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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Days of Orange

Today was the start of "orange" season because the main rifle season for deer and elk opened. Our whole family wears blaze orange when we head out onto the trails these days.
During hunting season, there are certain areas that I avoid altogether because they tend to attract the hunters who I don't trust. With Shyla, I stay close to home.
Fortunately, after many years of watching the patterns of where the hunting is the most intense, I have a decent idea of where I can find solitude even during rifle season.

I'm still enjoying the juxtaposition of the remaining golden aspen leaves and snow! When I look toward the sky, it still looks like full-on autumn.
But, when I take a wider view, the snow glitters and Shyla shines among the leaves.
Although Shyla and I avoided any hunter-encounters today, we did run into our friends, the nine off-leash dogs who run with their human. This group has been a source of terror for Shyla simply due to the large number of dogs. Until today, I didn't see any improvement in Shyla's reaction to this particular pack, even though Shyla has come to like other people and dogs on the trails. However, today, I saw a really huge step forward in her demeanor while we interacted with them.
They surprised us as they came over a rise in the trail so Shyla froze in the midst of them. In the past, Shyla has been so afraid that she couldn't move, even as I tried to lead her away from them to give her some space. Today, when I gently tugged her collar to pull her further away from the group, she surprised me by walking away with me! Believe it or not, being capable of walking in the presence of this pack was a big accomplishment.

Then, the owner asked me whether she should leave immediately or stay to let Shyla get used to them. I chose having this nice person and her dogs stay nearby briefly. The owner and I talked while I fed Shyla treats (another first - Shyla was willing to eat treats in their presence!). After a minute or two, Shyla's ears were forward, she was looking interested in the scene, and she started wagging her tail! The other owner and I decided that was a great moment to end the interaction - so she and her dogs ran in the opposite direction with Shyla looking happily at me.

What a difference! I recently read a post (I can't remember where) that said that patience was the most important factor in a successful integration of a new dog into a family. I can see that now. There are no quick fixes for some things but time and consistency will work wonders.

After riding with Shyla, I went out to enjoy the world a bit more. I focused on the leaves, because their time hanging on the trees is running out!
They're falling fast.
I also found the tracks of a big bear! The bear sauntered through the snow, leaving melted out paw prints. Seeing bear tracks tells me that a few of my favorite animals are still awake. My fingers are crossed to get some trail camera photos of them!


  1. Careful. Some of those hunters are trigger happy and might not even notice orange.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  2. Woo Hoo Shyla. You are a source of inspiration. You be careful out there. It is rifle deer hunting here too. So we all better be careful.

  3. Way to go, Shyla! I hope you still have more days of snow and leaves as the photos are breathtaking! And, I know how you love the fall colors! I loved reading the past few days' posts. Sorry I haven't been around....been a long week around here.

  4. Hurray, Shyla! What a wonderful thing. Please be careful during hunting season. I know you are.

  5. Good job Shyla!!! Your getting braver.
    The photos of the orange colored leaves are beautiful-- !
    We hate hunting season- it has been here- off and on- for a few weeks.,..
    bullets in the air is scary- be safe.

  6. What a great leap forward for Shyla! You must have been beaming all day!

    Your suggestion about going back to easy trails with Küster is actually part of what we've done. We also switched his reward from a tug back to a tennis ball and he really likes that interaction better. The problem with the tug is that he's so into it, nobody can last long against him! With the tennis ball, it's toss and return for a much longer time, which I think he needs. Since that small switch, I've seen him a lot more excited about going to work.

  7. I suppose its deer hunting season here too, I don't pay much attention to it since we are town people.

    We did get some snow today, woke up to it, but it didn't last long. Now there is a storm warning for tomorrow with 2 or 3 inches and maybe more. We are right on the edge. Brrr! Get out the longies and the sweaters!

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  8. Good to see every buddy in their vests
    Benny & Lily

  9. We couldn't be more proud of you, Shyla!
    We love the leaves on the sparkling snow!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  10. Hi Y'all,

    Such a wonderful time, beautiful...just like Shyla.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  11. Yay Shyla - so proud of her for being brave!

    We don't all have orange vests since I don't let my dogs off leash off our property, but I wear one now for hunters and cars (it is dark during our morning walks) and we avoid certain areas. So far we haven't heard the hunters, but we are sure they are out there!

  12. Way to go Shyla!! The hunt started here too, I hate it! When we had our house I would walk up the mountain right behind us all the time. I always hated hunting season.

  13. We've noticed a lot of bow hunters this year - that scares me more! I like hearing the shots to know they are in the vicinity. Stay safe!

    Monty and Harlow

  14. Well done, Shyla! And I've been trying to find Piper's orange jacket in advance of hunting can a dog lose her clothes??? (Yes, it must have been me, not Piper, who put it away last year.)
    Seeing the snow is reminding me that time is getting short for SO MANY tasks still undone...thanks for that nudge.

  15. Shyla, you are learning so well! Yes, it is Orange season here too. We thought the bears went sleepy by now??

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  16. Great improvement Shyla did. I have to work more with Vilja. She is still very shy for humans she dont know, she barks a lot of unsecureity.

  17. Way to go GURL!!! Nice! I would have barked my ass off, butts that's a whole other problem!! BOL
    You are just so beautifuls against the snow! And you look FABulous in your orange!
    Stay safe!!
    Ruby ♥

  18. Hi KB, So glad you are still getting some color up there-your pics are incredible. We are getting some changes in a Maple we have but don't know how long it will last. It is raining now with snow to possibly follow. Shyla is doing so well; also shows the other dogs are well trained too. Have a great week.
    Hugs, Noreen

  19. Way to go Shyla! Eating treats in that situation is a MAJOR accomplishment.

  20. Good for Shyla! Wow - 9 dogs?? I've been looking for bear tracks in the snow, too - none so far. We walked the trail yesterday, and I just wore gaiters with my trail boots. However, any more snow and that will be impossible - it will be snowshoe time.

  21. Hooray for Shyla! She's doing so well!

  22. What a milestone for Shyla! If everyone had the patience that you do with their own dogs, the shelters would be much emptier. Thanks for hanging in there with her and giving her such love and consistency. She knows she can trust you and the bond you are creating with her is beautiful to watch. :)


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