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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dog training and mountain lions

A day at the vet... So, we got started early, Shyla and I, heading out into the sunrise. I will never cease to love seeing a her fur turn red in the sunrise light.
A little later, her fur was a more normal, chocolate, color.
I knew that she'd be getting x-rays during her time at the vet today so we practiced her "relax" cue. She fell asleep - I'm not kidding. Relaxing, when at home on the trails, is no problem for Shyla!
I've learned from our veterinary misadventures over the years that it's important to teach my dogs to lie on both sides. Shyla is the first of my dogs who switches sides by rolling over on her back. She ended up covered in pine needles after rolling over.
She was an in-patient today so that the vets could get to the bottom of her limp. The vets and techs said that she behaved beautifully and was a super happy girl. That makes my heart sing.

We don't have a diagnosis for the cause of her limp yet - a board-certified radiologist needs to look at her confusing x-rays. My vet did say, however, that the abnormalities do not look like osteosarcoma or any kind of joint malformation. Bone cancer was the elephant in the room for me... as I'm sure that you can all imagine.

While Shyla was at the vet, R and I spent some quality time together. Well, he might say that I was torturing him. We rode up to Hug Hill, and then we played some "leave it" games. In the photo below, R was restraining himself from eating the fancy cookie!
R always takes the strategy of not looking at the cookie. I am reminded of the test where a child is put in a room with an oreo. If the child can sit in the room and not eat the oreo for several minutes, he/she is rewarded with multiple oreos. Some kids take the same strategy as R, not looking at the forbidden treat.
After playing with R, I visited trail cameras. Yet another mountain lion has been making the rounds. I had photos of this big cat on many cameras. First, he passed a camera on a path very occasionally used by humans. Indeed, some fast-moving humans came up behind him just minutes later. I wonder whether they saw him?
Then, hours later, he walked past a camera miles away on a barely perceptible animal trail, pausing for an instant just in front of it.
Then, he walked onward. Look at his distended belly. He had eaten a big meal very recently.
I adore the long and graceful tails of these animals.
And, he departed, heading for a more major path.

We've had a true flurry of mountain lions recently. I don't remember ever getting so many photos in such a short time. This guy continued his rounds for the next 12 hours, and I captured photos of him acting goofy, wriggling on his back, in the middle of the night. I'll save those for another day.


  1. Whitney hopes there will be some khytty cheesekhake pictures ;-)

    As for Shyla, such a beauty!

    And R - well, just a package of smiles here!

  2. Great cat pictures - I'm so impressed with your cameras. I can't believe how sharp the photos are.


  3. Hopeful all will be well with Shyla's limp. Mr. R is showing great restraint. Of course love the cat photos. MOM would love to just sit and watch them.

  4. Of course, we're gonna keep our paws crossed for good news with Shyla's limp.

    Good job R! My Mom can't even walk into the kitchen without us following her ad begging for something. But to leave a cookie like that - WOW!!!!!

    Lions and tigers and bears oh my.

    Lily Belle

  5. I think R's photos take the cake [or the COOKIE, as it were] He looks seriously tried! :)

  6. Ellie is just like R. She looks away as if fearing she might otherwise grab the cookie. Lucy stares directly at the treat, knowing that sooner or later she will be given "release" and snatch it up.

    Fingers and paws crossed tightly for good results from Shyla's studies. Here's hoping it's a case of too much zoomies and that tincture of time will be the answer.

  7. good news about Shyla being relaxed at the Vet...that will put your mind at ease. (i was thinking panosteitis, but i think she's too old) hope it is just a fluke.
    the lion is so gorgeous and looks very healthy...beautiful!

  8. So the lion has learned "relax", too! Paws crossed for Shyla :-)

  9. LOL, the only one here who will take his eye off the treat is Phantom, and that is only because he could care less if he gets it. We sure hope there is nothing seriously wrong with Shyla. It is about time you had some good news.

  10. I am so glad to hear that Shyla was a good girl today. What great strides she's made! I'm also thrilled to hear that several of the really big scary things have been ruled out. She'll be enjoying the trails with you for a long time!

    Poor R! I wanted to reach and hand the cookie to him! I had to laugh about the technique of not looking at it. Now I want to try it at school! lol

    I can never decide if the bobcat, mountain lion or bear pictures are my favorites!

  11. Ann...from...Outer Banks of NC.....said......Good Boy R....that cookie sure does look tempting....And I hope all goes well with Shyla ....Sending "Special Prayers".....The pictures of the mountain lion are so seeing such great photos...thanks KB.....HUGS

  12. Every time I stop by your blog, I smile, sometimes gasp (at the great wildlife pix) and then I feel inspired to do alittle more training with my dog.

    Today we had such a happy walk I laughed for the first 15 minutes of Violet being so happy to be outside now that the weather is alittle cooler. She's so happy, it makes me happy. She went particularly happy at some point and I'm laughing and then I see her jaws open and chomp. YIKES she had a chicken bone - gosh she's fast. I stuck my hand down her mouth and pulled it out. Luckily!

    So now I'm 'retraining' myself to look for carelessness left by others so she's not put in troublesome situations. Training goes both ways ;)

    Anytime you want to make a video of yourself training Shyla please feel free. I love the 'touch the shoe' cue you give her and would love to see that......just saying :)

    Take care

  13. Nola refuses to look at food when in a wait; she maintains constant eye contact. Paws crossed for Shlya!
    Nola's MOm

  14. Huggies for all of you.
    We hope Shyla gets better soon

  15. Glad to hear Shyla was a model patient today. We are hoping you get a diagnosis soon so you can plan a course for recovery.

    I also love all the wildlife pictures.


  16. What exciting photos today. I love the mountain lion. He looks so healthy.
    And Sweet Shyla, falling asleep on the side of a hill. Her ears are so cute on the rolled over pic.

    We await the results of her tests and hope all is well.
    Bert adn My Vickie

  17. Great photos as always! Nice to see such a beautiful lion with NO collar or ear bobber that I could see.

    Shyla dazzled them at the vet and THAT was great fun to hear. Hope that leg heals itself soon.

    If that were me, with the cookie, I would just pay the price. Take it and go. All kinds, you know.


  18. Holy smokes, that mountain lion is a big 'un! I wonder if those people did see him.

    Good girl, Shyla! The last time Elka had xrays (she broke her toe) they sedated her for the second set of pictures. I was less than happy with that result, and we won't be handling things like that again.

    Here's hoping you get to the bottom of Shyla's limp soon!

  19. We are hoping that you get an easy diagnosis soon and that recovery is quick and final. VERY glad the elephant was not in the room! Sending White Dog healing energies and positive thoughts.

  20. Woof! Woof! WOW It's a Fancy DELISH Tasty cookie. Crossing my Golden Paws and Golden Healing Thoughts for Shyla. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  21. Hope you got some answers about her limp.
    Great pictures of the lion , he is beautiful.

  22. You amaze me with how ell you has trained Shyla and mum can't train nuttin...or is it just we can't be trained...hehehe. I hope Shyla is gonna be okay, we'll be thinkin' of her.
    Poor R! I can't believes you done dat to him...hehehe.


  23. We think that's pretty smart that you avoid looking at the cookie, R!
    Paws are crossed for Shyla!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  24. We really hate the fact that you are once again spending time at the vet's and waiting for diagnoses. Our greatest hope is that it is nothing serious and you and Shyla can just get on with being happy together.

  25. Shyla in my thoughts today - sending out all my good vibes :)

  26. Paws crossed for a good diagnosis, one with an easy fix.

  27. Isn't R funny! Sam does the same thing, but Avalon doesn't - interesting how dogs interpret learning cues! Hoping the docs can shed light on Shyla's limp... Glad they have ruled out some biggies - Those Mtn Lion pix are incredible - indeed, the tails are very graceful!
    Sammie, Avalon and Ma

  28. Sending out lots of good vibes for Shyla from the Lab Ranch! Hope it's nothing serious and she will be on the mend soon and running full steam through the mountains.
    The training you do with your dogs is incredible. I love hearing about what you are working on. It really inspires and motivates me to do more training and create new challenges for my dogs. Thank you so much for sharing those things and spurring those of us with less dedication to take it up a notch or two!!
    R's expressions are priceless. He reminds me a great deal of one of our pups who is the class clown. He is pacing as I type's time to eat!
    And lastly, your incredible photographs are causing me to work on my (lack of) photography skills. Long way to go, but seeing your work makes me want to learn and improve.
    Keep us posted on Shyla!

  29. Goodness, I can't believe you are dealing w/ a limping pup again. We had the same situation. After losing Abby to OSA (which she got at 15 mo. old) we got Rita, another rescue mix. She started limping at ~15 mo. old. I tried to not freak out, figured she'd just overdone it playing, but it returned so we went to the vet. Without xrays, they thought it might be panoesteitis - a common bone disease in GSDs (which Rita appears to have some of in her). In the end, we never had to do the xrays because 3 weeks of taking it easy fixed her right up. It must have just been a soft tissue thing.

    I hope that you'll get an easy-to-fix Dx as well. Glad to hear they at least said it doesn't look like OSA. Good luck!
    Angel Abby's mom

  30. Hi KB, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for Shyla. R is so well trained, great job! I love the photos of the mountain lion but am blown away at how big this animal is. I wonder if there has been more activity because we are going to have a hard winter-I sure hope not!
    Have a wonderful weekend my friend.
    Noreen & Hunter

  31. All our feets are crossed that paw will heal soon. Those mountain lions are amazing
    Benny & Lily

  32. I love R's treat strategy. Needed some smiles knowing the fear that must be threatening to engulf you. What tremendous big cat activity, too!


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