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Need HELP with Dog phobia





Ucbet
Guys I really need help on socializing with dogs ! Can you all plz help me ?

I have this dog phobia since I was young because of an even that happened during my early childhood. My uncle German Shepherd was literally charging in to me when I visit his house, lucky my uncle was near me and he prevent anything bad happened. However, since that day I have feared dogs from Chi Hua Hua size to the big one obviously. But as time goes on and I grew older, I have no fear anymore to dogs like Chi Hua Hua and other small dogs. However with big dogs I still have the fear in me. Even few decent sized dogs like Golden Retriever who are known to be friendly, I'm still sh*T SCARED when I met them !!

So yeah, can any1 here help me and give tips how to not be scared in front of dog ? Also I'm aware that dogs actually bark/charging at you because they were scared of our existence. So is there anyway to show big dogs that our presence means no harm ??

Its not that it is a big thing, but sometimes I get embarassed in front of other people because of this phobia Embarassed Embarassed Laughing Laughing
Rico
Do some volunteering at your local pound/SPCA. Dogs are easy to understand you just need to spend a little time with some.
Bannik
find a friend with a big dog pet and go and play with it as much as you can, I was like you i didnt mind small dogs its when it came to big ones that i was afraid, then I got my puppy rottweiller and played with it morning till night and whola no fear of big dogs........

if you have no friends with big (friendly) dogs then go to an animal shelter and go around playing with the bigger friendlier dogs.

oh and be careful there is a difference between a big dog attack and playing but they can be confused, my dog for example had a thing for biting feet (dont ask) the thing is they were never really dangerous bites (they hurt) but they were play bites.......
Crazy_Canuck
Hi, Ucbet ...

Phobias are no laughing matter. First of all, just having the desire to "get over" your fear of dogs is a sign that you will be successful at doing so. It takes courage to face your fear, so congratulations on taking the first step!

I have some experience in coaching people to overcome phobias, but let me ask you a few questions:

1) are you afraid of all dogs, or just certain kinds or sizes?
2) are you afraid of dogs in all situations, or just very specific circumstances (such as, you're okay with a dog on a leash walking by you on the street, but you are afraid of an unleashed dog in a park)?
3) how long have you been afraid of dogs?
poly
Yeah, it is proven that if you spent some time with dogs closely, or any other thing you are afraid of, that the phobia will be extinct, It is going to be hard for you though..
jwellsy
It's a self fulfilling prophecy.
The energy you project when your scared around dogs
freaks them out, which only causes more fear in you.

You need to project a more calm positive assertive energy around animals.
They will respect you more.

You should be an alpha pack leader.
Animals won't respect non alpha animals.
They will try to exhibit dominance if they think they can.

Don't let them dominate your energy, you are the human.
Crazy_Canuck
jwellsy wrote:
It's a self fulfilling prophecy.
The energy you project when your scared around dogs
freaks them out, which only causes more fear in you.

You need to project a more calm positive assertive energy around animals.
They will respect you more.

You should be an alpha pack leader.
Animals won't respect non alpha animals.
They will try to exhibit dominance if they think they can.

Don't let them dominate your energy, you are the human.


Hi, jwellsy! You are right, however what this poster needs help with is HOW to do this--and most importantly, how to do this safely.

Dogs are pack animals and as such, they quickly determine who is the "boss" -- as you say, the alpha dog. Sensing submissiveness or fear, most dogs will naturally attempt to dominate, and that attempt to dominate will be perceived by the fearful human as an attack. Then the fear mounts, the dog feeds on it, and the tension escalates.

99.9% of all dogs, if they have been trained and socialized properly, are NOT vicious or aggressive.

The bigger problem is a "fear-biter" -- which is a normally submissive dog, who becomes afraid of the human (sometimes, because the human is NOT behaving in an "alpha" way, which is what the submissive dog wants). That is the most dangerous situation of all, because the fearful human -- simply by being fearful -- might actually provoke a fearful/submissive dog to bite.

Ucbet ... it is very important that you not try to overcome your fear of dogs alone and without someone who really knows what they are doing.


Please be careful with the advice you are being given here. Please do not accept advice from an open forum such as this where you do not know the credentials of the people giving you advice (even me Wink)
Crazy_Canuck
I've just read your response again Ucbet, and here are some quick tips for you:

1) when approaching a dog (especially a new one), do not look the dog in the eye - dogs may take that as a sign of domination and hostility.

2) look at the physical appearance of the dog (but not into its eyes!). The dog's tail, ears and mouth will give you key clues as to its mood. Upright wagging tail, wiggling dog -- dog that looks happy! -- is a good sign.

Ears flat and back, or teeth bared is a very BAD sign. A dog crouching with the hair on the back of its neck raised, with its ears back, tail down and not moving or slowly wagging back and forth low to ground, and looking straight at you, is a dog about to attack. DO NOT APPROACH THIS DOG.

A dog crouching, with its bum in the air and tail wagging, its ears in their normal position and it's mouth open with tongue hanging out wants to PLAY. Very good sign!

A dog crouching with its tail between its legs, its ears back, its mouth closed is a FEARFUL dog. This too can be a dangerous dog. Do not approach this dog, except under very controlled circumstances. For you, do not approach this dog.

3) Always, always, always ... let the dog come to you, don't go to the dog. Once the dog approaches you, and you are sure it is friendly, hold your hand out PALM DOWN. Let the dog nuzzle your hand. When IT is comfortable with YOU, turn your hand over SLOWLY and scratch it under the chin.

Do not make quick, sudden movements when you are just getting to know a dog.

Also, do not attempt to reach out and pat a new dog on the head. Most dogs will naturally turn their head around to try to get you to pat them under the chin! People who are afraid of dogs then get nervous, because the dog's mouth is getting close to their hand! And what will you do? Right -- yank your hand away quickly! Wrong thing to do -- because now the dog wants to play and you are likely yanking your hand back, meaning dog's mouth is now REALLY coming for you! It is playing, but to you, it feels like attacking.

Don't put yourself in this position -- always always hold your hand out, palm down, let dog come to you, pat dog under chin.

Hope that helps.
Ucbet
Crazy_Canuck wrote:
Hi, Ucbet ...

Phobias are no laughing matter. First of all, just having the desire to "get over" your fear of dogs is a sign that you will be successful at doing so. It takes courage to face your fear, so congratulations on taking the first step!

I have some experience in coaching people to overcome phobias, but let me ask you a few questions:

1) are you afraid of all dogs, or just certain kinds or sizes?
2) are you afraid of dogs in all situations, or just very specific circumstances (such as, you're okay with a dog on a leash walking by you on the street, but you are afraid of an unleashed dog in a park)?
3) how long have you been afraid of dogs?


I'm afraid with all types of guard dogs like German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Bulldogs and the likes of them. I'm not afraid with a dog who is on a leash but if they were unleashed, yes it scared the sh*t out of me. I've been afraid of dogs for around 10 years ago.

Oh and also thanks for all the replies so far, I'll take your suggestion into consideration.
knight_frost
Razz .. You could start on having dogs as pet... Remember dont make them angry so they wont bite you
m00tmuffin
I agree with checking out/volunteering at an animal shelter of some sort. The Humane Society, at least...I do not believe they house/sell vicious, unfriendly animals...they're all pretty good dogs and you should find a nice, sweet, mellow dog to chill with there. If you ask to check out a dog and see how it clicks with you they'll most likely let you into the cage (or go outside, whatever) and let you interact with him. Phobias are very real things, but the reality is that the only way you're ever going to get over your fear is to face it.
miacps
I don't really mess with dogs that I don't know but just remember, every dog has a different personality just like humans. Your uncles dog sounds like it had a wild personality. Keep that in mind and it may help you over come your fear.

Usually fear stems from not understanding something.

I had a weird fear of lizards a while ago. When I was a little kid I would always be outside catching lizards and never feared them. Then later on after not being in contact with lizards for years I would freak out whenever one would jump on me. I eventually came to the conclusion that my fear was completely irrational and it was all because I no longer felt comfortable coming into contact with them and that was that. No more fear.
woundedhealer
Ask a friend with a friendly dog if you can join them on walks. You've been adviced here about not looking into the dogs eyes, I would take this a stage further and say don't even face the dog until you are more comfortable with it. Stand to the side of it instead. This technique is also used by dog trainers when introducing strange dogs to each other.

I think it would be a good idea if you got yourself a book on dog psychology. This would help you understand dogs better.

[Edit]: I was working with my dog when I realised that I should have explained why I suggested not standing facing a dog. A dog reads our body language, if our body language is yelling "fear" the dog is going to dominate us. You've probably heard the saying of dogs smelling fear, they don't, they're reacting to body language. If you don't face the dog, it can't read your body language and it's not going to react to you in a negative way. When you begin to become more comfortable near dogs your body language will reflect this.

You just need to stay calm around them, and never yell at them.
Rico
Please keep us posted on how you beat this thing Id like to see something positive come out of this forum.
woundedhealer
Rico wrote:
Please keep us posted on how you beat this thing Id like to see something positive come out of this forum.


Great sentiment. Dogs are wonderful creatures. They give unconditional love, they don't judge and if when you finally overcome your phobia, you have one yourself, you will have a friend for life and your life will be enriched. Good luck.
Ucbet
Well for working in an animal shelter, I don't think I have the time nowadays. However I do have a few friends who have dogs in their house. But they were all friendly dogs and I'm not scared of them anymore, which is ok I guess. But they are only small dogs.

Guys can I ask for your advice, say you go to someone houses and they have a german shepperd or rottweiler, what did you do to make them comfortable being around you and stop looking so dangerous ?

Thanks again every1 for the the replies so far.
Sirpale
Well, you should at first read those books, where is information of dogs signals. There is that how YOU can tell the dog, that you wont be mean or dangerous. Like if dog is suspicious with you, just look at the other way of the dog. And if the dog wants to go to you, turn your latus to the dog. That is calming signal to the dog. And if the dog is nervous, just start to yawn. That should calm the dog out.

So you have to read about those tips, that how you can tell to the dog, that you wont do anything dangerous. One book, what I've read, is by Turid Rugaas: Relaxing/Calming Signals, or somekind of that.
woundedhealer
Some other suitable books are A Dogs Mind by Bruce Fogle, Dog language by Roger Abrantes and Cesar's Way by Cesar Milan. I bought Cesar Milan's book last weekend and I'm finding it really interesting. Even though I know quite a bit about dog psychology, I'm learning a lot from it and putting it into practice with my own dog.

I believe we should learn about dog psychology before we get a dog. So many people make the mistake of treating their dog like it's a child, but you can't use human psychology with a dog.
karysky
I didn't read the whole thread, so I don't know if what I'll say have been said but anyway...

Try to find a puppy (of a friend of yours, or someone you know) and start playing with it while it's still very young and small. And keep in touch with the dog as it grows up to its adult size.

You'll get used to the dog when it's small, and you'll be less scared of it !
Ucbet
Sirpale wrote:
Well, you should at first read those books, where is information of dogs signals. There is that how YOU can tell the dog, that you wont be mean or dangerous. Like if dog is suspicious with you, just look at the other way of the dog. And if the dog wants to go to you, turn your latus to the dog. That is calming signal to the dog. And if the dog is nervous, just start to yawn. That should calm the dog out.

So you have to read about those tips, that how you can tell to the dog, that you wont do anything dangerous. One book, what I've read, is by Turid Rugaas: Relaxing/Calming Signals, or somekind of that.


Thx for the tips Smile Btw what do you mean by latus ? Sorry I'm not sure what does that word mean. Can't find it either in dictionary Laughing

And for other guys, thx for the reply that have been coming too.
crimson_aria
wah me too! uh, not exactly but kinda. I'm afraid of dogs when they're barking. if they're silent and just walk around calmly it's okay. thanks for the tips too!
jasmine
I had a temporary dog phobia a long time ago when I was bitten by our own pet. Since then, I never held a dog.

As time went though, I gradually learned to like them. I first held on the small ones, then bigger ones, until my fear subsided and I can play with them again.

I guess it helps to learn to touch them again at your own pace. Smile
Hammy
Hey, I've never been scared of dogs myself, but i treat every other dog a if it were my own (yes, even security dogs). I guess some day it will fail me, but till then it works.

Ucbet:
Quote:
Guys can I ask for your advice, say you go to someone houses and they have a german shepperd or rottweiler, what did you do to make them comfortable being around you and stop looking so dangerous ?


Any dog, wether it be a gaurd dog to a house trained dog.. my advice to you would be this (wether your happy to try it is up to you):

If your walking past a dog in a street, your best off just ignoring it and it'll tend to ignore you.

But, to make a dog comfortable around you, your should really spend time around dogs and get to know what the like, and what they are comfortable with.

You should try when walking towards a dog to greet them, have a smile a on ur face and dont let them sence your fear. While walking towards the dog say something like 'Well Hello There Smile' in a cheery, comforting voice. Dont go all the way up to a dog, stop about 1 n a half arms length away and crouch down the their level. This way they will feel you are less of a threat to them. Hold out ur hand and let them come to you, if they are unsure and bark, your best to just turn away and try again later. every little bit helps, and they may even see that u were just trying to be friendly. Else if they come to you and you should stoke them on their head or on their cheeks, majority of dogs seems to like their backside scratched too for some odd reason :/ so hey thats a winner too. Try not to back off if they go to sniff or lick ur face, just dont make sudden movements. Laugh and talk to them, they'll get the idea.

I hope this will help you with your german sheppard and rockweiler troubles :p.

Hammy.
SkinnyV
There is some good chance that dog go after you because they feel your fear and if that's what you expect from them, they will probably go mess with you feeding your phobia.
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