What the Heck is Wrong With This Foster Dog?

Layla the foster beagle sniffs through the fence.

Layla’s nose tells her there’s something interesting just outside the fence.

Tonight will mark one week since we picked up our latest foster dog, Layla. It’s time to ask what’s wrong with her. Why isn’t she in a wonderful home of her own?


Layla was in a foster home before ours.

Her first foster person told us Layla had been surrendered to the SPCA because she didn’t get along with another dog in the home. When she arrived at the shelter, she totally shut down. She was so fearful they couldn’t even test her temperament. So they sent her home with a foster person experienced with fearful dogs.

When we met Layla, we saw some of that fearfulness. She’d sniff Honey. But if Honey sniffed back or made any other approach, Layla would hide behind her foster person’s legs. We also heard she was fearful with other dogs in the neighborhood.

Layla’s first foster person did a wonderful job with her. Because that fearful, shut down dog from the shelter is not the dog I’m living with.

Learning About Layla

Here’s what I’ve learned about Layla in one week. She:

is house trained – after a short transition when she first came to live with us, she has had no accidents.

plays fetch – last night she brought me a tennis ball. I quietly rolled it so I didn’t wake up the “retriever” in the house, and she brought it back to me every time.

burrows – her favorite place to sleep is at our feet, under the covers.

loves watching the world go by – I’ve removed the curtains on the glass front door so she can see everyone going by. And she loves perching on the back of the couch in front of the window so she can look down on everyone on the sidewalk out front.

barks moderately – which is more than Honey but not enough to be a problem. She uses her voice but it’s more like she’s talking than obsessing.

Honey the Golden Retriever with foster dog Layla.

I feel like I’m being followed.

likes to be chased – over the past few days, Layla has instigated games of chase with Honey. I worried at first. Her tail position was a little stiff and her play bow is kinda awkward. I think Honey finds her signals to be a little worrisome too since she’ll break off the chase to chew on a stick in the yard for a few minutes. But they are playing, even if it’s not the mellow retriever vibe I’m used to.

enjoys greeting strangers on the street – Layla hones in on people who love her as quickly as Honey does and always solicits scratchies.

is a delicate princess – although she looks like a sturdy, outdoor dog, Layla shivers in the cold without a coat and sometimes cuts her pads if she plays too hard in the snow.

learns quickly – she’s already calming her exuberant greetings since I go back outside every time she jumps all over me at the door.

is fine in the house when I go away – no barking. No damage. No crying. Despite the sad, beagle eyes sending out guilt rays every time I walk out the door.

doesn’t react to every dog we meet – in truth, I have yet to see her lunge, pull, or bark at the few dogs we see on our daily walks.

is sweet and affectionate – loving to cuddle in front of a movie and glad just to be with us.

needs training – but who doesn’t? She’ll sit for a treat, come when you coax her, and, at around 20 pounds, doesn’t do much damage when she jumps all over you at the front door. I could see many families not doing any training with her and having no problems. But someone who wants to build their relationship or do agility (I think she’d be great at it), would have a wonderful training partner in Layla.

So I look at everything I’ve learned about Layla in a week and I ask myself —

What’s Wrong With This Foster Dog?

Absolutely nothing I can see.

I hope we get the ok to find her forever home soon.

Frosty Paws Giveaway – Win Your Perfect Dog a Valentine’s Treat

Soon it will be Valentine’s Day — time to show your love.

And if your loved one is of the canine variety, I have a treat for you: Frosty Paws frozen treats.

Ten lucky people will win a prize pack with two coupons for free Frosty Paws treats and a stuffed Frosty Paws mascot. Just leave a comment below telling us if you and your pup enjoy frozen treats in the winter or if you wait until it’s warm to enjoy them before Thursday, February 7 at 11:59 p.m. EST. The winners will be chosen at random and announced Friday, February 8. Contest is open only in the United States.

Honey loves Frosty Paws as an occasional treat. Instead of emptying the frozen goodie into her bowl, Honey licks it right out of the container. It slows her down and it’s how I’d advise you to feed your treat, if you win.

If your dog has allergies or sensitivities, read the Frosty Paws ingredient list before entering: Water, Whey, Soy Flour, Coconut Oil, Dried Whey Product, Whey Protein, Soy Lecithin, Polysorbate 60, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Magnesium Oxide, Silicon Dioxide, Mono And Diglycerides, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Cellulose Gum, Niacin Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Polysorbate 80, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Good luck! And don’t forget–what’s the best time for frozen treats? Winter or summer?




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  1. Layla sounds like a wonderful dog, hopefully she will find her forever home soon.

    In the past I think many fearful dogs have been mistakenly classified as something they are not and a lot of people adopting from a shelter have no idea how to deal with and train for certain issues.

    When we were looking for what eventually turned out to be Sampson, I didn’t want a dog with issues, and that is probably a good thing. Even though I’d had dogs my entire life, I don’t think I would have been prepared for a challenging dog at that time. He changed that for me and gave me a better understanding about how to live, work and love dogs.

    Since your SPCA is aware of Layla’s issues, I’m sure they will work extra hard to make sure the adopters are the right fit and willing to give Layla what she needs.

  2. Layla sounds lovely – I hope she gets a permanent home soon.

    I love frozen treats when it’s hot and I need to cool down. The only frozen treat that interests me in the winter is snow! I can’t enter your contest – I’m not in the US.

  3. I have never given my dogs frozen treats. They would live to try them!

    Hope Layla finds her forever home soon! But if I were here I would not want to leave with having adorable Honey as a sibling!

  4. What’s wrong with Layla? Nothing, as far as I’m concerned either. A shelter can be a scary place for a young dog, especially with all those different people running around with a thousand different things on their minds. You and Honey are doing a great job with her, Pamela. Hopefully you’ll get the okay soon to find her a forever family!

  5. She really does sound wonderful, her first foster home did an awesome job. Maybe the in fighting at her previous home is what caused her to be so fearful. If the other dog was bullying/attacking her regularly I could see her shutting down.

    Thanks for taking her in! It doesn’t sound like she’ll need to crash by you for very long!

  6. Lisa Kauffman says:

    Living in Phoenix, it always a good time to enjoy a frosty treat! Just ask the woman who currrently has three flavors of ice cream in the freezer! Scooter likes to eat his Frosty Paws out of the cup, too. It’s really cute to watch.

  7. Sounds like that foster dog is a winner. AS TO THE TREATS, since winter can sometimes feel like summer in southern AZ, I have to say we’re in favor of frozen treats all year round.

  8. Please don’t enter this comment in the contest as I can’t win, but I couldn’t read this without sharing happy thoughts for Layla’s growing confidence. She is definitely a beautiful girl and it’s sad to think that anyone could have turned her away or gave her reason to fear. I am so glad she ended up where she did, though, so she could get a second chance. From the sound of things she is flourishing and will probably find her new forever home before too long. I hope to enjoy the adorable photos of her as long as they last!

    There aren’t many beagle type dogs in agility, sadly. I think people find it a struggle to compete with the nose for attention and so don’t even bother. It’s a shame as they are definitely built for it. I have heard recall is a challenge for hound-types, have you noticed this a difficulty with Layla?

    • My last dog, Shadow, (in the header) was only part hound. And she definitely fit the stereotype of being totally nose driven.

      Once she’s on a walk, Layla leads with her nose. But it doesn’t seem to get in her way too much under controlled conditions. I suspect that going to the same agility ring with the same dogs week after week would help.

      And, in the house or yard, Layla has good recall. But I’m terrified of dropping her leash. If Shadow was any indication, she’d follow her nose all the way to Canada. :)

  9. Layla looks and sounds wonderful. You’re right, I cannot imagine why such a great dog hasn’t found a perfect forever home yet. Wishing you tons of luck and hoping she finds it really soon.

  10. The collies love Frosty Paws anytime! But they are guaranteed Frosty Paws whenever we are celebrating one of their many birthdays! Please enter us in your contest? :)

    And what a sweet girl, I hope Layla gets a home soon! Will she just stay with you until that day arrives?

  11. I can’t imagine why either!
    But, I do love that you took the curtains down for her. That is so sweet. :)

  12. Since I love ice cream treats all year round, I figure Kelly and Brooks do too. If it tastes good, it tastes good! Yum!

  13. With you as her advocate, Layla should find just the right home asap!
    I love this: “Despite the sad, beagle eyes sending out guilt rays every time I walk out the door.” !! I know that look!

  14. I love frozen treats but I have only ever had them in the summer. I tend to get them on the Cape when everyone else is indulging in ice cream :)

  15. So glad to see that Layla is doing so well! I hope she can find her forever home soon. My dogs get Frosty Paws occasionally….but only in the Summer. I don’t know why, because their parents eat ice cream year round! I guess it’s time to change that for them!

  16. You really have learned a lot about Layla in such a short time…It sounds like she trusts you enough to show you who she is…She’s going tomake some lucky adopter a great companion…As for Frosty Paws, they’re a year round treat :)

  17. She’s adorable! Some of her traits remind me of our beloved beagle who passed a few years back. She LOVED to lay up on the back of the couch and watch the world go by. She also would start out the night under the covers, burrowed down by our feet. (Unfortunately she would creep up toward our heads in the night, and you’d wake to find yourself face-to-snout with her on the pillow.)
    (Don’t enter me for the Frosty Paws – we love them as a once-in-a-while treat, and we hold them and let Rita lick them out of the container like you do – but I did this giveaway earlier this year and still have my coupons to use! Keep forgetting to buy them.)

  18. She’s a beauty! and she sounds like a sweetheart! Hopefully she’ll find her own family soon – in the meantime, she is so lucky to have you! :)
    Hugs and Woofs, Layla!

  19. Layla sounds like a very good beagle. What a sweetheart. I hope she finds a great furever home soon.

  20. She’s so lovely, please keep us updated on her progress!

  21. “…they are playing, even if it’s not the mellow retriever vibe I’m used to.” What a lovely Beagle! Welcome to Hound Ville! Beagles move faster, sleep harder, and love exuberantly (just like Honey loves). I’m tracking back on blogs I miss reading when working. YESH for fostering Layla so well & getting out the word that, OMDog, Beagles CAN be trained :). Let’s hear it for the girls….Waiting to hear her bay/bawl, if she does.

  22. Layla certainly is a charmer. I do have to wonder what really makes people give up their dogs, sometimes. Especially if she came into the shelter in such a fearful state but has rebounded so quickly. I’m thinking maybe Layla wasn’t really the problem in that first home after all.

    She is so lucky to have good people helping her learn. She’s absolutely lovely and I wish we could have another dog. Someday maybe… In the meantime, I hope she finds her very own forever home very soon.