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Overcoming the

Fear of being

Bitten by a Dog

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People who are afraid of dogs are often very afraid. There
is no reasoning with them that the dog is nice or not a
threat, they have no plans to get up close and personal
enough to find out if you are telling the truth.

People usually have such a fear of being bitten because they
have been bitten before. Especially for a child, a dog bite
can be so traumatic that the fear follows the person
throughout their life. However, having a dramatic fear of
dogs can lead to other safety problems as well.

If every time you are around a dog you act in an erratic and
unsure manner you will be sending negative emotions and the
scent of fear to the dog and that could become the exact
reason you are bitten. So, learning about the instincts of
dogs, overcoming your fear and learning how to interact with
dogs safely is your best protection against being bitten.

Many people do not realize that the dogs by which a person
is mostly likely to be bitten are those with which they are
familiar. Whether a family dog or a friend's dog or even a
dog you are familiar with in the neighborhood, statistically
these dogs are the most likely dogs to bite you. So concern
about a dog bite is actually a very logical concern.

But whenever fears can be overcome you are in a better place
emotionally and you will be safer. You can use caution and
wisdom without giving in to fear, which can endanger you.

To start to overcome your fear of dog bites you must first
start by having healthy interactions with dogs. Start out
slowly with a familiar and unaggressive dog. Have the dog's
owner or another unafraid person keep the dog under control.
Start by approaching the dog confidently and offering the
back of your hand for the dog to sniff. This is the best way
for a dog to get accustomed to you so that you can start to
interact with it. The more positive interactions you have
with dogs that don't bite you as a consequence, the more the
fear will start to subside.

As with any fear, the best way to overcome it is to face it
and even submerge yourself in it. Psychologists call that
"immersion therapy." Work on it gradually over time. After
you have had successful "play dates" with familiar dogs, try
approaching a stranger and asking if their dog will bite. If
they say no explain that you are working on getting rid of
your fear of dogs and follow your steps of getting the dog
used to you. As you work through these activities your fear
will be much less and you can interact with dogs with the
confidence you need.

If for some reason these self-help attempts don't work for
you, consult one of the many therapists who specialize in
helping people overcome phobias.

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