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How to overcome fear of dogs

Dogs are considered man’s best friend, but there are people who don’t think the same. On the contrary, they are afraid – and even phobic – of dogs and need to know how to overcome it. We give you the keys.

The most common pet is the dog. He has been called “man’s best friend” thanks to his ability to accompany and entertain the people he lives with. Still, this may not apply to all people because some people are afraid of dogs.

In some cases, That fear can become a very disabling phobia.. Thus, in this article we will try to present different strategies to manage this fear so that it does not represent an obstacle in daily life.

Phobia or fear of dogs?

When we talk about fear of dogs we mean an emotion born from the presence or anticipation of the presence of a fear. Like any emotion, it can have different degrees of intensity and is not a clinical condition. On the other hand, it is present in dog phobia and is one of the elements that best defines it.

Phobia is a psychological disorder or clinical condition. In this case, the fear we talked about before becomes conditioning or disabling. The condition would be defined by the following symptoms:

Physicists: sweating, increased heart rate, tremors, chills, dry mouth, headache, among others.Psychological: distorted thoughts regarding the stimulus that is presentedBehavioral: avoidance of the situation and willingness to flee when the stimulus is presented.

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How can we work on the fear of dogs?

The first thing you can do is talk to other people about your fear of dogs. This can be a relief. On the other hand, others would be in a position to provide us with information about dogs that would alleviate that fear. Against phobias, several interventions or approaches have proven to be successful. In any case, the best thing you can do to apply them is to put yourself in the hands of a professional. They will be the ones who guide you, proposing activities such as…

Create a hierarchy in which you write down different situations in relation to dogs in which you feel afraid, then ordering them according to emotional intensity. This is the starting point for later exposing the phobic object in a gradual and controlled manner.

On the other hand, you are likely to start practicing relaxation techniques with which to ensure that the anxiety peak is not so high during the exhibition itself.

Using your imagination to visualize the situation will help you manage your fear of dogs.. This is because visualization occurs using relaxation techniques. As a result, the application in a real situation will be easier for the person. Exposure should start with situations that generate less fear and increase towards situations that can generate more fear.

Lastly, it is important generate positive thoughts, especially if we relate them to the dog. Therefore, we can change the “I can’t” to “little by little I will be able to improve it.” All this will help boost cognitive processes, and as a result, the fear of dogs can be changed, and you can begin to enjoy their company.

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What to do if instead of fear of dogs there is a phobia?

In the case of a very intense and disabling phobia of dogs, it is necessary to go to a specialist – a psychologist or psychiatrist. Thus, within the framework of psychology, the most used therapies, instruments or techniques are the following:

Exposure therapy: consists of exposure to the phobic stimulus using both live exposure and exposure using images. It is known that, if live dogs are used, the results will be better.Cognitive behavioral therapy: These programs are intended to change different thinking patterns. Therefore, emphasis is placed on differentiating between unrealistic and unrealistic thoughts; also differentiating between the possible and the probable.

Secondly, we will talk about biological treatments. In this case, what you usually use are different types of medications. We will begin by clarifying that there is no single drug treatment of choice.

Even so, those that have become more popular are anxiolytics (benzodiazepines) and medications to manage blood pressure (beta-blockers). It is important to clarify that the use of medications works when they are a complement to any of the interventions that we have indicated before. It is about the phobia ending under the person’s control without having to depend on the consumption of any substance.

It is possible to overcome the fear of dogs

As we have seen, Dog phobia is based on an intense fear of these animals.. An acquired fear, either through one or more direct experiences or through vicarious learning – for example: my mother had a phobia of dogs and from the way she reacts to them, I have learned that they are dangerous.

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On the other hand, It is a disability based on a very intense emotion that can be corrected. In less serious cases, psychological intervention is usually sufficient, leaving the help of pharmacology for those in which the phobia is more intense or disabling.

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All cited sources were reviewed in depth by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, validity and validity. The bibliography in this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

Bonet, JIC (2001). Effective psychological treatments for specific phobias. Psychothema, 13(3), 447-452.Olivares, PJO, Fernández, NS, & Regadera, MS (2017). Evaluation and treatment in a case of cynophobia. Behavior analysis and modification, 43(167-168), 1-18.Ortuño, F. (s/f). Phobias. University of Navarra Clinic . Retrieved from: https://www.cun.es/enfermedades-tratamientos/enfermedades/phobias#:~:text=La%20ansiedad%20severa%20que%20apare,%2C%20dolor%20de%20 head%2C%20etc.

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