How to overcome fear in dogs, in 4 steps

Fear of dogs is one of the most common forms of fear. Being very common pets, there are those who have a really bad time crossing a street or walking past a house with a houseboat.

In this article, we’ll take a look at different keys to overcoming fear in dogs and how to apply these tips on a day-to-day basis.

    Why does this fear appear?

    There is no single reason why a person can develop a fear of dogs. Different aspects that can influence this, Like the wild aspect of this mammal (which is after all the same animal species as the wolf), its propensity to bark (a sound which sometimes gives fright and can express an aggression), its relatively unpredictable character (if it is compares 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, you can even talk about phobia in dogs, Or cynophobia, which occurs when this anxiety and discomfort is so powerful that it drastically depletes a person’s quality of life on a daily basis.

    It should therefore be noted that if the fear of dogs is extremely intense, it will probably be more useful to consult a mental health professional. The use of psychotherapy is necessary for people who experience a level of fear that prevents them from exposing anything to dogs and who believe that it seriously harms them (it is possible to present this strong learned fear and yet live in a dog without a dog). place, with which, as long as residing here is imposed by fear, should not be a serious problem).

    For other people where the discomfort is not so intense and where it is possible to take the necessary first steps to be close to a dog while maintaining self-controlThis is what happens in most cases, the following tips may be helpful.

      1. Evaluate the degree of fear you feel

      First of all, it is important to make an estimate of the intensity of this fear of dogs 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 spot with a dog resting about three feet 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 walk you. or not to make sudden movements, most likely normal and non-pathological fear of dogs (In fact, even if you don’t meet this condition, you may not have a phobia.)

      Once this is established, draw a hierarchy of situations that scare you compared to dogs, ordering them according to the discomfort they cause you. From there, assess the different steps you’ll need to go through, taking into account the aspects of interacting with dogs that scare you the most.

      For example, for some people the level of fear may not depend so much on how close these animals are, From the point of view of the chances that they will bark, or this fear may not exist if the dogs are small. Knowing this will help not lengthen the process of overcoming this fear.

      2. Recognize the symptoms of fear

      When you first experience 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 a few yards losing control? Do you feel that you stay in place and prefer not to move? Knowing this will help you prepare the right steps for the next phase.

      3. Expose yourself to fear in a planned way

      The first thing you need to do is try to overcome the fear-related situations in dogs that give you the least fear, to resist them. When you have passed this phase and find that you can no longer make significant progress in it, it exposes you to another situation which, usually on its own, will give you more fear than the previous one, etc.

      Also, it is good that you have prepared strategies to prevent fear symptoms from becoming a problem. Sometimes this can be simple, like having a water bottle nearby if your mouth is normally dry, but other times you may need someone to help you, especially if you tend to run away. This assistant may have the task, for example, of preventing you from backing up, because theft fuels fear.

      It is also important to make sure that in this phase of training to overcome the fear of dogs, you do not use a dog characterized by his aggressiveness. Don’t put unnecessary obstacles in your way.

      4. Learn about dogs and their friendliness

      In addition to intervening on the way real-time reactions to dogs, it is good that you act according to your convictions. Part of the fear can come from the ignorance of these animals.

      Dogs are precisely a line of canines artificially selected so that the nicest and most collaborative individuals have offspring. All that makes a dog a dog is its distinct tendency not to attack and its propensity to become more involved in human protection tasks.

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