Fear of Dogs
Fear of dogs, or cynophobia, is an intense or irrational fear of dogs.
People suffering from cynophobia will go to extreme lengths to avoid situations where they might encounter a dog, or experience extreme anxiety or panic in the presence of a dog. This avoidance will frequently impact on the person's personal life by avoiding tasks such as walking down to the shops, going out with friends, or even visiting loved ones that own a dog.
Effective treatment is available
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help us reengage with these situations and teach us specific skills and strategies to cope with the anxiety.
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Tips for overcoming Cynophobia
HERE ARE SOME QUICK TIPS YOU CAN USE TO OVERCOME YOUR FEAR OF SPIDER:
- Learn more about dogs. Most dogs are not dangerous, and understanding this will facilitate a reduction in fear.
- Learn how to manage anxiety. Skills like controlled breathing and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) are powerful tools to combat anxiety.
- Stop avoiding situations. When we avoid or leave situations that cause us anxiety, we reinforce the anxiety response. Try to stay in the situation until the anxiety subsides. It might feel like it would take forever, but often only takes 10-20 minutes.
- Stop using safety behaviours to cope. Safety behaviours are things we do to try and cope in the short term, but keep us from learning that we can manage anxiety in the long term. Safety behaviours can include drinking alcohol to relax the anxiety, having another person stand between you and the dog, or needing to check under everything before going to bed.
- Make an exposure hierarchy. Seek out situations that cause you a mild amount of anxiety (e.g. a 10 or 20 on a scale of 0-100, where 100 is the scariest situation imaginable). Stay in this mildly uncomfortable situation until the anxiety subsides.