Over all it will be up to Myst on how fast she wishes to advance...
Myst was saved from the Fairbanks Animal Shelter, chosen in part because of her unique parti eye coloring. But it wasn't just her eyes that drew her to us, it was the way she remained hidden deep inside her dog house refusing to come out even when coaxed. It is extreme shy behavior like this that will ultimately put a dog on the euthanasia list when the yard fills up with strays.
Many dogs who have a shy trait like Myst are deemed unadoptable but we have found, with a little care and individual attention, that they will snap out of the stress of their new environment and show us who they are behind their fear. For Myst, coming out of her shell in the dog yard took no time at all. Once she realized our feeding routine she found it to be quiet agreeable and looked forward to it every day.
Seeing her personality come out so quickly we thought that it would be a snap to get her out on the trail and work with her in harness to cement the bond that was starting to grow between us. We soon realized this would not be the case. On her first run she was quite scared, willing to go along but very hesitant to work. We believe this could be due to a number of factors. She could be unfamiliar with the trail, the deepness of the snow (very different from her home in Fairbanks), her teammates are larger than most sled dogs and could be considered threatening or she just didn't like working without a partner.
When her training started our winter was drawing to a close so we did not have time to try out other training techniques we had in mind to gather more information on what she might be thinking.
Over all it will be up to Myst on how fast she wishes to advance into working life or if she chooses to just hang out at the kennel enjoying group free runs. As with all the dogs here we do not maintain a strict time-line for what we hope they will achieve but let them work at their own pace and ease into their own comfort levels on their own time. Myst still has a lot to teach us about who she is and where she wants to be in life.
It is obvious though that she likes it here and has made a few friends with her neighbors. She has been having a hard time getting along with other dogs when loose but we have found this to be common behavior with new dogs who enter the Sanctuary. In their old homes they often are not allowed off their tie outs so their only interaction with other dogs is while running in the team or at their dog houses in the kennel. If not allowed time off to interact freely with others in the yard many will develop a fear of loose dogs. If they are bumped during play it is often considered a threat and will attack out of defense.
It takes time for fearful dogs like Myst to understand that not only are they safe in their new home but that we will always be on hand to make sure everyone is treated fairly. This is part of the trust that slowly builds over time as we work with each dog day after day. We are looking forward to discovering who Myst is behind those shy beautiful eyes.
*** Thank you Ronnie Rosenburg for sponsoring Myst! ***
Learn how you can sponsor a Sanctuary sled dog by reading more about our Sponsorship Program...