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!