any more of his tasty treats!
20150802 (Spanky Drool 1)

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Watch Me Grow

Spanky at 28 months

Spanky at 28 months

Spanky 26 Months

Spanky 26 Months

Spanky at 25 months

Spanky at 25 months

Spanky at 24 months

Spanky at 24 months

Spanky at 23 months

Spanky at 22 months (200 lbs)

Spanky at 19 months

Spanky at 18 months

Spanky at 17 months

Spanky at 16 months

Spanky at 15 months

Spanky at 15 months

Spanky at 14 months (186 lbs)

Spanky at 12 months

Spanky at 11 months (182 lbs)

Spanky at 10 months (175 lbs)

Spanky at 9 months (165 lbs)

Spanky at 8 months (154 lbs)

Spanky at 7 months (135 lbs)

Spanky 6 months (114 lbs)

Spanky at 5.5. months (100 lbs)

Spanky at 5 months (87 lbs)

Spanky 20 weeks (83 lbs)

Spanky 18 weeks (72 lbs)

Spanky 16 weeks (60 lbs)

Spanky 14 weeks (50 lbs)

Spanky at 13 weeks (44 lbs)

Spanky at 12 weeks (38 lbs)

Spanky at 11 weeks (33 lbs)

Spanky at 10 weeks

Spanky at 8 weeks

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The End of Summer

Like most mastiff owners, I’m looking forward to the end of 90+ degree days with 90% humidity. But the one thing I know Spanky will miss is playing water games. Spanky had what will probably be his last outside bath of the year and this is an activity that my boy just LOVES.

“Hurry up! Fill the bucket and then spray me!”

“Okay, I’m ready!”

It’s not the getting soapy part that is so much fun, but the post-bath activities that give Spanky a thrill. There is nothing he loves more than getting hit full force, right in the face, with the water gun set to the highest pressure setting: Jet.

A perfect shot right in the mouth


Spanky is completely focused on the water gun and watches for the first sign that I’m squeezing the trigger. If I pause too long between sprays, he’ll trot up to the sprayer and “ask for more.” I recently saw a video on Facebook where the trainer was showing dog owners signs to look for to see if your dog is consenting to be petted. (Does your dog say, yes?) Well, one thing is for sure, when it comes to water Spanky says “OH, YES!”

All done! Time to finally get a good shake.

Shaking it off

So fresh and so clean! Spanky, all dry and ready to make visits at the Nursing home. He might be a therapy dog, but he’s still full of Attitude. Can’t you just hear him saying: “Whatchoo talkin bout Willis?”

On our way to a Therapy Visit

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Target Practice

Please check your firearms at the door.

I’m talking about training targeting behavior in dogs. Basically, it is teaching your dog to touch a specific body part to an object. Spanky knows “Touch” means to touch an object with his nose, and “Hit it” means to touch it with his paw.

Why is this more than just a fancy party trick?

Target training is an excellent skill for dogs to learn, for so many reasons. For shy dogs, it can be a great way to build confidence. If they learn to enjoy (read: expect lots and lots of treats and praise for) touching their noses or paws to different things, this can be transferred to a new or even a potentially scary object to help them to overcome their nervousness. I will often encourage Spanky to target to an new and unfamiliar object, whether or not he displays signs of nervousness. Best to get ahead of it and don’t give him a chance to develop a negative impression (however innocuous you may think the new object is). I can’t tell you how many dogs I know who don’t like plastic bags floating along with the wind (so silly!).

Using a “Post-it” as a target.

For big dogs, this is also great way to help them to maneuver in tight spaces when they don’t yet have great body awareness. As a therapy dog, there is often limited space to move around on visits, and even less if you are working with another therapy team. In my experience mastiffs fall into one of two categories when it comes to body awareness. The “Operation Game” mastiff: one who is verrrry careful not to touch anything with any part of his body. And may even spook if his rear or back touches something he doesn’t see coming. Or the “Bull in a China Shop” mastiff: one who doesn’t care what he bumps into or knocks over in the process of moving around. Spanky is the latter. But neither is good. (Picture expensive medical equipment falling to the ground!). Playing target games are a great way to move his head while you steer him like a big truck. Imagine gaining 150-200 pounds in less than 2 years. You might underestimate your size too!

“Spanky, Touch.”

Another very useful way to use targeting is for “Busy Work.” I know there are dogs out there who have a fantastic default sit or down, when they are bored. I have seen them. I have even met them. Unfortunately, Spanky is not one of those dogs. The good news is that Spanky and I can pretty much play a game of “Touch” and “Hit it” anywhere. And that’s the best part. It IS a game to Spanky and he loves to play it!

Moving the target around.

“Spanky, Touch.”

Finally, for the Smartie Pants dogs out there, it can potentially be a way to help you out. Think of all those times your hands were too full to shut the door behind you. Wouldn’t it be nice to say, “Fido, close door” and stand there proudly watching as your buddy pushed the door shut behind you! Needless to say, Spanky and I aren’t in the Smartie Pants Club yet, but don’t worry… when and if it ever happens, there will be Youtube videos galore.

Pointing out a new paw target.

“Spanky, Hit it.”

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One Proud Papa

We went to the Chesapeake Mastiff Club Fun Match today and one of the best parts is getting the opportunity to get Spanky together with his Big Daddy Lincoln. For the full set of photos from the day, click on the Photo Album

Today, there were a bunch of Lincoln puppies and we tried to get a family photo. We were moderately successful anyway.

Lincoln and his Puppies
(Ambrosia, Baldr, Spanky, Lincoln and Leif)

Baldr, Spanky and Lincoln
(Himinbjorg's Noblest Intentions, Woodmarks No Girls Allowed and Woodmarks Lincoln of Goldleaf)

Spanky and his Daddy Lincoln

Lincoln and Simple Simon

Spanky also practiced in the show ring and confirmed once again that I have no business owner handling. Look how nicely he works for Becky!

Spanky gaiting with Becky

The Himinbjorg puppies were there and they are all so sweet, well behaved and BIG. And only 10 months old!

Ambrosia and Baldr
(Himinbjorg's Sweet Nectar and Himinbjorg's Noblest Intentions)

Baldr (Himinbjorg's Noblest Intentions)

Leif (Himinbbjorg's Descendant of Greatness)

Lazy Leif (Himinbbjorg's Descendant of Greatness)

Thaddeus was so happy go-lucky and was ready to meet anybody or anypuppy who would play with him.

Thaddeus having fun
(Rainmakers Coming to Old School)

Becky also came with her puppies Chili and Diesel (although Chili was out when Spanky was still keeping me busy and I didn’t have my camera out).

Becky and Diesel
(Coopers Pursuit to Kaigans High Speed Chase)

The Leeds Hall crew also joined and the honorary mastiffs, Frank and Beans came out for the fun.

Robert and Frank

Robert and Beans

I didn’t get a formal stacked photo of Darla, but since this girl has a way of winning majors literally every time she has been shown, she has plenty of professional photos!

Spanky's sister Darla (Leeds Hall Return To Sender)

Meanwhile, Corky obliged by self-stacking and posing pretty for the camera. This girl is a Tank.


Of course, no one could ignore the adorable little babies who came out for some attention: puppies out of Cayenne X Bentley (CH SpiceWoodMarks Sheza Spicy Blonde
X Woodmarks Down N Dirty)

Apricot male (Bentley X Cayenne)

Brindle Male (Bentley X Cayenne)

This fawn girl (who is still looking for a home) definitely captured my eye and heart. Outgoing, feisty and so snuggly… deifinitely my kind of puppy!

Fawn girl (Bentley X Cayenne)

Fawn girl and Me

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Gee Whiz… Cheez Whiz!

Just a fun little photo progression from today.  I was trying to take Spanky’s 16 month photos, but the heat was sapping his energy.  So I decided to make it worth his while to participate and whipped out the Cheez Whiz.

"No thank you. I don't want to stack up today."

Cheezy...Nom Nom Nom Nom...

"I liked that!"

"Uh, hello? Where you goin?"

"It's right over here. You left it over here."

"It's right over here. You left it over here."

"Must. Have. Cheez Whiz!"

"Gimme Gimme Gimme"

"Come ON! Help a feller out, won't you?

"Never mind!  I'll just get it myself."

"Oh forget it! I'll just get it myself."

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Spanky Turns 1

Spanky looking outside

It was a year ago that Spanky came into this world (bred by Robert Miller – Leeds Hall Mastiffs, and Scott Phoebus – Iron Hills Mastiffs). Looking back, I can appreciate how much the important people in my life cared about me and helped me. The grief of losing our first mastiff, Diesel had me frozen. I wanted and was ready for a new puppy, but was just scared. So it was a group effort between my husband, my Vet and Diesel’s breeder who all helped me to take that first step.

I confess I didn’t let myself love my puppy all at once. But incredibly, I got exactly what I needed: a pushy, persistent, in-your-face, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer puppy who would not be ignored. Despite my best efforts, I fell in love!

Me and Spanky

My husband and I briefly considered “Tank” as a name for him, but after we spent our first weekend with our puppy it was clear that name would not do. This silly, spunky, crazy, nut-puppy was definitely “Spanky.” Of my many nicknames for him, prominent among them are: Spanky Pants, Spunky, Monkey, Puppy Chow and Love Puppy. This boy has personality and then some.

And so Spanky turned a year old and I am grateful for the people who helped me to open my heart and invite in this big goober of a dog. I can’t imagine life without him.

Birthday cake for Spanky

Birthday Boy

Spanky looking for a treat

Handsome Boy

Sitting Spanky

Sitting Spanky

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Family Fun Day (Chesapeake Mastiff Club Fun Match)

Spanky had a little family reunion today. We went to the Chesapeake Mastiff Club Fun Match for a little pre-show practice. “Practice” started by throwing Spanky in the run with his cousins Charlie and Cayenne to burn off some of his excess energy and excitement!

Spanky and Charlie (Woodmarks Flirt N With Fire)

Cayenne (SpiceWoodMarks Sheza Spicy Blond)

Charlie, Spanky and Cayenne

His cousin Ryan was the next to arrive and Spanky went for round two with his new friend.

Kelly, Spanky and Ryan

Ryan stretched his legs in the practice ring. Handlers are for suckas!

Ryan (Candy Lanes Fields of Athenry)

Ryan (Candy Lanes Fields of Athenry)

Spanky’s little half brothers and sister also came out to play!

Baldur (Himinbjorg puppy)

Leif (Himinbjorg puppy)

Ambrosia (Himinbjorg puppy)

He made a new friend in Clio, who at 7 months, had the same ideas of fun and pouncing as Spanky and the two of them watched eagerly from the sidelines.

Clio (Greiner Hall Making History)

Spanky and John

And of course, the family reunion wouldn’t be complete without some updated photos of Spanky with his Daddy Lincoln (CH Woodmarks Lincoln of Goldleaf). The resemblance between them is wonderful to watch as it unfolds. With any luck, he’ll continue to take after his Dad in both looks and personality.

Daddy Lincoln and Spanky

Daddy Lincoln and Spanky

Diane, Daddy Lincoln, Spanky and Me

For the full set of photos from the day, click on the Photo Album

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Woodmarks Diesel RE, CGC, TDI (07/05/2005 – 09/04/2010)

Kisses from Diesel

I know that this is Spanky’s blog, so you’ll have to excuse this little excursion.  Today is the Rainbow Bridge Anniversary for our first mastiff, Diesel.  It feels right to post this here, since I know we never would have gotten Spanky if we had not loved Diesel as deeply as we did.  I think of him often and what I would do if I could have just one more day with my sweet boy.  I miss him so…

One Fine Day

We would wake early
I wouldn’t waste a single minute

We would go to the creek
Your favorite friends would meet us there
You would all splash around 
Until finally you’d find a deep spot and lay down in it.

Later I’d spray you with the hose
While you tried to catch the water in your mouth
And we’d sit in the grass while you dried 
Snoozing a little and watching the neighbors
Children would stop and say hello
And you’d thump your tail for them

Then we’d take a nap together
Snuggling in bed
You were a great napper

I’d grab a book and sit on the balcony with you
The cats would rub against you
I’d share watermelon cubes with you
And you’d wrestle with your Daddy

At the end of that fine day, I’d whisper in your ear
How you made my life better, happier, fuller
How much I loved you, and still do
And how you changed my life forever.


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Camp Jarvis

Spanky visited Camp Jarvis for the first time since he was only a few months old. He had a blast running around with his big brother Jaybear, who can still make him look like a pipsqueak! I was happy to see Spanky give Teagan the proper respect as Queen of the household, and also how nicely he played with all the other pups who were visiting too.

Jaybear and Spanky on the run

"Follow Me!"

"Hey, we're not done already, are we?"

"Come on Brudder! Get up and play with me."

Alright Kid. You asked for it!

Jaybear resting

Spanky was also thrilled by the discovery of Pat’s baby pool. Good thing, it has nice strong sides or Spanky would have crushed it. It took him a few tries, but he finally figured out how to squish his big ole body so he could “submerge.”

Spanky discovers the baby pool

"Hmm... this could be better."

"I think I've almost got it."

"Oh yeah, that's the ticket."

And then finally, Jaybear showed off his water catching skills!

Spanky and Jaybear play with the hose

Jaybear catching water droplets

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