Have You Ever Had A Dog Bite You?
I was only two. In my mind, I vaguely remember being in our livingroom with my mom while she was crying and talking on the phone to the hospital. I remember being in the emergency room. And before all of this, I have a fleeting memory of being out at the barn and our dog. Somehow, our dog thought that I was going to steal his food, though I had been out there numerous times. On this particular occasion, he snapped at me and bit me, just missing my eye.
Even the calmest, most loving dog can get snappy when sat on, stepped on or when they feel fear for themselves or their family. According to the National Association of Letter Carriers, dog attacks rise from February to where they peak in June and in the US, on average 10 letter carriers suffer from dog-related injuries every delivery day.
My experience could have left me scarred in many more ways than just the one that I carry on my face. Today, I am a dog lover. I don’t fear them at all, but I do have a very healthy respect for them.
Cynophobia is an irrational fear of dogs. However, the Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders states that animal phobias are among the most common of the specific phobias and 36% of patients who seek treatment report being afraid of dogs or cats. Although snakes and spiders are more common animal phobias, cynophobia is especially debilitating because of the high prevalence of dogs. What makes this a phobia is that adult patients recognize that their stress and fear is excessive, unreasonable or irrational and for them exposure is most often avoided altogether or is endured with severe dread.
Cynophobia can develop in a number of ways. These may include direct personal experience, observational experience, and informational or instructional experience. Direct personal experience may consists of having a personal negative encounter with a dog such as being bitten. In contrast, seeing a friend attacked by a dog and thus developing a fear of dogs would be observational experience. Informational or instructional experience simply includes being told directly or indirectly that dogs are to be feared…remember Cujo.
Man’s best friend, may not always be our best friend, but a healthy awareness can help to ensure that we and our pet don’t come to any harm. Click to tweet
Keep Your Friends And Family Informed
We must also teach and educate our children how to properly interact with dogs. Education is the key to bite prevention!
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Protecting Yourself And Celebrating Dog Bite Prevention Week:
- The Canadian Safety Council estimates that in 70% of dog bite cases the victim knew the dog, and of that 25% lived in the house with the offending dog. Parents need to teach their children how to interact safely with Fido.
- NEVER disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- NEVER pet a dog, even your own, without letting him see and sniff you first.
- Don’t run past a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch prey.
- If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
- Don’t let your child take mail from the postal worker in the presence of your dog. Your dog’s instinct is to protect the family.
- Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized, receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time frequently turn into biters. Be a responsible pet owner.
- Properly train and socialize your dog, and teach it submissive behaviors like giving up food without growling.
- If you find that your fear of dogs is excessive and you can’t easily avoid them, seek out the help of a professional counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist.
A favourite quote…There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. Bern Williams
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!