To not worry that DD is very scared around dogs!(35 Posts)
Inspired by another thread running right now
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
She may well grow out of it, but she might not.
You don't need help, just the inclination to make a bit of effort to help her get over it.
Fear of something so common is a horrible thing to have to live with, so if you can help her yourself, then you should.
I do help her clouds we visit friends that have them.
I talk to her, reassure her etc... but it really isn't doing any good.
Since she has been suffering, lots of people have also told me that feel the same way (about dogs)
Because I feel I've done all I can at this stage what else can I do, other than 'ride it out'?
meg I've no idea why she is? both my boys have no problems.
Sorry I looked defensive there, still just wondering ...
I wouldn't be worried about it at this stage, but I would certainly try to alleviate her fear whilst she is so young.
I absolutely don't think you're doing the wrong thing by riding it out. But I think you have to have a plan of action ready in case she doesn't grow out of it. A dog phobia will be so limiting
One of my kids was petrified of dogs and no idea why.
He loves then now. I am currently petrified of being in a motorway, driving or passenger. Hoping this will go away too.
Fears can surface and be rational or irrational( unexplained I mean)
Don't worry, keep on reassuring and to be honest it's safer than her rushing up to dogs patting them and getting bitten.
YABU.. My dd is the same and it causes all kinds of problems. Even bike rides are torture as dogs who come a little close cause her to panic and fall off.
How to fix it, i don't know.. We can't have our own dog. thoughts?
Not a bad thing to be scared of dogs imo. At least you know she's not likely to get hurt when running up to a strange dog.
I grew up next to a public park where loads of people walk their dogs. Signs everywhere that all dogs must be on a lead but 90% of the dog owners appear to be illiterate. Had some very scary moments over the years, not to mention all the times dogs have crapped in my parents' garden, usually with the owners casually waiting for them to finish and then walking on
A few years ago my DB was up with his kids so the 4 kids were outside playing when we heard the front door being flung open and what can only be described as blood curdling screams, mostly my DD but the other 3 were also distressed. A dog was chasing them and chased them INTO THE HOUSE! Owner's apology was along the lines of "I can't control him". So why the FUCK was he off his lead in a public park full of children?
Another incident when a neighbour's normally placid dog bit her on the leg when she and her friend (they both knew the dog) were walking past. Apparently kids in the other next door garden had been winding it up. The owner was mortified and brought both the girls a wee bag of treats to say sorry and we had a good chat about it.
Needless to say my DD is terrified of dogs too and I'm in no hurry to try to fix that.
If you are exposing her to dogs in a safe environment and you are talking to her and reassuring her, then you are already doing something.
If you think she needs more you could read books about dogs, especially ones that talk about how to care for dogs, so that she can see they are animals that need looking after, not just scary monster type things that might want to eat her. You can talk to her about how to stay safe around dogs, like telling her you must always ask the owner before you stroke them and that sort of thing, even if you know she has no intention of ever going near one.
It might not appear to be making any difference, but over time these things will slowly sink in, and if she gets to the stage were she is ready to change her mind about dogs, then she will be able to deal with dogs more easily.
I think growing can help a lot. As she gets bigger, big scary dogs will become smaller and her fear of dogs in general may just drop off.
DD was scared of dogs - we just had one too many bad experiences when she was little. So many people are so thoughtless (I'll save the rant for another thread).
This winter when she was 6 and half plus I suddenly realised that she wasn't begging to be picked up when she saw one in the distance. I do still sometimes find a little hand in mine if a big one gets close, but on the whole I have totally dismantled my dog radar.
I did used to pick her up, but try to explain she was over-reacting. TBH wary of dogs I think is a good thing. But I didn't want her to get phobic. I've got an adult friend who is phobic and I can see it makes her life a bit difficult, especially as she loves walking.
And I have tried to get her recognising breeds. I know this is probably an over-generalisation but spaniels are silly and bouncy, labs are silly and lovely. Treat the staffies, jack russells and dobermans with caution. I'll probably get flamed now.
Thanks so much for the latest posts...
clouds that is a perspective I hadn't considered. I think seeing them in a more vulnerable way ie: needing help, sounds very beneficial actually.
merry that is a dreadful experience.
Recently I've been asked ( on more than one occasion) what I intend to do about it. I think these people are insinuating I get her professional help I'm glad I checked to see if I was being remiss.
That's a good idea too Downy. I'd never have thought of getting children to recognise different breeds as a way of helping them get to know dogs without actually having to go near them.
What does your DD do when she sees a dog?
My DD, nearly 4, is frightened of dogs. She kind of flinches when we walk past. I try to swap sides so I am between her and the dog. If they are on the lead, i tell her not to worry (sometimes I tell her not to be silly, and then feel bad, because she's not really). She will comment on dogs in a half fascinated way. I am hoping she will grow out of it as well. she is also quite small in stature, so I have to remember that. I also hope that DD will grow out of it.
I remember being very very very frightened of Alsatians when i was about 8. I tried to keep calm, so the dog couldn't smell my fear! I eventually grew out of it, but I am wary of dogs. Have never grown out of my fear of sharks though...
Also, don't do what my friend did to DD when she was 2 years old, when DD started screaming because there was a dog, who used to jump at people in a friendly way, she started shouting at her and telling her not to scream as that would frighten the dog. Really telling her off she was. I wasn't happy about that!
downy learning about different breeds sounds a sensible idea too.
It should be easy too. We live in a rural spot, there are dogs everywhere
sorry, that was a bit repetitive about growing out of it!
twotears she asks me to pick her up.
thank goodness for pilates
She is so scared , that she can hang on without me using my arms
I used to be like that when I was younger. If I saw a dog I would panic and be scared to go near it, even if it was behind a gate or was tied up.
Now 30 years later I have a pet dog. Not a cute fluffy mellow type, but a very active one.
I did nothing apart from just grow out of it. Almost. Im still nervous around some dogs (ones that I dont know or those little ones - they might nip at my ankles), but as I grew up I realised that by remaining calm I was less likely to scare the dog into attacking me. It also helped that a friend of mine had a dog so I got used to that one.
If your DD is that scared I would keep picking her up and may be she will get more reassured knowing that she has your protection. And then you could move to putting yourself between her and the dog, without picking her up.
Your poor DD
Why are people asking you to get help with it? Are they particularly affected by it?
"Why are people asking you to get help with it?"
Working dogs are used in all airports etc, randomly.
Sniffer dogs are used at even our Local train stations, over busy periods and everyone is expected to walk past them, children included, it isn't uncommon to use children/prams to carry drugs and guns.
I supposed if you are happy to stick to theme parks and similar, if wouldn't matter, but dogs are everywhere.
A parent should try to help their child get over any type of fear, especially unavoidable one's, dogs/insects etc.
My 4yr old DS is afraid of dogs too. Doesn't freak out about them but doesn't like them to be too close. Not helped by the fact he was chased by an overly-friendly Labrador in the park a few months ago.
Don't forget that a big dog, like a Labrador, is the same size as a 4yr old. It's like an adult coming up against a horse. I'm sure that as my DS grows up, gets physically bigger and more mature, dogs won't be so scary to him anymore.
It's a difficult one as she is small, so dogs can look quite big and scary, so you may find that she grows out of it as she gets bigger, but then again she may not and for the sake of making her life easier, it would be good if she could learn more about dogs, as suggested here, so that even if she never loves them, she can be near them without fear. Maybe watch films with cute dogs in, talk to her about poor dogs in rescues and read a book on dogs with care advice, different breed types etc. Is she okay with other animals i.e. cats?
DD2 used to be very wary of dogs and would stand behind me when they went past, we now have a puppy who will grow to be lab size and she loves him, but as others have said, better to be wary than run up to any dog (as DD1 used to do!). Her fear was just a natural one of being small and them being bigger though.
It may cause problems in the future, my friend's DD is terrified of dogs and her DS terrified of cats (we have one of each) so they don't come over any more . Her DS is at school and if he gets invited for playdates, if they have animals he does not go! Not really addressing the problem, just avoiding it!
At least you are introducing her to friends' dogs, which is great, I think she will probably be fine with more reassurance and also learning about dogs more, she will more than likely grow out of it.
As she can't avoid dogs for the rest of her life I think you have to help her. Ds used to have a real Fear of spiders. I started by getting libary books about spiders out for him, we would look at the photos, talk about them etc. then I would show him dead ones. Then I would pick Up a dead one and show that to him, then he got the stage where he held a dead one. Then we repeated it with live ones. I wouldn't say he loved them now but he does at least tolerate them. With your dd I would stop making her be around friends dogs, it may be to much to soon. Instead I would go right back to picture form, building up to Looking at a puppy / small sleeping dog, progressing to having one nearer to her, to stroking one, holding one etc and then building up on the size / age of dogs. I think yabu to ignore it or hope that it will go away.
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