How to help your child cope with fear of dogs and cats
Usually children love animals and are friends with dogs and cats. They enjoy spending time with four-legged friends, caring for them. But sometimes the child begins to be afraid of them. Why is this happening and what should parents do? There are ways adults can successfully overcome fear.
What parents shouldn’t do
Inappropriate adult behavior often increases the child’s fear. To prevent this, you must not:
- reproach the kid and say “don’t be afraid!”;
- force to pet or feed the dog;
- intimidate the crumbs with angry dogs;
- rush the child and be angry that he is slow to accept explanations or does not want to do something;
- the parents themselves are afraid of dogs.
Why are children so scared of pets?
- Bad experience with a dog or cat, negative experiences associated with this.
- Unpleasant consequences of contact with an animal. Even if the dog has bitten the baby, the fear does not always appear. But it can be caused by the further development of the situation. a trip to the hospital, wound treatment, injections and other medical procedures.
- Increased emotionality, unstable psyche. If the child is inclined to take the problems of others to heart, then fear of animals can arise even after people talk about the troubles associated with cats or dogs. The kid is worried that this will happen to him, and therefore begins to panic fear of four-legged friends.
- Some physiological pathologies. retarded development, limited physical abilities, deaf-dumbness.
Highly emotional children are often afraid of animals
Fear of dogs or cats in a child
Dogs and cats usually delight boys and girls. Children have a great interest in them and often ask their parents to have such a pet. But sometimes the child’s attitude towards animals changes to the opposite, and there is a fear.
Fear is an emotion necessary for the self-preservation of any person. At certain moments in life, everyone experiences this feeling, but sometimes it takes on a dangerous form. Therefore, parents should take a responsible attitude to the manifestations of fear of animals in a child in order to help him in time.
Fear of cats is ailurophobia, fear of dogs is kinophobia, and fear of animals is zoophobia.
Most children play with dogs with interest and are not afraid of them
How to overcome fear: advice from psychologists
If the problem with fear could not be solved on our own, if the manifestations of fear are serious and prolonged, then experts advise seeking qualified help. Child psychologists will explain how to cope with fear, use special techniques for relaxation, reducing muscle tone, relieving psychological stress. The essence of the treatment boils down to the fact that the child is gradually brought closer to the object of fear and explained, convinced that his behavior was unreasonable.
If you cannot cope with the fear of animals on your own, you can always seek help from a specialist.
Psychologists give general recommendations to parents on what to do if a child is afraid of something.
- Explain why the animal is aggressive and may bite.
- Observe with the baby the object of his fear, do not immediately force close contact with him.
- Laugh at a funny cat or dog together. If your pet is lonely or sad, then take pity on him. Beasts that are funny and pitiable do not cause fear.
- Pay attention to the problems of the baby, listen, in no case ignore.
- Do not scold, do not be ashamed, do not make fun of your child for being afraid. It will be worse if the little one, in order not to lose your love, begins to hide his problems. The fears will go inside.
- Invite your child to draw or describe fear in detail. Something abstract and terrible is always more terrifying than something more concrete.
Helping a fearful dog be around kids
Dr. Komarovsky believes that the psychological damage from an animal attack is often more serious than a wound. But fear of animals does not develop only after being bitten. If the dog growls loudly, unexpectedly chases after a child, or simply grins, then fright may arise.
How to Help a Child That is Afraid of Dogs
If the child is scared of his dog after an accidental bite, it is important to explain to the child that the dog is usually friendly and affectionate, if it is not teased or beaten, it will be kind. Therefore, you need to teach that a pet is not a toy, you need to behave correctly with it. It is equally important to understand what provoked his aggression. Often, children are frightened not by the situation itself, which caused the fear, but by the wrong reaction of the parents to it. excessive excitement, panic, the anxious voice of the mother.
Rules of conduct when meeting a dog
It is very important to teach your baby how to behave correctly when meeting an animal:
- You can not run away, as the dog has an innate instinct forcing to catch up and grab the one who is running.
- Seeing a dangerous dog, it is better to freeze in place and try not to pay attention to him.
- You cannot stare at the dog, since any animal perceives such a look as a challenge and a direct threat.
- It is undesirable to touch unfamiliar dogs when there are no adults nearby.
- It is not safe to touch the animal and its puppies or kittens. A caring mother may see this as a threat to her babies.
It is important to know that the dog will not bite the child just like that. There are special signals in the dog’s behavior that suggest that he is going to defend himself, he is uncomfortable with a person:
- the jaws are tense, the lips are compressed;
- eyes are wide open;
- ears laid back;
- slow, “wooden” gait;
- tense posture, the animal froze;
- dog growls.
The child was scared by the dog: what to do
If the animal managed to scare the child, then the correct words and actions of adults will help to cope with the fear quickly and easily. You need to do the following:
- Ask your toddler about what happened.
- Analyze what happened, analyze the situation. Try to form new patterns of behavior so that in the future, in the same conditions, he acted differently and did not survive the fear.
- Praise your child and explain to him that different things happen in life, but there is nothing terrible about it. Add that he acted boldly and correctly.
- Tell us about the rules of conduct when meeting a dog.
- After a while, start teaching your child to treat animals friendly:
- talk about animals and their habits;
- read books or watch cartoons and films about good dogs;
- play together with four-legged friends in the park or in the yard, feed stray animals with your baby.
It is good if the child shows clearly, draws, tells in words everything that he has experienced not only to parents, but also to grandmothers, grandfathers and other close relatives. It is important to make sure that each time the story ends positively, optimistically. It can be something funny or even boastful when the kid says: “I was bitten by a dog, but I was not scared and drove it away.”.
Not the best way out is to protect the child from worries, ignoring the dangerous situation. You need to make him feel everything that happened, release feelings and experience fear, leaving him no place in later life. Along with the words, panic and fear will go away.
So that children are not afraid of dogs, tell them more often about kind and loyal dogs.
The kid is afraid of dogs. Supernanny’s tips
Many parents often face a variety of parenting challenges. Child psychologist Natalya Barlozhetskaya, who was the host of the popular Supernyanya program on Ren-TV, answers frequently asked questions from parents.
I need advice from a psychologist who works with childhood fears. The fact is that my three-year-old son was frightened by the dog that barked at him while walking. Since then, every time going outside, he asks if he will meet “that dog”. He remembers her again and again, although six months have passed since the unfortunate meeting. Now we try to go only to fenced playgrounds that are inaccessible for walking dogs. If the son sees a dog on the road, he asks to take him in his arms and begins to whimper.
The situation became aggravated by the fact that the neighbors on the landing bought themselves a very sonorous boxer puppy. He is still very young, but his son refuses to go out the door until I check if the dog is there. And when he hears that the puppy is barking, meeting his owners, he comes running to me and says that he is afraid. I even had to hide all the toy dogs, because one day I noticed that my son not only does not play with them, but also tries to remove them to some hard-to-reach place.
I was advised to “work through” this fear in the game, showing that there is nothing to worry about in the dog. One day my brother began to play with the child and “barked” as a dog. The son rushed to me in tears. I am very afraid for the baby. It worries me that this will make him nervous and intimidated. Wouldn’t the fear of dogs now haunt him all his life? How to help your son cope with this problem?
Questions related to fear of dogs, darkness and loneliness are often asked by parents. In order to understand how to cope with a problem, you first need to understand its essence. Any person at least once in their life experienced a feeling of fear. Worry, anxiety, fear are the same normal and integral emotional manifestations of our life, as are joy, admiration, surprise and sadness.
The overwhelming majority of fears to one degree or another are due to age characteristics and are temporary in nature. Children’s fears, if you treat them correctly and understand the reasons for their occurrence, most often disappear without a trace. However, if fears persist for a long time, this may serve as a sign of the child’s mental ill-being, which indicates the wrong behavior of the parents or the presence of hidden internal conflicts.
At the age of 1 to 3 years, children are often afraid of unexpected harsh sounds, this is a typical, so-called normative fear, characteristic of this period of development of any child. See how you describe the moment when the little one got scared: “. the dog barked at him. ” The primary is not the fear of the dog, but its barking. Unexpected harsh sound, i.e. barking, became the starting point for the mechanism of formation of fear, which is characteristic of a later age.
Usually, the fear of animals manifests itself in the period from 3 to 6 years. The puppy bought by your neighbors is exactly “sonorous”: the child is afraid when he barks, meeting his masters; your brother “barked”, pretending to be a dog, and this is exactly what the baby was afraid of. The fear of dogs in this case is just a secondary fear, but it can get worse with age. Observe your child in different situations. You may notice that car alarms, loud voices, pops of car exhaust pipes, beeps and other unexpected and harsh sounds also scare your baby, you just pay less attention to it.
In this situation, “work through”, i.e. playing a traumatic situation by “barking” at the child was not only unreasonable, but also exacerbated the situation.
I suggest separating the fear of loud noises and the fear of dogs. You also need to work out these fears separately and in stages.
Step one. To help your child stop being afraid of loud sounds, try teaching him to make these sounds on his own. It is important that the volume of the sound increases gradually and at the request of the baby. This is possible in a competitive game. Drive into the forest and have a screamer party. Give your child the opportunity to win the Loudest Rooster competition. You can play “echo”, repeating everything that the baby says, gradually increasing the sound. Arrange a noise storm: banging drums, blowing pipes, etc. Play kitchen “musical” instruments at home: knock on pots, pans and plates. Sing loud march songs, read poetry aloud, and much, much more. At the same time, avoid swearing and yelling at the child. Loud sounds should be associated with fun and entertainment.
Step two. Gradually accustom your baby to loud sounds in everyday situations. Give your child the opportunity to independently adjust the volume of a tape recorder, TV, radio, etc. Little by little, the kid’s interest in these activities will wane, but at first you will have to endure his “experiments”, pretending not to notice them. If the opportunity arises, pay attention of the child to the messages that sound over the loudspeaker, at the train station, in the subway, in transport. Explain why this is necessary.
Step three. Simulation of sounds. At this stage, try to give your child the opportunity to feel what is “quiet” and “loud”. Teach your kid to control the sound: “How does the mouse squeak? Quiet, quiet. Pee-pee-pee. How does a cow bellow? Mu Mu. And how does the rooster wake everyone in the morning? Loudly, loudly. For everyone to wake up. Ku-ka-re-ku “. How does the plane fly? How does the herd of elephants run? How does a tiger sneak? How does a kitten meow? “And so on. Carefully observe the child’s reaction: if you feel that the baby is no longer afraid of sounds, invite him to depict a dog barking among other animals.
Step four. To make the child stop being afraid of the dog barking, watch together the cartoons from the series “Kitten named Woof” Then give your toddler the opportunity to play several versions of the doggy conversation: “What does a puppy say when he wants to befriend? (Tyaf-tyaf) How does a dog that begs for a bone bark? (Woof-woof) How does a guard dog ward off a thief? (R-r-ryaf) “, etc.
While working to remove the primary fear. the fear of loud and unexpected sounds, you can gradually switch to working out the secondary fear. the fear of dogs.
“Don’t go near the dog, it will bite,” parents often say, who are themselves afraid of dogs. If you have noticed such phrases with yourself, perhaps the cause of childhood fear lies in your fearfulness. In this case, you will have to pluck up the courage and demonstrate affection (or at least indifference) for the dogs. Children are very sensitive to the condition of their parents. The more anxious, nervous, and panicky you are, the more difficult it will be to deal with the problem.
If, as a result of all your efforts, the situation does not normalize, then you will need to personally contact a specialist: a neuropathologist, child psychologist or psychotherapist.
For medical questions, be sure to consult with a doctor in advance.
Cause, effect, action. we figure it out on our own
No problem can be solved until it is recognized. Fortunately, children do not tend to withdraw into themselves and lie about their experiences. When a child is panicky afraid of dogs, this can be seen with the naked eye, in addition, the baby willingly talks about his feelings. The main problem is different, most often, the child is aware of fear, but not its cause.
Idiopathic kinophobia or fear of dogs, for unexplained reasons
Are you trying to figure it out but can’t figure out the root cause of your child’s fears? Conversations and observations don’t help? There is a possibility that your child belongs to the 3% segment of the world’s population with fear of dogs for no reason. The chance is negligible, and it is almost impossible to confirm idiopathic kinophobia. According to psychologists, a sudden onset of a phobia always carries a deeper reason, it can lurk in the information received or in dreams. The main problem is that the child himself does not remember and does not understand what scared him. If you are inclined towards this option, the baby should be protected from contact with four-legged as long as he does not show interest in them.
The kid could see how the dog bit another child, an adult, frightened or killed the animal. Depending on the degree of damage inflicted, the consequences result in moral trauma. In this case, too many factors carry weight, for example, the younger the child, the more easily he experiences negative emotions. As practice shows, even if the baby has suffered from a bite, after a short period of time, he is already ready to climb into the dog’s mouth and this is normal! A mentally healthy child has no fear of dogs, the acquisition of life experience is another matter.
If the child has been badly bitten or has experienced a serious injury, for example, dogs killed a cat in front of the baby, you should not impose your help. over, you should not think about whether you need to get a dog to help overcome fear. In this case, the discomfort will be associated with the instinct of self-preservation, and the presence of a furry friend, even a loved one, will generate experiences. A child who has received moral trauma should undergo full-fledged treatment and work with a professional. You, parents, should follow the advice of a psychologist, in no case should you rush the baby and protect him as much as possible from the discomfort associated with memories. As practice shows, the child “outgrows” his fear, and this happens absolutely unexpectedly, at one moment.
Or maybe the reason is in you?
First of all, it is necessary to exclude the imposition factor. Do you have a habit of saying: “Don’t touch it. it will bite!” Do you have a habit of hiding the child behind yourself when you see a dog? If there is, then there is no need to look for reasons. The source of your child’s fear is yourself. The kid imitates you, copying the reaction, he knows that if you, an adult, strong parent, are the only source of protection and are afraid, then the threat is really serious. It is also worth understanding that grandmothers, grandfathers, nannies, mothers and fathers of other children with whom your baby communicates in playgrounds or in a kindergarten group can impose fear.
In the first case, if the reason is you, then the problems need to be solved by you. In the second, unleashing the problem will cause more difficulties, since it is simply impossible to protect the child from the whole world. Talk to relatives and friends, explain that today’s panic fear can result in a nervous breakdown. Some parents and acquaintances will not understand you, and it is worth preparing for this. If the problem is not solvable, then the child should be protected from “people-alarmists”, and not from dogs.
Cleanliness or the neurosis of cleanliness?
Often, there are also parents “obsessed” with hygiene. A speck of dust fell on the cookies. into the garbage, a dog breathed on the child. urgently redeem! It is from these parents, on the playground, that one can hear “Don’t touch, he has fleas / lichen” or “Move away, he is dirty.” This is the second typical case of imposing fear on a child. However, it will not give rise to a fear of bites, but a neurosis of purity or rabiephobia. a fear of contracting rabies.
Again, it is not the child who needs help, but his parents. Overcoming your fear, you can teach your child not to be afraid of dogs, and this will happen quickly enough. Your baby imitates you in everything and, seeing that you are not afraid, pet even a street dog without disgust and fear, the child will follow your example.
A child is afraid of dogs: we analyze all possible reasons
The instincts of self-preservation inherent in our DNA never sleep. Primitive people were afraid of predators, unable to defend against them. Dogs have become one of the tools of protection and survival. In today’s world, tetrapods are seen as an integral part of human life. Psychology says that fear of dogs is a mental disorder, and people who are afraid have problems they don’t even know about. When it comes to an adult, the ways out are obvious. either bypass animals by the tenth road, or go the conscious way and contact a specialist. But what if your child is afraid of dogs? How do you recognize the causes? Should I go to a psychologist? Should you take any action? Let’s figure it out.
Dangers of kinophobia
Every parent should understand that any phobia, sooner or later, is formed into consequences. Please note that this section is provided for informational purposes only, not self-diagnostics.
So, fear of dogs has several typical consequences:
- A physical disorder is an unexplained state of anxiety. Discomfort haunts a person in all spheres of life, affects sleep, self-awareness, will, decision-making algorithms. Most often, people suffering from somatic disorders consider themselves special, “born out of the system”.
- Panic attacks are a severe attack of fear that occurs when you see or think about a frightening object. The severity and depth of the attack depends on the exhaustion of the nervous system.
- Butchery, does not need explanations, it is worth saying one thing. this is a psychological disorder of a severe degree.
What actions are unacceptable for a parent in such a situation
First of all, parents should highlight for themselves those moments that are unacceptable if their children have kinophobia:
- You can’t make fun of a child, tell him that his fear is stupid or ridiculous. This also applies to ignoring the problem. Ignoring the fear of the baby, the adult only aggravates his emotional state.
- You can’t appeal with words like “don’t be afraid”, “be brave.” Firstly, such expressions will not give any result. Secondly, they will negatively affect the child’s psychological perception of himself and become the cause of insecurity and complexes.
- Negative statements about dogs and their owners are unacceptable, since the child will repeat such a behavioral model, continuing to feel fear of animals.
- You cannot react negatively to the child’s fear. Irritation or aggression against your baby will only increase the fear. It would be more correct to calmly switch the child’s attention to something else.
There are not many prohibitive rules, but they must be strictly followed. In addition, a parent should remember one more point. one should not try to shape the process of dealing with a phobia. That is, attempts to quickly acquaint a child with a dog, a violent collision of a baby with an animal are strictly prohibited. This should not be forgotten not only because such actions will interfere with the fight against kinophobia, but also because, due to the child’s inadequate reaction, the animal may become nervous and the situation will become dangerous.
How to deal with kinophobia
When the cause of the phobia is identified, you can start working on it. To achieve the desired outcome, namely, a calm or even positive reaction of the child to dogs, it is necessary:
- Read and tell various stories or fairy tales in which there are dogs in the role of helpers or some kind of positive characters.
- Include cartoons and films with dogs, and after watching, discuss the characters and emphasize that these animals are very good.
- It is a good idea for children who love to paint to try to portray kind dogs in different situations.
- Give your child a dog-like toy that is soft and cute, but similar to a real one, to form an association between an artificial and a living pet.
- Arrange games in which you need to portray animals. In the first games, the parent must portray the dog, showing the character and behavior of the animal. And then you can invite the kid to try to pretend to be a dog himself.
- Observe animals from the side. You should start by watching programs and videos about dogs, which will be shown in funny situations or during training. Later, you can invite the child to look at the animals in the park, but do not come close so that the baby does not get scared.
- Communicate with the animal in a safe environment. It is worth asking a friend with the dog to come to visit, so that the child can personally communicate with the animal and make sure that it does not pose a threat to him. It will be best if the owner of a small or medium dog comes for the first time, as it will be easier to adapt to them. Then you can already invite someone with a large pet.
These points should be performed gradually, moving from the first to the second with constant monitoring of children’s reactions to four-legged animals. And we must not constantly forget to praise the baby and support him. Changes in the way they look at dogs will directly depend on how well parents can provide him with psychological comfort while dealing with a phobia.
The last step in the process of ridding a child of fear of dogs can be the acquisition of a pet in the house. If the baby can already communicate with other people’s dogs and reacts to them calmly, you can offer him to take a puppy home. This will help solidify the result and be a good experience for the child.
Do not forget that there are situations when the work with the phobia stops at some stage and the parents cannot help the child overcome the fear. In this case, it is better not to pressure him and visit a child psychologist so that he takes a professional look at the problem and gives his recommendations.
A child is afraid of dogs: what should parents do? Psychologist’s advice
While children are growing and developing, something new about the world around them is constantly being discovered for them and the reaction to discoveries is not always positive. Often, a collision with a new one can cause the appearance of childhood fear and one of the most common forms of phobias in babies is kinophobia, that is, fear of dogs. Therefore, many parents are interested in the question of what to do if their child is afraid of these pets and how to behave correctly in such a situation.
The reasons for the development of phobia
Before thinking about how to get rid of the problem, you need to find its cause. There are four common factors that trigger fear of a dog:
- Negative experience. This is possible if the child was once frightened, bitten or scratched by a dog.
- Misunderstanding. If fear arose from the very first acquaintance of a baby with an animal, most likely he simply does not understand how to react to a creature that is new to him.
- Seen conflict. A child could see a fight between two dogs on the street or even an animal’s aggression towards another person. As a result, the first negative impression is firmly fixed in the memory.
- Impact from the outside. The child is very sensitive to what information he receives from his parents and the adults around him. If someone tells him that dogs are “evil” and “dangerous”, or will react to the appearance of a dog with fear and an attempt to protect the baby from the animal, then he will begin to duplicate the emotions and opinions of the elders.
It should be noted that children under 3 years old are often frightened not by animals, but by the loud sounds they make. Usually, this fear goes away gradually as the child adapts to loud sounds in the rest of the world around him. Children from 3 to 6 years old are mostly frightened by the dogs themselves, experiencing real or perceived danger from animals.
How to prepare your child to meet the dog
Before the baby personally meets the dog, it is necessary to tell the general rules of behavior with these animals:
- Under no circumstances should you start to run away from the dog. this is a signal for it to catch up and catch. All movements should be calm, smooth.
- Dogs sense the emotional state of a person. If there is a large dog nearby, which makes the baby fearful, he can stop and think that “the dog is busy with his own business”, this will help to calm down.
- It is unacceptable to keep eye contact with the animal for a long time. Such behavior for an animal is tantamount to a challenge to a battle for the title of the strongest.
- Avoid approaching the dog when it is present or when there are puppies nearby. She will protect her from someone else’s interference.
- The child should learn to say “Fu” or a similar command loudly and confidently.
It is important to conduct a conversation in a calm manner, not a single word should indicate possible aggression from the animal. And after the conversation, you can arrange a game like a quiz, in which the child himself will answer questions about how to behave with a dog in a given situation.
But in the process of talking or playing, you cannot inspire the kid that any dog will be benevolent. Always be careful.
What child psychology experts advise
Psychologists give a number of recommendations for those parents who are trying to solve the problem of kinophobia in their children:
The child is afraid of dogs. How to get rid of childhood fear?
A child is afraid of dogs, how to get rid of childhood fear. Hello, dear readers of the Malyshata website! How to get rid of childhood fear if a child is afraid of dogs, let’s talk about it today.
- Kids play fun near the house, completely oblivious to the dog that appeared in the yard.
And only your child, screaming and crying as hard as he can, rushes to you. Why is this happening? The answer is unequivocal: the child is afraid of dogs, so what should parents do, how to cope with this problem, how to get rid of childhood fear?
- Psychologists say that many fears are due to the age characteristics of the child and are temporary.
- If parents understand the cause of fear and treat it correctly, then the fear will go away over time.
But why does it happen that a child is afraid of dogs and how to get rid of childhood fear?
- Perhaps the dog suddenly appeared near the baby. If, moreover, she was big, shaggy with an open mouth and a protruding tongue, and if she also barked, such a sight and loud sounds can not only scare, but shock the child.
- Many babies under three years old are afraid of unexpected, harsh sounds. You can observe the baby in different situations, and you will notice how the child flinches at the signals of cars, loud voices, sounds of sirens.
What to do so that the baby gets used to loud sounds and stops being afraid of them?
You need to accustom your baby to such sounds. In this case, it is especially important that the sound volume increases gradually.
- Read poems, watch cartoons, sing songs, (Children’s songs about dogs) you can blow a pipe or knock on a drum. Play kitchen “musical instruments” at home, knocking on plates, pots, cups, or go out into nature and play screamers.
- Turn on the TV or radio loudly, let your baby adjust their volume himself. Simulate different sounds with your child. For example, how a cat meows, how a mouse squeaks, how a crow screams, how a car honks?
At the same time, constantly observe the baby, and when you see that he has ceased to be afraid of loud sounds, suggest not to simulate the barking of the dog loudly.
But at the same time, parents should not forget that they cannot instill in the baby the confidence that any dog is safe. After all, an animal is an animal and no one can be 100 percent sure of it.
- The child should know that there is no need to be afraid of dogs, but you should always be attentive and careful.
- Explain to the kid that the dog growls and barks, because she herself is afraid that she may be offended, beaten. Therefore, when an animal is around, it is better to behave friendly: do not shout, do not touch, without the permission of the owner, and even more so do not beat.
- Also, you do not need to approach the dog that is eating, deciding that they are taking away food, it can pounce.
- No need to approach a dog with small puppies, she can lash out, protecting her children.
A child is afraid of dogs, how to get rid of childhood fear? On the street, on the playground, you can often hear the words of parents: “Don’t touch the dog. it will bite!” Perhaps you constantly say them, because you yourself are afraid of dogs. And the cause of childhood fear lies precisely in your fearfulness. After all, the baby, like a sponge, absorbs all the good and bad from us, including fears.
Therefore, already you will have to pluck up the courage and show affection or, in extreme cases, indifference to dogs. If you try to change your attitude towards animals, your baby will immediately feel it. But the more you panic, worry and get nervous, the more difficult it will be for you to cope with the problem of childhood fear.
- But, if you have made every effort, and still the child is afraid of dogs. contact a child psychologist.
Dear adults. Have you encountered such a problem when a child is afraid of dogs? And how did you get out of this situation, share your experience on how to get rid of childhood fear. Perhaps your experience will help other parents.
What DON’T do if your child is afraid of dogs
There are things you should never do if your child is afraid of dogs.
- You cannot ridicule or ignore the child’s fear. Your baby needs help to cope with a phobia.
- You cannot urge a child to “not be afraid” and persuade him to “be brave”. This is not only useless, but also harmful, as it finally undermines your child’s self-confidence and makes him feel completely worthless.
- Calling dogs and their owners, saying that they are “evil, nasty, stupid”, etc. It only adds to the fear of your heir.
- To react nervously to crying or tantrums of children, to make them relive fear again and again, talking about the meeting with “scary dogs”. Better to just silently hug the heir and then distract him.
- Forcing events in an attempt to overcome fear. for example, forcibly dragging a child screaming out of fear to a dog so that he gets to know the frightening object better and understands that there is nothing to be afraid of. As a rule, boys’ dads like to do this, convinced that “a real man is not afraid of anything.” Firstly, it is simply dangerous. the dog can get nervous and frighten the child even more. Secondly, the baby will not get a positive experience, but, in addition to increasing the fear of dogs, you will undermine the child’s confidence in yourself.
Why are children afraid of dogs?
Most often, children are afraid of dogs because they were taught this by their parents or other family members whose opinion the kids trust. If an adult strains at the sight of a dog, starts to get nervous, or even yell at the owner of this dog, the child will copy his actions. and then begin to feel intense fear.
Sometimes adults intimidate children by telling them that the dog “will bite now!” or even “eat” at all. Children take everything literally and, naturally, are very afraid. And you would not be scared if a man-eating tiger appeared in front of you?
Of course, you need to teach children to be careful about other people’s dogs and with understanding. to their own, but the methods for this should be chosen the right ones. There are rules, following which, you will protect the child, but at the same time you will not form a phobia in him.
But what to do if the phobia has already formed, and the child is panicky afraid of dogs?
Ekaterina Kastritskaya, psychologist, animal therapy specialist, animal behavior and welfare consultant
Some children are afraid of dogs. some are just wary, and some go into a real tantrum at the sight of man’s best friend. Why does this happen and what to do if a child is afraid of dogs?
The child is afraid of dogs
What can you do if your child is afraid of dogs?
First, it is worthwhile to figure out what the fear is connected with: whether it was caused by some events or whether the parents formed it on their own (and then the parents need to change, first of all).
And sometimes fear is an expression of the child’s “bad” feelings, mostly anger. If it is forbidden to correctly express anger and other “bad” feelings in the family, the child may well unconsciously attribute them, for example, to dogs (“they are angry and want to harm me”), and then be afraid of them.
Mostly preschool children are afraid of dogs. Often by the age of 8. 9, the fear of anxiety about dogs disappears, but you can help your child cope with it faster and more painlessly.
The saying “They knock out a wedge with a wedge” is also true for the fear of dogs. But in this case, you need to act very carefully, consistently and slowly. You can create a program of steps to help children get rid of their fear of dogs.
- Read and tell your child fairy tales and stories about dogs and how they help people.
- Watch dog cartoons together and then discuss them. Emphasize how good the dogs are and how good they come to help people.
- Draw dogs with your child and then arrange exhibitions of drawings.
- Create stories and tales of kind and loyal dogs together.
- Buy soft toys for your child that depict dogs. but they should look like real dogs, not people. Toys can be trained to interact with dogs correctly.
- Watch and discuss movies with dogs.
- Play Beast Transformation. It is better if you first act as a dog, and then the child will try on the role of a dog and speak on her behalf.
- Observe the dogs from a safe, child-friendly distance and discuss their behavior and body language. It is very important to reduce the distance to the dogs gradually, so as not to scare the child.
- Communicate with friendly yet reserved dogs in a safe environment. The restraint of the dog in this case is no less important than friendliness. After all, if an enthusiastic puppy with the best intentions, for example, jumps to lick an unprepared child in the face, all previous efforts to overcome fear can fail.
- If both you and the child are ready for this, you can have a puppy. But be sure to teach your child how to interact with the dog and treat it kindly.
Track the child’s reaction and move on to the next item only when the previous one does not cause anything in the baby except positive emotions.
Children and dogs not only can exist on the same planet. they can become best friends! And much (if not all) here depends on you.
If you are not confident in your abilities, you can seek advice from a competent psychologist who will help you and your child overcome fear.
A child is afraid of a dog: how to help cope with childhood fear?
The vast majority of young children are not afraid of animals.
Almost every dog breeder has at least once experienced the curiosity of a child on himself and his pet.
Kids boldly run up to the dogs, regardless of their size, pull their hands towards them, try to stroke, pull the tail, or in some other way try to make friends with such an incomprehensible, but such a cute fluffy creature. And even if the dog is not very friendly, small children perceive everything as a game.
Probably, it is unnecessary to remind, but still it is worth saying that uncontrolled contacts of children with someone else’s dog should not be allowed for reasons of safety of both the child and the dog.
Older children are more restrained, and even if they really like the dog, they ask permission to stroke it or hold it by the leash.
But over time, many children develop a fear of a dog. seeing an animal, such a baby begins to cry, ask for the arms of his parents, and hide. An older child bypasses all the dogs, snuggles against the wall of the entrance when a neighbor’s dog is led past him, pulls his hand in horror when they try to sniff him.
How to help your child deal with this fear?
First, you need to understand the reason for its occurrence.
It is unlikely that one day your child just took this fear and arose. Most likely, his appearance was preceded by some unpleasant event associated with the dog.
For example, he was barked by stray dogs that suddenly jumped out of the bushes, or he became an eyewitness of a fight between dogs, or he was aggressively reacted by the owner’s dog, walking without a leash or guarding the yard where he accidentally entered.
Understanding the reasons for fear of dogs is very important in solving the problem.
We are made in such a way that we are most afraid of what we do not understand. The child interprets any unfriendly behavior of a dog towards himself something like this: “I did not touch anyone, the dog attacked itself, and for no apparent reason, which means that for dogs this is normal, all dogs should be afraid”.
Now let’s see what can be done when we know the situation that caused the fear. For example, a child was frightened by the dog of his classmate, to whom he went into the yard. At first everything was calm, and then a dog jumped out from around the corner of the house and rushed to the child with a deafening bark.
In this case, explain to the child that the dog’s behavior was just quite understandable and predictable. It’s not that, as it seems to him, all dogs have a grudge against him. it’s just that, from her point of view, he is a stranger who needs to be escorted out of her territory.
If your child was playing football with other children, and at that time a dog flew into the playground and scared your child by rushing to take the ball, explain that the dog will also play with him, and not attack in any way to bite him.
Look for an explanation for any situation. what can be explained by logic that a child understands is no longer so scary.
At the same time, teach your child to behave correctly in different situations.
If, for example, he sees how the owner’s shepherd dog rushes to him without a leash in order to grab the ball, he must throw the ball away from him. If on the way from school it is easiest for him to walk past a construction site where a flock of stray dogs settled, explain that they may have puppies that they will guard from everyone, so it is better to bypass this place. Teach him to be sure to ask permission before entering the yard where the dog barks. Tell us how not to behave with an unfamiliar dog. wave your arms, shout, run away from it. On the contrary, you need to behave calmly, confidently, not provoke the dog.
If the psychological trauma from fear was deep, and despite all your efforts, the child continues to panic at the sight of a dog, give him positive examples of friendship between a dog and a person. Tell us about rescue dogs, sniffer dogs, doctor dogs, dogs who saved people during the war, dogs who adopted other animals. weak and defenseless. Pick up movies and cartoons with good stories, where one of the main characters is a dog. smart, loyal, noble and kind.
An older child can be taken as a spectator to the training area where the dogs are trained. It is desirable that this be an obedience or agility activity. a fun and spectacular event will distract the child from unpleasant memories.
It is not recommended to take the child with you to training and competitions in protective and guard duty. any reminder of dog aggression will only aggravate the situation.
If you feel that the process of repressing fear has moved on, you can try to establish contact between the child and some familiar dog, it is desirable that it is not very large, balanced (constantly jumping choleric will not work) and, of course, friendly.
Ask her owners for permission to approach the dog with the child and pet her. Start yourself. talk to the dog, pet it, then offer to do the same to the child. Watch the dog’s reaction carefully. if she gets tired of your child’s attention, she can either leave or unambiguously demonstrate her unwillingness to communicate: bared her teeth, growl. In no case do not allow such a situation! Finish communication when the dog still wants to communicate and reaches out to the child itself.
Repeat from time to time such “sessions” of canistherapy, attracting more and more new dogs for communication. If you put in some effort and patience, your child’s fear of dogs will sooner or later disappear.
What to do if your child is afraid of dogs?
Many parents do not know what to do in a situation when a child is terrified of dogs. Seeing on the street even the most good-natured and little dog, he immediately runs to his mother, starts screaming and crying, and as soon as the dog comes closer and even more so tries to smell, a real hysteria begins, tears flow in a stream, the child is shaking everything. Such attacks are characteristic of phobias. In this case, this is a strong fear of dogs, and it is important for her what size the dog is and its appearance, the child is equally frightened of both a huge wolfhound and a friendly pug. It is important for him that this is a dog, the object of his phobia.
Often, such cases are explained by the fact that dogs bite children, then the fear is fully justified and has a basis, but it happens that children are simply afraid for no obvious reason. And this applies not only to dogs, such fears can cause various reasons, and these reasons can be many animals: cats, pigeons, and even chickens.
Perhaps the child was just frightened by a dog once. It happens that the parents did not notice this, or the child was walking with his grandmother or grandfather at that time and they did not give the incident due attention. And it is not even necessary that the animal rushed and barked at it, it can be a yard or neighbor’s dog, who saw the cat behind the child and rushed at it, and the child just got “on the line of fire”. Or he might have seen the dog rush at another child, or even an adult. Perhaps it was not even in reality, but an excerpt from some film or program. I could hear a story about how someone was bitten by dogs, and now he is afraid that he will also be bitten. All this could put a mark on his psyche and make him afraid not of any particular dog, but just dogs.
It is very important to try to find this reason. Try to talk to your child, show him pictures of dogs or photographs, ask if he is afraid of them? And if he is afraid, what exactly is he afraid that they will attack or bite or do something else bad? Further, in the course of questioning, most likely you will be able to understand what exactly became the source of his fear and what actions on the part of the dog he is afraid of. In no case should one resort to violent methods, for example, forcing a crying child to pet a neighbor’s kindest dog. For adults, the neighbor’s dog is good-natured, but for a child, it is enemy number one. And no persuasion will help here. It will only get worse and the child will only grow stronger in his fear.
You need to start with cute toy dogs and pictures. It is necessary to tell the kid that dogs do not immediately become big, at first it is a small helpless puppy, and then he grows up and becomes an adult dog. Support this with video or drawings, preferably in bright and beautiful colors. Tell him that dogs don’t know how to talk, they only bark, and there is no need to be afraid of them, because they themselves are afraid that they will be offended. Therefore, next to the dogs, you do not need to shout, wave your arms, and all the more tries to offend her, wave sticks or throw something at her. Also, you cannot approach the animal when it eats, otherwise, it will think that they want to take away food from it and may be offended and growl from this.
Then you can move on to more active actions and take him to a contact zoo, so that he understands that all animals are not at all aggressive towards him. It is imperative to show the child the kitten or puppy, let him pet it and pick it up. Usually children love baby animals, and who doesn’t love them, because they are so cute. To do this, you can try to ask your acquaintances and their acquaintances if someone has got themselves a puppy or kitten so that they can show him and let him cuddle. If everything went well, you can introduce your child to a larger dog.
You can even go to the dog show and the circus so that the child can see what obedient and kind animals they are, they can not only bark, but also carry out different commands.
Of course, the best result for instilling love in your child instead of being afraid of dogs is to get him a puppy (or look for someone who gives puppies in good hands on message boards, for example on this. adsend.ru), with whom he could play and grow together, while understanding all the nuances of dog behavior and developing a sense of caring for his own pet.
Just do not go too far and convince the child that absolutely all dogs are kind and peaceful. An animal is an animal, no one can know one hundred percent what is in his head. The task is to help the child to stop being afraid, to behave with animals carefully, you cannot shout, touch, and even more so beat. But be sure to explain to your child that you can pet the dog if the owner allows it. And that it is not necessary to carry out any actions with strangers, and even more so, stray dogs without a reason. Explain this by the fact that the dog has its own space, opinion, and it is not a toy, but a living creature that may not want something or it may be unpleasant for it.
If, after all these efforts, the child has not overcome fear, and is still afraid of dogs, it is necessary to seek help from a child psychologist.
What to do if your child is afraid of dogs?
If a child is afraid of dogs, it can be temporary or it can develop into a real phobia, so you need to figure out how to help your child overcome the fear.
Usually, children start to be afraid of animals between the ages of 3 and 6. Even if the animal did not attack, bite or scratch the child, persistent fear can arise due to a sharp loud sound emitted by the animal, due to its sudden appearance and rapid movement towards, even due to the appearance of the animal.
Then, this fear manifests itself in hysterics at the sight of an animal on the street or in a zoo, at the sight of images of an animal in pictures or on TV, as well as in refusal to play with toys that resemble this animal. Subsequently, fear threatens to develop into a phobia and significantly ruin life, if the animal that frightened your baby is not at all exotic, but, for example, a cat or a dog. In this case, it will be better if this fear is dispelled in time.
Where does the fear come from??
What if your child is afraid of dogs? American psychologists believe that children are not afraid of anything from birth and learn to be afraid by imitating the behavior of adults. According to statistics, only 2% of children really have reason to be afraid of dogs, because they were attacked. So analyze yourself. Perhaps you yourself flinch at the sight of the dog. Perhaps you screamed very loudly when your child approached the dog on the street, or you, as a joke, promised to give the child over to that big stray dog for disobedience and immediately forgot, but the child did not forget. Your child may have seen a movie with dogs that was not suitable for their age on TV.
How to dispel fear?
Nevertheless, if you already have fear, you can not try to explain in words to your child that you should not be afraid of dogs. You need to react calmly to tantrums about this fear, in no case shout at the child that he is a stupid coward. You need to hug the child, make it clear that everything is in order, try to distract from what happened. You should not shake your fist in the direction of a peacefully passing dog, throw sticks at it or shout at it. Your child will see that you are able to protect him, but this does not relieve him of fear.
How can you help your child overcome fear? Usually, if the child has not been attacked by animals, the fear will go away by itself by the age of 9. If you do not want or do not consider it necessary to wait that long, you can take the following measures:
Go to the big bird market. Walk with the child along all the rows, look at the birds, at the fish, at the rabbits and, as it were, by the way, at the puppies. Little animals are very cute and will surely evoke positive emotions in your child and help overcome unfounded fears.
Watch a good cartoon about a dog with your child. Better is the one that you have already seen yourself, for example, the Soviet one. Good cartoons in this regard: “Kitten named Woof”, “Prostokvashino”, and so on. Discuss cartoons with your child, ask in detail about the characters of the cartoon, both about dogs and about the rest.
Try not to focus on your child’s fear yourself. Do not force him to stroke even the kindest, cutest and fluffiest puppies if the child is totally against it. Remember that a mentally healthy person should be afraid in some situations. Do not go too far in overcoming fears, and then your child will never run to pet an aggressive fighting dog without a muzzle.
What to do if your child is afraid of dogs?
Our kids are very vulnerable and careful little people. That is why, once frightened by a dog, whether it overtook them by surprise, or amazed them with its size or sonorous barking, they sometimes carry with them these childhood fears through life, not succumbing to any persuasion and belief that “man is a dog. friend”.
Such fears can sometimes develop into real tantrums with tears and lamentations, which adversely affects the young unstable psyche of the child. In addition, these childhood fears, if not overcome in time, can contribute to a certain slowdown in the development of our children.
To prevent this from happening, you should pay attention to the problem in a timely manner and help your child cope with his phobia.
Where do these fears “grow legs”?
In order to cope with the problem that has arisen, you must first understand where such fears originate, and what they are, in essence, motivated by. It should be noted that most of these fears are associated with the age characteristics of babies and over time can disappear without a trace by themselves, as they appeared. However, you shouldn’t sit idly by. After all, it is still very difficult for our little man to figure everything out on his own.
It may not be the dog itself that scares the baby. but how loudly she barks. Children aged 1 to 3 years generally tend to be frightened of various harsh sounds. If this is so, then you should not tell your baby about what kind of dogs are kind and complaisant animals, but simply accustom him gradually to harsh, loud sounds, and a favorable attitude towards “our smaller brothers” will be restored by itself.
But it is also possible that the baby is afraid of “four-legged friends” for a reason. Remember if you told him that you should not approach the dogs. they will bite. Or maybe you yourself are not alien to these fears and strain when a large dog is moving in your direction. Children are extremely sensitive. Perhaps the baby felt your alertness, and it was transmitted to him.
We teach the child to harsh sounds
Teaching your baby to loud, sudden sounds should take place in three stages. So:
- First, in order for the baby to stop flinching when he hears a dog barking or a sharp bang, you should teach him to make loud sounds. The basic rule that you should adhere to is that the increase in volume should be smooth and on the personal initiative of your child. You can, for example, go somewhere in the woods and arrange a competition there, who will outshout whom. And let your child win this competition.
- Secondly, simulating sounds found in nature can help. Train your child to distinguish between what is quiet and what is loud. Help him figure out that the mouse squeaks quietly: “pee-pee-pee”, and the cock shouts loudly: “ku-ka-re-ku. “. How an affectionate kitten meows, and how a cow mooes.
- Thirdly, so that the baby ceases to be afraid of the dog barking, read good books about dogs with him or watch cartoons with the participation of four-legged friends. For example, “Sharik visiting Barbos” or “Kitten named Woof”.
What if the baby is afraid not only of the dog’s barking, but also of the animals themselves?
To acquaint your child with the world of animals should be progressive. For a start, try to bring your child to visit people who have a kind, docile. kitty. Cats are certainly not dogs. but they also have hair, claws, sharp teeth. Watch movies with a baby in which cats and dogs are positive characters.
Your main goal is to fix the chain of cause and effect in the child’s mind: cats are kind and good, and dogs are like cats. it means that they are also kind and quite safe. Try to draw pets together, children’s drawings can tell a lot about the inner state of the crumbs and point you to the reasons for his fears.
Tell your little one that the dogs understand commands. Let him try to tell the dog to give his paw or lie down. This will instill in the child the knowledge that he can independently control the situation.
In conclusion, I would like to remind you of the precautions. Explain to your child that petting dogs can only be done with the permission of their owners. At the same time, in no case should you offend the dogs, pull the tail, shout loudly.