Why are people so afraid of Dobermans?

Lose fear of aggressive dogs

Although the dog is considered to be man's best friend, not everyone feels comfortable with their four-legged friends. For some, the discomfort goes so far that they are very afraid of dogs and avoid contact with them.

Find out below where this anxiety disorder known as cynophobia comes from and how you can lose your fear of supposedly aggressive dogs.

Key facts at a glance:

  • The excessive fear of supposedly aggressive dogs is known as cynophobia.
  • The anxiety disorder usually causes lie in childhood.
  • In many cases, the fears were not caused by an actual attack by a dog.
  • Visiting a specialized therapist can help treat cynophobia.

Why dogs react to people with cynophobia

If a person feels fear, this automatically leads to the release of stress hormones. Dogs can perceive this and can therefore practically smell the fear, which in combination with the changed posture of their counterpart can lead to aggression.

This is especially true if the frightened person also stares at the four-legged friend or shows his teeth due to a nervous grin. Because both are perceived by dogs as a threat.

Where does the fear of dogs come from

Fear of dogs often develops in early childhood. One of the reasons for this is that parents tend to transfer their own fears to their children and thus make them insecure.

In many cases the fear is completely unfounded and was not caused by the attack of an actually aggressive dog. But of course it is also possible that those affected have had bad experiences in childhood and have felt threatened, for example, by a dog in the neighborhood.

Reports of biting attacks are also a problem in this context, which can add to the fear of dogs. People who suffer from cynophobia often try to avoid contact with dogs completely in their everyday lives.

In view of the countless four-legged friends who live in German households, this is hardly possible in practice. In addition, this form of withdrawal is not very helpful in order to lose the fear of supposedly aggressive dogs.

Even without fear of dogs, rules apply

Regardless of whether you are afraid of dogs or not, you should follow certain rules, especially when dealing with strange animals. Because this helps to avoid unexpected reactions or even aggression from the four-legged friend.

In the event that you unexpectedly encounter a dog, it is especially important to stay calm. In any case, do not run away so as not to arouse the animal's hunting instinct. Instead, stop and avoid hectic movements and loud screaming.

In addition, you should heed the following rules when dealing with dogs:

  • Do not stroke strangers' dogs without the owner's presence.
  • Do not disturb dogs sleeping or eating.
  • If a dog wants to sniff you, hold out your fist and stay calm.
  • Do not approach dogs from behind or directly from the front, otherwise they may be frightened or feel threatened.
  • Do not harass dogs and always wait until the animal seeks contact by itself.
  • Do not interfere when two dogs are fighting.

Understand dog body language

Aside from the above rules of conduct, it is important to understand dog body language. This helps you to notice threatening gestures and possible aggression in good time.

In addition to growling and barking, bared teeth, bristling fur as well as large ears and a raised tail are among the warning signals a dog uses to show you its display.

Also note that contrary to popular belief, wagging your tail does not necessarily mean joy. Rather, it is merely a sign of arousal, which can also indicate a stressed or aggressive dog.

Lose the fear of dogs

In many cases, the fear of dogs is so deep that those affected cannot get a grip on it on their own and only therapy can help. There are therapists out there who specialize in treating cynophobia who can help you lose your fear of supposedly aggressive dogs.

Such therapy lasts for several weeks, during which the anxiety disorder is addressed and reduced in various stages. This starts with learning dogs' body language using pictures and goes through pure observation from a distance to actual contact with a therapy dog.

How long the therapy ultimately lasts and which steps are necessary depends on the severity of the patient's anxiety disorder.

Lose fear of aggressive dogs - our conclusion

The fear of dogs is usually deeply rooted and in many cases is not limited to actually aggressive animals. For those affected, therapy is often the only way to get their anxiety disorder under control and to lose the fear of supposedly aggressive dogs.