I think that most dogs have a wealth of joy inside them, even the ones who go through rough patches in their lives, like Shyla did early in her life.
I've been modeling my recent training after Susan Garrett's tenets of training. She uses the word "joy" more often in a training book than anyone else. She urges us all to inject more joy into our dogs' lives and to be a source of joy for our dogs. As hard as it might be for a traditional trainer to imagine, Susan Garrett urges us to make our dog training joyful.
Garrett talks about play almost as much as she talks about the mechanics of training. The idea is that through play, a person can become a fountain of joy for a dog. However, the dog must earn access to that play through their behavior.
I think that all the playing that I've done with Shyla over the past several months has made our bond much stronger. Each day during our snow bike ride, we stop several times for short training sessions. I start by getting Shyla excited about training with a few rousing training games that she loves.
Then I get "serious" and ask her for certain behaviors that help me to keep control over her when she's off-leash. For example, we are currently working on her stopping and sitting in mid-fetch if I call out "sit". If she is successful, she gets an incredible play session afterwards that makes her more likely to continue to listen to me in the future.
I think that a wonderful side effect to this kind of training is that it makes me happier. I love playing with Shyla. "Injecting joy into her life" actually injects joy into my life too. The more we do this kind of training, the better my frame of mind for interacting with Shyla, even when she does things that I don't like. I tend to see her mistakes as being my training mistakes rather than her being "bad".