Can We Help Aggressive Dogs?

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USA Today/GREENVILLEONLINE.COM

Leah Wyman went shopping for pet supplies in November 2012 and came home with an 8-week-old abandoned and abused pup named Marvin who didn’t turn out quite as she expected.

Marvin is an extremely aggressive dog who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He doesn’t like people, except for his owner, and he nips at her friends and family.

Although Marvin was a wonderful dog when she adopted him, things started to change after a few months. He attacked Wyman’s neighbor, wanted to bite his vet and showed hostility toward Wyman’s other dogs. When Wyman realized she wasn’t able to cope with her dog alone, she decided it was time to pay a visit to a behaviorist.

Dr. Sharon Crowe-Davis, a behavioral veterinarian, started working with Wyman and Martin. She told Wyman that the trauma he faced in puppyhood can be overcome with proper training. Of course, that requires a lot of time, patience and hard work. Further, the owner should never hit the dog or severely punish him. Since most aggressive dogs are actually afraid that their new owners will abuse or abandon them, canines suffering from PTSD have to feel safe and loved at all times.

Marvin has begun to improve, but he still has a long way in front of him. Moreover, he will never be a kind, affectionate dog who doesn’t need supervising 24/7. Crowe-Davis openly told Wyman that her life will depend on her dog’s moods for the next ten years and advised her to think about putting an end to his miseries. After all, there may come a time when keeping the dog alive is more cruel than euthanizing him. Wyman is perfectly aware of everything, but refuses to abandon Marvin.

“I can’t imagine life without Marvin. Marvin rescued me.”

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