Cynophobia simply means fear of dogs. It is a specific phobia for dogs, which is extremely common especially amongst children. Both kids and grown persons can develop Cynophobia after being harassed or bitten by any animal especially dog, or viewing another individual having awful incident with a dog.
The causes of Cynophobia are:
Mankind is always afraid of different animals due to obvious reasons. However fear of dogs, in particular develops in our mind since early childhood. A big dog can make a major lasting impact on a small child, even if no actual attack occurred.
Since dogs and children are inquisitive by nature any unexpected interaction between them causes anxiety, fear or mutual discomfort of alarming level. Further any incidence of offensive or defensive approach leads to creating a long lasting phobia on the human mind.
Children listen to different experiences of dog attack or dog bite etc from their parents or relatives and develop a certain attitude towards both pet or stray dogs. Such attitude clubbed with perception gets converted into Cynophobia.
Symptoms of Cynophobia:
Symptoms of cynophobia vary from person to person. Commonly observed symptoms are:
- Tendency to avoid dogs of any breed & size.
- Unwillingness to touch or handle a dog.
- You may like to see the pictures or paintings of dogs but always try not to face a live one.
Common reactions observed are running away, freezing in terror, and attempting to hide. One may shake, feel nauseated or disoriented, or even begin to shout loudly.
Cynophobia can be treated like any other phobia of human mind. Since fear or phobia is a psychological phenomenon typical methods of treating Cognitive behavior like ‘Systematic desensitization, flooding & coping skills are adopted.
Such treatments should be taken only from medical/psychological experts as techniques like ‘Active – imaginal exposure’ require careful monitoring in application. The patient may be encouraged to approach & pat a dog or handle a well trained domestic dog to overcome the phobia. Feeding a dog from a distance, learning to understand its body language and close interaction with the animal gradually helps in reducing the fear.
In some cases of severe nature, doctors advise suitable medication. The patient should follow the same as prolonged cynophobia may be harmful particularly if there is a large pet dog population around your home or office. In almost all the cases the treatment of cynophobia gives positive results.