How to get over dog phobia

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

I used to fear dogs

Years ago, when i was seventeen i saw a dog standing in front of the building where my gym lied. I wanted to go home but i couldn't dare to get out of the building not to pass by the dog!

I called one of my friends and asked him to come and pick me up. Thankfully The good friend came, picked me up and i managed to go home that day.

I didn't just used to fear dogs at that time but i used to dread them. I wasn't even able to walk in a street that had a dog even if the dog was stranding meters away.

As i said earlier fears and phobias get developed as a result of a traumatic past experience or as a result of seeing someone going through a traumatic experience.(see What causes fears and phobias)

If a dog ran after you in your childhood then you might develop fear of dogs. If a dog ran after your little sister then you might also start fearing dogs.

When i was 6 years old, where my beliefs about dogs were still not formed, 5 huge guard dogs started running after me. The only thing that stopped those dogs is my mom who started hitting them with her bag until i locked myself up insider her car.

Since that day i used to tell my friends that the dog should be the king of the jungle and not the lion.

How i got over this severe dog phobia (Cynophobia)

For years i used to do nothing but avoid the dogs i see but when i started learning about psychology i came to realize that fears grow when you avoid them so i decided to take the step and approach dogs. (see also How to become fearless in life)

I began by playing with friendly, little dogs who were no bigger than cats. Because phobias stem from your incorrect beliefs you can get over them after you change those beliefs.

The more i accompanied little dogs the more i formed the belief that some dogs are actually friendly.

I never attempted to play with big dogs because i was too afraid to do it but one day i decided i will. I started by touching the dog's Fur while letting a friend hold the dog.

The next time i felt more safe and i got closer to the dog. Each time i became less afraid and more comfortable around dogs until i started considering buying one!

Below are some pictures of me with my new friends:

How to get over any phobia

Here is how you can get over any phobia in the world

  • 1) Stop avoiding your fears: The more you avoid your fears the more they will grow. I used to think that dogs can eat me alive and each day that belief used to become bigger. Thanks to the human imagination which keeps imagining new scenarios until a solid belief tames these wild thoughts (see also Fear of darkness in adults)
  • 2) Its all about changing your beliefs: No am not asking you to repeat affirmations but i am asking you to do actions that can help you change your beliefs about your fears (such as playing with the dogs in my case).

Do both of these actions and you will get over any phobia.
P.s: Don't try this with lions

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