Can the sight of a four-legged dog make a person panic and feel anxious? Unfortunately, yes. Fear and anxiety of dogs is a condition that can affect any of us or those close to us. Although it may seem like something absurd to true dog lovers, you must be aware that it is a very serious situation.
Anxiety is an emotional state caused by the fact that we have found ourselves in a certain situation or someone or something has stood in our way. It is an unpleasant feeling of uneasiness, fear and often helplessness.
There are many phobias that are very common among people, such as fear of the dark, crowds or spiders. However, sometimes people experience anxiety in quite unusual situations. Sometimes this is deeply justified by experiences from a person’s past. But there are also cases when a person is simply born with a particular fear.
As is the case with other fears, fear of dogs can take on a more mild version or an extremely severe one. Depending on this, the fear will manifest itself in slightly different ways.
People whose fear of dogs is in a fairly mild form are mostly able to be in the company of pets. If they don’t have to have direct contact with dogs and know that animals are in their owner’s care, they can remain calm.
They know that their fears are often unfounded in a given situation. This is why they often have a positive attitude towards dogs. However, even though he or she may like dogs and be aware of his or her inner fear, that person will try not to come into direct contact with dogs.
The situation is much more complicated in the case of a very strong and deep fear of dogs. The person who suffers from this condition can feel extremely anxious even when the dog they meet is on the other side of the street.
The fact that the dog is accompanied by his guardian, and is on a leash and muzzled, does not make much difference. In extreme cases, people with a fear of dogs even feel uncomfortable when they look at pictures or movies of dogs. How might a person with such a strong fear react? They may experience symptoms such asshortness of breath
– racing heart rate
– sudden excessive sweating
For people who love dogs, this reaction to the presence of a pet may seem absurd. However, we must not under any circumstances underestimate this condition. It is scientifically proven and just as serious as other types of anxiety we know.
A person who suffers from anxiety associated with dealing with dogs is usually fully aware of this. They understand the consequences of being in the company of animals. They try to avoid stressful situations as much as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. After all, we can’t predict every situation we’re going to find ourselves in our lives.
I think it’s worth making all dog guardians aware that just because a person suffers from a fear of dogs doesn’t mean they don’t like them. Let’s not perceive such people as enemies of our pet. Nobody has any power over what phobia or fear affects them. Fear in such a situation is not equal to hatred. It is just that the fear of the dog is stronger than other feelings towards it.
Fear of dogs is as serious an affliction as other types of fears we know better. This is why we cannot approach this problem in a light-hearted way.
It is very important to show understanding to the person who suffers from the fear of dogs. Although you may not understand it, it does not mean that the problem does not exist. If you are around someone with a fear of dogs, be aware of their problem and offer support and kindness if they need it. This is encouraging.
If you are aware that someone with a fear of dogs will be in your company, try to act precautiously. If possible, limit his or her contact with your pet or warn well in advance.
If you are going for a walk together in an area that only you know, choose a route that does not lead to a dog run or other popular areas for pets and their owners.
Unfortunately, very often dog guardians cannot understand why someone would be afraid of their pet. After all, it is completely harmless and extremely cute. In such situations, attempts are often made to persuade such a person to accept their dog.
The most common words used in such situations are: “he doesn’t bite”, “he is very calm and polite”, “stroke him and you will surely change your mind”, “how you can be afraid of such a sweet dog”.
Unfortunately, such actions only make the person suffering from fear of dogs anxious and embarrassed. We are not in a position to help such a person on our own, trying to convince him by force that four-legged animals are great. This is a task for someone who is a specialist in this field.
By now knowing what fear of dogs is I think you are fully aware that it is a real problem that can even affect someone close to you.
Depending on the severity of this fear you can try to alleviate the condition in a number of ways. Want to show support for someone suffering from fear of dogs? Find out more about how people with this type of phobia deal with their problems. This will help you to understand even better in which areas of self-care they may need your support.
Therapy with a psychologist is the main way to deal with an anxiety or phobia problem. With the help of a specialist in this field, it is sometimes possible to overcome fears that lie dormant inside. Fear of dogs is one of the phobias which almost always has a positive outcome.
Each case should be dealt with individually. Why? Because the way of treatment depends on the severity of the fear, its source and its manifestation.
After a detailed and thorough interview with the patient, the psychotherapist creates a treatment plan for the patient. The therapy consists of two main parts.
The first focuses on the psychological layer of the person. Through conversations, the psychiatrist tries to influence the person’s perception of dogs.
The second part is based on practical tasks. The therapist tries to slowly familiarise the patient with the presence of dogs. Depending on the severity of the anxiety, the practitioner starts by dealing with dog images in photographs or film. Only after this stage, there is time to work directly with a dog.
When might a person with the fear of dogs need your support? This is a very individual issue. It is worth talking frankly with the person and also asking how you can be supportive. Some people want to deal with this problem on their own. Don’t try to help someone by force if you can clearly see that this is not what they want from you.
Is there anyone close to you who suffers from fear of dogs?