Fear of Dogs, where does it come from?
Who fears a dog? or a cat? Typically a person who’s had an unpleasant experience with one. But if you look closely and pay attention you’ll see its the adults, not children.
Few if any children are born with fear of an animal, any animal. Children learn fear of an animal from adults, from observation, from their reactions and their comments. Be sure you are mindful of how you speak about animals in front of your children. Teach them to study an animal’s body language and learn how to keep themselves safe, rather than keeping them away.
Teach them to care for animals even if they don’t have pets at home, and if they have pets make them responsible- make them tend to the animals, make them sacrifice for the good of the animal, it builds character. Especially in India where we depend on house help, children that tend to the animals themselves, spend more time outdoors, understanding responsibility and connecting with another life form in a bustling urban environment.
Fears are learned, they are rarely inherent, if your child shows an inclination to work with animals, encourage them, don’t stop them because its an inconvenience to you. Stopping them now, will only make them more determined to work with them later.
Volunteering is a great way for them to learn responsibility. Responsibility to show up, on time, to a task and carry it out to the best of their ability. Volunteering is not a one off weekend, activity when you want to feel good about “contributing”. Make it a habit for your kids. The more time they spend with animals the less they will fear them.