|Shyla does a "stay" while standing on a stump|
|Shyla did a sit-stay by an aspen|
With people, she's learning her own style of meeting strangers. She does not like it when strangers approach her or even kneel down to her level. She shies away when they do that. However, if a stranger ignores her, she stealthfully inches toward the person and soon gently touches their hands with her nose. That seems to be her way of saying "hello". So, when an adult asks if they can pet her, my reply is they can meet her but they need to follow a certain routine. I ask them to ignore Shyla while talking to me for a minute... to give Shyla time to get the courage to approach them. It works 99% of the time - with Shyla enjoying being petted by the stranger within a minute or two.
|Shyla doing a recall|
One type of thing that totally throws Shyla for a loop is objects that suddenly move on their own, like automatic doors or gates at entrances to parking lots. We've spent a lot of time standing at long distances from doors and gates, letting Shyla observe them move and giving her treats when they move (a form of counter-conditioning).
This is my first experience with an older puppy like Shyla who had little life experience when I met her. I must say that it's been one of the most rewarding journeys that I've undertaken. Shyla looks to me as her guide and protector, and I love playing that role for her. I also have loved learning so much about dog body language and dealing with a dog's natural wariness as she encounters new things.
In our training, everything is done at Shyla's pace and when she wants to do it. Fortunately, she's naturally curious and outgoing so she actually wants to explore all these new things, even if they scare her at first. My trainer keeps saying that Shyla obviously has awesome genes for a friendly disposition and is not naturally fearful, just inexperienced.
|Shyla did a sit-stay high in the mountains|