Clover… and the blood draw

Clover did A+++++ at the vet today (round 2, the makeup appt). She allowed lots of touching, stethoscopes, and a BLOOD DRAW without an issue. The vet was going to let the blood draw slide if we needed to but they decided to try and Clover just ate her Vienna sausages the whole time. No growling or freezing throughout. Some pauses and side eye to see what they were doing but she did so awesome. The vet and tech were so impressed and pleased. She ended on a very positive note wagging and waiting for more snacks. And she sat really pretty on the scale. Such a star student.

Clover… and a new friend?

Clover had day care today and they said she’s been doing great lately. No growling. And one person said she even played the other day. Sounds like her confidence and outlook is staying with her through day care! Yay

Clover… and the “gift”

Clover did OMG amazing with guests over. Like, I think my friends were thinking I was being dramatic about Clover and her social anxieties. We had a couple curve balls and she was a total pro. Clover handled new people coming in the door great from her crate. My sister and friend also came with my niece (15, who Clover knows) and my friends 5 yr old. So it was more people and commotion upon entry than I planned but Clover didn’t bark or growl. She was laying in her crate and pretty calmly watching.  I left her in there until she seemed calm and everyone had settled. I had the kids take the 5 yr old out of the room and asked them to keep her distracted (well, that was the plan) before I brought Clover out, with the goal of having  just my sister and my one friend (who Clover has never met) in the main room. When ready I brought Clover out and did OSR in the living room with her (with my friend and sis over in the kitchen). We did that for a bit and Clover did awesome. No growling or barking. She definitely noticed my sister and seemed to want to say hi but we just did our thing in the living room for about 25 min. She was laying down and got blinky eyes and seemed very comfortable. At one point the 5 yr old ran into the room to bring her mom a flower and Clover didn’t startle or bark. She sat up and watched until Ellie (the 5 yr old) left and we went back to OSR. Then Ellie ran back in suddenly and ran up to me to give me a flower so she and Clover were very close. Clover again didn’t startle. Clover was going to sniff at her so I just said “stop” (because I wasn’t sure if she would tip into higher gear) and Ellie handed me the flower and ran off. And Clover and I went back to OSR. I was really surprised at how well she handled that unexpected situation with an unpredictable kid. She seemed more curious than nervous. A little more arousal but not orange. No freezing or staring. Then it was time to go back to the bedroom so I said let’s go and we started going that way. Clover was really trying to get to my sis and friend.  Since she was doing so great I made a game time decision to let her say hi. I walked my friend thru how to give her a piece of food for eye contact and said go say hi and Clover right away sat down in front of her and started taking food from her. She was sniffing my friends legs and gave her a couple licks. Nothing frantic. Then we ended on that good note and went back to the room. Later Brian needed to take her out for a walk and the only way out was to walk past the room full of people. My two other friends who Clover hadn’t met had arrived so there were maybe 6 of us in the room and she walked through no problem (both coming and going). She was definitely seeming like she wanted to go interact but I wanted her to have a positive night so with the full group we didn’t risk it, we just said “let’s go” and off she went. A huge success!! I was anticipating some barks so was surprised that she just sailed through so well.

It was great to see her have confidence in those moments when she’s been so anxious in the past. I was proud of both of us for sure but Clover seemed to be really happy with herself and that was good to see. Yay!

Clover… and the dog

Clover had a GREAT reaction to a dog today. We were on our usual nature walk and going back to the car where it’s easier to see dogs walking on the street (not close, but usually triggers a big reaction). There are also lots of people walking since the trail is right next to a middle school.  And the trash truck had arrived so it was a bit loud. Before we saw any dogs I noticed her go into hyper vigilance mode looking for dogs walking so we just stopped walking and did the OSR routine. Didn’t take long before she saw a dog and started to lunge forward growling but I just stayed put and when she felt the tension in the leash (not from me yanking, just from her own move forward) she stopped and looked at me so I said GG and gave her piece of food. From there, she was definitely looking for the dog and trying to watch it but she wasn’t lunging or growling. In fact she sat down and was settling herself and checking back w me and I would say GG and give her food. She was able to watch the dog walk by without the usual reaction, which is a first. So we did a big celebration about that. Today was the first time I’ve seen her check in with me like that with dogs and settle herself back down without going into her usual full reaction mode. Yay!!

Clover… and the second tech

Clover had a great happy visit yesterday. Theresa met us at the car so we did the same thing I did when you did that. Clover did great.  Inside, they introduced a second vet tech into the room because some care will likely require two so they wanted her to get used to more bodies in the room. Clover was able to walk through the lobby (past a kid who talked to her) and into the room with the second tech and no reaction. Her tail remained slightly tucked for most of the visit but she also ate treats from the new techs hand right away and allowed touch so we all considered that a big win. She gave a few tail wags toward the end. I’ve been doing the OSR with her in the garage (with door open and door closed) and it’s going well. I just need to record it.  And by “no reaction” I mean no growls. A little tentative but approached the second tech, was sniffing, starting eating from her hand right away. Good recovery when little startles happened.

Clover… and the bed Part 2

I don’t want to jinx us but I think we are mostly over the hump with the bed issues. We have had repeated long stretches where she goes in her bed and lays down right away. She occasionally bites at it, mostly when she’s wanting attention or when she’s excited (like when the girls are coming home) so I just say “clean up” and put it away around those times. I’m getting better at anticipating them but even when I don’t, I just put it away. I think she is re-connecting that her bed is comfy and good.

Clover… and the follow-up

Had a great happy visit tonight. Third visit with this same tech (Theresa). Theresa met us at the car and clover had Whirley tail and no growling at all. We walked in together and Clover seemed relaxed, even going through the lobby. We got into the room and clover sat facing Theresa and was clearly ready to begin the treat routine so that was good. Theresa worked on touching and used the prompt “touch”. Clover paused eating at first when Theresa touched her but quickly went back to eating and didn’t seem to mind too much. By the end Theresa was petting her on her back and she was ok with that. Was the best visit so far, we plan to just keep doing them weekly for a bit. Weren’t sure if we would have to take a step back after the emergency vet but all was great today!

Clover… and the bee

We had a little emergency vet fun today. All ok. We think Clover got stung by something on her morning walk cuz her face swelled up pretty big.  She did great at the vet overall. Minimal growling and quick recovery. Understandable displeasure and growls when they had to touch her and give her a Benadryl shot but quick recovery (I brought a baggie of cream Cheese and she went right back to licking it when the shot experience was over). They asked at one point if it would be easier if they took her away to do the shot and I said I wasn’t sure that was a good idea since I was using our strategies. Open to hearing if you think her being treated without me in the room would help or hurt. I think I know what you think but maybe I’m wrong! Anyways, all good. Just thought I would report back. The emergency vet experience wasn’t as traumatic as I was worried it would be. Phew!!

Clover… and the family

When we started working with Paula, Clover had the habit of licking us all rather frequently and frantically. We thought at the time she was just a licky dog and discussed this with Paula as something we wanted to get a better handle on. Paula explained how the licking behavior was actually associated with Clover’s generally high anxiety and use of appeasement behaviors with us (vs more genuine affection and friendliness).We started with refraining from all touch with Clover unless she asked for it. At first, Clover did not ask for any affection, even after we could see she knew how to ask (by softly pawing at us). We started to wonder if she was a dog who just didn’t want much affection. Maybe a month or two after little to no petting, she started to ask to be pet. We would pet her and then stop, giving her the option to ask for more if she wanted it and allowing her to walk away when she chose. Over time, her interest in being pet increased, at the same time as the licking decreased. About a year into working w Paula, we have a super cuddly and sweet dog who initiates a lot of affection (to the point we have had to teach her the cue “not right now” when we are the ones not ready for petting!). The licking is occasional and without the franticness. It comes as little hello kisses and she stops when we ask her to. She seeks out closeness with us in a way that is much more genuine, at ease, and natural for us all. It’s been really sweet to see her feel comfort and safety in our presence that wasn’t there before (without us even realizing it).

Clover… and the chaos

Clover had a great happy visit today. She navigated  a very hectic parking lot with lots of people (including people walking very close by on the sidewalk), loud sounds, and even a couple dogs and barely reacted (other than check ins w me). We were waiting in the parking lot about 10 min so it was A LOT but she did awesome. We had a new vet tech for the happy visit and she did great with her too. Took her a couple minutes to settle in but no growling and she was eating out of the tech’s hand pretty quickly. The tech we had today was super awesome, very comfortable and patient with clover, and gave me some great suggestions for future happy visits.