Today, Shyla and I had a blissfully normal day, after yesterday's tense trip to the veterinary teaching hospital. We got up early, and we mountain biked up high to meet the sun as it rose.
Shyla didn't get much exercise yesterday so she was ready to run this morning.
Her intensity about running is obvious in her eyes.
As I saw the scene unfolding, I asked everyone to stay still (i.e, stop walking toward Shyla), and I said that Shyla and I were going to get out of the way because the situation was definitely going to scare her. This is where I was proud of myself for really standing up for her. The people seemed a bit insulted, as if I was saying that their dogs or they themselves weren't nice. I said "I know my dog really well, and there are too many people and dogs for her to handle. Although I know that you are all very nice, Shyla will still get scared. We have to go. Have a great hike!". And we made a beeline toward our house.
Before becoming Shyla's guardian, I'd never experienced the peer pressure that almost always occurs when I say that my dog can't handle a scene involving people. The people frequently seem slightly hurt by my words. When I was still learning how to handle Shyla, I used to succumb to the peer pressure to avoid making the people unhappy. However, my instincts about Shyla's threshold for fear were usually right, and she'd suffer for my weakness.
Have others experienced this social pressure when they try to protect their cautious or fearful dog? It truly surprised me at first.