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An Animal Analog of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Despite some still commonly held beliefs, animals have memories (whether conscious or subconscious). And these memories can have lasting impressions particularly when the animal has suffered some trauma (e.g. intense fear) as a result. Often they become most reactive (their reactions are usually some combination of fear and aggression) to the particular individual (man or beast) that inflicted the trauma, and they often generalize to similar types/subgroupings of that individual. They may be most reactive in the location where the trauma occurred and less reactive in different environments. For instance, a pup [PTSD can occur in any age animal] that only suffered abuse related to housebreaking may be a nervous wreck in the house, and perfectly relaxed and comfortable outdoors, where all its interactions with people have been centered around play and positive feelings. These dogs often do great on certain psychotropic meds. They also are usually very responsive to specific behavior mod. plans. Cats are also very susceptible to these very strong and lasting impressions .