People exhibit cynophobia, or extreme fear of dogs, for 6 of the following reasons:
- Canine Confrontations: Some people may remember their traumatic experience with a particular dog. They may have been chased, attacked, bitten or even scared by a dog barking. These negative experiences can dramatically affect their personal well-being. Consequently, it can take a very long time for someone to forget the pain, and the terror when confronted by a vicious canine.
- Shared Stories: People hear about other individuals bad experiences. The news media has published some horrific stories of children being maimed by dogs. The stories have even suggested that certain breeds of dogs, like pit bulls, are the reason why these tragedies have happened.
- Cultural Differences: In some cultures, dogs live outside of the home, and even in the wilderness. People may not have them as pets, and it may seem strange for them to welcome a dog into their home. As a result, people in these countries frequently see dogs as being dirty, disease-ridden, unfriendly, and something to avoid.
- Lack of Exposure: Having a domesticated animal is not common in all cultures. For example, some immigrants may not come into contact with dogs, at all, or very infrequently. Therefore, to see a dog for the first time, can be difficult. A person who has never been in contact with dogs may experience the fear of the unknown, and may not understand a dog’s true intentions.
- Inappropriate Parenting: Some parents may have told their kids that dogs are scary, and they should be avoided. If children follow their parents’ advice they may assume that all dogs are a threat, and they will go to any length to avoid them. Parents should choose their words carefully, as children can definitely learn the benefits of associating with the majority of dogs who are otherwise friendly and well-behaved.
- Abusive Owners: Unfortunately, there are some dog owners who choose to intentionally mistreat our canine friends. When this happens, dogs can become the victims, and they may reflect the behaviour of their abusive owners. If someone is attacked by an abused dog, it causes a lot of trauma for the person involved.
Do you have a fear of dogs? If you do, then please share your concerns. Remember that other people also share some of your same struggles. This particular fear doesn’t have to control your life. May you be encouraged to start praying about it and talking it over with a trusted friend.
May your perfect love bring healing to anyone who struggles with cynophobia. Give them opportunities to share their grieve and their pain with others. Direct them to those individuals who will know how to listen, be respectful, and be accepting of their traumatic experience. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Amen.