We have a 3-year-old, loving, affectionate, purebred Shetland sheepdog. Several weeks ago he was violently attacked by a much larger, bad-tempered dog in our neighborhood and, although he was not physically injured, he has had an increasing number of behavioral problems since.He has been excellently housetrained since he was a puppy, but about a week after the attack he urinated in the house at least four times in one day. We crated him for the rest of the day and overnight and, luckily, it has not happened again. He's also always been an infrequent barker, but now he barks at everything and sometimes even at nothing. He never bit before, but now he snaps at us when we touch him in the wrong way or accidentally step on him.I don't think he wants to hurt us -- I think he's just scared. He's constantly underfoot and always wants to be near us, sitting on our feet or in our laps. He's always been nervous around strangers, but now is downright fearful. He'll let people approach him and pet him, but as soon as th
M.S., Annapolis, Md Oct 17, 2004
Your letter describes in dramatic detail how a dog can become psychologically derailed after a traumatic experience. Your dog is suffering from classic post-traumatic shock/stress disorder. Consult with your veterinarian and get an anxiety-relieving psychotropic drug like Valium or Xanax prescribed, or even Prozac. Then, after your dog has been on the medication for two to three weeks, start taking him out and about on the leash so he becomes desensitized and loses his fear around other dogs and unfamiliar people. Praise him verbally and offer him treats for remaining calm and in the "sit" position, so that he learns self-control and recognizes that you are in control as "top dog."
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