Helping a loved one get over a fear of dogs
While many dogs are lovable, friendly and easy-going, you will sometimes come across a canine who has been poorly trained and as a result is inherently aggressive. Unfortunately, people who haven't had experience with the former kind of dog may fear canines or be uncomfortable around them. This can be frustrating in family settings, when some members would like to bring a canine into the household, and others are too frightened. If this is your situation, you may want to politely encourage your loved one to overcome his fear of dogs, so you and he can both enjoy the benefits of a canine companion.
Figure out the source of the fear
Before you try and introduce your friend or family member to a dog, talk to him about why he fears or dislikes the animals. Perhaps he had a bad experience with a canine who exhibited dog aggression, or maybe he simply hasn't had much experience being around dogs. Understanding the source of the anxiety will help you figure out a good approach to overcoming it.
Finding the right dog for the job
Eventually, when you and your loved one both agree he's ready to spend some time with a canine, you'll want to make sure you find the right dog for the job. Ask friends who have pets, or inquire at local animal shelters, to see if there is any way you can spend time with a canine who is known to have a consistently sweet and mild temperament. It may be best to find an older dog, as she will be less excitable and more relaxed when meeting new people. Smaller dogs may also be preferable, since larger dogs can be intimidating to individuals who are inexperienced with pets.
What activities are best
You'll want to encourage your loved one to participate in activities that are soothing for both him and the canine you choose. Dog grooming is a good start, as many dogs love the feeling of a brush on their fur. Going to a dog park or on a walk can be fun too, but make sure your friend knows the proper way to control a dog on a leash, and understands the ins and outs of exercising with a dog. Training is also a good idea, as teaching a dog a new trick and rewarding her with treats can be a bonding experience for both canine and human.
When it's time to adopt
If you reach a point when you and your loved one are ready to adopt, you should make sure he is 100 percent comfortable with the canine you choose. You may want to consider adopting a young dog in need of a home, as allowing your friend to participate in puppy training is a good way to foster a long relationship that will likely become very meaningful for a first-time pet owner. It's never a good idea to rush into this kind of a decision, so if you don't find a dog quickly, don't settle for one that won't fit in well in your household.