Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Cynophobia: Why Are So Many People Scared of Dogs?

You’ve probably heard the phrase, a dog is a man’s best friend. And while many of us firmly believe that canines are a gift and a cherished member of our families, others take a less passionate and emotional approach.

 
A phobia of dogs - or Cynophobia - impacts a higher percentage of the population than you might think, with the majority of sufferers being children. While it’s incredibly common for some people to feel a little uneasy around dogs they don’t know or worry that they might get bitten, a genuine phobia of dogs can lead to uncomfortable scenarios and directly interfere with the sufferers’ daily life.
 
A bad experience
One of the most common reasons behind a phobia of dogs is a previously bad experience. Perhaps you were a child and a family dog snapped at you, or you’ve recently been in contact with a dog and found yourself bitten - speak to a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible if you’ve been attacked by a dog. Maybe you previously loved dogs, but found yourself chased and attacked whilst out jogging or walking with your children? A sudden, painful and negative canine experience can easily bring on feelings of terror around dogs in the future.
 
Family history
If you're a parent you're probably conscious of passing on bad habits and other personality traits to your children. However, did you know that phobias can also be passed on? If your mother or another close relative has a deep irrational fear of dogs, then it can become a learned behavior and you can also develop a fear of dogs.
 
Your own personal disposition
If you’re a highly sensitive person, or you have a nervous disposition and your personality is reserved and cautious, then it could have a strong influence over your fears and phobias. Perhaps you're worried about getting hurt or bitten, despite the fact nothing bad has ever occurred. These simple concerns can evolve and manifest over time into irrational phobias, impacting your daily life.
 
Knowledge
They say that knowledge is power, but it can also be detrimental. It’s not uncommon for cynophobia to develop after the sufferer has listened to, read or watched negative information about dogs. Reading up about dog bite statistics, a documentary about dog attacks, a local person being attacked, family dogs suddenly attacking young children, or your neighbor talking passively about an aggressive dog they once owned... The more you’re exposed to negative information about something, the more likely it is you will develop a phobia.
 
What can be done about it?
The treatment around cynophobia depends entirely on the severity of your phobia and how it is impacting your quality of life. Often, gradual and controlled exposure to a phobia can help alleviate the symptoms. As can relaxation techniques such as breathing and mediation.
In cases where your life is being impacted by your phobia, reaching out to your doctor is also recommended.

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