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I have a K9 phobia.

  1. Jun 19, 2004 #1
    My sister's friend's sons are graduating from 6th grade tomorrow. My sister's friend is throwing a party, and I'm invited. Well, I have a strong feeling that these people have DOGS. This bothers me because I am seriously terrified of dogs. I start sweating the moment I see one. :eek: :uhh:
    When I was really young, I got chased by two different dogs on two different incidents). Ever since the idea of comming near a dog without me freaking out is like finding a decaying photon on the side of the freeway. I feel like its impossible to get over this horrible phobia (it has a lot of set backs, as you can imagine). I really want to stop being afraid of them...I have had little success. :frown:
    I have tried pretending there weren't any dogs around if I saw them, or I imagined them to be cats (i love cats), or I just quickly do breathing excercises I learned from a meditation CD. All the aformentioned brought little, temporary relief. I just don't know what to do. :cry:

    Anyone have suggestions? :confused:

    thankx in advance.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2004 #2

    chroot

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    I'd also agree that pretending that dogs are cats, or doing breathing exercises, is probably unlikely to help you at all. In my opinion, you need to actually face the problem, not just wish it away, and just learn how dogs work.

    Take a deep breath and realize that dogs do NOT want to hurt you. Just realize that dogs have a different sort of behavioral wiring than you -- so do cats -- and that to interact successfully with a dog, you must understand his behavior, and how he perceives yours.

    When you approach a dog, do so with confidence -- even feigned confidence is better than nothing. Don't wait for the dog to investigate you. Walk right up to it, bend over a bit or kneel somewhat, and extend your hand for it to sniff you. Dogs will not trust you until they've gotten a whiff of you -- it sounds weird, but it's just their modus operandi.

    Chances are, within a couple of seconds, you'll notice the dog's attitude soften. You've just made a friend, and no longer have anything to worry about, except perhaps being begged to play.

    Also, keep in mind that dogs will chase anything that runs, for no real reason other than it's fun to chase things. Dogs sometimes percieve fearful human reactions as a game, much to the chagrin of the fearful human. If a dog ever does growl at you or make any aggressive motion, a very sharp "NO!" is very often enough to assert dominance. Dogs build very structured dominance hierarchies, and no dog will ever challenge a superior.

    You might want to consider buying a book like "Dummies Guide to Puppies" to learn the behavioral patterns of dogs so that you won't misinterpret them. You might also seek out a friend or two who has a (verifiably friendly) dog, and spend some time with the dog in your house, off-leash, just to acclimate yourself.

    - Warren
     
  4. Jun 19, 2004 #3
    If I let the dog sniff my hand, will it lick me? I hate being licked by anything or anyone! That creeps me out too. Can't dogs smell fear anyway? If I move my hand suddenly, will the dog believe that my hand has now spontaeously changed into a toy (to bite)? If so, should I move my hand slowly? What if it jumps at me? then what?
    would my sweating signal the to dog that I must be chased (because I am now a toy)?

    That means they'll start licking you right? Another thing that scares me is just a dogs tendency to be rough when it plays around. I'm a sensitive, calm, quiet person; rough behaviour repels me.

    BTW, once, I actually befriended a dog. This was only earlier last year. It was a small dog named Andrew. I guess that's a start.
    I'll definitely read that book you mentioned.
     
  5. Jun 19, 2004 #4

    chroot

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    Dogs won't lick you until they really like you. As strange as it might seem, a lick from a dog is a sign of affection. If you make it clear to the dog that you don't like being licked (pulling your hand away and saying "no"), however, he probably won't mind and will stop licking you.
    They can sense nervousness in a person just as well as you can. That doesn't mean he will try to attack you, though! Dogs are not somehow wired to attack anyone who is not confident or something. Dogs attack people who demonstrate that they are a threat.
    No, dogs are not stupid. There are some people who do not have the sense to train their dogs not to chew on people, however.
    You can move your hand any way you want -- just don't make a motion that the dog might think is threatening, like you're going to hit him.
    If a dog jumps up on you, he probably likes you -- it's not an aggressive behavior, even though it may feel like one to you. If you don't want him to jump on you, knee him in the chest and push him away. Don't do it with such force that you'll hurt him, but be assertive. You may have to do it repeatedly until he gets the idea.
    No.
    Not if you make it clear that you don't want to be licked. Please keep in mind that you really are the authority in a dog's world, and whatever you say goes. To him, it's not an insult to submit to you, it's his rightful place. If a dog does anything that you don't like, you can change it.
    Dogs generally do like to wrestle and rough-house a bit. If you don't want to participate, don't. If you want to play, but don't want to wrestle, just play tug-of-war with a toy, or throw a ball for him.
    It's a great start! Dogs really are sensitive, kind, and loyal animals. They can actually make wonderful friends. I really think the only reason you're afraid of them is because you don't understand them -- yet. Fear of the unknown is wasted fear! :smile:

    - Warren
     
  6. Jun 19, 2004 #5
    Jeez! I should have come here a long time ago. I have had a lot of questions answered. I know feel that I am going to be much more calmer the next time I encounter a dog (which is hopefully tomorrow... :frown: I'm nervous but that's okay).

    If a dog barks at you does that mean it doesn't like you or something?
     
  7. Jun 19, 2004 #6

    chroot

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    Don't worry man. :smile: Honestly, dogs are really, really cool, you just need to put aside your preconceptions and learn more about them.

    Dogs bark only to alert people of danger. If a dog barks at you, it's because he's determined that you are a threat, and he's trying to alert his owner. If a dog begins barking at you, my advice is to simply stand your ground (but don't advance) and try to show the dog that you're really not a threat with a comforting tone of voice and a welcoming posture. Imagine that you've just scared a child and he's screaming for his mother -- how would you try to reassure the child that you're an okay guy?

    - Warren
     
  8. Jun 19, 2004 #7
    oh thank you thank you thank you!!!! I am so much more confident!!
    okay so when a dog barks at me, should I not stand (so that I don't freak him out more if I'm taller than him) but instead lower myself to the ground and squat? And tell it that everything's okay; that I come in peace? What kinds of reassuring gestures/words should I commence in such a predicament?

    When I started this thread, my cynophobia was at 105%. At this point, it has dropped to 100%---------just kidding! to ~50%.

    So to restate:
    I enter a friend's house. It so happens they have a golden retriever [a dog about 3 feet in height]. It immediately comes and greets the new commer (me). I extend my hand, smiling to keep the peace, and allow it to sniff me. Once it has finished, I will then pet it on its head, and say "Good dog" (Would it notice if I said "good boy" when it was actually a girl? not that it matters...).
     
  9. Jun 19, 2004 #8

    chroot

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    I wouldn't squat in front of a barking dog, exactly, because that's a submissive gesture. I might bend over some, extend a hand and say "it's okay, boy, it's okay, come here." Then pet him on the head and reassure him when he finally gains enough confidence to approach you.

    And yes -- simply letting a dog sniff your hand is 2/3 of the way to making friends with him, if not more.

    - Warren
     
  10. Jun 19, 2004 #9

    Njorl

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    When you extend your hand for a dog to sniff, always do it below his eye level, not above.

    Njorl
     
  11. Jun 19, 2004 #10

    Math Is Hard

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    I think the fact that it's a golden retriever should make this whole experience even easier. I am not much of a dog person (I am a little fearful of dogs I don't know), but they are one of the breeds I like since they are so naturally sweet-tempered.
     
  12. Jun 19, 2004 #11

    chroot

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    Agreed, goldens are probably the friendliest breed around. They do tend to enjoy rough play, however, particularly when they're young, but they mellow out very nicely when they're past 5 or 6 years.

    - Warren
     
  13. Jun 19, 2004 #12
    just stay away from the cop dogs.. and you will be ok
     
  14. Jun 22, 2004 #13
    Euphoriet,
    hey at least I'm right on one thing then! So what should I do if approached by a cop dog? I start sweating when it's around partly because of my phobia and partly because I'm trying not to freak (which makes me freak even more) since the dog will think I'm a bad guy or something.
     
  15. Jun 22, 2004 #14
    Just remember that that dog could be your dinner in some countries. You wouldn't be afraid of dinner, would you? ;)

    cookiemonster
     
  16. Jun 22, 2004 #15
    In addition to the good advice already given by chroot on dealing with dogs, do not allow them to place their paws or chin on top of you in any way, such as on top of your hands, or on your legs if sitting, or jumping up on you. I realize you will be avoiding this now anyway, but if you do get used to dogs, they will often try and do this. It is a way they have to try and establish their place in the line of dominance. As chroot said this is very important to them, but they just want to know their position. A dog that has been trained to know they are not the dominant creature will actually allow their owner to remove food from their mouth because they know that the top dog gets first pick. (I don't recommend trying this just to test your dog. I only do this when the dog gets something that they should not have.)

    To a dog, a position on top is considered by them as "top dog." A firm "No" or "Down" is usually sufficient to change this behavior.

    After their role is established this rule can be relaxed by dog owners. Such as allowing the dog to rest its chin on your hand or leg.

    As for the dog barking, chroot is right again, this is a warning for the dog's owner of a percieved threat, and a warning to you that you are not wanted until you show you mean no harm. If the dog just wanted to attack you, it would be nearly silent. Dogs that are hunting in the wild do not communicate by barking, they use actions and growls, you'd be lucky to even see it coming.

    Dogs are great once you get to know them. They can become much more than just a pet. Like the old saying goes they can be a best friend.
     
  17. Jun 22, 2004 #16

    OH MY GOODNESS COOKIEMONSTER!!! I'm just speechless....DINNER? hahahaha!! that's one way to look at it!! LOL. dinner. that's sick.
     
  18. Jun 22, 2004 #17
    Hey, I didn't come up with the idea of eating dogs for dinner! Don't blame me!

    cookiemonster
     
  19. Jun 22, 2004 #18
    On more of a SERIOUS note, I was wondering what I should do when approached by a police dog?
     
  20. Jun 22, 2004 #19

    chroot

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    Throw the crack out the window and run.

    - Warren
     
  21. Jun 22, 2004 #20
    cookiemonster:

    When I'm able to IRC again (hopefully that's soon), I'll tell you of one crazy story that involves eating something creepy.

    chroot:
    I'll try that. :wink:
     
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