Cynophobia is when you have an extreme or irrational fear of dogs – this is a very common phobia.
A phobia can be caused by a particular experience or situation where you are faced with your fear. Due to this initial reaction – the second time you face your fear, you may experience the same irrational feelings of terror – if this forms a pattern it is a phobia.
The key to getting over or overcoming a phobia is to face it, otherwise it may get worse over time. People usually deal with phobias by avoiding them but this can prevent you from doing certain activities which you may want to do and from living your life in general.
One of the best treatments for phobias is exposure therapy, which you can easily do yourself through self-help.
Self-Help for Cynophobia (Fear of Dogs)
Facing your fear of dogs is key to conquering it.
You can help yourself through exposure therapy – but make sure to begin with something you can cope with/handle – exposure therapy may not work if you start with something too scary.
Follow my step-by-step approach for cynophobia below:
- Step 1: Look at some pictures of dogs – start off slow and remind yourself that you are safe. It can also help to do something to distract yourself from the dogs or to soothe you – such as listening to relaxing music.
- Step 2: Look up information about dogs – knowing more about them can help you to understand them and hopefully get over your fear.
- Step 3: Watch some videos of dogs – remind yourself that you are safe.
- Step 4: Look at dogs through a window in a pet store, for example. You are completely safe here, they’re behind glass – they can’t get to you – just relax and breathe.
- Step 5: If you ever come across a dog in person – remember to relax and breathe – if you feel comfortable, go about your business and ignore the dog – it will most likely do the same. OR if you do not feel comfortable slowly and calmly walk away from the dog at a normal speed – you may startle the dog if you run and you yourself will probably feel much more anxious.
If these steps don’t work for you, or if they are not specific enough for you, make your own step-by-step approach – if you need any help, please feel free to leave a comment below.