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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Back to snowbiking!

Shyla and I have returned to snowbiking in the mornings after a seven week hiatus while I recovered from shoulder surgery. We are both thrilled!
I'd hoped to be back to biking by Spring, and it happened! Springtime in the mountains is crazy. Fresh snow falls regularly through May interspersed with warm and sunny weather. There was a dusting this morning.

However, when the sun broke through, it was so warm that the snow melted very fast.
It has been such an odd time in my life - being floored almost daily by migraines has forced me to trim back my daily goals. Even on days when I don't have normal migraine symptoms, it feels like my head is buzzing, ready to launch into a migraine at the slightest provocation. Throughout this past month, I haven't kept up with any serious dog training. Indeed, I feel proud that I've managed to keep up with exercising the Duo (although the Runner has covered for me a number of times).

However, I play very easy training games with Shyla almost daily during our morning outings - and it helps both of us immensely because it's so fun. She's become very good at the "balance a treat on your nose" trick. And, she now can flick the treat into the air and catch it about 80% of the time! (The next challenge is for me to be able to photograph her catching it!).
So, we started on a new trick, which I've mentioned before - balancing things on her head. I use nothing but positive reinforcement, which makes training very fun. She now looks focused and confident even when she has something balanced on her head.
To my surprise, she's added her own twist to the trick. "Trick improvisation" is common in dogs trained using positive reinforcement (and no punishment) because they know that they never get "in trouble" for doing a trick wrong. So, today, Shyla tried to flick the toy off her head and catch it in her mouth. Her improvisation made me laugh in surprise - I'd never done anything to suggest this trick to her.
I decided to encourage her new idea - it seems like it could be a very fun trick. She tried about 10 times but hasn't yet managed to catch the toy. She always looked surprised that she'd hadn't caught it.
We'll keep trying that new trick. I love that she has the confidence to make up her own tricks. That's why positive training is so good for dogs - especially sensitive/fearful dogs like Shyla. It helps build confidence that extends to everyday life as well.

When I am finally feeling back to my normal health, I plan to spend some time on training with R. He is so eager to learn new things. However, I mostly spend afternoons and evenings with him (his morning outings are with the Runner). Later in the day is my worst time in terms of migraines. Consequently, his training will have to wait.
I sure do hope that I feel better consistently very soon - I don't want to miss out on anything this summer! I am preparing myself for the fact that it will probably take a little while to dig myself out of this hole so "patience" is my mantra.
I know that summer will be here in the blink of an eye because the birds around our house are singing and calling from the treetops every morning. Ah, the thought of a healthy summer is so enticing!


  1. i don't know how many more ways i can say it, shyla is such a doll! r is a handsome boy. glad you're all getting back to normalized activity!

  2. The dawn chorus is motivating and lifts my spirits. I rally heard it for the first time this morning a bit after six am.
    The duo is looking great as always.

  3. Happy training and romping sweet ones!

  4. We have a feeling you will be back to normal soon. The weather is crazy. We had funnel clouds here yesterday which never happens
    Lily & Edward

  5. If there is a way to make your wish happen, we know you will find it:) Hope the migraines will give you a break soon.

    Spring in Kansas made a big visit today by way of very strong winds, thunderstorms, and tornad warnings with several touchdowns just northeast of us. Not the way we want to enjoy Spring.

    Happy biking.

  6. We are so happy for you that you are now able to get back on your bike! It must feel wonderful to have a breeze touch your face as your going along!
    Oh Shyla you amaze us all the time! And we love that your making up your own tricks!

  7. Poor Shyla - hope she catches it soon! Happy biking!

  8. So glad you are rolling again. Loved the photographs of sweet Shyla. Yes, it's spring and none too soon.

  9. I was grinning at the pictures until I got to the one of the toy falling off her head. That one made me laugh out loud! If you'd caught it a millisecond earlier, I'm betting she'd be looking through the ring. I hope she masters the new trick soon!

    It is also really wonderful to hear you sounding so positive today! :)

  10. I love Shyla's tricks! She looks especially pretty on these photos. R looks cute with his tongue curled up over his snooter!

    Jo whose weather guy says its gonna be 50s on Saturday! Whoopee!

  11. A healthy summer. Sounds great!

    XXXOOO Bella & Roxy

  12. I'm so happy you can bike again! And I love Shyla's new trick, even if she hasn't quite mastered it yet.

  13. Glad to hear that you are feeling better. The weather has been playing havoc with my health too. I must tell you...Shyla just gets more and more beautiful each day and I LOVE that she makes up her own games!! My Chloe does that too! Awesome set of pics!! Whatever would we do without our furry family members to make us laugh and get us through the tough times?? Hope you continue to improve!!

  14. You are such a hoot, Shyla! Thank you for the morning laughs!
    We are so happy that you're back to biking, KB ☺

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  15. Have you ever tried neck traction for your migraines?


  16. We love that Shyla is improvising on balancing objects. We just know she'll figure it out real soon. She's one smart pupper fur sure!!

    Continue on the good road to recovery and we're praying that your migraine's will once and fur all go away.

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  17. There is something so invigorating about hearing birds at the first awakenings of spring! For me it makes the cold/snowy days just a little harder to be patient.

    Love trick improvisation! It's interesting to watch them figure out one, and then think that they're doing it because that's what they find fun.

  18. So nice you are biking again. Love that Shyla!!!

  19. Congrrats on being back to biking! And way to go, Shyla! I can't get the hang of that nose balancing thing.

  20. Glad you're back to your biking - both you and Shyla will feel better for it.

  21. That sounds great! I want to start biking myself!

  22. Yippee! I am SO glad you are back on your bike! I hope the migraines will improve now that you are getting back to you, and maybe you can enjoy the fickle spring AND summer!

    You really cracked me up this time with Shyla's improv act. That's just incredible! What a smart girl!

  23. The Return of the Snowbike! Oh my gosh, that is fantastic news! Congratulations!!! :)
    I know what you mean about when a dog has the confidence to make up her own games. You know you're doing something right when your dog does that :)

  24. SO happy for you that you're back on your bike!
    Shyla is such a doll!

  25. Shyla is very good at Learning.
    Like the Picture of the bird


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