Child with Fear of Dogs
My niece Rea, age 10, is very fearful of dogs. She had a small dog nip her where she was raised in the Philippines and she never got over it.
She's been here about a year and one-half with her mom. We watch your program together, we've been to the animal shelter, we've had an uneven visit with a friend's small dogs. In theory Rea says she's not afraid anymore, but when faced with the reality of even just a friendly sniffing dog, she freezes, yells and generally emits fear for a hundred yards around her.
Rea wants to improve but we don't know how to help her. Do you have any classes for humans at your center or suggestions? We'd be happy to come to your center. By the way, her mom is also a little fearful, although she does not have as obvious a reaction as Rea. Also, Rea and her mom are going back to the Philippines for a visit. Rea will be facing the same dog again and we would like her to have confidence in dealing with the situation. She's a good kid, smart, a good athlete. She's just a little freaked out in this area. Thanks in advance.
Rea, I want you to know that we are supporting your courage! I would recommend that you practice no touch, no talk, and no eye contact when meeting a dog, and to really believe that nothing bad is going to happen. Focus on that belief. Keep it in your mind at all times when you're with the dog.
Let's try this exercise: If you were not afraid, what would you like to do with a dog? If you loved a dog, how would you like to share that love with your dog? If you could take a dog for a walk, where would you take him? And if you were the best dog trainer in the world, what would you teach your dog? Focus on those positive scenarios when you're meeting the dog.
In the meantime, we're going to send you a signed photograph and a t-shirt. I want you to carry them with you every time you're about to share your courage with the canine world.
Be the pack leader, Rea! I know you can do it!
Stay calm and assertive,