Sunday, December 5, 2010

Behavior Logs- Chart

Because I'm a geek, I made a spreadsheet summarizing the behavior logs I've been keeping on Maisy. Because some of you are geeks, I'm sharing it. Click the picture to embiggen so you can read it.

First, it has to be said: I know that the data isn't perfect. Taking data for only two days may or may not be accurate. Also, the categories in the chart above are completely arbitrary (and also retrospective); when I first started keeping the logs, I had no idea what to look for. For example, since I didn't know eight weeks ago that I'd be interested in the duration of each behavior, I didn't write down start and stop times. Still, my logs were fairly detailed, so I think the data in the chart is close, although not perfect.

Also, you'll see that there are two columns for seven weeks. The first is the first four days after we arrived home from Thanksgiving. I've written before that Maisy has a fairly long stress recovery period, and that was evident here. The second column reflects the data after she seemed to have recovered, although it's possible that there were still some residual stress hormones in her body.

With that said, here are my thoughts. Feel free to chime in with your own.

Number of Incidents
Overall, the trend is downwards, although she was actually above the baseline during the stress recovery period. She's still having approximately two incidents per day where she startles or overreacts to minor or undetectable stimuli in the environment. This number is higher than I'd like, and although I'm not sure what's reasonable to expect, I'd like to see it at more like 3-4 times a week.

Time of Day
I included this because a third of all the incidents during the baseline happened overnight. The number has gone down significantly, which I hope indicates she's sleeping sounder.

Vocalization Type
I'm really not sure what to make of the data here. About the only conclusion I can draw is that she growls less and, at least while recovering from stress, barking more. Possibly more of her incidents are silent, although the last column sort of undermines that conclusion.

As I already noted, I didn't track duration, although my notes were pretty good. The number of incidents lasting longer than one minute have been reduced by approximately half.

Leaving the Room and Vigilance
These two categories are very similar. Any time an incident included a notation about scanning the environment, I counted it as "vigilance." This has dropped off dramatically, from 30% of all incidents to 0%. (And only 7% during the recovery period!) This is a huge improvement! Leaving the room is probably related to vigilance, but often, I couldn't see what she was doing when she went to a different room, so I listed it in a separate category. The data shows that she's leaving the room far less often, contributing to my conclusion that she's less vigilant these days.

This is a completely subjective measure, and retrospective, so take it with a grain of salt. Basically, if I read over a notation and thought it sounded worse than usual, I counted it as high intensity. This is probably the least accurate metric, and it also hasn't really changed. I'm not sure if that's because she's still having large explosions, or if it's because she's mellowed out so much that incidents that might have only been at a medium level during the baseline now seem high intensity to me.

Sample Notations
Maisy was napping. My stomach growled. Maisy jumped up, growled briefly, then trotted into the kitchen, looking around.

We were lying in bed, just on the verge of falling asleep. Maisy suddenly lifted her head and growled for approximately 20 seconds, then "wuffed" several times. She went into the kitchen, looked around for a moment, then ran towards the back door while barking.

Two Weeks:
We were in the kitchen, playing ball. The wind howled outside, and Maisy rushed toward the back door growling. Then she returned to me.

We were sitting on the couch together. I called out to Brian, who was in the other room. Maisy jumped up, startled, then lay down again.

Four Weeks:
We were sitting in the living room, and one of the cats were in the front room. Maisy made a single, soft "wuff."

We were in the living room on the couch. I accidentally "dinged" a glass, and Maisy barked, then trotted around the room for approximately 90 seconds, looking in both the kitchen and at the front door before settling down again.

Six Weeks:
Maisy and I were sitting together, and Brian giggled at something he read. Maisy jumped up, rushed towards Brian, and sat next to him.

Maisy was chewing on a rawhide, then suddenly stood, "wuffed" softly, and let out a short, low growl towards the front door.

Seven Weeks, Recovery Period:
Maisy was lying on the bedroom floor. Brian was in the other room, and when he shifted, his chair made a creaking sound. Maisy jumped up and let out a single bark.

Seven Weeks, Post-Recovery:
Maisy was eating out of a food-toy. I shifted my foot and it made a cracking noise. Maisy jumped up, and rushed approximately one foot away with her tail tucked. She barked three or four times as she did this, then looked around for about five seconds before she let out two small "wuffs."


Kristine said...

I am impressed with your organization! I think this was the smartest way to record everything to keep the information clear and objective. If it was me, I'd probably just jot my notes on the back of a napkin.

It seems to me there has been huge mprovement. I hope the behavourist agrees!

Crystal said...

Well, I sort of did just jot notes down everywhere, but I am far too embarrassed to take those to the behaviorist.

Eliz said...

I love your organizational geekyness.

Crystal said...

She told me today that I should go into research.

Original_Wacky said...

Actually, your notes help me, because it gives me some ideas of what to watch/note with Missy, especially since we may be looking at meds for her as well.

Crystal said...

Original Wacky- I'll be posting more soon, but if you keep behavior logs, mark times of day, duration of incidents, and find some way to objectively measure intensity. I wish I'd done those things better. It's really overwhelming to keep behavior logs, but they're SO interesting, and SO helpful.