Dog Phobia Work
I love being asked to undertake dog phobia work. For me to help a person – however old- to conquer a fear- is a gift. Because it’s not just about that one fear, but about learning how to conquer other fears, build confidence, and learn new skills.
I always explain I am not a qualified “therapist” – and that I do things my own way, at the child’s pace, in a fun and interactive way. Of course my dogs do most of the work.
I have worked with children as young as 7, and adults with learning difficulties. None of the people have ever been bitten. Most have never had a “bad” experience with a dog. Most of the difficulties lie in their ( very fertile) imagination. Most of their fears have been unintentionally reinforced by caring adults trying to keep them safe.
The children have been so scared they do all kinds of scary things such as running into the road, or falling down ditches, to avoid dogs. Scared Scared Scared.
Or they retreat indoors and feel anxious about leaving the house in case they see a dog. Scared to go to parks, scared to ride their bikes. Scared to go to friends houses. Scared Scared Scared.
I use an “approach and retreat” tecnique. Putting the child in control. Going at their pace.
I give them easy to understand information and knowledge.
I give them tecniques to use to change their neural pathways.
I give them ways to control their own thoughts and behaviours.
I give their parents the same tecniques and activities to use to take the work forward (sometimes the parents are actually a bit scared too!)
I do not usually undertake many sessions.
I rarely get asked to go back and do “top ups” so what we do seems to last.
It is a great thing to do and I love it and learn from it every time.