Dog Fear Aggression Case Study
Champs is a Pomeranian with an excessive fear of loud noises. When any loud noises occur, Champs turns his fear into aggression and has already bit his owner Laura twice. Furthermore, at Laura's recent Fourth of July celebration, Champs ran away when some guests began firing small fireworks. Fortunately, Champs was found by a neighbor the following week and was safely returned to Laura. However, Laura is worried that Champs' extreme fear and violent attitude is leading him on the road for a disaster.
Given Champs' background with his fear, Laura takes the dog to his veterinarian. The veterinarian believes that Champs' fear of loud noises stems from his small size. Since Champs has yet to be neutered, the veterinarian suggests the operation in order to reduce the aggressive tendencies. Laura has considered the procedure in the past and consents to the operation. After the operation, Champs has a reduced aggression, but the fear remains.
Determined to solve Champs' problem, Laura visits a veterinary behaviorist. This professional agreed with the veterinarian's choice of action, but feels that more should be done to address the fear before the aggression can be dealt with successfully. After several sessions working closely with the behaviorist, Champs' fear is starting to diminish. The behaviorist has Laura hold Champs in order to provide a source of comfort and security. Champs is also restrained so that he will not be able to harm either Laura or the behaviorist. Gradually, Champs is introduced to several different volumes of sound. If Champs shows a sign of fear or aggression, the stimulus is removed and Laura continues to pet, praise, and comfort. Eventually, Champs begins to lose his fear of loud noises and stopped acting out in aggressive behaviors in order to protect himself from the stimulus.
Although this fear is starting to fade, Champs is still afraid of thunderstorms. For these times, the behaviorist suggests prescribing a medication that will keep the dog from becoming overly agitated. Upon giving Champs the anti-anxiety medication, Laura notices a huge difference in his actions when the fear causing stimulus is present. Also, since Champs has started taking the anti-anxiety medication, he has exhibited no signs of aggression, even when the fear causing stimulus is present. Now, Champs is able to handle thunderstorms and parties without the need of confining him to a spare room, allowing both him and Laura to breathe easier.
The treatment process for Champs was quite in depth since the root of the problem must be addressed in order to solve the aggressive actions. After the fear had been overcome through methods including medication and behavioral modification, Champs lost the aggression and could once again serve as a happy and healthy member to society. Even though Champs is a small dog, Laura feared his bite and felt the need to stop the aggressive behaviors before they became worse. Laura served as a responsible pet owner and took the gravity of Champs' situation to heart in the search to find a proper solution for the problem.
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