I'm looking for some advice, my daughter is 3 and terrified of animals. We often have to cross roads because of dogs and even cats. She freezes up and pulls back behind me if one comes past us or she will run behind me screaming at the top of her lungs. We have no pets so she isn't used to them, we did have a house rabbit who died a couple of days before Christmas 2015 but that was two days after she turned 2 so I don't think she remembers her.
I never had this issue with my son but as our rabbit lived for over 8 years, he'd been around her since he was born. (not daily as she lived at my parent's house but still often enough).
Does anyone have any ideas on what I can do to help her fear? The only person I know with dogs has hyper, jumpy dogs. They are playful but having had a fear of dogs as a child myself I know that as long as they are jumpy/running that being around them will not help the fear.
could you try a pet shop I know pets at home are good for letting the children touch the animals
there is also some good books she might like about animals that she can read and she might not find them quite as scary
I think it is totally rational for her to be terrified of these things which she doesn't have any experience of. To her they are totally unpredictable, they could literally do anything. Unpredictability and the unknown are huge anxiety triggers in human beings.
Perhaps talk to her about how animals communicate how they are feeling, or what they want (by watching a dog on a leash from across the road perhaps, or even on TV/computer). Talk about waggy tails, why dogs sniff everything, what scares dogs, how to tell they are scared. Maybe also talk about what they eat, and how their owners look after them by buying them special food so they aren't hungry when they come for a walk - if she has no experience maybe she thinks they eat children!
Would she be interested in finding out about assistance dogs, such as guide dogs etc. You could perhaps look at some YouTube videos geared around how animals can help people and see if that helps a little. I also think books and pet shops are a good idea as pp's have said.
Any opinions, advice, statements or other information expressed or made available on BabyandBump.Momtastic.com by users or third parties, including but not limited to bloggers, are solely those of the respective user or other third party. They do not reflect the opinions of BabyandBump.Momtastic.com and they have not been reviewed by a physician, psychologist or parenting expert or any member of the BabyandBump.Momtastic.com staff for accuracy, balance or objectivity. Content and other information presented on BabyandBump.Momtastic.com are not a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on BabyandBump.Momtastic.com. BabyandBump.Momtastic.com does not endorse any opinion, advice, statement, product, service or treatment made available on the website. If you think you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.