Scared of dogs? .. So was I!
Would it surprise you that one of the top 3 fears that people present to me is Cynophobia, a fear of dogs?
For both children and adults the fear can be debilitating.
Every time they step outside the door they are on ‘high alert’ in case a dog is nearby, is it going to jump up? Am I safe?
It’s not your fault – blame your brain!
At some point in the past your brain identified an incident with a dog that it flagged up as a threat. In is quest to keep you safe, it will trigger its ‘fight or flight’ system to protect you from any other events that its deems ‘unsafe’.
It doesn’t have to be this way…
You can learn to manage your fear response or that of your child.
Tips to help you ease the fear –
I always maintained always dogs headed straight towards me because they sensed my fear, I’d imagine you can identify with this? I’ve since learnt that you need you show them who is boss.
Being confident is the most recommended attitude you can have towards a dog. You want to send a non-verbal message to the dog that you are in control.
I understand that you probably don’t feel in control, so the key is to ’act ‘ confident.
How to ‘appear’ confident
- Stand up straight
- Don’t look directly at the dog
- Put your hands in your pockets or naturally by your side
- Keep walking at your normal pace
- Look at the view or engage in calm conversation
- Do your best to ignore the dog
- Act confident, as though you are at ease
- Finally breathe, talk yourself calm
I know this all sounds very simplistic but it truly does work, the dogs tend not to make a bee -line for you if they think you are just not interested in them.
But I’m a quivering wreck and too scared to ‘act confident’!
Supposing you or your child is just too scared to start with this ‘fake it until you make it’ approach.
There are schools of thought that suggest exposing the person to the very thing that scares them.
In my experience this sometimes can have the opposite effect.
Therefore, I would seek help from a qualified practitioner, check they work with Children (if appropriate) it takes different skills to help youngsters.
Remember… fear is a learned response, so its possible to learn a different response to being around ‘mans best friend’.
I am now a massive dog lover?… no not really.
Can I go for a walk without fear and worry?… yes I can and so can you!