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Zoe survived a BBQ

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I'm so, so proud of my girl today I could just cry. We had a small BBQ at our house today with some immediate relatives of my hubby. Since it was at our house we decided to bring Zoe out for a bit. First try, off leash, she said "No thanks" and ran back around to the front door... so I put her on her long line, and tied the end to my chair. Only den's gram was here, so she got to get used to it slowly.


She wasn't too keen on the two 5 year old girls who came (hubby's nieces). The girls really wanted to play with the doggy, and Zoe really wanted them to disappear into thin air - either them or her. I spent most of my time making sure the girls didn't frighten her too much. BUT, after being skittish for an hour or so and running off when they came over, she started taking food from them - little bits of chips and cheese. I let them, because MAN, her taking food from someone? KIDS? That's great! She actually started walking TOWARDS the kids when they had cheese, she liked it that much. They would pet her and startle her, then run off. They'd pet her as they walked by. You know, it's not what I would have chosen to do to acclimate her - but you could see the wheels turning in her head. Nothing bad happened, and the kids would come by and go away. After a while she wouldn't even move when they stomped by, just watch very very carefully.


I let her off leash when she settled down and wasn't going to run for the front door again (she kept getting tangled around my chair legs), and she stayed right by me all night. She'd jump up and run backwards if something happened to startle her - like chairs being moved, people giving a shout of laughter, etc. The kids still had her a bit nervous all night. But overall? She did TONS BETTER than any other time she's been around people. Maybe just because we were out there for so long, she really had time to acclimate and settle down. She mainly kept me between her and Scary Moving People, if they got up to walk over to the table (which we were beside).


I'm just so so so happy with her. Offleash she's a dream - she'd follow me almost anywhere. Into the house, out of the house, back around the house. One time she scared me, though - we went into the house, I shut the door. I turn around to get something, and then I couldn't find her. It's a small house! I panicked for 2 seconds until I heard her collar tags jingling - I looked outside and she was following my sister in law out back to all the people!! Can you imagine that?! I quickly walked around back to get to her and there she was, sitting beside my chair waiting for me. There was apparently too many people in the house for her liking - she figured outside with the people was better! She really liked my sister in law, by the way - Zoe immediately decided she was a safe person who would protect her. (I just want to put a little disclaimer here: I would never have let Zoe offleash anywhere but our yard, where I KNOW she will stay. I trust her here - the only reason she was leashed in the first place was because she was just going to sit by the front door all night and not come out!)


Everyone commented on what a well-mannered girl she is - and well-behaved, with being off-leash and all. The adults all really respected her boundaries and just tried to call her over (never happened), but then just left her alone and watched her. They said how pretty she was, and more than one person said "border collie". :rolleyes:


It could have turned out badly - that was a lot to put her through. But honestly, toughing it out with her - protecting her, but letting her *experience* it all - really paid off.


Here's the funny part of the story: to distract the girls from Zoe when they first arrived, my husband put a harness and leash on my CAT and let them take him "for a walk" out in the backyard. Now before you picture a cat spazzing out in terror, let me say Jo is not a normal cat. He walked around, layed down, and ate grass. They lugged him around like a sack of grain, plopping him in a new spot where he'd lay down again. When they lost interest we just attached his leash to the table out there, and he stayed under the table until dinner time, lounging, sunning, chasing bugs.

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Barb - Wasn't it though! I don't know if the idea was *specifically* to distract them from Zoe, but it sure worked. It's kind of funny that of three animals, the cat is the most social and well-mannered (mostly)... heh.


I gave Zoe a big hug tonight and told her what a good girl she is and I started crying! I'm such a silly sap. :rolleyes: But she makes me SO proud.

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Hugs for Zoe! :rolleyes: What a pity they have to be virtual hugs (her coat looks far too soft and fluffy - I want I want I want!!!).


She trusted you and was rewarded - I'm sure these moments are all added up on a long list in their heads, and the longer these lists get, the more crazy things they'll be willing to do with us!

Give her some more hugs

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That's the scary thing about these kinds of dogs - they'd do anything for you! I had a few panicky moments when the kids were walking around following her trying to pet her, I almost put her inside in her crate and gave up. BUT I decided she was okay and we'd keep going, and it paid off. Thank dog for hubby and the cat. (I asked him later, he said it was indeed his suggestion to occupy the kids. Tee hee.)

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