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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Inner Workings of Shyla

Yesterday, it felt like springtime in the morning. I've been seeing mountain bluebirds flit past me in meadows for a week or so but yesterday I captured my first photo of one. I see these beauties most often in the spring, and they make me smile!

By yesterday afternoon, it was snowing, very hard at times. This morning, we awakened to 17°F and a cold wind. It was winter again.

Shyla acted fearful yesterday. I had several ideas about the cause. One idea was the wind. However, it was just as windy today as yesterday, and she didn't seem fearful today. Another idea was that my intensity level about our training had become too much for her. I tried to keep our training very low key today, and I'll continue not to ask for too much intensity from her in the future. I have no idea if that's why she's better today. Maybe time will tell and maybe it won't.

Shyla played fetch with great gusto today. She seemed to enjoy everything we did today, and I don't know why today was different from yesterday in that regard.

Shyla is my first dog with serious fear issues. K had some issues but they paled by comparison to Shyla's. For K, her fear was strongly correlated with her thyroid hormone levels. She took oral thyroid hormone, and we had to gradually increase the dose over her lifetime as her thyroid gland produced less and less of its own hormone. I knew whenever we needed to bump up the dose because her fear escalated. Then, the higher dose would make the fear vanish. That memory made me think that I'll ask my vet to check Shyla's thyroid levels when we're there next month. It's a long shot but worth a look.

Something tells me that I'm going to be trying to understand the inner workings of Shyla for a long time. I've always hoped that someday her fear will be behind us... but I am learning that it may remain an issue, sometimes latent and sometimes obvious, for her whole life.
I do love that she trusts me so much. Her eyes tell the story.


  1. I think you are definitely on to something with the wind! Zoe is the same way out at the park when it's windy and I think it's because she can smell coyotes and she's freaked out by them. Maybe with the wind Shyla is smelling the scary moose or something else? Zoe is really sensitive to the pressure of training, too.. Sometimes I forget that and it sucks when that happens!

  2. We too think the wind may have played a factor. We hope she stays calm now for a very long time.

    That darn thyroid can cause so much frustration. We are working on a plan now to move Ciara to the FDA approved med so we don't have to worry about the one she is on going away too. Here's hoping we see some improvement.

  3. I'm wondering if it's the barometric pressure changing. I know that I physically feel a big difference when the barometer changes, and we had a golden retriever who was just *paralyzed* by fear and panic when the weather changed suddenly. It's something to consider, anyway.

  4. Just look at those beautiful love filled eyes!

  5. The bright bluebird of happiness! It seems Shyla will always retain the tendency to become fearful. Thank goodness you allow her to be herself and wait for the episodes to pass. What a lovely girl.

  6. Pike is incredibly sensitive to any sort of pressure in training. Because of that, I work him almost exclusively through prey, or alongside Nola (for some reason his confidence is boosted and he's more eager to learn if he can watch her), or his anxiety gets too high.

    That blue bird is so vivid!

  7. Your pictures are always stunning. We still believe Shyla will get there someday soon.

  8. Ditto to your always stunning photos! Who knows, Shyla may just feel better physically or mentally one day than she does on another...just like humans...?

  9. Shyla, I think you have the prettiest eye I've ever seen.

    Aroo to you,

  10. I told you I am a scared of the wind too. The other day out friend Benji saw fire in the fireplace and kept growling BOL
    Lily & Edward

  11. A Bluebird, more snow, and those golden eyes, beautiful. Down here we have wind, rain, and it is getting cooler in the mornings. Winter is upon us soon!!! I am sure you will relish those spring days as they appear.

  12. I know it is a wishful simplistic thing, but I hope it's just liker how all of us have some of those off days. She sure does have beautiful eyes.

  13. Funny you mentioned thyroid...I was just wondering if there may be a physiological reason causing or contributing to changes in Shyla's apparent degree of ease. You know, I'm sure you'll figure it out - and in the meantime, you are so sensitive to Shyla's moods that you are making it possible for her to keep recovering from less-than-perfect feelings. She does trust you deeply and that is golden!

  14. Shyla,, you are so beautiful.. Your eyes are beautiful.. Your spirit is beautiful...
    and even if your afraid,, we will all love you forever,,, You can count on that,,, and your mom and dad and R loves you forever too.

  15. Thank doG Shyla has you as her BFF♥

  16. Wow - the colour of that bluebird!

  17. The colour of the bluebird was amazing. Glad Shyla was feeling braver.

  18. what wonderful berds you have in your mountains Shyla! I think it could be the wind what made you fearful... I sometimes become nervous too when the wind changed its direction suddenly and the smells in the air come from another direction :o)

  19. I agree, her eyes show just how much she trusts you!!

  20. Shyla's golden eyes are mesmerizing!
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  21. Hey gurl!! Wells, whatevers the reason, I'm so happy that you gots your Moms to help you through, and stand by your side...with treaties...lots of treaties...☺
    And, you always gots me for the margaritas...BOL!
    Ruby ♥

  22. Oh that bluebird picture is so beautiful. We had a storm last night and we were all three nervous and barking around our house.
    stella rose

  23. such a beautiful splash of blue that bird is. I hear that they have arrived here as well, but i have not had the pleasure of seeing one.

    lovely how sensitive you are to your dog friends.


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