To not worry that DD is very scared around dogs!

(35 Posts)
Feminine Fri 21-Jun-13 10:34:00

Inspired by another thread running right now smile

DD is 4 and is (what I would call) unusually scared around dogs.

Small ones , fluffy ones ...puppies too young to be on pavement ....

I still think she can/will grow out of it. Around me are folk asking me, what I'm going to do about it?

AIBU do I need help wink

TwoTearsInABucket Fri 21-Jun-13 14:06:35

Yes, Birds, I see your point about working dogs etc.

And I certainly believe that a parent should help a child get over their fear. I am not sure that the OP needs professional help to do this at this stage (as has possibly been suggested to her).

Talking to my DD about what the dogs were doing did help (i think, unless she just got less scared on her own).

It must be hard for the OP to balance helping her DD get over her fear and balancing that with keeping a certain wariness about dogs, especially those that are off the lead.

Fairyegg has some good ideas about how to help the OP's DD.

Effingjeff Fri 21-Jun-13 19:04:59

My eldest daughter had a bad experience with a jack Russell when she was three and was terrified of dogs. She is now 8 and although still wary of them, is much better-she did a project (at home with no prompting from us) about different breeds of dogs and this has helped her immensely. However my 4 year old is now also petrified of them-she almost ran into the road last week to get away from the tiniest spaniel puppy outside the school-that's how scared she gets. she shakes and cries so loudly when she sees a dog and needs to be as far away from them as possible. I have explained that this puppy is like her and wants to play as he is only young, but it makes no difference at all. I have also tried explaining that as the dogs are on leads then the can't reach her. One charming lady, seeing her reaction to her staff terrier announced 'oh how can she be scared of dogs' helpful thanks blush I have thought of taking her somewhere with puppies so that she can see them and building on that because she is far worse than dd1 ever was. However, I am sure that she will grow out of it to the same degree as her older sister.

pinkandpurplesparkle Fri 21-Jun-13 19:37:53

Feminine, I wonder if you'd consider getting in touch with the "Pets As Therapy" people? These are the folk who take their dogs in to hospitals etc so that people who are ill can benefit from a visit from a furry friend. The dogs all tend to be very quiet and placid - no jumping about or erratic movements from them at all smile. If your daughter could meet one of these dogs, on her own terms, and take her time to meet and greet the dog, then it might be a small step to dealing with her anxiety. I don't know whether the people in your area would be up for this, but it's worth a try.

My own dog is a former guide dog and is the kindest, most gentle dog in the world. He would be great for your daughter to practise on smile. If you know anyone who has a working or former guide dog, they'd also be totally ideal for your daughter to meet (obviously if a working dog, it would need to be 'off duty' and with the owner's consent smile).

Puppies and little people are not really a great mix - puppies have speedy movement and teeth that are sharp like needles .... and this is more likely to frighten an already wary child. What's needed is a kind and placid dog who will lie down and enjoy being loved smile.

DownyEmerald Fri 21-Jun-13 19:37:59

There's a series of books from Battersea Dogs Home. Don't know if they helped dd but she certainly showed more interest in dogs as personalities afterwards.

Feminine Fri 21-Jun-13 20:42:13

Thanks to all of you for commenting and giving me help. smile

pink actually, the pre-school has 'daisy the dog' coming in next week. This is a special dog, normally the primary children read to her. I'm hoping that DD might feel calmer around a very still dog also. My brother has two beautiful Lurcher crosses ...of course they are huge compared to her but she started to relax a little as they are so calm.

I'm really grateful for all suggestions given here today.

marriedinwhiteagain Fri 21-Jun-13 21:03:55

I don't think you need to do anything. I was brought up around dogs and horses - think beagle packs. I wasn't scared of them or of big boisterous labradors because I was in situations that to me felt safe and looking backk those dogs were handled by professionals.

I have always been scared of lone dogs off leads; esp alsatians, dobermans, pit bull type animals. If I see them off a lead I will avoid at all costs and have freaked out abroad on beaches out of season when "wild" dogs have appeared. Not comfy around strange dogs at all.

DD was terrified when smaller and I was v worried and thought she sensed my fear. At 15 all she wants is a dog - always checking out breeds. I'd have one too though I would be a bit worried about the walking. DH who isn't scared at all would not have a dog though. But compromised over the cats because of the rats

All will be fine.

pinkandpurplesparkle Fri 21-Jun-13 21:59:54

Daisy the Dog sounds absolutely brilliant Feminine, as do the lurcher crosses smile. Little steps with quiet, calm dogs that will allow her confidence to grow will be ideal. Will you be able to be with her when Daisy is in school or will it be part of a regular class so no parents allowed?

Booboostoo Fri 21-Jun-13 23:02:34

I don't think you should worry but it's worth trying to help your DD with this. For one thing it can't be fun to be worried and with dogs around in many places there are a lot of opportunities to get worried which is a shame for her. For another children that are scared of dogs tend to behave in ways that provoke dog attacks, e.g. screaming, jumping, running, etc. I don't mean by this that the child is at fault for being attacked, it's not a blame issue, it's a causation issue, i.e. a child that knows how to react to dogs in a calm and confident manner is less likely to get bitten.

Friendly dogs tend to be quite scary dogs for people who are worried about dogs because they want to run up to you, sniff you, lick you, etc all of which can be quite frightening. Have you tried your DD with a dog that has a very good 'down stay'? Place the dog very far away from her in a secure 'down stay' and explain to her that the dog will not move no matter what. She can then decide if she wants to move closer to the dog. At first she may be reluctant to make any move closer to the dog but praise her for staying calm and maintaining the distance she feels comfortable with. In time she may be more willing to shorten the distance and maybe even take the initiative to touch the dog. She may be happier this way as she will feel more in control of the situation and her interaction with the dog.

Feminine Sat 22-Jun-13 13:14:51

Boo thanks, that is helpful smile I'll get my brother to try that with the Lurchers!

pink I'm allowed to stay for the session , just in case she is scared. smile

Bosgrove Sat 22-Jun-13 21:59:50

My DD2 (just 4) was really scared of dogs (mainly thanks to a very bouncy cocker spaniel belonging to my Dsis, bouncy at eye level when she was learning to walk) She used to shout "don't let it eat me!" when she saw a dog and try and climb up my body.

For the last two years or so, I have pointed out every dog that walks past us, telling her the different breeds. If I haven't know the breed I have asked the owner. If the dog is friendly, I ask the owner and stroke it. Telling DD2 how important it is to ask before touching.

It has taken ages but this week, she has asked three of the owners if she can stroke their dogs. One of the dogs being an Italian Mastiff (think small horse size). The mastiffs owner said " but you don't like dogs to her" (he is one of the owners that we talk to often), she just said that she does now.

I didn't want her to run up to strange dogs to play, just to be safe around them.

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