Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Layla's 5th Birthday

Today marks a year anniversary since we have adopted Layla. It is also her birthday. We do not know her true birth date or even her age. Her estimated age is five years old. She could be older. We can't be too sure even with her dental records, and trying to determine age based on her teeth is nearly impossible for that her dental health has been quite terrible. As for you readers who have just recently started following my blog; Stu jokingly calls Layla a hilly billy for that when we first adopted her, her dental health had been quite terrible, and had to be remedied. She does not have upper and lower teeth between her canine teeth. See the picture down below, isn't that crazy or what?

Anyway, it has been a year since Layla entered our lives. Given Layla's poor social upbringing in her background due to neglect, poor breeding, and abuse; Layla had a lot of baggage that required tremendous amount of patience. She had a mild resource guarding, and a serious food aggression. Layla bit, nipped, and growled at me when I tried to take her away from her food. She scarfed down food like there was no tomorrow. She was terrified of being walked on a leash. Layla's tail immediately tucked under her body when a stranger approached us. She slunked to the ground and had no confidence. Everything was a threat to Layla. She was even unsure of our cats! Layla did not understand boundaries or rules hence mild resource guarding behaviors over certain items.

Realizing that we had a dog with serious issues, I pushed Stu to go on the board to hire a trainer to help us to help Layla. After all, I agreed with a saying from Caesar's Dog Whisper television show that it was often the owners that needed to be rehabbed rather than their dogs. The first trainer we had really sucked. She basically told us that Layla had no hope and should have been put down instead of being adopted out. That really hurt, and we struggled whether Layla was in a right home with us for a few weeks. Finally, we decided not to let one terrible report to deter us from wanting to work with Layla. With some research and asking around, we found a different trainer, and sure enough, she gave us the plethora of training tips to work with Layla. She gave us a hope that Layla was not a lost cause. Slowly, but surely, we began to see an improvement with Layla's behavior and confidence. 

With our training and not giving up on Layla, I'm happy to say that a year later...Layla is a completely different dog. No longer does she growl, nip or attempt to bite when someone tries to take away her treats, and dog food. I am able to safely remove scrap out of Layla's mouth with my bare hand with a command and trade-off treat. Layla understands that she must sit and wait to be called to eat her breakfast and dinner. She is no longer afraid of strangers, but welcome them, and to make this even sappier...she must have their attention. To our pleasant surprise, Layla absolutely love kids, and gobbles up their attention as much as possible! She loves a good loving.

Missy and Layla likes to house-rough and chase each other around the house. Mr. Jinxy and Layla share a good sunning spot in the kitchen. We are able to have Layla on the sofa with an invitation from us. She knows she can't sit on the sofa at our guests' homes and is content to lay down on the floor. When Layla's undesirable behavior crops up, which is far and not often these days, we correct her behavior immediately and gently remind her of the rules we have for her.

It is amazing how far Layla has bloomed under our tender, loving and care in a year. She certainly has taken us on many adventures. Remember the Thanksgiving when she ate my wedding ring? Or when she stole a large chunk of baked Ham at our family function over Easter? She is certainly my little garbage disposal because she gobbles up whatever I drop on the floor while I'm cooking or baking. She also eats our cats' throw up messes. She even likes to sample cow's manure at our family's farm up north. Must be a Basset thing? Layla is very attentive and tender toward Forrest. I look forward to having Forrest grow up with Layla. 

Our family and friends remark to us almost constantly that Layla is our little miracle because they are amazed at Layla's transformation. Indeed, our fur face is not perfect, and she does have her bad days. Nonetheless, we wouldn't dream of trading her up for any other dog. She is utterly perfect for us. To celebrate Layla's first year of accomplishment, and her birthday/adoption day; I've baked her a very special dog birthday cake! She certainly did enjoy a piece of her cake! 

Happy birthday Fur Face.