Fear of dogs is one of the most common forms of fear. As they are very common domestic animals, there are those who have a really bad time just by passing one on the street or passing in front of a house where there is one barking.
In this article we will see different keys about how to overcome the fear of dogs, and how to apply these tips on a daily basis.
- Related article: “What is fear for?”
Why does this fear appear?
There is no single reason why a person would develop a fear of dogs. Different aspects that may be influencing thissuch as the wild appearance of this mammal (which is ultimately the same animal species as the wolf), its propensity to bark (a sound that is sometimes frightening and can express aggression), its relatively unpredictable character ( if we compare it to that of a human being), etc.
In general, the fear of dogs is something acquired, learned involuntarily, although this learning brings more disadvantages than advantages. In fact, In the most extreme cases we can even speak of a phobia of dogs.or cynophobia, which is what happens when this anxiety and feeling of discomfort are so powerful that it significantly erodes the person’s quality of life on a daily basis.
It should be noted, therefore, that if the fear of dogs is extremely intense, it will probably be most helpful to go to a mental health professional. Resorting to psychotherapy is necessary for those people who experience a level of fear that prevents them from even exposing themselves to dogs in the slightest and who believe that this seriously harms them (it is possible to have this strong learned fear and yet live it in a place free of dogs, which, unless the fact of residing there is imposed by fear, does not have to be a serious problem).
For the rest of the people in whom the discomfort is not so intense and it is possible to take the first steps necessary to being around a dog while maintaining control of yourselfwhich is what happens in most cases, the tips below may be useful.
- You may be interested: “Dog phobia (cynophobia): causes, symptoms and treatment”
1. Evaluate the degree of fear you feel
First of all, it is important to estimate the extent to which this fear of dogs is intense or not, which also helps to know in the first place whether it may be a phobia or not.
For example, if you can stay in one place with a dog resting about three meters away from you and you know for sure that, beyond feeling bad, you are not going to lose control of the situation as long as the dog does not address you or not. make sudden movements, most likely it is a normal, non-pathological fear of dogs (In fact, even if you don’t meet that condition, you may not have a phobia.)
Once this is established, draw up a hierarchy of situations that scare you in relation to dogs, ordering them according to the discomfort they cause you. From there, assess the different stages you will have to go through, taking into account those aspects of interacting with dogs that scare you the most.
For example, It is possible that for some people the level of fear does not depend so much on the proximity of these animals, as well as the likelihood that they will bark, or this fear may not exist if the dogs are small. Knowing this will help not prolong the process of overcoming this fear.
2. Recognize the symptoms of fear
When you are experiencing first-hand the effects of fear of dogs, Look at the concrete manifestations of this fear. when it reaches its maximum or when it is close to reaching its maximum. Do you tend to run away a few meters, losing control? Do you feel like you stay in place and prefer not to move? Knowing this will help you prepare the appropriate measures for the next phase.
3. Expose yourself to fear in a planned way
The first thing you should do is try to go through the situations linked to fear of dogs that scare you the least, to become resistant to them. When you have overcome this phase and notice that you can no longer make significant progress in it, go on to expose yourself to another situation that usually tends to scare you more than the previous one, and so on.
Furthermore, it is good that you have Prepared strategies to prevent fear symptoms from being a problem. Sometimes this can be simple, like having a bottle of water nearby if your mouth usually gets dry, but other times you may need a person to help you, especially if you tend to run away. This helper may have the task, for example, of preventing you from running back, since flight feeds fear.
It is also important that you make sure that in this phase of training to overcome the fear of dogs you do not use a dog characterized by being aggressive. Don’t put unnecessary obstacles on yourself.
4. Learn about dogs and their kind nature
In addition to intervening in the way you react in real time to dogs, It is good that you act on your beliefs. Part of the fear may come from ignorance of these animals.
Dogs are precisely a lineage of canids artificially selected to make the kindest and most collaborative individuals have offspring. Everything that makes a dog a dog has to do with its clear tendency not to attack and its propensity to get involved in tasks of protecting human beings.