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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Insane puppy

Shyla has reached the "insane puppy" phase of her recovery. She completely lost her mind this afternoon, trying to do zoomies in a circle around me while on a leash.

This morning, she was still able to hold herself together for brief periods. Just as the sun rose, I found a shaft of sunlight that highlighted one small spot in the forest, and I captured Shyla's beautiful face in it.
She quickly became bored of just sitting serenely, and she started "offering" tricks. That means that, without me asking, Shyla started running through her repertoire of tricks that I've taught her. When she arrived at "rest your head on something", I asked her to "stay" for a photo.
The enthusiasm for "working" that dogs learn is what I enjoy the most about the genre of training that we've undertaken. Shyla is never punished. Rather, she is rewarded for "good" behaviors. For that reason, she adores training. This training style is completely different from how I trained my first Labs, umpteen years ago. The old methods - dominance and punishment based - worked for some aspects of training but they didn't create the love of working and the bond that positive methods do.
This was another example of how Shyla loves our training. We were simply sitting gazing over a meadow, when Shyla started waving at me, very insistently. I went with it... rewarding her and taking a photo. Her style of waving is funny because she almost always brings her paw directly in front of her nose!
As we hiked toward home, I spotted a few lingering red leaves from last fall being lit up by the rising sun. They were the only splash of bright color in the forest.
It snowed last night, a dusting that was gone by this afternoon but the delicate flakes captured my fancy this morning.
When we arrived home from our hike, I tried to engage Shyla's brain with some training but her excess energy made her unable to focus on anything! We'll try again this evening. Maybe she'll be sleepy enough to learn something.

Our snow from last night was great snow for tracking animals. Because each of our snowfalls has been so minor this year, I've had a lot of chances to track. Recently, I ran across big mountain lion tracks. They were very fresh and about 3.5" long.

In this photo, there's a mountain lion track on the left, pointed toward the top of the photo. There's a dog track on the right (Lab-sized), pointed toward the bottom of the photo.  It shows how much bigger and wider a lion track is.
I followed the lion tracks for a little while. The lion walked through widely spaced trees by going from tree-to-tree. He'd walk up right behind one, then curve around it probably brushing his shoulder on the bark, and then walk to the next tree. In the photo below, he walked just to the left of the tree, curved behind it, and then you can barely see his tracks emerging to the right and behind the trunk.
It's such fun finding tracks like these, and it gives me new ideas for trail camera locations! I hope that it snows more, for a million reasons, but one of them is that I love tracking.


  1. Shyla goes khrakhkah makes us smile!

    Of course, Khyra smiled even more about the 'khytty'

  2. Zoomies around you. hahaha Bet she can't wait for the "take it easy" phase to be over. Don't blame her. MOM and I love her wave. Waving back at ya.

  3. That Shyla is a caution!!! I love the photo of her high-5. It's hilarious when animals go through their "routine" unasked, for treats. Bruno was doing the same today. :)

  4. Oh my gosh KB-the description of Shyla and her tricks and behaviors and zoomies made me laugh out loud...thanks for the giggle!
    Lots of love to the Duo!

  5. Doggie waves, tracks in the snow, red leaves, Shyla posing, a wonderful day. Greetings from Jean

  6. Those are amazing tracks and way cooler than the deer and wild turkey ones we see.

  7. Tracking looks fun...unless you actually run into the animal. That could be a problem. It's so good that Shyla enjoys her training so much.

    XXXOOO daisy, Bella & Roxy

  8. I would still love to see video of her waving sometime! It must be absolutely adorable.

    I feel your (and Shyla's) pain over the insanity. I remember when Kuster had to be crated for three weeks for the pano! I'm not sure how we survived it!

  9. Hoping that first picture makes it into the 2014 Chocolate calendar. It's a beut!

  10. we love acting nutty too Shyla! BOL
    Benny & Lily

  11. You are so much braver than my Vickie. WE followed some cat tracks one time and before we had gone too far, we got all creeped out and nervous that we might really see him.

    Beautiful Shyla pictures.....

  12. I totally agree with you on the Positive training! It's the best
    Nola's Mom

  13. Oh boy, those lion tracks are big!

    I love Shyla's wave as well.

  14. There is nothing like the feeling of cooperation and teamwork positive reinforcement training builds.Thank goodness we humans have gotten wiser and set aside our arrogance about being the dominant species...together is so much better.

  15. I love the paw up photo. "Talk to the paw". I hope Shyla can soon get back to normal after her procedure.

    Anne and Sasha

  16. When I look at Shylas face- I see her love for you- she likes to please! Those are such big cat tracks!

  17. That girl Shyla is all cute, all the time! I love that she does her tricks just to amuse you and get something good. Stella, when she has chewed up a basket, always just sits and offers me a handshake to let me know we are still pals! Thick or thin, no matter what.

    Jo and Stella

  18. Hi!
    Beautiful exciting with the tracks of the lion....have a nice weekend...we will by the way get a lot of snow tomorrow, warnings been given already

  19. We're shouting WAY TO GO SHYLA! Offering up tricks so freely. We think "she's got YOUR number!" Bet you had a pocket full of yummers at the ready.

    Mommy said "you and Muffin could learn alot from Shyla. Look how well she is trained." We got Mommy back good when we told her "well that's because she has a smart human!" Yup, we're in the dog house now.....

    Lily Belle

  20. Woof! Woof! Oh I can relate ... even though I'm a senior dog I've never lost being an insane puppiness. TREATS helps out to clam me down. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  21. I love Shylas enthusiasm for tricks. I need to instill this in my dogs. So hard to work with them when they are all together though.

  22. Do you have a favorite lens that you usually use...or do you bring more than one on your hikes?

  23. Thanks so much for your visit!!
    I love the wave!!! Great post!!!

  24. Molly goes insane on her leash lots of times but especially in the snow, Shyla! We just love the picture of you waving! You are so beautiful!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  25. Hey I think Shyla is sending the power of the paw to all in that picture of her waving!

    It is so sweet to see a Lab doing the zoomies!

  26. I love her paw out!

    I've been doing a lot of positive reinforcement with Baron too. He loves it - I need to try and catch him on video stepping over logs. When I tell him he's a good boy, he steps bigger and higher!


  27. What great photos! I'm sure both you and Shyla will be delighted when she's able to resume normal activities. The Shyla wave is just so darn cute. Love it! Haven't seen any mountain lion tracks here in quite a while, but did find some fresh scat a few weeks ago. Since there's no snow right now, it's harder to spot tracks.

    Susan and Wrigs

  28. I always love your nature photos and your dogs photos are so clear. Shyla sounds like she really enjoys learning and loves you.

  29. I love when they are just learning the fun of circus tricks and randomly throw them for no reason other to see if they can get a reaction.


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