On tour with Layla

Lisa Trimmel (Intern)



When I came to the WSC as an intern in August, I was very happy to hear that I had the opportunity to learn how to walk the dogs. You should know that it is not just to take a leash, attach the dog and go. The dogs are kept here at the WSC just like the wolves and therefore there are some important behavior rules and the line guidance must also be learned. Therefore, there are dog walk training at the beginning to become familiar with everything.

After completing some of these trainings, I have now permission to go alone for a walk with Layla. Layla is a good beginner dog to learn how to handle. She is very good and calm, and I always find it very relaxing to explore the forest with her. However, there is a little peculiarity about Layla, because she loves digging more than anything else. Once it has started, it can hardly be stopped. So, it can happen that you walk relaxed through the forest, suddenly Layla stops and stares at the ground, her ears point forward, she stamps 1 or 2 times with both front paws and then it starts. She digs like there's no tomorrow, mostly she even tears out whole chunks of earth and roots with her mouth. Within a very short time the hole is so deep that she can stick her whole head into the ground. And the funniest thing about it are the noises she makes. She tries to inhale all the smells and grunts to make you wonder if you really have a dog on the other end of the leash. She already caught through such actions the one or the other mouse. But of course, some mice also escaped and you can really see the disappointment in her eyes. All the effort for nothing. It is an impossibility to lure her away from a hole she's currently digging when you just want to go on. The WSC only works through positive reinforcement, so you don't just pull the dog away or tell him that he is not allowed to. You have to persuade them and convince them that it is better to keep walking. But for Layla there is nothing better than digging up mice. Accordingly, you can imagine how often and for how long I watch her digging. However, I don't find it annoying, she should have her fun. And if it really doesn't stop at all, there is always the option of simply standing in the hole. So you don't take anything away from her or forbid her to do anything, but digging further is also stupid.

I am happy to be able to experience so many moments with Layla and to get to know her better. I am also looking forward to more dog walk training and that I can go for a walk with other dogs in order to get to know their peculiarities.