Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Quigley was really good today. Well, most of today. With me, not our guest... but hey, he was so good about the biting that it's cause for rejoicing.

A friend emailed me the other day about another technique to use in providing negative consequence for his biting, and that's where you place your fingers in his mouth from the side, and squeeze the roof of his mouth and top of his nose at the same time. I saw one of the technicians do this at the vet's office last Saturday, but had never had it explained until my friend's email. It works well. Another tool in the box to use against the biting.

Besides that there is making the sharp, short "AAA!" sound when he touches me with his teeth, immediately stopping play and turning away, or leaving his presence altogether, holding his mouth closed, reminding him "no biting", sticking my finger in through the side of his mouth so I pull the cheek with it over his teeth -- he bites me, he bites himself. We also stick his ear into his mouth sometimes or his leg (he seems happy to chew on them as well) or give him a chew or toy.

It's rapid fire, constant, intense... but! We ARE making progress. Tooth/skin contact has been greatly reduced and when it is made, it's far gentler. So much so I almost don't notice it sometimes. He gets praise for when he jumps beside me rather than on me, praise for when he licks instead of bites, praise when he bites the toy instead of me... There is light at the end of the tunnel. I have no new blood wounds today.

I'm also seeing the biting as a form of interaction and communication. The barking, too, which seems to be gradually taking over from the biting -- a good thing! Increased tendancy to bite comes when he's tired, and today he barked at me to tell me he wanted to go out, or eat or get in his bed, instead of biting me.

In addition to some success on the Quigley front, there was also progress on the writing front. I'm writing again on Chapter 14 after several days of thinking about the outline. No, the rest of the book is not clearly outlined, but it is outlined. More or less. And this time I have a lot more confidence about what I'm doing and where I'm going with it all. So that's nice. Hopefully I continue to progress tomorrow.

I also brought Quigley into the office with me today, not the first time he's been in here, but the first time in a few weeks. He was too interested in exploring everything for me to really work. But hopefully in a few days he will be able to come in and be here with his chew while I type.