So, I continue to act like it is tons of fun when she finds random wildlife body parts in the forest. I don't mind the hooves and foot bones as much as other parts. Shyla seems to find an incredible number of hooves next to the trails.
At the start of each ride, to prime Shyla's state of mind, we've been doing fun tricks. Shyla loves to add a tongue flick to "waving", which always makes me laugh. But, I do remind myself that tongue flicks are a sign of low-level stress. She usually stops tongue flicking after a few well-rewarded waves.
In general, with the change in my approach to training, Shyla is behaving about a zillion times better when she's off-leash than she did a few weeks ago. It shows me how much my "attitude" affects her behavior. Reinforcing good behavior is much more fun than reprimanding bad behavior for me too so it's a win-win situation.
I know how much wildlife is around, so her re-found love of staying close to me in the forest is a huge relief. To emphasize the wildlife being all around us, my wildlife camera captured photos of a coyote right next to a mountain biking trail that we use regularly. In terms of my dogs' safety, coyotes scare me more than any other animal. I am thrilled that coyotes are flourishing but I am very cautious about my dogs encountering them.
Isn't that a handsome coyote? I think so but I hope that my dogs never tangle with him and his pack-mates.