If you’re someone who would love to fill your home with the sound of a pet (or your kids would love a pet!), having a phobia that holds you back can be devastating. The thought of bringing a dog or cat into your home can make your heart pound and cover you in sweat!
And while it’s not a phobia people really talk about, thousands of people struggle with it. So if you’re determined to add a family member of the furry kind, we’ve got some tips down below for you.
Figure Out Where it Comes From
Is there a reason you’re afraid of certain pet animals? When it comes to dogs it’s because many people have required a dog bite lawyer in the past, and bad experiences with cats can happen fairly often too. But fear surrounding animals like turtles or snakes, as well as hamsters or chinchillas, can be a lot more varied. Work out what made you think and feel this way about a certain animal; is there an incident that occurred when you were young, or is it more of a general distrust?
Reward Yourself for Small Victories
Small victories, such as looking at adoption websites to walking through a pet store to even petting a friend or neighbor’s pet, are all activities you should reward yourself for. Get yourself a little treat every time you accomplish something to do with the pet you’re afraid of and your brain might just start associating them with good things. It’ll take a while to reverse this negative neural pathway, but you can make it much brighter to walk by simply telling yourself ‘good job’ here and there.
Talk to a Therapist
If your phobia is serious, talk to a professional about it. Someone who will be able to target where the fear comes from, and offer up some coping mechanisms for it when the fear flares. And if you can get into a safe space to talk about your fears, you’ll be able to let out a lot of emotion you might not even know you’re holding. When that tension dissipates, a lot of the problem can disappear with it.
Remember, Pets Can Be Trained
Fear is often about a lack of control. If you bring a pet into your home, you can make it a much safer place through training. Dogs especially will react to this, but even cats, rabbits, and birds will be impacted by a good training regime too. If you get the animal when they’re young, this will be easier, but even older pets can be taught new tricks, no matter what the proverbs tell you! So look up some tips and practice them on a friend’s animal – you’ll soon be able to see just how effective some good training can be!
Being nervous around animals isn’t uncommon, but it can be a hindrance. If you want to bring a pet comfortably into your home, work on the phobia first.