New Member

How to Overcome a Fear of Dogs

[ Edited ]

Ogre landlord seeking help to be less ogre-ly...

When my friends and I started talking about them renting rooms in my house, they didn't have a dog.  Then they were emergency-boarding a puppy, but the puppy's human fell off the face of the Earth.  By the time we decided that they *needed* to move asap, the dog was just there, and now he's, well, here; my friends never asked if it would be a problem to bring him.  I am afraid of anything that moves, though I've gotten better about it, but I'm not comfortable having a dog in my house, and I wasn't planning for one.  By the same token, I may not fully understand the bond, but I *can't* see asking someone to give up a pet without a good reason, and I don't see my fear or discomfort as a good reason.  I have a decent-size backyard, and I lent them money for a shaded pet gazebo, but I feel awful leaving him penned up outside all the time.  None of this is his fault, and he's a puppy--he just wants to eat, love, and play.  Clearly, I'm the one lacking something here.  How do I get comfortable with a non-house-trained 50-lb puppy sharing my house?

Community Manager

Re: Ogre landlord seeking help to be less ogre-ly...

[ Edited ]

Hi kweschenz, and welcome to the community. Hats off to you for taking the first step towards overcoming your cynophobia – we’ll be here with you every step of the way.

It might be best to start with the basics and find out the extent of your fear. There are therapists who specialize in helping their patients overcome their fears. You can check out the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) to search therapists in your area and more specifically, search for one who specializes specific phobias.

We'd like offer some advice/resources on understanding puppy behavior, and some training resources (social situations, etiquette, potty-training.) As well as share some examples of the benefits of the human-animal bond. Once your fear has been overcome, you may find yourself with an unexpected and welcome buddy to exercise with, travel with, or just hang out and watch TV with. 

We are very excited for you! Please come back and keep us posted, and feel free to ask as many questions as you need - we are here for you!


New Contributor

Re: How to Overcome a Fear of Dogs

Thanks for sharing this advice!
Frequent Contributor

Re: How to Overcome a Fear of Dogs

Occasional Contributor

Re: How to Overcome a Fear of Dogs

I'm sorry to hear that you have a problem like this. Perhaps it would be best to go and talk with people who are experts to solve this 'problem'.
Occasional Contributor

Re: How to Overcome a Fear of Dogs

Your home has every right to be run the way YOU want it to be. I LOVE dogs, and the pros far far outweigh the cons, but that is for ME, Not everyone feels the same way.
Dogs drool, dig, shed, bark and sometimes ruin things. They need to be let out at least every 8 hours (much less for a puppy) and need training every day.
For me that is a sacrifice I am (quite!) willing to make as it makes me really happy to do so, but not everyone feels that way. A dog is nothing more than an expensive burden to some people.

Its not fair to push that sacrifice on someone else without at least a conversation about it, but is your roomate aware of your feelings on this or do you feel like you weren't taken into consideration as much? Its hard to tell from the post.

As an example, our house is not set up for kids. We have two reactive dogs and this particular house would not be suitable for them. If I had a roomate that suddenly had a child visitor that'd be just fine, but it would be a major difference between visitor and suddenly becoming a resident. If that situation were to fall it would require a big conversation about who is going to do what to either make the situation work or to change it. You will have to shift and accommodate. Even the best behaved dog is still a dog. As a dog trainer I can tell you that the success of his training depends on everyone in the house being on the same page.

I do not recommend keeping the roomates/dog/situation if he is going to be kept outside all the time. Dogs are very social animals. A lot of issues compound with isolation.

So how DO you get comfortable with a non-house-trained 50 pound puppy in your house?
That all depends on what you are truly comfortable with. I personally wouldn't accept an untrained puppy unless there was a real plan in place to train him and the effort of all people involved. Lay out very clear ground rules and boundaries and stick to them for your own sanity.

If you are dog phobic having boundaries set up will be very important. The dog is not allowed on the furniture (or wherever you don't want him.) Have "dog free" areas of the house. I am nowhere near phobic of dogs but the dogs are not allowed in the kitchen or the bathrooms Smiley Happy (because I don't like hair in my food and I don't want them drinking from the toilet)

My cousin used to be very phobic of dogs at all, but she fell in love with a man who has a Belgian, and they got married. Her phobia sloughed off because she just spent so much time with him (and therefore the dog) that it just became a non issue. I hope the same happens for you. My cousin now loves dogs because of her positive exposure to how wonderful a dog can be Smiley Happy
*Training should be fun for both ends of the leash!*.
New Member

Re: How to Overcome a Fear of Dogs

Offering an answer from my personal experience here. Nowadays I just love dogs. I’m not that type of person that hugs them and rolls on the ground, but I will pet them, play with them and like when they are being affectionate. When I was a kid, however, I was afraid as hell of dogs. I knew, mostly unconsciously, that dogs are smart, but not as smart as a person - This meant that I knew that if it came barking at me and trying to bite me or whatever, I just couldn’t tell it to stop doing so. Dogs (and interesting animals in general) aren’t clean - Sure, you may take him to have baths and have it checked by a vet every once in a while, but they walk about anywhere and won’t care if they step in mud or whatever. They also have the potential to transmit diseases, especially when biting people - Rabies is an example. It didn’t help that when I was about 9 or 10 I was bitten by a dog myself, right in the left cheek of my butt. It kinda was traumatizing for a while, and it only deepened my fear of dogs. Nowdays I can get along just fine with our canine companions, but I’ll still be on guard if there is a big one (specially if it growls, barks or shows intent of attacking me). These are some reasons I used to be afraid of dogs, and may be the reasons other people are as well.

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