Shyla and I are taking a class to try a new way to address her fears. It involves me playing with her. Ideally, we'd play together, just the two of us, without toys or food involved.
We've done a bit of this in the past but not much.
I'm finding it to be incredibly hard to draw her into play without any toys being involved. Then, I realized that it's parallel to how she interacts with every dog on Earth besides R. We've had puppies come to visit many times. R wrestles and fake bites along with them for hours on end. In contrast, without toys being involved, Shyla has no clue how to interact with other dogs or puppies.
R knows how to make other dogs not feel threatened by him. He repeatedly throws himself on his back to "self-handicap". I've never seen Shyla lie on her back either when playing with other dogs or with me.
When we first knew Shyla, she didn't even want to try to play with other dogs - she'd go hide in the bedroom when they came to visit. Now, she wants to try but her overtures are not successful. In this photo, Shyla had just tried to get the puppy to chase her as she carried the nylabone. Shyla eventually gave up and let the puppy have the bone. Shyla is lying in the background.
On the very next day after one of the puppy's visits to our house, we met the puppy and her humans on a trail. Shyla again tried to play with the puppy with slightly more success than in our house. She tried to get the puppy to chase her and was successful. This was Shyla zooming in a circle around us.
And this was the puppy, about 20 yards behind Shyla. The puppy sprinted her heart out but there was no way for her to keep up with an athletic grown-up like Shyla.
The puppy was so cute and beautiful as she ran through the snow. She's growing up so fast!
In the meantime, we thank our lucky stars that Shyla has such a wonderful big brother. She trusts him completely, and they play together almost every day.