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trying to get over fear of dogs

August 17th, 2004, 02:24 AM
ok, so as some of you know, i am afraid of dogs. i always have been. now dont get me wrong, i love dogs to pieces, and any creature basically and have the utmost respect for all animals. and although i get quite worried when meeting dogs both with human and without, i always make an effort and try to calm down, and i often talk to the dog to help me calm down.

so at the farm i am working on now there is a very very big bull mastiff who is two. he is very big, oh so big. i have never met a dog of this size before, and i own a GSD who has some big friends.
so i am pretty intimidated by him. i know he is still a baby and keep telling myself this, but it only helps a litte. i have been ok for the past 3 weeks now, and yesterday he scared me a bit.
he decided he really liked me and would come out in the paddock for a play, apparently he grabs at your boots when your walking (it is a game he plays with his dad). so i said no several times, he eventually got it. anyway i dont want to be scared of him. he is beautiful and would be great fun and it is not fair of me to be scared.
so what i am doing is this- i have decided if i teach him a few things in the paddock, i could perhaps establish my place with him (it is really for me, not him). i started today at lunch by getting him to sit, and then i gave him a crust of bread, we did it a few times and he enjoyed it. what do you think, any other ideas of what i can do to make myself feel better, or at least establish a good relationship with him? thanks for reading, my lovelies :)
PS- at times like these i have the utmost respect for dog rescue and such, what brave ppl

Lucky Rescue
August 17th, 2004, 08:42 AM
Many people are intimidated by very big dogs. I am respectful of them too when I don't know them and as I get older, I get more cautious.

What you're doing is good! I would go further and start teaching him obedience so you DO feel in control and see that this huge dog will obey you and accept your authority and that his size really doesn't matter.:)

Maybe you could throw a ball and play with him too. It's hard to be nervous when you're playing.

You could also go to dog shows where they are a great many large and very well behaved dogs and talk to the owners and maybe pet the dogs.

August 17th, 2004, 08:44 AM
You chose the perfect dog to get over your fear. :) If you can play with a Bully then no other dog should be able to intimidate you. By yourself a couple of melons and treat him once in a while during an activity you can do togeather, he will love you forever. Good luck


August 17th, 2004, 10:47 AM
Hey Mel :D
I think it's great what you are doing!! He won't eat you as long as you have treats HAHAHA!!

Great ideas with some obedience, play and treats :D should be wonderful.

August 17th, 2004, 04:34 PM
thank you lovely ppl. i dont wnat to be scared of him, and i wont let fear win either. i am of to work this morning and have a big piece of bread in my bag for him, i will dish it out during the day. it is mostly scary i think because i am alone, i work outside alone with no one around and he wants company (so he follows the only woman on the farm around :rolleyes: ) today we will work on sit and drop, just the basics (which he does not have much of, he is a farm dog), again thank you

August 17th, 2004, 04:49 PM
Well if you have to pick a breed to learn to get over your fear with Mastiffs are it. They are gentle giants and love to please you I must warn you he will fall in love with you and become your best buddy, you will have a new shadow soon. The breed is great because they learn very quickly which will make you much more comfortable around them. Just a note Mastiffs at least English Mastiffs do love to mouth so if he grabs your wrist he will not bite but tell him no in a stern voice that usually does the trick. My guy will mouth with no teeth involved but that took a bit more training. My boy is 155 pounds and still growing. I also have no fear of big dogs I have more of a fear of small dogs I find them more unpredictable. Good luck and I think you are doing the right things talking to them makes them comfortable as well as yourself. Next thing you will be posting that you are adopting a dog.

August 17th, 2004, 06:37 PM
Hi Melanie! Glad it's working out for you! But I'm a little confused about your fear of big dogs, as you own a GSD, which is a big dog to my standards. Is it different because you got your pooch (Charlie ?) as a puppy and learned to trust each other while he was still small? I'm just curious, as it is interesting to me that someone who is afraid of dogs chose a big breed. Shows a lot of courage! Hope it continues to go well!

Cactus Flower
August 17th, 2004, 06:53 PM
Thanks MoonDarlin, I was going to ask the very same thing. :)

August 17th, 2004, 10:41 PM
I'm curious too! Story up Mel!

August 18th, 2004, 04:33 PM
when i was a child i was attacked several times by poodles, they were small and have left a nice scar on my face. so i was always was scared, but just because im scared of something doesnt mean i dont love it, im not a mean person and find it hard to hate or hold grudges. i have also loved animals and the environment all my life and have always worried about their welfare. i was raised to protect animals, my mother picked up every stray she could find when i was a kid, and my parents have always had a dog and i was ok with them, if i know the dog i am not scared of it (sometimes worried though but not scared) as i feel i have control etc but if i dont know a dog i am pretty scared in a way. but if any dog attacks charlie i can turn that fear into rage in secounds and am happy to protect her, i tell you.
any way, so im ok with the ones i know well, cant deal with poodles of any kind and am in general pretty scared of very big, muscle breeds, esp pig hunting dogs that are on the loose. (we have staffie,and rottie friends and im ok with them).
so charlie- one day i met some junkies at the local library. they told me they had puppies that were GSD. after talking to them for a minute i realised that those poor puppies were in some real trouble, these ppl were of their heads and really crazy. so i said i wanted to see the dogs and went to their place for a look. well the state i found those dogs in, they looked almost dead having been abused in general and fed nothing but weetbix since birth (6 weeks at the time, if you dont know it, it is almost plain wheat biscuits, so the dogs had bad diaorea and very very thin).
they pointed to charlie who was caramel color (the others all traditional GSD colors) and said they were keeping her for that reason and getting rid of rest. well what would you do? i waited till they left the house, went back and grabed her over the fence. there was no way i was leaving this dog to die, i couldnt, surely it was a type of consent to the abuse on my part if i didnt take her, that has to be a true mortal sin if there is such a thing. so she came to me and we have been together for 8 years. all of the other pups including her mother are dead and were within the first year of her life. she is happy, healthy and so in love, i tell ppl we are a classic love story, a girl and her dog.
i have never been scared of her, i taught her everything she knows, dog school etc, and i am very close to her. she would never hurt me, i know that for sure. i did have an idea how big she would be, but that didnt stop me. i have learnty so much in the past 8 years, before her, i would walk a mile to avoid a dog, now i can just cross the street and feel ok, charlie has taught me to, and i have come a long way with this fear since our meeting. i am good with dog fights and socialisation etc sipmly because i have really studied up on dog psychology and behaviour.
so understanding the behaviour sort of deletes the fear as i feel in control and aware. i am more afraid when i am alone without her, if i have her i feel safer as we make a formidable little team and most trouble does not touch us. so it comes down to understanding what the dog is doing, if i can say to myself 'well he is doing that as a sign of play, he likes me' then i feel better. but if i dont know the animal, i dont know their signals etc so that is the scary part i suppose. sadly i can work on it all i want, but it is an ingrained fear so it is only partially shakable.
but it didnt matter if charlie was big, small, purple with dots, we were ment to be it was true fate. and we have had a wonderful life so far, and i will never regret that decision to take her. so there you go, long (sorry) but sweet :D :D

August 18th, 2004, 05:41 PM
Melanie, you've got an amazing heart! I knew it wasn't really a contradiction to be afraid of unknown dogs and yet own a big dog yourself. Just wondering how that came to be. Thanks so much for explaining!

So sorry about those mean poodles :mad:. Casey and I are both shocked! :eek:

How is it going with that other dog? Still progressing?

August 18th, 2004, 06:56 PM
THREE poodles did that? I didn't know that there could be three mean poodles that would attack you in the face. My dog could and would attack - he's a Poodle, but never in the face. In fact, to see if he is really mad or not, I see if he will lick my face, if he won't, then he's so mad he'll bite any second.

Thats amazing what Charlie has done for you. :)

August 18th, 2004, 10:34 PM
Ahhhh Mel! I'll understand if we ever meet and you pick up Charlie. I'm sorry too that happened to you. It probably was even more frightening to you as a child that poodles look like harmless fluffballs that wouldn't hurt anyone. You were probably more shocked than if it had been another breed.

August 19th, 2004, 02:53 AM
i must say that i think charlie is the greatest (im shocked that you think i am biased, she really is :D )
glassy, charlie hates being picked up, she weighs 30kg and i weigh 50kg, she did the maths and is not comfortable with the results, she hates it, i would be a bit scared to, i wouldnt wnat to be droped either :D i wish she was a lap dog at times for that reason.
well i was really doing well with that big bull mastiff, but a psycho woman has now gone and caused a whole lot of trouble for me at work and now the perfect job is falling apart, i am so annoyed with her, but i will rant about that in a new thread, maybe titled 'psycho cows and their single white female obsessions' (a little ticked of so sorry for the agro :mad: ).
thanks all you beautiful normal ppl, i really appreciate you all :D

August 19th, 2004, 05:19 AM
humm.. melanie you were attacked by poodles..i am Truely sorry to hear that...
you say you are trying to get over the fear of big dog's and you just happen to have a "german shepherd" how did you get over the fear of him? i am sure you like all us responsible pet owners do major research into these animals before we adopt them and knew he/she too would become a hugh dog even tho you probably had "charlie" since he was a puppy..
did that fear not come too you then?

i am just trying to understand fear must be the same thing i am feeling..personaly i dont fear any dog's *but "pitbull's" after reading up on what many have to say about them and seeing that "Catus flower" has "ball's of steel" (incident in the park) i now know it's not the animal's but it's the "OWNERS" that encourage these animals to become what they are.. is this what you ment?

PS: i'd like to see pictures of Charlie :cool:

August 19th, 2004, 05:07 PM
hi ironknight. yes poodles, they belonged to my great aunt, they tore a nice hole in the side of my face, and my poor terrified father shot all the dogs that afternoon. it is a foul memory for me, and now i wont let my nephew or neice go near similar small dogs, to risky i think.
well as i said before i saved charlie from some ppl. she was a little girl only 6weeks, i knew she would get big but that was not the issue, dog or human, i would never leave someone in a dagerous situation. i never researched the breed, it was not one of those situations, it was not a choice to get her, it was a moral duty and it happened fast, if i got another dog i would be far more prepared these days. for us gals, it has been one huge learning curve..
charlie and i have been together now for 8 years. i took her through alll levels of dogs school and have trained her myself. we lived alone together for 4 of those 8 yrs often hitchhiking around our lovely australia together and haveing many adventures. i know charlie better than the back of my hand and we are very close. when i got her she was pup, i am not afraid of tiny cuddly puppies you see. she has grown up with me and i with is just not possible for me to fear her, she would never hurt me and loves me to death. i know all her signals, behaviour, have studied up on dog psychology and behaviour.
it is the dogs i dont know that i fear the most, mot having control over them or knowing what they will do next, that is the issue for me. and living in the australian bush, you often meet feral dogs or feral farmers dogs that have no manners and are hard to read and very scary i tell you. that is where my problem lies, not knowing.
and one day i will get you all a pic of charlie, she is a right little hottie, i dont have a scanner or digi cam so i am a little techno defunct at the moment, i will try and get one up soon, i promise i will find someone with these implements. :D

August 19th, 2004, 06:20 PM
thanks for sharing your story! what a nice ohh wait where's my manners? i should of started with "gidday mate" what a nice story ..adventures in the Outbacks..
ah too hot for me you're a "Bushwhacker" how cool is that? :D
now it makes sence "Charlie's a SHE" (nod's to himself in a low tone *yesssssssss they do "DO things backwards Down Under*) LOL
they say "chicks dig's scars" i've got lot's of you're not alone!
we can always compare scar for scar one of these days lol...
anyways i do look forward in seeing "Charlie" i hope when you do can you can also get pictures of her when she was young on your adventures and recent ones.. ohh yeah say hi to Alby mangles for me.. :cool:

August 19th, 2004, 06:38 PM
giday there mate, how funny are you. alby mangles :D :D that made me laugh hard, yeah see the bloke daily so will say hi :p :p him and steve erwin that is.
'chicks dig scars' made me laugh even harder. i know lots of young men who have that very sticker on the back of their utes, oh so funny.
yes charlie is a girl, i tell ppl they named a perfume after her :D :D
but i would not really say we are bushwhackers (never seen one myself), we live in the bush of australia, was born here and will die here, love this land far to cool here, couldnt live anywhere else and aussies are in general a pretty good bunch or larikans.
adventures in the bush, cant think of anything better to do with my life, so much fun to be had is such a short space of time. charlie is good hitchhiker, she is cute, well mannered and surprisingly it is often older ladies that picked us up, they thought we were cute (hubby has banned all such activities and adventures invloving this form of travel, oh he is a bit of a wet blanket sometimes).
hey just saw alby out doing his lawn might just pop over for a cuppa 'alby, oi alby mate' :D :D :D :D