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Monday, November 5, 2012

Our first advanced training class

Shyla had another big success yesterday. She went to her first advanced training class. It's a class for dogs who can perform all their basic training exercises in controlled settings, like a quiet classroom. The advanced class meets in town at a different location each week. Yesterday, it was at a park, with many screaming kids, bikes, scooters, hikers, and other dogs.
As I Shyla and I arrived at class, I found myself unconsciously thinking that she was K. The reason was that I went to innumerable training classes with K at this exact site. Of course, when K was grown up, she found most parts of the classes to be easy - she could heel, sit, down, wait, etc. with no help from me whatsoever.

Yesterday, as we walked toward the class, I heard myself casually say "heel" to Shyla just like I used to say it to K. Then I was shocked when Shyla started yanking on the leash! Silly me... of course Shyla couldn't behave like a seasoned grown-up yet in such a bustling environment. I'd simply forgotten who was on the other end of the leash.
After I realized who I was training (duh), Shyla actually did astoundingly well during class. She couldn't ace the training exercises due to all the distractions. However, she was relaxed in the midst of the Sunday afternoon bustle of the park. That's a victory.

Then, our trainer asked the handlers to try to calm our dogs enough that they would just lie still and relax despite the bustle, including the screaming kids. Believe it or not, Shyla relaxed so much that she rolled onto her back for a belly rub. Yep, this is the same dog who had a "melt-down" in a very similar city park just two months ago. She has come miles and miles and miles since then!
We're still waiting for Shyla's limp to improve (and we're consulting vets about it). In the meantime, we're doing our training, taking short leash walks, and stopping to watch the sunrises and sunsets.


  1. Beautiful colours, of the sky, Of Shyla, and great progress.all in all, very good news all over. ( apart from the limp which we are all hoping will improve in time)Greetings from Jean.

  2. You know what?... My MOM has on occasionally called me Pete (her heart dog). But it's OK, I considered it a compliment and besides Pete was an amazing dog and it makes me happy that he is still a part of her thoughts. Shyla is doing so well. It is exciting to follow a long with her as she trains and learns. Give her a nose poke from me.

  3. I'm sure Shyla doesn't mind!


  4. Good girl Shyla. You are a smarty pants
    Benny & Lily

  5. Getting used to a new dog on the other end of the leash is one of the hardest things, I think. After all these years, Bunny still isn't like Treat was, and I think that's probably for the better for me. It's not that she's difficult on a leash, she's just a lot more inquisitive about the world. But she's a thousand times more tuned into me when she's off the leash and we're inside.

    I'm so glad that the future seems so bright for you and Shyla right now! :)

  6. I still call Phoenix Charlotte all the time. I always feel kinda bad about it.
    Way to go at the class, and Shyla relaxing!

  7. Ann.....from..Outer Banks of NC...said....I am so happy Shyla is doing so well....if we were there... we would all give her a belly rub... such a good girl....way to go Shyla...we all love you... and R... ...thoughts and prayers are coming your way....and HUGS

  8. The celebration continues! Shyla is making amazing are so good for each other!

  9. BIG CHEERS for both of you!!! Shyla is growing in leaps and bounds. And your photos are superb - Miss Shyla and the sunset.

  10. How completely awesome! Congratulations to Shyla!!

    I had to chuckle a bit when you said you had a moment when you thought you were walking K, I do that sometimes with my own 6 dogs, because they all walk different and I'll forget who I'm walking sometimes as they are all at different levels of training.


  11. spooky, i was walking storm this morning and i normally have him on a harness and extendy lead on our walks cos its for adventure walks, but he was getting silly and i just said to him HEEL! and you know what, he did it like he had been doing it all his life!!! i was sooooooooo excited!!!

    my little lads growing up, nearly a year and a half now :)

    the training classes we go to must be paying off :)

    isnt it wonderful when you see how they progress :D

    Charlene and Stormy

  12. Excellent work, Shyla! We are so very proud of you!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  13. Shyla is truly amazing. Great job and congratulations to both of you.

  14. When we took our first dog to training, I was amazed to find that dogs have to learn commands in several locations. I thought if they learned to sit it would apply everywhere. Shyla has indeed come a long way. Was there something in her history that made her skittish? Or is that just her nature?

  15. You've done WONDERS with Shyla in such a short time! It won't be long before she has everything mastered just like K did -- but in her very own style. :)

  16. Oh my goodness - I am far behind on my reading I guess - I didn't realize Shyla had developed a limp!

    So excited to hear how well she did without any meltdowns! That is a huge victory for sure! :)

  17. You have made so much progress if she is now relaxed enough to have a belly rub! Well done to you both.

  18. It certainly feels like the two of you were meant to travel this path together. She is helping you heal and you are helping her to live with joy. K must have orchestrated this!

  19. Great job you two do. I was at class yesterday too but only with Trym. Vilja is in heat now. He was very good with all the things we did
    Beautiful sky!

  20. Isn't it amazing how the mind tricks you or befuddles the moment...K would have loved that you had a'duh' moment. Shyla is a cutie for sure. Take care!

  21. Good for Shyla, making such a great improvement! I've cheated and read backwards again, so I already know what you are facing today (Monday), and I'm heartsick, but I had to go back and find out what I'd missed. I'm so glad to see your entire blogging community rallying again in support of you and Shyla.


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