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Terrified of dogs and getting worse (bit long, sorry)

(8 Posts)
juicy12 Tue 15-Sep-09 14:25:25

I've posted this elsewhere before but didn't get much response so trying again cos I'm at a bit of a loss. I've always been scared of dogs. My mum used to tell me that I could go blind if I looked at dog poo when I was little and she's pretty terrified of dogs herself. Once, my dad and I were playing in a river (I must have been about 8) and someone's Alsation got off the lead on its walk and bounded into the river and I remember wetting myself with fear . sad My in-laws got a crossbreed rescue dog about 10 years ago, and I've reached a stage of not-too-scared tolerance with him, but it hasn't given me any more confidence with other dogs. Anyway I've gone along quite happily, just avoiding dogs wherever possible and it's never been too much of a problem. But now I've 2 DC and on more than a few occasions now, I've found myself absolutely paralysed by fear around dogs when I've been with the DCs. I'm petrified that I won't be able to protect them if something happened. For example, the other day DH, the DC and I were in a park and someone appeared with their two large dogs running round off the lead. I literally ran into the gated children's play area (even though my own DCs weren't in there) cos I knew the dogs couldn't get in there. blush My heart starts racing, I start sweating and shaking and have cried several times, which makes me feel so pathetic and angry with myself. What should i do? Don't want to pass this on to the DC and feel like I could give myself a coronary if I carry on.

SpeckledHen Tue 15-Sep-09 14:44:18

I was scared of dogs too. Similar story to yours. Was scared to knock on doors when collecting for tombola in case of dogs (did it anyway and i think this helped me) and even now will not go running past neighbours house with Alsatians (I think this reasonable though since it is quite isolated and they are guard dogs and you never know if the gate if off the latch). However I am fine if dog is on a lead or is with owner - and that is 99.9 % of time surely. Dogs do not just go running round on their own - and if they do they will not be on their territory and will therefore not be guarding it. Once when I was running with an ipod a dog came bounding up to me and I just froze and averted my gaze and his owners called him away. He just wanted to play. I am not scared anymore just have a healthy respect. Would even like a dog. Maybe you could try to introduce yourself gradually ro dogs ie goung ot housses with dogs when owners there. Good for your kids to see you do this so they not scared but get healthy respect. HTH

branflake81 Tue 15-Sep-09 15:51:27

I am terrified of dogs too but you know what? I think the dogs sense it and it makes them worse. I have learned to just stroll onwards confidently, not looking at the dog or changing my behaviour and 9/10 the dog isn't interested.

I used to freeze in fear and huddle up and the dog would sense something was wrong and go mental.

branflake81 Tue 15-Sep-09 15:51:58

sorry, 9 times out of ten

juicy12 Tue 15-Sep-09 17:18:26

Thanks for your replies. I think the dogs definitely sense my fear - I'm like a magnet to them! But, yes, I know familiarisation is a good idea. Fortunately at the moment, my DCs seem to be non-plussed by dogs.

deaddei Tue 15-Sep-09 20:16:25

Have you tried cognitive behaviour therapy- my dd has this for ocd and it has helped her with a fear of vomiting and other things.
It may just help!

emanon Tue 15-Sep-09 21:49:54

My DS was absolutely terrified of dogs (exactly as you describe). It made our lives a misery, not being able to go out and his constant anxiety. The cure has been that we got our own dog, purely to help him. He is now the most confident boy around any size of dogs and we have to try hard to remember how bad he was. The thing I learnt is that if you have a phobia you have to face it head on, which is, of course, the last thing you want to do

TurtleAnn Tue 15-Sep-09 21:56:39

Watch Caeser Milan the Dog Whisperer on TV, it is either ITV3 or SKY 3 or one of those extra channels.
It taught me loads about dogs, especially the stuff about how to tell when the dog is going to launch at you - tail down, ears up and pointing forward.
I used to be terrified, got bitten when I was a kid but DH is massively into dogs and so I ended up watching endless episodes of Dog Whisperer. Now I don't even flinch when pushing the buggy past the dogs, I even point to them and say doggie etc to my DS.
Its cheaper than therapy and your kids can watch too, it is great family entertainment on the free channels.

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