I like to see Penny solving problems for herself, when possible, because I think it's good for her to stretch her mental capabilities.
Yesterday she arrived at the door of the car - after a delightfully muddy swim - with a big stick in her mouth. It wouldn't fit through the door as she was carrying it. I hoped she might figure out to turn it sideways, as she has done in the past, but more often than not she can't be bothered with all the mental exertion of problem-solving.
In this case she waited for me to solve the problem for her.
I found it interesting to watch her body language as she coped with the stick that wouldn't fit. Here are some of the things I noticed:
She slowed down as she approached the car and realised there was a problem;
her tail drooped;
she licked her lips;
she looked away from the problematic door and stick;
her ears flattened;
she scratched her chin;
she looked at me for help.
Many of these are classic signs of stress, but I think it was good for her to face the situation and try to work it out. I think she was experiencing eustress rather than distress.
Here's the whole incident, if you feel like looking at it: