Aggressive Dog Diagnosed With PTSD But Owner Refuses To Give Up On Him
Leah Wyman went shopping for pet supplies in November 2012 and came home with an 8-week-old abandoned puppy named Marvin who is not your typical family companion. Apart from his owner, Marvin doesn’t like people. He is a an extremely aggressive dog who has experienced severe abuse in his early days . Every year, more than 800,000 dogs like Marvin are euthanized and it would have been his fate if Wyman hadn’t rescued him.
Dr. Sharon Crowe-Davis, a behavioral veterinarian at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine who is actively working with Wyman and Marvin, says that helping aggressive dogs is not an easy task. Moreover, it doesn’t work in most cases.
Wyman will do anything to save her dog’s life and doesn’t want to give up on him. She says Marvin was a darling pup who liked to play with kids and explore his surroundings. He went to dog parks and enjoyed the company of other canines. However, everything changed when he was about 6 months old. When a neighbor came over, Marvin snapped at him. When they took Marvin to the vet to treat an ear infection, the doctor wasn’t able to get a sample because Marvin wanted to bite him. Marvin even attacked Wyman’s other dog. That’s when Wyman decided to seek the help of a behaviorist.
Crowe-Davis told Wyman claims the trauma dogs have faced when they were young can be overcome with proper training. She stresses that the training should never involve hitting the dog or severely punishing him. Most aggressive dogs are actually aggressive because they are afraid they will be abused or abandoned all over again.
“Our best guess is Marvin had a traumatic experience and they had a honeymoon period because he was out of a bad situation. As he matured his early experiences came back.”
Just as with soldiers returning from war, post-traumatic stress disorder manifests months, even years later. Marvin has begun to improve, but he is far from being a kind, affectionate dog. He wears the muzzle whenever Wyman takes him out, or when he’s around her other dogs. He still shows signs of aggression and nips at Wyman’s family and friends.
Crowe-Davis frankly tells Wyman the dog will control the next 10 years of her life and counsels her that there may be a time when keeping the dog alive is cruelty. Although Wyman is aware of all of this, she says she will not stop trying.
“I can’t imagine life without Marvin. Marvin rescued me.”