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DS1 (age 6) is absolutely petrified of dogs, don't know how to help him, bar getting a dog! ...?

(15 Posts)
josben Sun 26-Aug-07 22:50:53

But our lives are just too full on at the moment to consider getting a pet dog. I think he needs to spend time with a dog but we don't know anyone who has one (except for my cousin who has a huge, mad bulldog, which is possibly not the most docile of dogs) grin

I'm wishing I could hire a dog for a couple of weeks to get him used to them ! I've even thought about us getting a cat or a hamster to see if that would help...? Can anyone suggest anything...? smile

ChubbyScotsBurd Mon 27-Aug-07 10:48:08

Be careful introducing a dog - it needs to be so placid it won't approach him so your son can get close to it in his own time. Here in Scotland we have a service called Therapets - these are quiet friendly dogs which visit hospitals and nursing homes and aren't too boisterous. You might have a similar scheme which might be of help wherever you are - try asking the local council or hospital. Failing that maybe the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association could suggest something - their dogs are very calm. Even a reputable rescue centre - good ones often foster dogs so have a real idea of the dog's temperament.

fryalot Mon 27-Aug-07 10:49:32

You could ask at your local dog rescue centre if there is a nice, quiet, docile dog that you can take for walks.

They would probably be happy for the help and it could be a way to get him used to dogs.

NutterlyUts Mon 27-Aug-07 10:54:54

I think cubby's suggestion of meeting a P.A.T (Pet's as Therapy) dog is a good one. They are trained to basically just stand there, and the owner is in complete control at all times. I know that any size dog can do it, so you could start small and work up - if you contact PAT dogs, see if you can meet something like a Yorkie or a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, and for the first meeting, I wouldn't even attempt to go near the dog, just aim for being in the same room, building up slowly.

I would graduate to walking a dog once DS will happily pet a PAT dog that is about the size of a Labrador or border collie.

littlerach Mon 27-Aug-07 10:58:32

We have the same problem with dd1.
She is absolutly terrified.
Dh had thought of visiting the local dog shletr t o se if they could help.

LadyOfTheFlowers Mon 27-Aug-07 11:01:52

where abouts are you?
we have lots of docile dogs in our family!

hellobello Wed 29-Aug-07 18:37:38

It's a really good idea to go to some dog training classes BEFORE you get a dog! kids are often very welcomed by good trainers since there are so many dogs out there who have been damaged by them. The classes help the children to become more confident around dogs and will give you a far better idea of what lies ahead!

Desiderata Wed 29-Aug-07 18:43:33

My ds was bitten in the face by a border collie about two months ago. He's only 2.9, but he went from being very confident around even the biggest dog, to a total quivering wreck at the sight of a Jack Russell!

It's not good when kids are frightened of dogs ... they can sniff the fear and it makes them doubly vulnerable.

I approached a lady in our village who keeps dogs at her house when their owners are on holiday and asked if I could look after one for a couple of nights.

She leant me a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, one of the most docile beasts on God's earth. Needless to say, ds is now completely cured of his fear!

beautifulgirls Wed 29-Aug-07 21:20:02

I would also consider getting some pictures of dogs just to look at and talk about too. Make up some stories with these dogs where they do really clever things helping to rescue toys and that sort of thing. Start with cartoon type pictures that you can find if you google dog cartoons, then work up to photographs of dogs. Hopefully his mind will start to adjust to dogs being the good guys and then you can progress onto meeting a real dog in the manner the previous people have suggested.
Good luck

jellybrain Thu 30-Aug-07 22:59:27

DS1 (10) has been completely terrified of dogs since he was little(3) and visibly shakes he sees one coming towards him. Gets quite cross if its off the lead and says In a very loud voice how irrisponsible the owners must be to allow this (bit embarassing but hey) grin......That was last month! Wehave just been on holiday to a small village in Wales and were befriended by a retriever dog (owned by a local woman but had free run all day). The dog would come into the cottage (when invited - which was a lot) and just lie on the Kitchen floor she was so placid that after about 15mins on the first occaision (sorry have never been able to spell that word!) ds was sitting next to her tickkling her belly. Later that evening when she had gone he announced that he really, really liked he and hoped she would be back the next day. Since our return 3 weeks ago he has been much calmer about dogs in general (though still not their biggest fan, neither am I to be honest).

In short if you can find a really docile dog for him to spend time with then it may be really positive for him.


OOh and finally I often see people advertising dog walking services for when people are out at work. Perhaps you could try putting a card in the newsagent offering to do the same could even offer to do it free and pick the right kind of dog.

shimmy Thu 30-Aug-07 23:10:24

ds's friend was petrified (full phobia) and we always had to keep our own small docile dog at least 2 closed doors away from him when he came round. Finally his parents got a cat. Strangely this has done the trick. Although he didn't having the same fear of cats just learning to live around and love an animal has helped him to overcome his phobia. The other day unbidden he walked up to our dog and stroked her. A miracle!

seeker Thu 30-Aug-07 23:25:04

why does he need to get used to them? He will in his own time - until then, just avoid them. Or am I being too simplistic?

jellybrain Thu 30-Aug-07 23:31:03

In Ds's case it had (has?) a really big impact and caused a great deal of distress. Wasn't just a dislike of doggs but complete terror. Its very difficult not to come across at least on or two dogs when you go out, unless always in a car perhaps so , IMO helping a child to overcome a phobia of dogs is actually quite important.

MuffinMclay Fri 31-Aug-07 12:16:50

If you are anywhere near Herts/Beds I'd be very happy to introduce you and ds to the world's most docile dog. He is a 12 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, belonging to my MIL, who is staying with us for a few days. He lies under the stairs and does nothing at all. Her previous CKS helped me get over my lifelong phobia of dogs.

He let ds poke him, prod him, and doesn't at an eyelid (although obviously we don't encourage ds to torture the pore creature).

josben Sun 02-Sep-07 20:12:05

Thanks for all your advice, I will definitely try some of the hints and tips that've been given smile

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