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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ups and Downs

It is truly summer here. Every imaginable flower is blooming. The air is warm, and unfortunately, the wind is blowing.
Fires are breaking out. The good news is that I don't have photos of any fires because they aren't close to us.

And, it's really hot when we go down 3,000' to visit town for socialization training. Shyla and I had a socialization session today with our wonderful trainer (in an air conditioned shopping area). Unfortunately, Shyla had one of her worst days, in terms of fear, in many months.
I'm taking it as just that - a bad day. Back at the beginning, when I thought that perhaps I could "cure" all her fears, I put too much pressure on both of us. Now, I just call it a "bad day" and move on. Part of why I do this is to prevent me from pressuring Shyla. By accepting that she may always have some fears that affect her deeply, I can help her more effectively than if I'm working feverishly to try to "cure" her fears in short order.
In Shyla's world, a "bad" day in town means that she doesn't want to go near most people, she startles at every noise, she freezes when she sees something that she wasn't exposed to as a puppy (e.g., a shopping cart), and she makes quick darting movements as she tries to keep track of every single tiny thing in her environment. It must be exhausting to be Shyla on days like today.

Fortunately, she doesn't have bad days in her home or the mountains. She always seems relaxed and happy.
In fact, after our bike ride this morning (and before our visit to town), she mastered the agility teeter-totter! It "teetered" through its whole range of motion, and she happily kept walking as it swung. It was a huge training hurdle and she cleared it! (I'll get some photos of our real agility training soon - for now, here's my girl clearing a log).
Life is such a winding path, and I remind myself of that as Shyla goes through her ups and downs. I should never expect training to be a straight line from here to our goal.

But, as long as Shyla is happy with her family and her world, life is good!


  1. She's coming along so bravely, even if she does have some bad days. I love that last photo.

  2. Oh yes, Miss Nola is so right - that last photo is a gem.

    Shyla and Lightning are so similar. We have those ups and downs too - just when I think he has come a long way, something so small can set him off again. But I do have to say with age seems to come a lot more confidence.

  3. I also meant to add that I am so glad the fires aren't near you - you came to mind as soon as I saw the news tonight.

  4. Shyla must not be a city girl, she has the mountains running through her and they both look so happy together. It makes me happy just looking at that picture.

    Anne and Sasha

  5. I always love your photos, but this post had some real beauties. The bright yellow flower and blue sky (gorgeous), the vista (breathtaking), Shyla romping around (joyful), Shyla & R (beautiful...R is such a good looking fellow). This post is inspirational because in every way we need to remember bad days happen, they don't define us. Thank you for the reminder.

  6. ...and that life is a windey trail with a beautiful view! And hey, at least Shyla doesn't bark ferociously and charge things that she's scared of like someone that I know...;-)

  7. Shyla's path may be full of bends and twists, but happiness for her at home in the mountains she loves, that will overcome all else.Beautiful photo of the two together.Greetings from Jean.

  8. Ive been reading quite a bit about the fires - stay safe.

  9. You can definitely see how happy she is running around outside! She is just a country girl and not a city girl is all!

    Khady Lynn

  10. Beautiful Shyla sounds like mom, she doesn't want to go near the people, BOL. Thanks for the eye info. It did effect both of Benny's eye. A hot compress and Benadryl seems to help
    Benny & Lily

  11. We all have bad days no matter how much we grow in life. Your sweet Shyla is a graceful reminder of the ups and downs of life.

  12. Your right- we all have our ups and down moments,,,
    I think Shyla is brave- she just feels more comfortable in her mountain world.

  13. Your approach with Shyla and bad days is the same I used successfully with Quinn and YoYoMa. It is not a matter of curing but rather of giving her the tools to understand and process situations and the bond to trust that you will never put her in danger.

  14. I think the same way about Brut's aggression, he's just having a bad day. As I too know I can't cure him. It doesn't take much to look back and really see how much progress we have both made in handling him. And those off days are good learning days for me to listen and be aware.

    Sounds like you understand Shyla and your listening to her. She is blossoming into such a beautiful girl and has come so far.

    Amazing, isn't it?

  15. It seems to me that dogs are also very touched by the weather. When there is a big change, when there are storms some miles away, Stella is always nervous and upset. If their excellent sense of smell tells them smoke/fire is around, they will be nervous about it. It can be quite a distance away and they can pick it up.

    This is the way they are and all you can do is offer comfort.


  16. Good to hear the fires aren't near you.

  17. We are relieved that the fires are NOT close to you at all. We know that you keep a real close eye on that.

    You're doing a GREAT job with Shyla and her training. We hope that in time going into town will be a piece of cake for her. At least she has the mountains to come home to where she is truly comfortable.

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  18. Another round of beautiful photos!

    Glad to hear there are no fires near you. Stay safe...

  19. Like Shyla, we all have our good days and bad days. And like you said we all get thru them and move on. I am finally starting to have a few more good days than bad ones! I hope that is the case for you, and Shyla and R and the runner :):)

  20. I'm just like Shyla in town. Get me into the mountains, or desert, and I'm relaxed and happy. I hope the fires don't get to close to you.

  21. It's wonderful that Shyla found her forever home with you, in a place where she's always comfortable, confident and happy! Her trips into town may have ups and downs, but her home environment is always an up, which is such an amazing thing.

  22. The shot of the duo is perfect! Good way to think of Shyla's fears...good day...bad day and it's behind us so let's move forward.

  23. Even rock solid dogs can have a bad day. Shyla's living a wonderful life with you, that's all that counts!

    I absolutely love that photo of the mountain trail! I so wish I could blink my eyes or snap my fingers and be walking my dogs along it!

  24. Love the last picture of you and R, Shyla!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  25. Shyla has come so far! I guess I look at from the perspective that nobody can have a perfect day every day. We all have good and bad days, but I think Shyla has come much farther than she would have with anybody else!

  26. Lovely countryside, great pics with the mountins
    Great video!!


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