How do resolve my two year olds fear of animals?(11 Posts)
She's petrified but to our knowledge has never had a bad experience so we're stumped as to what to do. She's especially bad with dogs. Her 5 year old sister is, if anything, the complete opposite i.e. no fear where a little might be beneficial. Both grandparents have dogs as do our neighbours. She's just about as scared of cats and even the neighbours guinea pigs had her clambering up dh's leg just a moment ago. When she wants a cuddle we cuddle her but we don't move away from the creature and often we'll lean down and stroke the animal. Funnily enough she'll happily pick up spiders!!!!!!!!! So? Any advice?
I was going to suggest introducing her to nice friendly dogs, but it looks like you've already done that.
To be honest, you are doing everything I would have suggested. What about going to a Petting Zoo, might encourage her a little bit?
Will your elest help introduce her? My DD has helped a couple of her friends get over their fear of animals by introducing them to our cats - to start with they would run screaming from the room when the cats enter or shudder in a corner. I think it was the peer-to-peer help rather than an adult doing it that helped.
She's used to seeing her big sister playing with dogs so I doubt that would help although we could certainly try to get dd1 to "encourage" her.
Ds went through a phase of being absolutely hysterically terrified of wild animals (specifically foxes and wolves) - was so bad he wouldn't leave the house.
One thing that helped him get over it was looking through a book of animals, and pointing to the ones he was afraid of so that we could find out where they lived (i.e. not in his house!). And also did face painting so he could pretend to be an animal.
Hi Wills, could you borrow a dog - preferably one she knows, so she can spend lots of time with it and do lots of fun things with it.
do you have a local petting farm near you??
i would start by reading her lots of animal stories about freindly sheep and pigs.
the arrange a trip to the farm ( they are usually either free or very cheap)
on the first visit let her do what she wants to do. if she is scared then carry her if thats what she wants.
then arrange another trip a week or so later.
this time dont carry her. dont force her to go anywhere near the animals, just insist she walks by herself..even if she is holding your had.
then again the following week (sorry but it really will need a couple of visits)
this time when your elder daughter is happily stroking or being near teh animals make a real fus of her. say" what a brave girl you are stroking the animals. arent they so freindly. they really like you being their freinds...that sort of thing.
it may nothappen on this visit but if you continue going every so often and you continue this pattern of praising your eldest daughter your younger dd will want to get some of that attention too. you will notice her slowley getting closer. dont encourage her but DO praise when she does move forward. so not things like " here DD come stroke the sheep" but things like "wow your standing so much closer arent you, your really seeing how nice these animals are. well done im very rpoud of you"
as i say it may take a couple of praise visits for her to build the courage to actually touch an animal but she will. i promise.
just remember baby steps and lots of praise.
you can of course just go to a local park where lots of dogs go for walks but you can never really predict which dogs are freindly. at least at petting farms/zoo's you know the animals are used to lots of child interaction.
good luck. hth
Wills - we are just getting through this with our dd, nearly 3.
Dd's godmother, who we see pretty regularly, has dogs and it had become a real issue when visiting them, had the fantastic idea to get dd to say "sit", "down", and even "go away" at the dog and they did - dd is in control! It has taken several goes, a lot of patience, some bribing even! It often worked better without us being there too as less likelihood of her climbing up others legs! We haven't got to stroking yet but we no longer have the leg climbing at any dog/cat walking in the street or park. At an outdoor cafe at the weekend a dog was tied to the next door table and dd was absolutely fine, said "sit" and he did.
Grandparents also have dogs - that we don't see very often as the other end of the country - and dd says she wants to see the dogs next time - result.
You do need an obedient dog for this but hopefully either neighbour or grandparents fall into this category. Patience and lots of praise too.
My ds doesn't like anything furry including teddy bears and the like. He's now 4 and we've just gone along with it. We've never bothered with zoos and things because animals hold absolutely no interest at all. Why? we don't know, it's just the way he is. He's just starting to overcome all of this out of the blue and claims he wants a rabbit! There's also two people who stand in the way of the school gate with dogs and he's sooo nervous walking past. I don't understand why some dog owners think we are all enthralled at their dogs? Poor ds's face (and all the other kids) is at the dogs drooling mouth level, so yes it must be scary.
I don't know what you can do apart from 'go with it' and don't rush her. - Does it matter if she's not animal crackers?
I agree with the petting zoo idea but I also think a visit to the www.szl.org/kids would be a great place to start. This is a website with loads of fun things to do relating to animals. It has games, competitions and interactive books which mean he will not be interacting with the real thing but may encourage him to be interested in them. There are also video clips of the animals he can watch and details of all their baby animals. Perhaps after a while you could suggest a visit to the zoo to see them!!
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