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Saturday, November 25, 2017

What a year!

We've had a string of incredible sunrises. We had yet another one yesterday that lit the entire sky magenta. However, I'm saving it for a later post.

The "problem" with gorgeous sunrises is that they mean that the morning will certainly be cloudy. That means that Shyla and I won't be playing in the sunshine. This morning dawned with a clear sky to the east and unbelievable winds from the west. When I see clouds hugging the Divide like in the next photo, the wind is inevitable.  In fact, it knocked me over as we headed out to see this view around sunrise. It was not a morning to put a drone in the air!

Shyla and I bowed down to the weather gods in thanks for the sunshine! We ignored the hurricane force winds that came with the sunshine.

I love when the sun is almost horizontal so I can see Shyla's shadow on the rocks behind her.

She didn't glow as red as she will on a perfectly clear day. A thin layer of clouds hung between us and the sun. She waved "hi" to everyone. She didn't care about the thin clouds!
Shyla and I have come a long way in the past year. A year ago, our early morning mountain rides were fraught with worry about whether she was about to run off to gnaw on an elk or deer bone somewhere nearby. She never went far but she scared me when I couldn't see her. That led to a bad feedback loop. When I get tense, Shyla gets worried and then hangs a bit further away from me. And, that makes me even more tense...

Fast forward a year,.. I've worked very hard in a bunch of training classes with her. One was "recalls" which worked wonders in teaching her to come when called no matter what. That's a huge relief to my soul.

The rest is less tangible. We've done nosework training plus some obedience training (like precise heeling that you'd see in a competition). I think that all of our work together on training has made us into a team. I love doing it, and Shyla does too. Now, I am so relaxed during our rides in the forest because I trust Shyla. She hangs close by, and if there is a temptation, she'll leave it to come when called. Part of our "deal" is that I'll go look at whatever was tempting with her. If it's safe, I'll let her sniff or chew on it a little. That give and take in our relationship has changed things for the better.
So, I have a lot to be thankful for! Training Shyla has been harder for me than with any other dog because of her fears and worries. I'm so glad that I've found classes that have taught me how to build trust with her so that we can be a true team!


  1. Hari Om
    I had challenges with my angel Jade; she was a totally hyper dog. Even my generally calm and relaxed being was ruffled by some of the shenannigans and the potential problems with being around people who didn't 'do dogs'. Time and patience and finding the stuff which would work for her (which was not always in training sessions or books) taught me much about myself also. I shall be ever grateful to her for that! She was a red dog too - though a bit more orange than sweet Shyla. YAM xx

    1. I would say, just as you did, that the process of learning how to work with a dog with a unique personality, teaches me tons about myself. I'm a fairly "driven" person, and being intense scares Shyla. She has taught me to tone myself down so that she isn't overwhelmed and can be my partner (in crime!).

  2. Shyla looks stunning in those pictures.

    Love how training has strengthened your bond and made you better able to enjoy your beautiful surroundings together. I feel like so many people miss out on this amazing relationship with their dogs. They don't see how training and trying to see the world from your dog's perspective can take your bond to the next level.

    On a different note--I'm a terrible photographer. But I live on a boat and see stunning things I would like to share on my blog. But without a focal point in the marshlands or ocean, they just look so flat. If you ever wanted to share some tips on how you photograph vast landscapes, I'd love to read them.

    1. Thanks, Pamela - I've read about all that you've done with your dog so I know that you get it! I would say that photographing vast landscapes is something that I'm not great at... but I'm always trying to learn more. The things that I read say that you should always have a primary "subject" even when the landscape is vast. E.g. the sun when it's on the horizon, an island in the distance, rocks on the shore (not from the boat, I hope!), another boat, or even a flock of birds. The eye doesn't know where to focus if there isn't a primary subject even if there's a vast beautiful landscape... Now, I would say that I'm not good at having a primary subject but I bet that you can find them out at sea when you are crossing paths with something interesting.

  3. Training is essential, no matter what their breed or age. You've done a great job with her.

  4. "Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning"...this was true in New England, and here in Idaho, and seems also true for your Colorado.

    There's training (old style: you will do what I say), and then there's training (we are a team; we work together with joy). Your training has empowered Shyla. What a leap forward this year! More power to both of you!

    Chris from Boise

    1. You are so right on both fronts! The team part is simply amazing.

  5. Happy for you and for Shyla, I do know dogs pick up what we feel. so glad she is trained to come when you recall her. makes me less stressed to.

  6. You are such a sweetheart, Shyla, and you and your mom are a GREAT team!

  7. too windy, we have the problem for the drone here too!! Beautiful landscape, and Shyla truly does glow.

  8. Winter sun is always such a delight. Too many gloomy days in the dead of winter. We have had our share of wind too but we are enjoying a couple of days now of incredible weather. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

  9. It may not have been a morning to set the drone up but what a glorious morning it was indeed! Happy weekend.

  10. Shyla,, we love you so much,,,, and we can see how happy you are in your world.. with all the love to surround you,, and beautiful skys and wind that talk!

  11. It has been a very growing year!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  12. Shyla is such a magical spirit and it's always a joy to see her happy smile!

  13. Yes, you guys have had quite the year! Butts, lookie at you now! I love that you guys are such a pawsome team, and loves each other so very much. Ma says we need that 'recall' class! Though, she doesn't thinks if I saw a tree rat that I would stop and come to her! ☺ they are just so evil.....
    Oh, and right nows at almost 8:30 it's still 71 the end of Nov.!!!! it's just not right! it's so humid I feel like we're in Hawaii .... without all the gorgeous views! BOL
    weird winter
    Ruby ♥

  14. I am so happy for you that you and Shyla have come so far. What a wonderful relationship you have...that bond is so, so special, and something I think we get even more with fearful dogs or those that need more work.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets


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