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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Coming out of her shell

It was sunny but cold at our house this morning. I've been feeling "off" all week so I slept in. The boys (R and the Runner) had already departed for their run by the time Shyla and I rolled out the door.

Shortly after we hit the trails, Shyla sat by an aspen tree and cocked her head in a way that I've never seen her do before. It captivated me. R has learned over the years that we give him a treat whenever he cocks his head in this cute way. I hope that Shyla learns the same!
We headed straight up high to Hug Hill to see what the recent days of mountain storms had done to our peaks. My guess is that the easy hiking days are finished for this year, based on the coating of snow all over the mountains.
As we stood on Hug Hill, clouds started invading from the lower elevations. This is one view but they were actually coming in from all sides.
The peak in the above photo is in Rocky Mountain National Park. I've read that the state has provided emergency funding to open the park, a great thing for the mountain towns that rely on tourists for their livelihoods.

After seeing the clouds moving in, Shyla and I pedaled with extra speed through a forest to a gorgeous aspen area, where the majority of the leaves are down but a few remain. The sun was still shining so we took advantage of it!
We are lucky to live in one of the few spots in our flood-ravaged region where the forests are open for recreation. Because so many places are closed, we've been running into strangers on trails where we normally see no one.

The amazing part has been how outgoing Shyla is. She wants to meet all the strangers, even the men! She still backs off if anyone kneels down to her eye level. However, as soon as I explain that she's afraid of that posture, people stand up, and Shyla greets them with incredible enthusiasm. It's as if a switch has flipped in her head, and suddenly, she's much more comfortable with all sorts of people than ever before. In fact, she's so comfortable that I've had to stop her from jumping up when she greets them. We are working on having her sit in front of them, and they only pet her when she's sitting.

Can you believe that Shyla has jumped on strangers in the past week? I can't. With all my previous dogs, jumping on people would be nothing but a very bad thing. With Shyla, it's a huge step forward because it shows that she wants to meet people. Now, we'll work on "appropriate" greetings with all four paws on the ground.

I think the real Shyla is emerging from hiding!
And, after a year of working on helping her overcome her fears, I am thrilled!
Happy Saturday!


  1. I love it when that head cock happens--with Sage it's when I'm talking to her and she thinks we're going someplace fun. Shyla has such expressive eyes.

    And I must say, that last photo was just stunning.

  2. I think the real Shyla might keep you on your toes more than expected! I certainly hope so. I feel like you're almost two seasons ahead of us. We're barely getting changing leaf colors and you're getting snow!

  3. You go Shyla! It is funny when in some cases "bad behaviour" is such a milestone for a pet. The other day, Phod told Lee off when she tried to take something from him. Not that we love this, but previously, she just took all his stuff, so it was nice to see him assert himself a little!

    I could smell the mountain air today. You are fortunate to have that smell every day.

  4. Hi Y'all!

    Love hearing the news about Shyla! She's learned to be comfy on the trails with you, so perhaps meeting these strangers and welcoming them...just perhaps she'll be better able to handle the occasional visit to the noisy town...with you on the trails she doesn't have all the strange stimulation and can just concentrate on meeting and greeting.

    Hope you're feeling better.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  5. Hawk took the words right out of our mouths! Happy Saturday to you all!

  6. It's not often that we are happy that a dog is jumping on people to meet them, but in Shyla's case it's a reason to rejoice. I'm sure you will have her greeting with four on the floor in no time, but of course not squashing the enthusiasm.


  7. I love that head tilt! I always squeal like a little girl when the Weens do it.
    Nola's Mom

  8. So great to hear about Shyla's progress!

  9. It seems all the peeps love the cocked head! Glad Shyla is coming out of her shell. We have had Taffy about 2.5 years and still see her personality developing. It is pretty fun to watch so I know what you mean. Thank you for answering my question. I'm glad R is healthy! He sure is beautiful. Time for a new question....sorry. What happened with Shyla before you adopted her? Was she mistreated?

  10. AZ has supplied it for the Grand Canyon too - it's not just us furloughed employees this shutdown is hurting.

    Shyla is cute!

    Monty and Harlow

  11. I really like the "emerge from hiding" picture!

  12. MOM and I are so happy for you both. How exciting. Great Shyla emerging photo.

  13. We've said it before - you and your mom are the bestest team ever, Shyla! We are just thrilled for you!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  14. Sounds like little by little Shyla's lab genes are winning the battle over her fears.

  15. Oh yeah Shyla!! Good for both of you.

  16. It's fantastic to hear about Shyla's progress! Every time you post about this I am reminded of how extremely lucky she was to end up with you. You have been so patient and persistent in helping her get past her fears. The photos are just gorgeous, as always.

    Susan and Wrigs

  17. That's great that she wanted to see the strangers! Do you think that part of it is that she is seeing them in the place she feels most comfortable? Maybe you and your trainer should set her up to meet more strangers on the trail from time to time.

  18. glad she is overcoming her fears and opening up for more good experiences.ken

  19. The mountains are ALMOST as beautiful as Shyla! And look at that SNOW!!!!
    PS: See our Sunday blog post when you can. My hints about a puppy paid off!!!

  20. The leaves may be falling from the trees but it appears that Shyla is blooming!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  21. Howdy Mates, wowza Shyla is really enjoying life and looks absolutely wonderful. Mum says we seem to relax and calm down when we turned 2!! Take care. No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  22. We are thrilled too! Shyla is emerging!

  23. Has that much time really passed? She's come so far!

    I find that Blueberry is wary of strangers that act timid with her - but the ones that let out an "Oh, hi there!" she wags her tail and runs to them like they are long lost friends!

  24. Shyla will be great with this ....give her time.
    Lovely colours in the last picture


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