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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Auda abu- Tayi

Barked: Wed Apr 24, '13 7:36pm PST 
Tuck, no one is putting down people with dog phobias but some of these reactions are over the top. Shrieking and climbing on a bench because a dog is peeing and not even looking your way is just stupid. I have to agree that a lot of this is attention seeking drama.

Woo-woo- whineybutt
Barked: Wed Apr 24, '13 9:43pm PST 
My friend's girlfriend loved Arkane when he was 10 lb.. Offered to buy him from me LOL. Now that hes 40lb ? She screams and runs from him and slams the door in his face. She crawls on top of furniture to get away from Nare and makes 'shoo' motions while shrieking, jumping up and down, etc. This makes Nare bark at her.
I don't do anything. They wouldn't care about her if she weren't so dramatic, one time Nare went under the table and licked her feet, she thought it was one of the cats.. She awwww'd and bent down to pick the 'cat' up.. Saw it was Nare and climbed on top of the table.

If I could tell someone was noticeably uneasy (body language wise), I would try to make them comfortable. But screaming, pointing, being stupid, you get no sympathies.

Little Fox
Barked: Wed Apr 24, '13 11:23pm PST 
My mother is actually dog-phobic, due to several bad experiences she had when she was young. She's fine with dogs she knows, but strange dogs make her nervous. If she's out walking and she sees someone with a dog, she'll either cross the street or press herself against a wall until they pass. Heck, I'm terrified of centipedes (found one in my bathroom the other night--ugh!), but I react to them by backing up and wrapping my arms around myself and hyperventilating. No dramatics involved. IMO, people who freak out and shriek and generally make a scene are doing it for just that--to make a scene.

I don't think I've encountered anyone who's afraid of my dogs, but if I did I would keep a respectful distance and hurry past them.

Member Since
Barked: Thu Apr 25, '13 8:52am PST 
There are some people who have phobia of dogs and we can't blame them for that. Whenever I come across a person who has a fear of dogs, then I just try to make my dog ignore that person. If I am walking my dog and we happen to meet a jumpy person when around dogs, then I just walk past him or her. I won't give any attention or any sort of reaction at all. I don't know if it's right but it seems to work for me and my dog.

Barked: Thu Apr 25, '13 12:36pm PST 
Tuck works in a classroom teaching children to read. One of his students had a deeply ingrained fear of dogs. He was a foster, and no one knew why. His foster parents signed him up for the children reading to dogs program.

When Tuck came in the classroom, the boy stood on his desk, screamed and shook like a leaf. At first he read to tuck through a closed door, then a cracked door. By the end of the year, he was reading to Tuck at his side, and petting him.

He saw him a year later, and screamed again as if it were the first time he ever saw the dog. Then he approached and asked if this was Tuck, and I said yes. He approached him and petted him fondly. His foster parents said that Tuck is the only dog he's ever related to, and they were surprised that he still trusted him.

Some people have deep seated fears of dogs, just as some have of snakes and spiders. It's REAL. When it's this real, it's readily apparent, that you are not going to FIX their fear, in a single meeting, in a month of meetings, and this is a lifetime work in progress.

I didnt say anyone was criticizing, I merely stated fixing someone's phobias is NOT your job, and not to be concerned about it. The fact is, you probably can't. So I still maintain, that you calmly go about your business, stay as far away from the fearful person as possible and respect them.

It's all you can do really. If anyone reads any more into this, then you own the problem .. But let's get real... No drama please. People are oversensitive and read more into things than there is.

If a person over reacts.. and yes I've seen it. It's their issues, but please be respectful and keep as low and calm profile as possible. The question asked was, "How do you handle people afraid of your dog" and the answer is pretty simple, really. You don't

Miss- Pig!
Barked: Thu Apr 25, '13 3:03pm PST 
My mum has a genuine fear of loose dogs when out walking. I don't walk with her all that much, but Monday we took a walk together and i experienced first hand just how bad her anxiety is. She said she felt physically ill and that she felt she was going to have a heart attack!

She worries herself senseless that our dogs ( mine & my sister's ) are going to be attacked by other dogs. She's also scared of Rottweilers, GSD's and other large similar type breeds.

It's incredibly hard to deal with at the time because she does not listen to any reason and can become quite touchy.

I once had a guy stop and call over to me to ask if i could pop Missy on lead while he passed because he was scared of terriers!

Edited by author Thu Apr 25, '13 3:06pm PST

Aina- Aloysius de- LeMaitre

work hard, play- hard
Barked: Fri Apr 26, '13 9:51am PST 
How does a two legger handle other people's fears? Take the cue from the four legger, who rises above the negative and is the absolute role model of calm, composure, and self- assuredness.

When people see me coming, they scurry their toddlers away, the young lift their small children, the aged and uninformed lift their barking small dogs, teenage girls cultivate their neediness by squealing, most people cross the street. The most important thing for my person is to be steady and compassionate rather than chuckle. We break down barriers and stereotypes with each positive interaction. If we can leave an interaction with others being happier or more at peace, then we have fulfilled our purpose for today.

Barked: Fri Apr 26, '13 10:04am PST 
I'm afraid of loose dogs. I train Search and Rescue dogs. This means we must train in public areas. You simply cannot get the variety of training needed to proof your dog at home. Because every situation is different, training must be done in every situation and condition that you can imagine. That means putting yourself out there.

My breed of dog has erect ears. He has a stiff erect tail, He naturally has a short compact body type, with long legs and an up on the toes appearance. He has a naturally erect high head carriage, and the rough on his neck gives it an arched appearance.

To those of you who read dog body language, everything about his natural appearance . He has a brisley coat that stands up (as if he has his hackles up.. but he doesn't) (he's like this in a relaxed happy state) would trigger flags that this dog is sending signals to challenge other dogs.

As soon as other dogs look at him, they tend to pick him out of a crowd of dogs and want to adjust his attitude.

He doesn't have an attitude. He does not want fights, he NEVER fights back. But he's a fight magnet. First thing any so- prone dog wants to do is rip his face off.

When out training, off leash dogs always rush him. I see a loose dog... and I know there is trouble. I'm going to be meeting this loose dog, hopefully on my terms, but probably not.
He's the single dog ever dog in any crowd will pick out to have a fight with .

My boy has been ripped up 5 times from loose dogs. Of all the many breeds out there.......... they have all been pit bulls. Smaller dogs have attacked him, and one time there was search, and the problem dog was a westie/shihtzu mix that hung from his face while he continued to work the search. We'd remove the little dog dangling from his face, and as soon as we put the dog down, the little dog rushed back and re-attached himself. Finally the officer accompanying me, carried the dog for the remainder of the search. It turned out this dog was the missing little girl's dog, and the reason she ran off. She wanted to capture her dog that ran away. (We knew nothing about this dog being related to the search until after the little girl was found)

The nice thing about LITTLE attacking dogs is they do no damage.

I really don't care if I "offend" someone, so feel free to delete - tired of "I am offended" people. It would be nice if the safety of our dogs were all that we need to be concerned about - but violence has become a way of life in all too many parts of the country. This week a SEARCH dog was killed by two pit bulls that got into this search dogs fenced yard, and dug under the kennel attacking the dog. After a week of nursing they finally put the search dog down and ended it's suffering. You need only look at any news report to see that people are attacking people even more often than dogs attacking dogs. It is pretty easy to recognize that if a social misfit wants a big tough dog, he isn't going to have a sheltie, and his weapon of choice isn't going to be a pea shooter.

YES, I'm terrified of pitbulls. Not because they are pit bulls, but because they attract really terrible owners in numbers enough that of all the breed encounters out there, it's the pitbull that has repeatedly hospitalized mine, and many other search dogs.

Owners who let their dogs run in packs, owners that let their dogs run loose unattended, owners who know their dogs can be dangerous. Is it the breed? NO.. It's just the breed that seems to attract the worst of the worst owners.

Of the dogs that attack my dog while training, it's the breed that is most likely to hurt my dog. I'm not concerned about the chihuahas that are probably even more likely to attack. At least they are unlikely to do any harm.

But when I see ANY off leash dog, I have the pepper spray in my hand (knowing that my boy is also likely to get caught up in the pepper spray and will also need medical attention, but at least it's not stitches) and I check the position of my gun, in case the pepper spray doesnt work.

My boy does NOT fight back, which allowed other dog removal in as safe manner as possible for HIM. And frankly.. if YOUR offleash (on on leash for that matter) dog is attacking MY on-leash/non-combatant dog.... I really don't care what happens to the attacking dog. If you assault me for the results of what happens, I'm prepared to handle you too.

YES, I'm terrified of off leash dogs. Experience has taught me this. I'm most terrified of a breed most prone to breed profiling, simply because experience has proven these fears are justified. Politically correct.. or not.

Your on leash well mannered dogs regardless of the breed does not bother me either. But I ask, please dont allow them too close to my dog.

I feel anyone who needs space from a dog on leash or even a service dog, should be given that space. Although service dogs are permitted access into public restaurants and communal areas, there is a clause that if they cause a disturbance, they can be asked to leave. and a panicking client is a good reason. Your dog didn't have to do anything. But if the dog's presence is causing a panic.. this does not give your service dog immunity. This is why certifications also cover insurance. Even if a dog does nothing, if your dog causes mental duress and panic and fear of another, you CAN be sued. This is why there is insurance coverage that comes with your certifications.

If my dog were evoking a panic, I would move out of the area (even though I had the right to be there) or in my case, if involved with a search, I would send my accompanying officer over to put space, guarantee protection for them, and offer comfort until my dog moves out of the area.

In the case of service dogs, you do not have the right to be there at the expense of inducing a panic.

/end rant
Jake Earned- his wings- 10.02.15

I am Murphy's- Law Embodied! <3- Me!
Barked: Fri Apr 26, '13 10:50am PST 
Tuck, I was all for what you said in your prior post today.

I did leave those peopel alone. And id idn't have any type of negative interaction with any of them. As was stated in teh original and follow up post. and stated here again.

No negative interaction took place between my persons and those people i ran into.

My dogs didn't do anything wrong. They were minding their own business and so was i.

Your example of a small child screaming is all possible since small children don't have impulse control. Screaming and running in fear is a typical reaction of a frightented child. That was a fear response probably not a phobia. If he eventually got near your dog it was fear.

Phobias tend to be incurable. Even now at 22 almost 23 I can't handling being near a dead fish with its headon. When i travel to asian markets to buy food I stear far and clear from the head on fish. Ugh.... (shuttering) and i've had aquiariums growing up. Fish are cool as long as they're alive. Once one died. the fish take was off boundries for me until the dead fish was removed. This went so far as me not going into the kitchen for 2 days waiting for someone else to come home to remove one of my dead oscars. I coudln't even feed them becasue i was so frightened of the dead fish in teh tank. Yes it's irrational but it's just a way of life.

Fears can be overcome. I had a fear of spiders. My parents bought me a taranchila. And i had to take care of it. Harry was my friend until he died and since then i've learned spiders aren't so bad and i can even live with daddy long legs in my house now or doorways. When i was a child if i saw a spider in the doorway i'd be out in the driveway until it was removed. But i got over that fear.

As for the rant. Jake worked as a service dog for several months before poor eyesight caused me to decide to retire him. I'm on a waiting list for a program dog now. But we went out everywhere. resturants, stores, indoor and outdoor malls. I never ran into anyone like the 3 people i ran into at this mall. And we went everwhere. I did have some peopple voice they were frightened of jake. As in they told me. "Do you mind holding him closer?" and i woudl so so they coudl pass. I've even had people cross the street while i walked my cousins pitbull Kane or my neighbors Dane and Coonhound Mix Etta (Jake's GF). People go up on driveways or into the street to escape. When i see then i pull them aside and allow others to pass.

I have no issue with people who are afraid and i already said that before. I was just surprised i had people. Grown people not teenagers screaming and jumping on benches or pushing themselves up against walls when they aren't even within 3-4 ft of my dogs or the dog isn't looking at them.

Only that one woman made a scene and she may have been genuinely frightened. But like i said i didn't get why. Jake didn't look at her or anything. he was peeing on a bush several feet away minding his own business. All she did was make a huge scene that startled people around us. I wasn't even aware she was across the way until she screamed since i'm just out ofr a walk.

If you're going to go to a known Dog Friendly location and shop. You should probably be aware there may be dogs there. My dogs weren't being unrule that woman was. I'm pretty sure had security been called for some reason. They probably woudl have told her to chill out. My dogs are model citizens. Well Jake is. Sweetie is old and tends to just hide behind me. I'm sure if i wanted she coudl get her CGCs also. But i dont' really see the need since they stay at home most days sincei usually dont' want to make that long drive to the outdoor mall so we can walk together.

and as for what happened to Tuck. I'm sorry he was attacked by so many dogs and i commend him for working through that little dog anchored to his face. i find it commendable. Jake has also been attacked by many dogs several of them large spitz type dogs. Thankfully that didn't make me afraid of those dogs. I've also been lucky enough that though the event was tramatic that Jake was never seriously wounded. And he still greeted all dogs he met spitz or not with a waggy tail and excitment. Had he had fear or agression issues he would have been washed from service right away.

Edited by author Fri Apr 26, '13 10:51am PST


Barked: Fri Apr 26, '13 11:05am PST 
I have a brother-in-law 50ish, used to be a police officer. He sees my sister-in-laws pomeranian, and threatens to step on him (really cute and special dog)
I wish he didn't attend family gatherings at her house because he comes knowing the dog LIVES there.

One day we had a family gathering, and they asked me to bring my dog in the house. As soon as I did, this big bad police officer ran screaming out of the house and shaking in fear .. it was real. I was shocked that a big bad ass man was such a wimp.

I put my dog back out in the truck.

But I dont respect him, and I don't like him, especially since he's always threatening my sister-in-laws wonderful little dog.

I would never invite him in my house and would hope he would never come, and I assure you, I will never step a foot in his house, dog or no dog.

I get the last laugh though, every time I see him, images flash through my mind of him standing out in the snow in shirtsleeves shaking and screaming like a two year old wuss.
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