For the Fear of Dogs...? How do you handle people afraid of your dog?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Noms for the- pug...
Barked: Mon Apr 22, '13 10:01am PST 
I have known one person who had a phobia of dogs. He was a friend from high school, a big, tall guy. Not the type of person you expected to be afraid of anything. But knowing he was afraid of dogs, he never came over to my house because there were always dogs there. So I’d never really seen his reaction until one day we went to another mutual friend’s house. They had a little white fluffy dog that couldn’t have been more than 10lbs. For some reason, this little dog was only interested in my dog-phobic friend. She sniffed around his feet and jumped and pawed at his ankles, all very playfully. He kept backing up until he was flat against a dresser, then actually climbed on top of the dresser. The dog’s owner wasn’t paying the slightest bit of attention so I tried to distract the pup and coax it over to play with me, but she was fixated on this guy. So finally I just picked the little dog up and held her the rest of the time we were there. My friend came down off the dresser but stayed flat against the wall on the opposite side of the room from me and the pup until we left. He was definitely not the type to be overly dramatic. He was always very quiet and reserved. But he was in full panic because of a tiny little pup.

I think if I ever met someone outside who had a similar reaction, I’d try to be polite. I’d keep my dog under control on the opposite side from them and give them a wide berth if at all possible. But I wouldn’t really do anything else. I found out with my friend that if it’s a true phobia, no amount of logic can override it so it’s best for everyone to just keep going about their business and once the scared person is away from the dog they’ll be able to calm down and sort themselves out.

I also had a friend who had a fish phobia. She freaked out when she saw anything resembling a fish. She came over to my house once before I knew about her phobia, and we have a goldfish pond right beside the porch. I found her paralyzed in the middle of the yard unable to come any closer to the door. So I brought her around the back way. But she never screamed. She just stood still in terror until I rescued her.

I agree that at least some of the people screaming are probably doing it for attention. I can’t imagine that many people are that startled by dogs that they feel the need to shriek like an idiot. At least in my experience, people who are truly afraid don’t usually scream like that.

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Mon Apr 22, '13 1:48pm PST 
Farley has no interest in strangers and doesn't want to meet them anyway, so I just ignore them. laugh out loud

Barked: Mon Apr 22, '13 1:54pm PST 
I do common courtesies like having the dog walk on the opposite side if going next to people or putting my dog on leash when passing others, but I will not go far out of my way for people who fear dogs. I'm willing to work with you, but screaming at me and my dog isn't helping, and I'm not going to give up my fun to cater to your phobia.

I have phobias of my own, but I don't expect others to change their ways to make me feel comfortable.

Not saying that all people who fear dogs are this way, but some of the ones that react with hysterics are just over the top.

The worst was when I was walking Kato ON LEASH at a state park. Dogs everywhere, and this woman in front of me turns and just flips out upon seeing Kato. She jumps off the trail into the brush and just screams and whimpers. She makes a huge scene and everybody behind me was staring. They must've thought my dog did something when in reality, nothing happened. Those hysterics when in such a setting are just over the top. You may be initially surprised at seeing a dog, but good grief, you don't need to continue on with it.

Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Mon Apr 22, '13 4:35pm PST 
I generally try to be as courteous and nice about it as possible. I don't let my dogs go jumping on random people, or waltzing up to them, and I keep them on the opposite side and in a tight heel when passing other people.

I have a tendency to be very respectful of phobias. Many are irrational, many have a reason behind them. Being the owner of a snake, many MANY people avoid my house(or whatever room I keep him in), and they generally respect that I'm responsible enough to have never had an escape, or any issues with him before. I've had him for three years, keep him in my bedroom, and he's never escaped, nor has he ever bitten anyone. He's also fairly small(not that that does much to deter people).

However... I'm with Kato... If it's over the top and freaking out my dog... I'm a little less likely to be polite. I understand wanting to have the dog kept away, maybe a startled scream, and keeping distance... But outright harassing my dog, or outright taunting him despite your fear, is when I generally draw the line. Granted, I'm also very picky about who I allow to interact with my dogs.

Big guy
Barked: Mon Apr 22, '13 6:37pm PST 
Samson is a big dog (80lbs and then some) and part pit bull so I get a strong reaction from people on a regular basis. Usually people cross the street but I have had my share of comments as well. Usually I tell them "yes, you should be careful...he is dangerous and might lick you to death." That generally gets a wary smile. What can you do?

If I am not mistaken, the OP has 2 hounds? You must be really dog phobic to be afraid of hounds, especially since most of them have their noses glued to the ground.

too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Mon Apr 22, '13 7:31pm PST 
Just to clear something up. There is a difference between fear & being phobic. A phobia is defined as an irrational fear, even if there is a precipitating event.
Jake & Sweet- Caroline

Tricolored- Hounds for life!
Barked: Mon Apr 22, '13 11:36pm PST 
Thanks for chiming in everyone.

Yes i do have two hounds. I am used to getting the fear response when i walked my neighbors great dane or my cousins pit bulls. But This was the first time i've ever had people "freak out" on me with Jake or Caroline. And by fear i mean people crossing the street. I've never had anyone scream and jump on a bench before.

My dogs are more interested in sniffing the ground then looking at people. Like i posted before. Jake was across the sidewalk making his way to pee on a bush when that lady jumped up and screamed. Didn't phase him one bit though. Sweetie always walks behind me. It's not really a heel or anything she's just really shy.

I'm just surprised people who are that afraid of dogs would go to a place that people bring their dogs on a regular basis. I pretty much trained jake at this outdoor mall for his Public Access Test.

I didn't really interact with any of these people. I just got that lady jumping on the bench and screaming like Jake was attacking her or something when he was across the sidewalk peeing. I don't think he even made eye contact with her.

Squ'm I know the difference between fears and phobias. only because oddly enough i'm afraid of spiders but i can still deal with them. But i'm plagued with Ichthyophobia or fear of fish. I have this thing about live fish. And the fact that i grew up with Oscar fish didn't help any. Those things terrified me in such a way for no real reason at all. I was just irrationally afraid of those suckers. Koi fish are the same way and even goldfish at fairs. ugh (i just shuttered) I can't deal with a fish unless it's A dead or B a fillet. And stemming off that phobia there's the Thalassophobia (fear of deep ocean water/ dark water). It makes boating exceptionally traumatic. Though I can oddly enough enjoy clear water or tropical water. I've even been snorkeling in clear water and did fine big grin

I don't think any of the people i ran into had a genuine phobia of dogs. I just think jake might have frightened them.

I guess i'm just more surprised a beagle could do that since I usually get the kids and parents pushing their kids towards the "underdog"/ "Droopy" dogs I have.

anyway thanks again for chiming in. Next time i will be more vigilant.

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Mon Apr 22, '13 11:39pm PST 
I have a spider phobialaugh out loudI freeze, I shake, I scratch(as in ripping skin off). I am a grown woman, I know I can squish them, but at that moment I do not understand any of that.
I have no delusions about a spider free planet.laugh out loudBut I have never screamed, leaped up and down, created a massive scene.
Most of the people who behave in such a manner are simply drama queens. A brief scream of surprise I get, but if you act the fool expect to be treated like one.

Barked: Wed Apr 24, '13 3:48pm PST 
It's not your job to rehabilitate dog fears. Calmly go about your business, mind your business and respect the other person's right to be afraid. Keep your dog as far away as possible in respect to that other person's fears. They have rights too
Jake Earned- his wings- 10.02.15

I am Murphy's- Law Embodied! <3- Me!
Barked: Wed Apr 24, '13 5:49pm PST 
Tuck I never said they didn't have rights. I have phobias too but idon't scream and act verbally out everytime I see dark water or dead fish. I was really just wondering what I should do. If you read my post you would see jake wasn't even aware of them and was a distance away. He never touched any of the people i mentioned nor even looked at them. I was also i. A known pet friendly out door mall where dogs are common. And I do mean dogs much larger thn jake and sweetie.

I did just ignore them even the woman that startled me and everyone around us by jumping on a bench and screaming while jake was peeing on a bush a good 4-5 ft from her.

I mean I get fear is a response. I have it to lots of stuff .

Though we won't be going out again for a while since we have rain on the horizon . It's going to be all petsmarts and Zoom Room all week confused
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