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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Shyla's Fear and Confidence

Many people now don't recognize the fear that lies under the surface for Shyla. The reason is that she's very happy and relaxed most of the time.

When she and I are out in nature together, Shyla becomes the dog she was meant to be. What I mean is that she is relaxed, confident, and so happy!

She still surprises me both in good and bad ways. On the good side, today we saw two mountain bikers on our ride (a rarity). They were big guys with dark beards. It was a ribbon-like narrow section of trail, and they kindly moved to the side to let us pass. That left us about 12" to squeeze past them. I started to say that Shyla wouldn't be able to pass due to fear of coming so close to them - and, before the words were out of my mouth, she walked over to politely greet one of the riders! I love when she surprises me like that!

Yesterday, she surprised me in the opposite way. I hid some scent for her to find on the 2nd floor of our house, which is generally a "no dog" area after a previous canine generation chose to make it their secret potty place. Shyla has gone up there with me at least three times in her life. Yesterday, she was terrified of the steps. She eventually made it to the 2nd floor but not without a lot of work to help her cope with fear. After that stress, I decided to cancel the nosework. I don't want her to associate fear with nosework.

Most of the time, however, Shyla is happy. I've come to accept and love her for who she is, and I've greatly slowed my efforts to acclimate her to the parts of the world that she doesn't like (i.e., bustling places like cities). We can live our everyday life very comfortably without going those places so why stress over them?

One way that all Shyla's fear and stress issues is showing up is in her very gray face (for a 4 year old dog).  This is such a happy photo so why do I have to obsess over her gray face? The reason is that it reminds of how finite a dog's life is. I'm working on seeing the joy emanating from Shyla in a photo like this rather than the gray.
I hope that you're having a wonderful weekend, whether you're in your summer or winter season!

P.S. If you missed yesterday's post and you like seeing bear cubs play, check it out!


  1. We never see any grey on your face, Shyla - only a happy beautiful girl♥

  2. I so agree with you... I feel the same when I see some gray hairs on easy's face....
    Have a wonderful 4th of july together!!!

  3. We do love seeing those happy Shyla smiles though, they make us smile too!

  4. So happy that most of the time Ms. Shyla is a happy, confident pup!

  5. Shyla is so lucky to have such a wise and loving owner:)

    We have enjoyed watching the bears at play so much that we have been back a few times - reruns are great:)

  6. It's wonderful that you ended up together and helped Shyla be a best dog she can be!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  7. Behavior is so fascinating! It's awesome that she's getting so confident out and about in your forest! <3

    Zoe's face has greyed out early, too and I kind of wonder if the fear/anxiety issues helped that along. I know that's more of an "old wives tale" but it does make me wonder...

  8. We don't see the "gray Hair" we see the joy and happiness on her face.
    We watch the bear cubs twice and even Jeff wanted to see it.

    Happy Crazy Love

    XO Astro and Linda

  9. Mabel is greying early too - only 1 1/2 yrs!
    we must go and watch the cubs
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  10. I absolutely adore that second to last photo of Shyla. It may be my favorite you've ever posted of her; the red looks so lovely next to her!

    I understand exactly what you mean about finite time. Nola will be 6 in early October, and while she only has a few tiny grey hairs, it makes me cry to find them. I think that Pike, now 2.5 years old, would be grey if his muzzle wasn't white to begin with. The black spots on his face are becoming more silvered, and he's a very anxious dog. Nola isn't, and hardly has any grey. It does make me wonder if there's a correlation.

  11. Just look at that beautiful Shyla!
    We understand about the gray hairs,,
    Tweedles had a gray muzzle at age 1..
    The gray is from kisses of love!


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