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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hoping for Change!

I watched our elk herd last night around sunset. I was struck by how bedraggled some of them look and that they were eating such dry grass.
As I watched them, I was hoping for a change overnight.

First, I was hoping that Shyla would make a step in the right direction in adapting to her new epilepsy drug. I think that she did - although not a huge step. She came over to me for snuggling this morning, and that was the first time that she requested snuggling since she started phenobarbital. It made me very happy. She also got into the car far more easily than a week ago when the clumsiness and weakness from the drug made it almost impossible for her. Maybe we are headed toward normalcy. I can't wait to have my little girl back again!

The second thing that I was hoping would change overnight was how dry our world is. Look at that tall dry grass around the elk. That dryness has everyone on edge about wildfires.
A snowstorm, potentially big, was heading our way, and I had high hopes that we'd get enough moisture from it relax a bit. Unfortunately, it veered too far south, giving us only a thin layer of snow.

R and I had fun in the snow this morning, despite how sparse it was!

R and I have spent more one-on-one time out in the forest over the past couple of weeks than ever before. I absolutely love his enthusiasm. I also love that he's finally learned "impulse control" so he's a much easier off-leash companion than even a year ago.

We played recall games. One of my favorite training "tricks" is to find a place that is saturated in the scent of wildlife that were nearby very recently. In this case, it was deer. I put R in a stay right where the scent was the strongest (based on tracking signs) and then I called him from that spot. We had a huge treat party when he arrived at my feet!

Here's the amazing thing that happens when you play this game a lot. Your dog learns to run to you whenever they see wildlife (before you even call them) because they know that they'll get a treat bonanza for it. And they are absolutely thrilled to do that self-motivated recall!
The transition to our dogs coming when they see wildlife without us calling them has happened naturally after we've practiced a lot of recalls around wildlife or wildlife scent. I love it!

We are about to go for our sunset hike - and that's one of the times when we can truly observe whether Shyla is doing better. I'd love to have her yank me forward with enthusiasm on the hike.  Believe me, I never thought that I'd be wishing for her to pull on the leash but I am!!!


  1. That last picture of R is my new favourite. Hope moisture comes so you are spared wildfires and glad to hear Shlya is on the mend.

  2. R sure is a happy boy! We sure hope that Shyla improvement shows up soon.

  3. what a great way to train for recalling both of them. never know when danger is out there and good they will come. prayers for rain for you and for us. we are drought also... and wild fires but not as big as yours. Florida has had several big ones in the past 2 months. fires I mean

  4. Hari Om
    Howdy R - you are shining with health and vigor, which is a joy to behold!!! Give snuggles and licks to your sissy to speed up her recovery! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  5. Here's hoping the pulls are frequent and many. Sorry the snow missed you, it missed us in the city but think it clobbered Parker and parts east. Perhaps we'll both get luckier on the next go-round. Happy weekend.

  6. I just love that last picture of you, R! Mom and I can't wait until you are back to being yourself, Shyla!

  7. Well, we sure hope that big tug appeared for you. And if not, then we are sure it is right around the corner. So dry here too. We could all use a good dousing of rain (or snow).

  8. Those are great recalls considering the enticement of wildlife. Good work!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  9. R in motion, stunning. I do hope the med phase of the first 2 weeks is almost over, and some normal days will follow. Let it snow!!!

  10. The dryness is a worry, but hopefully, there'll be a bit of rain (night rain) to ease the situation. But, we can see that the animals aren't worried, so just enjoy life.

  11. I never would have expected the dogs to extrapolate from scents/recalls/treats to running toward you because they see wildlife - wow! You have such good training sense.
    Sounds like Shyla is coming along and feeling like herself more often. I hope the trend continues and the drug stops the seizures, too.
    I chuckled about the pulling-on-leash thing, because when my naughty goat Campion was feeling mysteriously unwell one day, I was quite anxious until he seemed a bit more himself, and then I found myself thinking, "Don't you want to step on my foot or something? Grab my shirttail? Try to fit your entire head in my pocket? Come ON!" LOL!

  12. I don't think I met you before, but now I am yur follower! I have all 4 paws crossed fur Shyla and you are one smart dog!
    From Vancouver,
    Louis Dog Armstrong

  13. I am so glad Shyla is picking up!
    And what a great photo of R, that last one!

  14. Wow! We can certainly see that R is enjoying his training time with you! Love that last photo! The first one of Shyla is so cute! Hope that her medications are getting straightened is tough to see our pups go through that transition phase.

  15. R definitely looks to be enjoying your time together as much as you are. Sorry you did not get your much-needed snow. Wish we could send you some of ours!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets


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