An anxiety condition known as a phobia is characterised by an unreasonable dread of a particular thing, circumstance, or activity. Phobias may significantly hinder everyday living and be quite debilitating. Animal-related phobias are rather common; in this post, we’ll learn more about cynophobia, or the fear of dogs..
The most common pet in the world is a dog, yet many people are terrified of them as well. Dog phobia is often referred to as cynophobia. Cynophobic may find it challenging to go about their regular lives since there is a significant likelihood that they may encounter a dog.
What factors give rise to Cynophobia?
There are several factors that contribute to dog fear. It occurs as a result of certain bad dog encounters, particularly while young. Some individuals may have a lifelong fear of dogs as a consequence of a traumatic event, such as being bitten by a dog or simply having a large dog growl at them when they were little.
Cynophobia may also have unintentional causes. Early childhood warnings from your parents to keep away from unfamiliar dogs might leave a lasting perception that dogs are hazardous. Similar to how a particularly unpleasant encounter between a close relative or friend and a dog can make you fearful.
Understand where the fear is coming from
Consider the specific aspect of dogs that make you afraid. Do all dogs terrify you in all circumstances? Or is it only with large dogs or a certain breed? Maybe it only happens when they engage in specific behaviours, like barking. Is a bad past experience the cause of your fear? Your options will become more limited and your strategy for overcoming your fear will be more laser-focused if you can pinpoint exactly what it is that you are afraid of.
Attempt to be around dogs
Visit the dog park with a reliable buddy, and watch the dogs playing and socialising from a distance. Or, spend some time with a leashed dog that belongs to a friend or family member. Don’t push yourself to do anything you don’t want to do; you don’t have to engage with the dog at all. It could take a few more meetings before you get there, but that’s okay. When you’re ready, you can attempt touching the dog. The secret is to start small and position yourself for success.
Learn how to read dog body language
Dogs communicate more nonverbally via their body language than they do through barking and other noises. Being able to read a dog’s signals might make you feel more at ease while dealing with them. A dog may be worried or anxious if, for instance, they lick their lips while there is no food around. A dog that glances away or avoids making eye contact is uneasy. They feel afraid if their shoulders are lowered near the earth. You should withdraw in these circumstances and give the dog room.
Be aware of your own body language
It’s crucial to be conscious of the signals you’re giving as well in order to prevent human-canine misunderstandings. Dogs need eye contact to establish dominance, so if a dog you don’t know approaches you, stand tall and calm with your head up. Keep an eye on the dog, but avoid staring straight at them. Avoid running away in a panic since doing so could frighten the dog and make them pursue after you. Instead, quietly and carefully.
Practice makes perfect
It’s important to read about ways to get over your fear of dogs, but the only way you’ll succeed is to put what you’ve learned into practise. Spend a lot of time with dogs to become used to them. Even when you are able to interact with them without feeling uncomfortable, keep practising because your fear might come back at any time. Small, regular steps are quite effective walk away from the situation to distance yourself.
Learn some ways to unwind.
Your fear of dogs may create many symptoms, such as an upset stomach and a quick heartbeat, which may be lessened by using various relaxation methods. Additionally, they might give you greater self-assurance to deal with issues and facilitate clearer thinking for improved decision-making. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, visualisation, and tai chi are examples of relaxation methods. Remind yourself that relaxation methods are skills, and like any talent, they improve with practise. Be kind to yourself and remember that you can always try a different strategy if one doesn’t work for you.
Understand there is a way to overcome this fear
Although you can get over your phobia of dogs, remember that it will take time. You will need to put in some effort if you want it to go gone right soon. You may want to think about getting professional assistance from a therapist who can guide you through conquering your fear.
Understand what cognitive restructuring is
The basis of many phobias, including cynophobia, is not the scenario itself but rather how your brain interprets it. For instance, you’re probably not terrified of the dog in front of you; rather, your brain is seeing the dog as a danger, which is what is making you feel afraid. You may recognise these beliefs, realise they are unreasonable, and gradually reconsider (or reframe) your perceptions of a particular circumstance with the aid of cognitive restructuring.
Look at the emotions and actions that your beliefs cause
By now, you ought to be more aware of the circumstances that set off your fear of dogs as well as the ideas and preconceptions that go through your mind at those times.
Move to the next step in your recovery
Even though you’ve gone a long way, you still have work to do. You are not genuinely “cured” even if you are able to persuade yourself that there is no justification for your anxieties and that you shouldn’t feel the way you do. You’ve essentially finished the theoretical portion of your treatment; the last part is to finish the practical portion. You should practise being around dogs at this point.
Create a plan
When we feel in charge of a situation, we all feel better. Your kid may not be able to predict where or when they will next encounter a dog, but they may be ready with a strategy. Discuss topics like:
- Getting close to a dog
- When a dog approaches, what to do
- How to communicate to others that you fear dogs
- When should you expect to see a dog?
Although you can help with the planning, let your child choose their own objectives. If you don’t have a dog of your own, you might think about going to a friend or relative who does for practise.
Treating our beliefs, emotions, and experiences as genuine, legitimate, and significant results in dread of dogs, as it does with other forms of terror. For instance, a 9-year-old may imitate his mother’s dread after seeing how she reacted to pleasant, sociable pets. Although he has never really seen a deadly dog, in his mind the term and the picture of a dog connote dread and danger. Recognize how fast and readily the mind may form harmful links to start.
Our brains constantly do this, but they only begin to take control of our lives when we see these connections as real and significant.
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