Many of us have been jumped on by an exuberant puppy or growled at by a protective watchdog. When this happens to a child during their formative years, the impacts can be long-lasting. The relatively large size of dogs compared to children, combined with an overactive imagination and a general lack of knowledge about canine behavior, can be fertile breeding ground for a full-blown phobia later in life.
The risk of cynophobia is higher if a relative or friend was attacked by a dog, or if a parent exhibited an unhealthy fear of canines.
Sufferers of this phobia experience fear that is very much out of their control. That is because when a person suffering from cynophobia thinks about, much less sees a dog, the fear system in the sub-brain (the automatic part of your brain that runs the show) takes over and secretes chemicals that alert the nervous system that there is DANGER! The threat feels so real that the brain treats the mere presence of a dog as an imminent peril, even though the perceived threat is not congruent with reality. People who suffer from cynophobia can live in constant fear, limiting their lives as a result.
Fortunately, cynophobics generally respond very well to treatment. In fact, some people actually report just ‘growing out of it’, especially after positive experiences with dog.
If you suffer from cynophobia, take heart – you are not alone! I recommend working with a psychological professional with expertise in dealing with phobias to help remove the fear and encourage helpful coping skills. With a bit of work and the right assistance, you can overcome this debilitating phobia.
Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place for companion animals.
Dr. Jane Bicks is the Executive Director of New Product Development & Education for Life’s Abundance where she oversees all product development and consults with pet industry experts to ensure Life’s Abundance cutting-edge formulas meet the highest standards for quality and effectiveness. She is one of the pioneers of veterinary nutritional/alternative medicine and is recognized nationally as an authority in the natural treatment of animals. Click Here to read more about Dr. Jane and her amazing credentials!