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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer of Shyla

I haven't talked much about Shyla's training and socialization lately. The main reason is that she's doing pretty well.
We scale back our in-town training in the summer because it's just so hot down there. Our only in-town excursions are when she goes with me to Physical Therapy and occasionally we make a stop at a dog-friendly hardware store.

When people ask to meet her, I reply that "she's sometimes fearful so I always let Shyla decide whether she feels like meeting someone that day". In the past couple of months, I can think of only one person who Shyla chose not to meet (by hanging back away from him). He was very respectful that shy dogs need to have their space, and he didn't try to force things. I think that part of our recent success is that I've learned how to smoothly handle people who want to meet Shyla - and they follow my instructions.
Aside from that one individual, Shyla has done incredibly well with new people recently. When we meet individual people on the trails, Shyla initiates interaction, usually ending up giving them kisses! I tend to stand back and watch with incredible happiness about how well-adjusted Shyla has become. I think this sweet outgoing dog was hiding inside Shyla all along but she was too scared to act upon her innate people-loving instincts.
Larger groups still scare her. But she musters her courage to pass by them. One weekend, we came upon about a dozen(!) male mountain bikers (the largest group I've ever seen in our area), all standing along both the sides of the trail with their bikes next to them. The trail itself was clear and there was no way to go around them.

Shyla made herself look smaller than usual and walked very slowly through the tunnel created by the group, as if she could be invisible if she was low enough to the ground and going slowly enough. I was a little mad that the bikers laughed at her odd behavior but that didn't really matter. I was mainly proud of Shyla for finding that courage. Last year, she would have never walked through the tunnel.

This is becoming the Summer of Shyla for me. I feel like she's blossoming into the dog she was always meant to be. She'll never be as outgoing as some Labs but I love her just the way she is.
Thank you, sweet Shyla.


  1. Shyla is so lucky to have such a great owner as you.

  2. sweet, sweet (and brave) girl. :)

  3. It is so obvious how much she loves you and trusts you. Lightning has come a long way, but he too is leery of new people. That is getting better. Now if we could just get him to understand that the bikes are not out to get him:)

  4. The sweet look in her eyes in the last photo.
    No words to express the pure love she has for you.
    Happy Crazy Love.
    xo Cinnamon

  5. Sweet photos of Shyla and the blooms that surround her. You are both lucky!

  6. And if you love her the way she is that's all that matters. Lovely photographs.

  7. Shyla, I'm so proud of you!!


  8. The Summer of Shyla will be one to remember for you and your Mom and all of us who love you.

    If I didn't have to go so far, I come after one of those kisses, Shyla!


  9. You will get there Shyla. You are very brave. Proud of you

  10. So good to read of her progress. Our Maggie has really come a long way too - I'm hoping our vacation next week to Big bear will help boost her courage like it did last year.

  11. I am so happy that Shyla is doing so well!!

    Anne and Ziggy

  12. Take a bow, yourself. You've been the one who's shown her that the world is not always a fearful place and she can feel safe and enjoy it!

  13. We are incredibly proud of you, Shyla! Hurrah for you and your mom! You've worked very hard together!

  14. Bravo Shyla you are a super brave and well behaved girl... and that's really YOUR summer, enjoy it :o)
    easy rider

  15. Yay for Shyla! All the work is paying off. She is a beautiful girl. Mabel loves people but can also be shy. She is very intimidated by our 4 year old grandson. She was hiding from him and peeking out last night. We got the grandpeep to sit quietly and let her approach him. She was doing a little better by the time they left.
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  16. Love conquers much, and the rest just falls along the wayside. She is beautiful.
    stella rose

  17. Shyla is unique in her own way!!! And she loves you,, and she knows you love her!
    The photo of you and her says it all! Happy!

  18. I love to read stories of dogs that have blossomed under their human's care. That mountain biker tunnel would have been tough for many dogs - good for her for making it through.

  19. Nice pictures of the Moose and Lions.


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