Shyla is still amazing me with her leaps forward in confidence and trust. For example, yesterday was warm so lots of people came out onto the trails, including the three other snow bikers who live near here. Shyla has never been willing to approach any of them.
So, visualize this! Shyla and I arrive on Hug Hill, and two people on fat bikes are hanging out there. Not only does Shyla want to meet them BUT she also jumped onto a boulder to get her face at their face level! The woman started petting Shyla who reciprocated with kisses.
I almost fell off my bike in surprise. Shyla is the most courageous dog I know!
I don't have any photos of her interactions yesterday but I do have a photo of her zooming across Hug Hill after the other people departed. Her victory lap!
She still occasionally has melt-downs, and I've learned to take them in stride. At Christmas, a noisy family get-together sent Shyla into hiding in a corner under a desk. Everyone was concerned about her but I knew what was best from hard-earned experience. I told everyone, and especially the kids, that they were not allowed to approach her. She needed some quiet time, and she'd come out when she was ready.
Of course, I went and checked on her every 5 minutes or so but I didn't even ask her to come out. I just gave her some reassuring pats. Then, about 30 minutes later, Shyla emerged on her own and started approaching people for pats. Within 5 minutes of emerging, she was interacting in her normal loving way again.
That story sums up the biggest thing I've learned from Shyla. When it comes to being afraid, it's her choice about how she handles it. I never force her or even encourage her to "face" her fears. I just provide reassurance, and then I follow her lead.