How To Get Someone Fearful Of Dogs To be Comfortable Around Them?

Posted by Sarah Clark on

How To Get Someone Fearful Of Dogs To be Comfortable Around Them?

We all love our dogs and love to spend time with them. We have no issues or worries around our dogs and for us hey are a part of the family. However you may have a friend or family member that is not too comfortable around your best friend.

So what do you do?

They may come around often to the house and be uneasy or may even have stopped coming due to the dog.

There are a number of ways you can help them get over their nervousness and fear.

The first thing is to understand why they have a fear of dogs? What triggered this to happen? It may have been a previous negative experience with a dog, such as an aggressive dog scarring them in childhood or being bitten. Or other people may have taught them, such as a family member, that dogs are dangerous or told them negative stories about dogs.

If you try and understand them then it can be easier to help them overcome the fear. If there are deep issues that are beyond your help then they need to see a professional for help. However if there is something minor and they are willing to overcome their fear and be more comfortable around your dog there are some tips that can help:

  • Let them approach the dog calmly, not showing fear or excitement. Have them relaxed and introduce your dog while they are in that state. This will ensure the dog greets them in a calm manner as well. They will need an easy first encounter and not have the dog jump on them out of excitement the first time!
  • Respect their space and move the dog back if they get too uncomfortable. It may be good for them to just start being in the same room at a safe distance before moving closer. The dog can stay close to you while they get adjusted to the situation.
  • When they greet the dog, they should be at the same level of the dog. So can kneel down and approach from the side. Do not let them greet them face on, rather side is best and less confrontational and not in the dog’s personal space.
  • They should also avoid direct eye contact, as dogs can perceive it as a threat. You want the first encounter with them to be positive and calm. So avoid anything that can set the dog off.
  • It might be good if they offer the dog a treat to build a bond. If a dog takes a treat from them then it is likely to become friendlier to them and in turn relax them. They will realize how cute, friendly and intelligent dogs are and think what all the fuss was about!
  • Let them both spend some time together once both parties are a bit more relaxed in each other’s company. This will vanish away all their irrational fears they had in the past. Once they bond and play together a bit they will realize there was nothing to be afraid of.
  • Once they are friends let them even go for a walk together. A perfect way to get to know your dog. After this they should not have any issues. Maybe take them along with you for a walk first before they attempt it alone.

These are just some tips to get friendly around dogs for those who are hesitant for what ever reason. It takes time and is not an over night process. But it can be very rewarding.

Do you have any stories or advice to share?

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