It has been an interesting journey with Shyla, since she arrived 15 months ago as a fearful older puppy. At that time, I had no experience with socializing any dog except a tiny puppy. With my tiny puppies, I socialized them like crazy, literally running myself ragged to expose them to "everything" during the critical socialization periods. It was worth it because it prevented them from having major fears of everyday life. K had some relatively minor fears, caused by genetics and a wonky thyroid gland, but they have been dwarfed by Shyla's fears.
Interestingly, I am noticing a pattern for when her fears flare up. A few weeks ago, I took her to town for the first time in a very long time after being stuck in the mountains due to the floods. On her first trip after the floods, she did tremendously well, breezing through situations that used to scare her.
That is just one example of something that I've seen time and time again with Shyla.
Have any of you who have worked at socializing very fearful dogs run into this kind of pattern? I'm curious to hear your experiences.
I plan to discuss this with our trainer because it seems opposite to how I've socialized our puppies. For a puppy, it's important to expose them to a variety of situations on a regular basis. It seems, for Shyla, like going to town on a regular basis amps up her fears.
No matter how it turns out - I feel so lucky to have Shyla as our dog. Her sensitivity is one of her best characteristics as my best friend... and I suspect that her sensitivity is the reason why the bustle of town and unfamiliar things can scare her so much.
My sensitive girl and I watched the moon set over the mountains this morning. It was sublime.