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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Thankful for the wide open spaces of the West

Shyla is still a dog who prefers to be hidden. She doesn't like strangers to look at her. She hides and peeks when strangers are around. In this photo, she was waiting for me to call her. I loved seeing her eyes peek over the mesa.

When I called her, she sprinted toward me, revealing her full face.

And then coming into full view.

It means so much to us that wilderness is Shyla's happy zone. The West still has lots of remote places where Shyla and I feel most comfortable. She stands tall in those places.

She loves to survey the world while standing tall on her mesa. We've dubbed it "Shyla's Mesa".
Since we arrived home, Shyla and I have started a new program that uses play as a way to rehabilitate fearful dogs like Shyla. Although Shyla has come a very long way since she joined our family, I've come to realize how much of the world is still too scary for her. I plan our activities to try to avoid the scary things but it would be even better if there were fewer things that scared her so much. That's why I'm trying a new approach with her.

We're at the very beginning of the program, and it can take a long time to overcome deeply ingrained fears. However, I'm ready to give a new method a try. So far, Shyla loves all the play that we're doing so that's good!
I am so thankful that there are wild places where Shyla doesn't worry but plays happily instead!


  1. i am so happy you showed the pics in order, when i saw her eyes only it made me sad, then as she came into view i was smiling and cheering in my head. i wish karma on all who abuse dogs and turn them into fearful dogs... you live in the perfect place for her, imagine is she lived in a city like we do.

  2. We just adore you, Shyla, and that last picture has happiness written all over your beautiful face♥

  3. That's such a fun series of beautiful Shyla photos!

  4. Hari OM
    Growing ever closer to the centre of balance... wishing all that's best for the new regime! YAM xx

  5. What a great series of Shyla pictures. We all hope the new approach helps her gain more confidence.

  6. Good luck with the new desensitizing approach. We've got our paws crossed Shyla makes great progress!

  7. Lovely photos and the new approach sounds great. Keep us posted.

    One note: many fearful dogs come that was without abuse in their background. So said our behavioral vet when she started to work with Habi. Genetics and ignorant neglect of socialization at the proper time in the proper way are the root cause of fearfulness for many dogs. It behooves us not to jump to conclusions (as I had done with Habi).

    Chris from Boise

  8. Shyla is surely with the right family to help her become the social butterfly I know is hiding within.
    Everyone must want to touch that purrty brown fur. OMCS I love her booties in the last photo. Does she use then when navigating hot rugged rocks in the wild?
    hugs madi and mom

  9. Confidence shines in her eyes, and whole body. And her shoes, ditto to Madi's thoughts. I hope you always live where those safe, open areas, rocks, trails and snow are close by, and you can enjoy them as much as is possible.

  10. I hope your play plan helps Shyla become even more confident in more places.

    BTW, am I the only one who heard Also Sprach Zarathustra (the music from the opening of 2001 A Space Odyssey) when Shyla started peering over the mesa?

  11. The contrast of the bright colours and the happy pup make these pictures perfect.

  12. The world is a scary place Shyla. We admire you for trying to conquor your fear.

  13. And through all the fears,,, our Shyla looks sooo happy,,, and all because of you!

  14. How wonderful that you have a safe place for her to be her. Much to be thankful for.

    Hope you had a wonderful Thankful Thursday. ♥

  15. She's so lucky you put a lot of effort into helping her. I'm sure it is challenging but rewarding as well.

  16. I can't wait to hear more and how this works out for Shyla. We are always interested in new things to try with Luke too.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets


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