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Daughter has a dog phobia, can anyone help?

(5 Posts)
Hayleyw Sat 11-Jun-11 13:56:19

My daughter who is 3 has a real phobia about dogs, It is due to the fact that when she was 2 were walking along on our way to town through an alleyway and coming towards us was a man with a pit bull not on a lead he wasnt even carrying one, My twin girls were in the buggy and the dog ran towards us and jumped on the buggy the owner was calling it but the dog didnt listen, every since then If she sees a dog on the street even if its on a lead she screames and tries to hide behind me she even pulls away and runs in the roud rather than walk past the dog, Today we went for a lovely walk in the country and there were lots of dogs with there owners being walked we had to cut the walk short as the whole time my little girl was crying and trying to hide behind me. Can anyone recommend anything that may help?

DooinMeCleanin Sat 11-Jun-11 14:06:45

PAT (pets as therapy) are often willing to help and will have lots of lovely calm dogs your daughter could meet.

Don't force the issue with her, start off with her simply being in the same room as the dog, while the dog is leashed or walking in the park while the dog is leashed and held a slight distance away from her and build it up slowly from there.

Or you post a rough area a MNetter might have a quiet, clam dog your daughter could meet.

It might help if she could feel more in control, so allow her to give the dog a command or hold it's lead if she will.

eslteacher Sat 11-Jun-11 17:23:07

Last weekend a friend had a barbeque for their 40th birthday, and I went along with DP and our dog. There was a child (about 7yo) at the barbeque, who unfortunately was phobic of dogs, and screamed and ran away whenever our (very friendly and non-agressive, but rather large) labrador came into the same area as him.

Anyway, the interesting thing is that our dog wasn't the only one at the party - host himself had just acquired a new 2 month old labrador puppy, as his birthday present to himself. Obviously this puppy was tiny and absolutely adorable. Even so, the phobic child was still EXTREMELY wary of it, didn't want to get to close, didn't want to touch it AT ALL etc at the start of the evening. If it brushed past him he would do the screaming and running away thing.

But, as the evening went on, the evident adorableness of this puppy just became increasingly fascinating to the kid, and he would let it get closer and closer, eventually he would reach out and touch it then withdraw his hand really really quickly. He was still very skittish, but after a few more hours him and this puppy were best friends. He could not get enough of it, was picking it up, playing games with it, stroking it and he didn't even make a fuss when it tried to chew his shoe.

The kid still wasn't enamoured of our own dog, but I observed that at the end of the evening he wasn't showing signs of fear when it was in the same room any more and was totally coping with it being around. Obviously the puppy was way cooler though, so our poor old dog didn't get much of a look-in in terms of play-time ;-)

Anyway, so my advise would be: try to get your hands on a puppy. Obviously not as a permanent addition to your home, but maybe if you know a friend who has a puppy, or if there's some kind of animal shelter nearby or anything like that. No-one can resist the cuteness of a puppy.

MrsMc82 Sun 12-Jun-11 15:59:47

I feel for you daughter, I was scared of dogs from a v young age, would terrify my mother by walking into the road rather than walk past a dog in the street, and would have to get people with dogs to shut them away whenever we visited friends or family with dogs. I was like this until 3 yrs ago (am 29). I don't know what triggered the fear initially but do remember a couple of instances that reinforced it...... I never wanted to pass this fear ontop my children and really wanted to get over the fear (as people kind of tollerate it in children but not so much in adults!) So my husband and I decided we'd get a pup all my family thought I was loopy but I kind of knew it would help me and I was detirmend that if we had kids they should grow up with a dog so they were used to them and I wouldn't pass my irrational fear!!
Anyway we got our yellow lab 3 yrs ago and it cured me pretty much instantly not just with him but other dogs we come accross when waking him despite him being a daft mutt he's super, our first DC is now 16mo old andLOVE the dog and I love snuggling up on an eve with the dog......its prob a bit much suggesting you get a dog but if you can expose you dd to a puppy and other calm dogs etc as much as poss she hopefull will learn to trust that they're not all nasty junpy pit bulls....

MrsMc82 Sun 12-Jun-11 16:03:06

Excuse the terrible typing, am on my bb and am rubbish with it!!

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