What Dog Walkers Can Do About Their Fear of Dogs

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Planning on starting a career as a dog walker? It's easy to see why! Who wouldn't want to work when they want, how often they want, and be able to spend time outside with adorable dogs?

Dog walking can be the ticket to paying the bills in the most puptastic way possible, whether you're looking to experience the advantages of joyful exercise or establish a profitable dog walking business. But what if you have a serious fear of dogs?

You might assume that you can't work as a dog walker if you're afraid of dogs, but there are ways to overcome your anxiety and even grow to adore canines. Here, we'll discuss how you might overcome your aversion to dogs and learn to love them, make friends with them, and even go for walks with them.

Fear of dogs?

Fear of dogs, or cynophobia, is a true disorder that may make even the friendliest dog terrifying. A fear of dogs can cause physical and emotional symptoms like shaking, dizziness, nausea, trouble breathing, a fast heartbeat, sweating, feeling out of control, and wanting to run away or hide.

According to several mental health professionals, either a traumatic event or insufficient exposure to dogs is the root cause of dog phobia. This phobia can strike at any age, and it can even run in families.

What a Dog Walker Does All Day

Being a dog walker requires more than just a kind disposition toward dogs; you must be willing to get your hands dirty. The duties of a dog walker often consist of:

  • Entering a house where a dog lives
  • Meeting a puppy at the door
  • Dog petting and interaction
  • Putting a harness or leash on a dog requires touching it.
  • Dog walking
  • Dog commands
  • Handling a dog that resists walks or commands
  • Taking preventative measures like picking up a dog, picking trash out of its fur, or wiping its paws
  • Helping and reassuring a dog anytime it's needed

If you're too terrified of dogs to get close to them, touching them may feel like an insurmountable effort. Does that imply you can forget about starting a successful dog business? Not at all!

If your cynophobia is so bad that you cannot even be in the same room as a dog, you may benefit from talking to a counselor about the source of your fear and possible solutions. While it is best to consult with a trained expert to overcome your cynophobia, there are self-help techniques you can try if your anxiety is manageable.

In most cases, therapists will address both the patient's emotional state (anxiety) and the underlying cause of their fear (desensitization).

How to Relax and Conquer Your Fears

When you use relaxation techniques on a regular basis, you can learn how to deal with panic attacks when they happen, which can help you stay calm. Some of the most common methods are:

Deep Breathing: Panic attacks can cause dizziness, muscle strain, and an elevated heart rate due to fast chest breathing. By training ourselves to take slow, deep breaths, we can keep our bodies and brains in a state of calm that will help us face our fears.

Muscle Relaxation - Choose a comfortable sitting or lying position, then slowly relax all of your muscles, beginning with your toes and working your way up to your head. It's as easy as telling yourself, "My toes are entirely relaxed, and my ankles are feeling comfortable," until your entire body is at ease. After some preemptive preparation, your body and mind will be able to calm down surprisingly rapidly in the face of terror.

Visualization - Close your eyes and imagine yourself on a beach. Soak in all the sights, smells, and sounds of your surroundings. Try to picture the sand beneath your feet and the breeze against your face. This method helps you get mentally ready for a state of peace.

Get Closer to the Dog Via Desensitization!

The next step, desensitization, is where the rubber meets the road. The only way to overcome a fear of dogs is to expose yourself to them, and you may take things as gently as you need to. Included below are methods for gradually acclimating yourself to canine companions.

Write down anything that makes you scared, from the sight of a dog to the sound of a dog to seeing dogs play and jump to having a dog run up to you. Then, rank them from most frightening to least frightening. With this inventory, you can begin confronting your fears in descending order of severity.

If you're not ready to start really being around dogs, active-imaginal exposure can help you get used to the idea of being around them by having you envision yourself touching and playing with imaginary dogs. Sixty-two percent of cynophobes report feeling better thinking about dogs.

  1. Get some dog books or conduct some online research on dog behavior; the more you know, the less fear you'll have of dogs. Find out the motivation behind your fears, such as a dog jumping up, for example.
  2. Start desensitizing yourself to dogs by spending time with them, either at a friend's house or at a dog park. As you feel panic rising, use your relaxation techniques until you feel more at ease around dogs.
  3. Spend more time in close proximity to a dog, such as a friend's dog, in a safe environment. Take your time drawing nearer to one another. Stop what you're doing and practice your relaxation techniques until you feel calm again if panic attacks start to set in. Try interacting with the dog and seeing what happens.
  4. If you're afraid of dogs and want to grow closer to them, ask a friend or trainer who knows how to handle them to help you out. You can work up to a full-fledged run without experiencing any anxiety if you start with a brisk walk and gradually increase the speed to a jog.
  5. Pet a dog, or at least reach out and pet one. Take it easy and tap them on the head or give them a short pat on the back. Most dogs get very excited when petted, so don't be alarmed if this happens. Continue practicing until you have no qualms about caressing a dog on a regular basis.
  6. Improve your dog interaction skills by going on a dog walk or to dog training with a friend once you feel comfortable being in close proximity to and touching canines. Having fun with as many dogs as possible. Experiment with doggy napping. Spending time with dogs of varying sizes and personalities can help alleviate fears of canines and prepare you for potential encounters.

Always do what seems right for you, and if you ever feel stuck, talk to a therapist. When you've gotten used to being around dogs, you should walk as many as possible. To prepare for a career as a dog walker, you should take a training course, acquire the appropriate commands, and put your knowledge to use on the job.

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