While you may think you’re odd for wanting a dog even though you’re scared of them, you’re not as unusual as you think. Many people would love to have a dog, but they can’t seem to get the thoughts of negative experiences from the past out of their heads. The good news is that you can move beyond the bad experience you’ve had with dogs to become a dog lover. Learn more about being scared of dogs but want one below.
Getting Past What Prevents You From Getting a Dog
If you have an extreme fear of dogs or cynophobia, it can be difficult to get past this specific phobia. However, you do not have to let your past experiences dictate your future. With the right attitude and patience, you can take steps to overcome this fear.
Visit Dog Friendly Places
Start small by visiting a local dog park or pet store. Observe the dogs around you and take the time to get to know them. You can even talk to pet owners and ask them questions about their furry friends. This can help you get more comfortable with dogs in general.
Seek Professional Help
Therapy can greatly help you if you’re scared of dogs but want one, especially if you suffer from panic attacks every time you are near a dog. Therapists use a technique called exposure therapy to help clients who suffer from specific phobias. This technique is similar to what was previously described above. Exposure to what scares you repeatedly for increasing amounts of time is an effective way to decrease the anxiety that comes along with a stimulus (in this case – a dog).
Therapists also use cognitive behavioral therapy. This therapy looks at people’s thoughts and how they affect behavior. Changing people’s thoughts can change their behavior. The way it works with the fear of dogs is that people often think the dog is going to harm them in some way, but changing that thought can reduce the anxiety that comes along with it.
Be aware it can take a long time to change the way you feel around dogs, but with consistent work, you can change the way your mind and body respond. The field of clinical psychology researches ways to help people just like you all the time, and they have come up with the most effective techniques. There is hope of you being able to have a dog in your life despite what you go through now.
Start Considering Dog Ownership
Once you are comfortable with the idea of being around dogs, you can start to take it one step further. Consider getting a dog of your own. Having your own dog can be one of the greatest experiences you can have, and it can help you overcome your fear. They can turn out to be some of your best friends and give you unconditional love.
No matter how long you have had an animal phobia, you can overcome it. It may take some time and patience, but you can do it. You will be amazed at how much furry companions can bring to your life and how much joy they can bring. Don’t give up and don’t let your fear stop you from having an amazing relationship with a dog.
Identify the Type of Dog that Scares You the Most
Just because you want a dog, it doesn’t mean that you have to get one that is like the one you’re afraid of. There are many different breeds and sizes of dogs. If you’re scared of large dogs, you can get small dogs. If you’re afraid of bully dogs, such as pitbull, you can get a Yorkshire Terrier or Poodle.
You’d be surprised how different each breed can be… Spending time with different types of dogs, and even mixed breeds can help you see that there truly is a difference between them. As you spend more time with different ones, you’ll start to notice certain qualities you like about breeds.
Coping with a Child’s Fear
If your fear of dogs came from when you were a child, don’t discount getting a dog when you’re an adult. Fears as a child are often highly distorted because it comes from a different perspective. Looking at dogs in a different way can do wonders to
Many children who have been bitten or scared by a dog will never give a dog a chance to prove their thoughts wrong. Be willing to confront the preconceived notion that dogs are dangerous.
Many phobias arise from irrational thoughts and emotions. Don’t allow those thoughts and emotions to ruin your chance to improve your life by having a dog in it.
Getting Ready to Own a Dog
When you’re able to comfortably spend time with a dog, you can start to look for one to own. It’s best to get as much information as possible about the dog you want to adopt or purchase. This means speaking to the people who are currently taking care of it.
It’s best to not jump into a difficult situation with your first dog-owning experience. You don’t need another traumatic experience ruining your desire to have a dog forever. This means staying away from stray dogs or dogs with unknown histories from animal shelters.
You also don’t want a dog with behavior problems because even though those behavioral issues may not be dangerous, they can make the joys of dog ownership difficult to experience.
Spend time looking and talking to different people about a dog you’re interested in owning. Spend time with the dog. You’ll want one that is calm, and friendly and shows no signs of being a fearful dog, especially when meeting new people and small children. Fear is a sign of anxiety, and that can lead to aggression.
Make eye contact with the dog. Eye contact can be threatening to a dog, and you don’t want that to be an issue with the dog you own. By having someone nearby, you can test how a dog behaves without fear something horrible will happen.
As the people with the dog if small children have been around the pup. This will tell you a lot about how the dog is and will be around you and your family members.
You may want to ask how the dog is with loud noises. Many fearful dogs will become destructive or aggressive with loud noises. Those that don’t react much to them are the ones that are mild-mannered.
Consider Foster Care First
If you’re still in doubt that getting a dog is a good idea, consider foster care. This is a temporary situation that can help you determine if owning a dog is something you will enjoy.
Go through the same process as you do with finding a dog to own – ask if there are any anxiety disorders you should know about and if the pup is a fearful dog. Again, anxiety can quickly lead to aggression, which isn’t what you need to see or deal with as someone who has dealt with traumatic experiences in the past.
Deal with the Fear and Get a Dog
Fear is a manageable emotion that can be eliminated on your own or with professional help. Exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy work wonders for people who have specific phobias, such as cynophobia.
Once your fear is under control, you’ll feel much better about welcoming a dog into your daily life. Just be patient with yourself and the process. By going through the work of dealing with your fear, you’ll increase your chances of having better success with owning a dog.
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