Fear Of Dogs

Some people fear dogs, and they take great pains to avoid them in their daily lives.  This fear of canines is known as Cynophobia. Large, fierce dogs that seem aggressive may cause some people to develop a fear of all dogs, of any size or temperament. Fearsome canines such as pit bulls have been known to attack and kill humans and other animals. They can cause a terrified reaction in many people.

Psychologists feel that many cases of Cynophobia may develop in early childhood, because the child has not been introduced to dogs properly. By slowly and carefully integrating dogs into a child’s routine, Cynophobia may be offset or even reversed.

In adults, Cynophobia can be very hardwired behavior, which is difficult to treat or reverse.

As well, Cynophobia can develop because a child or adult has been traumatized by a frightening interaction with a dog. When someone has experienced the terror of being bitten or attacked by a dog, or charged at by them, they may become very phobic with regard to all types of dogs.

Another aspect of canine behavior that frightens people who suffer from this phobia is the loud barking that dogs so often do. Loud barking can seem very agressive and threatening to people who suffer from Cynophobia. The sound of angry barking can trigger a stress reaction in people who are afraid of dogs.

In order to deal with the problems that Cynophobia brings forth, such as an unwillingness to go places where dogs might be present, or to visit friends and family who live with dogs, a Cynophobic person must enter some sort of therapy to deal more effectively with their fears.

Symptoms of Cynophobia

The common symptoms of this phobia are very similar to those experienced during a panic attack. The body goes into overdrive due to stress and fear. You will find that people who suffer from this disorder will become physically ill from their anxiety. Here are some of the common red flags for Cynophobia:

  • Anxiety – In the presence of a canine, a Cynophobic person will display intense anxiety that may manifest itself in the form of physical symptoms.
  • Sick Stomach – A person with a fear of dogs may feel nauseous when a canine is present.
  • Rapid Heartbeat – Fear of dogs can trigger a rapid heartbeat that makes the sufferer feel confused and short of breath. The person may feel that they are in great danger, which causes their heartbeat to escalate rapidly.
  • Vertigo or Dizziness – Vertigo and/or dizziness can result from an encounter with a canine.  The body goes into a fight-or-flee state, causing a full-scale panic attack. There is a possibility that the person might faint as a result of vertigo.
  • Terror – In people who have this phobia, fear becomes overblown, and the person may suffer from feelings of grave terror. Some people with Cynophobia fear for their lives when they around canines. Along with the fear of dying, the person may feel mentally unhinged, and unable to cope with their negative emotions.

Tips For Conquering Cynophobia

In Children –  With small children, you must find a friendly, non-threatening dog, and bring it into the child’s life, in very small doses, until they feel less afraid. Do not make the child spend too much time around dogs if they are clearly terrified.  Find a gentle, quiet breed of canine and have your child spend a small amount of time with it, over a period of days and weeks. As your child comes to understand that some dogs are not loud and agressive, and do not bite, the child’s fears will ease and, in some cases, disappear.

In Adults – In adults, the same treatment as above may work, and it may not.  Adults are fully formed in their ideas and thought processes, which makes the reversal of phobias more difficult to acheive. Alternative therapies such as hypnotherapy or psychotherapy can retrain the brain to react differently when the triggers of Cynophobia appear. As well, a medical doctor can prescribe medication, such as anti-depressants, that might ease the symptoms of this phobia.

The fear of dogs is also referred to as:

  • dog phobia
  • phobia of dog
  • dog phobia name
  • how to overcome fear of dogs
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