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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dog Signs and Shyla's Progress

When we arrived home from our trip and coasted down our driveway, we were greeted by a sight that I think will always make us smile. Yup, Labradors own this house!
This is a new sign which we were given by We hope that it will remind visitors to drive slowly down our driveway because Labradors might be around. In particular, one delivery guy roars down our fairly long driveway, and we're hoping that this sign will remind him to slow down.

Then, when we headed out for a hike on the National Forest that surrounds our land, we ran across our other new sign that is designed to alert hikers and bikers that they are coming close to our house - and perhaps motivate them to turn around rather than amble into our clearing. We thought that the sign was amusing because Labradors are more likely to hurt you by greeting you too enthusiastically than by being real "guard dogs".
Ferocious R!
If you peruse the website where we got these signs, you'll see that they include a huge variety of breed-specific signs. There's even a "Dachshund Guard Dog" sign!

On a different front, when we headed into town after returning from our trip, Shyla regressed to a similar level of fearfulness as when she first joined us in late August. Her sudden terror totally surprised me because she'd handled every aspect of our camping trip so stunningly well.

On our trip, Shyla saw a huge variety of new things, all without a hint of fear. In one place we visited, she saw base jumpers plummet off a huge cliff and glide to the ground with parachutes. They jumped from the middle rock in this formation.
Those rocks are stupendously high so we were surprised when we spotted people on top of one.
We were even more surprised when a person launched himself off the top and then almost immediately opened a parachute. The roar of the chute in the wind was loud but, after a bark, Shyla was calm about it. I have to admit that, although I too was calm, the jumpers certainly shattered the peace of the desert.
In another site, we were all surprised by a hot air balloon floating past our campsite early in the morning. It was quite loud with the bursts of hot air, and it was close to our camp when we first saw it. Again, Shyla didn't seem afraid of such an odd thing.
The balloon floated all around us, down into the canyon and up onto the huge sheer rocks that make up the canyon walls. It was cool to see the balloon at first but then it started to feel like an invasion of a quiet and peaceful canyon from above. I hope that no balloons make this journey in the spring when falcons nest high on the walls of this canyon.
 The dogs watched the balloon along with us.

 Neither of them was upset about it. I was beginning to think that Shyla's fearfulness was behind her.
So, you can imagine my surprise when a visit to the vet (a place that Shyla likes) was terrifying to her on Tuesday and then a visit to another part of town that Shyla likes was scary today. Due to this sudden reappearance of fairly extreme fearfulness, my trainer and I are starting back at Square One with basic socialization but our hope is that she'll bounce back fast this time. Indeed, we started to see some signs of Shyla's incredible resilience today.

No news on her leg yet... we're hoping to hear the radiologists' conclusions soon. For the sake of my sanity, I'm just assuming that it's going to turn out to be okay, one way or another.


  1. Hi KB. I am positive [pawsitive?] Shayla's setback was very temporary. I know horses go through the same thing in training, until it is really set in their minds. And quite often you'll get an expression on their face later that looks like "How silly of me! I KNOW what that is!"
    And I love your Labrador guard dog signs.

  2. I love the Doxie guard dog sign! Very appropriate.
    Could Shyla just be going through a "fear phase"? Nola went through several; at 6,9, 12, and 18 months I think.
    Nola's Mom

  3. Maybe it was just the change of desert to town that got her upset.
    The chutists picture was great from those two tiny figures atop one rock to the person coming down.

    Aren't there park service people around to inquire as to what you plan to do while there and to safeguard birds and animals? Maybe not, but seems like there should be.

    Your signs are wonderful! The first one looks like Stella!


  4. The photos of your journeys are just beautiful!
    I think Shyla will just merge right back out of her fearfulness.
    Shes just a baby- and needs more confidence,, it will come in time.

  5. I have no doubt that you and the trainer and Shyla will work through this quickly and permanently. It could just be that she is on overload from all that she experienced on her first of many many many camping trips to Southern Utah.

  6. I love the signs. Hope those who they are meant for pay attention. While I think the parachute and balloon photos are way cool MOM and I are always a little bummed when we are out and away and see things like that. But they are beautiful photos.
    Maybe Shyla just got use to the calm, peacefulness of the desert and when she went to a more populated area it sort of threw her off. I am sure she will be back up to speed real soon. She is super smart like that.

  7. The signs are awesome! I'll have to check out their mutt selection. :)
    The pictures are gorgeous, Shyla and R look so noble. Hopefully her setback is short lived, we go through similar things with our 2 before they're completely used to new things.
    Seriously, why do they take so long with the test results? Hope they give you good news soon!

  8. Like Goose's mom I would feel invaded by the balloonists and jumpers. I felt like this at times in Hawaii, when we would come upon other people on OUR beach. :)We felt like our space was violated!! The photos are beautiful though.
    I'm sure your girl will be back up to speed in no time. She just loves the mountains, kinda like you!!

  9. We actually have a "dingo xing" sign much like the yellow lab one you have. We've been meeting all the delivery guys that come to re-introduce ourselves (if they're new) and give them direction on how to handle the gate if we're not here to open the gate. The PG&E guy was terrified of the dingo xing sign. i assured him it was a joke (it is because we no longer have our dingo and lets face it, my dogs aren't out in the driveway unless i'm home and out there with them otherwise they are locked up in the house and dog garden). Anyway, the utility guy got over it. It can be scary i guess seeing these signs and not knowing if they are for real or a joke. especially the guard dog one. some people aren't dog people enough to know a lab would probably lick you to death before ever biting you. ;)

    lots of love to Shyla and her leg. still thinking of her.

  10. Wow that was a lot to see with the hot air balloon and parachute. What beautiful pictures. I am praying for all good news on Shyla.

    Anne and Sasha

  11. Hi there! We are amazed at all of the interesting things that you see on your camping trips!! We usually are in an RV park, so we don't see things quite like that! The signs are great!! We have one like that...except our says BICHONS instead of labs...sending lots of good vibes for Shyla and for you! xo
    Jeanne, Chloe and LadyBug

  12. OMD, I is thinkin' I needs me Doxie Guard Dog sign...even if da whole neighborhood knows dats what I does.
    I is hopin' withs all my might Shyla can get backs to not bein' fearful. Maybe it will be like muscle memory fur her.
    Da balloons are purties but, not if you is wantin' to relax and stuffs.


  13. We know that you're going to be just fine, Shyla, because you have the best trainer and the best mom!
    Congratulations! You won one of our mini-mittens! We are just thrilled about this!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  14. Fingers crossed that the being scared again is just a passing phase.

    We have one of those yellow signs but ours says "Percheron Xing"!

  15. Your driveway is just as beautiful as everything else that surrounds you. It's great that you put up those signs. Do you find a lot of strangers coming on to your property at times?

    We agree that the base jumpers and balloons are really cool, but we want to yell and scream 'LEAVE MOTHER NATURE ALONE!' Guess they too want to share the beauty.

    We're sorry to hear that Shyla reverted back a bit with her fear. We're hoping that she bounces back quickly.

    Your pictures as always, are amazing!!

    Lily Belle

  16. It could be the actual noises themselves that are part of her trigger. Maybe after being out in the desert for a week and not hearing those city sounds, her tolerance threshold for them dropped. My bet is that she will bounce back rather quickly. I still have my fingers crossed for good news about her leg, too! :)

  17. She probably just had about all she could handle of new experiences and needs a little time to chill out again. I'm sure she'll be back to fearlessness in no time!

  18. R looks like he is taking his guard dog job very seriously! Love th pics as usual. I have one that says "My lab can get to the fence in 2.3 seconds, can you?"

  19. We have a couple of those yellow signs from them too, a schnauzer one & a chubby kitty one, we think they're really cool!

    We'll be thinking about you and hoping that Dr. has some good news.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  20. It's hard to see unnatural things in such a beautiful place of nature. Hope Shyla's setback was only temporary and maybe just the transition back to life after your trip.

  21. Mom always laughs when she thinks of a sign warning of Sibe Guard Dogs - she says we would probably lick someone to death with our kisses.

    And those balloonists, they fly over our house all the time and even sometimes low enough that the riders talk to us. They are very beautiful to see, but a bit intrusive.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

  22. I trust Shyla will spring must be just a momentary blip...who knows there could have been something very familiar to Shyla that just wasn't her cup of tea. The paragliders look so serene...were they noisy? Your signs should help at least alert people that dogs and humans are close by.

  23. I love your canyon wall shots, with and without humanity, but man, those shots of the dogs curiously watching, what a treat!!!

    I personally think Shyla thought wilderness is better than civilization. :) I can't blame her one bit!!!

  24. What lovely pictures, and the rocks are amazing....
    Shyla and R are happy to have you...

  25. Hi Y'all,

    It's not unusual for fearful dogs to regress when they haven't been someplace or around something in awhile. With patience, though, I think you'll see the fearful spells get shorter and shorter each time she has one.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  26. Beautiful pictures, as always. The cliff ones are just spectacular!

    Boy, R sure is in good condition! He's a handsome dude.

    (strangely, all the Doberman signs on that web site are natural eared, not cropped, though their tails are docked.)

  27. Mommy knows how you feel Shyla. That is how she gets when people insist she go to the big city.

  28. Such beautiful scenery! I think the heights are a bit much for me! Your dogs look wonderful. Shaya is young I think you will get her back on track soon enough!


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