August 26, 2008

  • The Fear of Dogs

    My wife is afraid of stray dogs.  Almost every night when we go out for our nightly walk, we see a stray dog and she freezes up no matter what the size of the dog.  (I try to point out to her that the dogs always leave me alone and go straight for her because they sense her fear).

    The other morning, a stray dog was outside when it was time for our son to go to school.  He has to stand at the bus stop alone.  There was a dog walking around the outside of our house.

    I did not want our second son to pick up his mother’s fear of dogs so I wanted him to walk to the bus stop alone with me watching at a distance.  I told him if he doesn’t freeze up the dog might sniff him but would probably leave him alone.

    My wife insisted on driving him to the bus stop and staying with him until the bus picked him up.  (My wife wants you to know that the dog was barking too).

    Is the fear of a stray dog a rational fear?

Comments (136)

  • i’m DEATHLY afraid of dogs…

    so i think so

  • Fears are never rational.

  • Yes. You have no idea the dog’s temperament.
    This is true about any dog, but since it is a stray, it is not restrained by a leash or chain.

    Use caution! Learn to read dog body language so you know if it is friendly or not! It’s good not to teach your child to fear the unknown like that, but teach him caution and common sense.

  • @aznhellaangel - agreed. never. rational.

    so then…what happened to your son?

  • Depends if the dog is foaming at the mouth.

  • She probably had an unpleasant encounter with a stray dog at one point, right? So it’s not irrational to her. You do have to be careful of stray dogs, but generally if you leave them alone, they leave you alone.

  • fears are meant to be irrational, i think.

  • I don’t think it’s irrational – you don’t know anything about the dog, it could be ill-tempered or just plain ill, and it isn’t retrained by anything. I would definitely keep my distance.

  • If we put an AK-47 into the hands of every man, woman, and child; not only would gun violence come to an end, but stray dog attacks would come to an end.

    Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. But guns do kill puppies. =D

  • Probably not in the United States. A solitary, half-starved stray dog poses little threat (well, assuming it’s not too big). I think other parts of the world has problems with stray dogs forming wild packs and hunting collectively.

  • @aznhellaangel - Fears are never rational.

    In the moments leading up to their deaths, the victims of the Virigina Tech Massacre were fucking irrational.

  • It depends on the amount of fear. I’m not going to run in terror, unless I feel threatened in some way, but a stray dog could have any number of diseases. I think it would be in the best interest to stay away from the dog.

    Plus, if a dog that looked that mangy started barking at me, I might feel a little scared,too. I think your wife is right and should stick to that good, ol’ women’s intuition.

  • Hardly.

    Most strays are more scared of humans.  The danger of them being rabid is low, and even then, you can *tell* when a dog is rabid.  The foaming mouth and spinning in circles will give him away.

    Poor dog.  If you can confine him to your yard, and just keep him there until the humane society arrives, they’ll rehabilitate and rehome him.

  • It’s very irrational. I can talk to animals, yesterday I was talking to a group of geese.

    I actually got the entire flock of resting geese to fire off one of those honk roll calls by imitating their sounds.

    They looked at me curiously.

    Then I was thinking about making tracks based entirely of animals in pain or rage. The music could evoke the emotion even if you processed the sounds to the point of where they are unrecognizable.

    I even gave them names. Paincore and Ragecore. It would be  interesting.

    Your wife is silly sometimes. My mother was too.

  • It can be a rational fear.  A stray dog could be dangerous. It sounds like your wife, however; may have taken a rational fear too far.  It is one thing to be afraid it is another thing entirely to alter your lifestyle to avoid being exposed to the thing you fear.

  • Yes. Your wife has cause for alarm. I always bring along with me an umbrella to be used as a weapon against stray dogs. Just point the umbrella at the nose of the dog if it comes near. No matter how frience a dog may be, once its nose is against some pointed thing, it can do nothing. 

  • I am cautious around strays as well. You really never know. I don’t like to see loose dogs in yards either when I am walking. Our neighbor’s son was riding his scooter down the road last week, and the neighbor’s dog got loose, charged him, and bit him. The boy had to have stitches and rabies shots since the dog wasn’t up to date on its shots. 

    So, whether rational or not, I probably would have done as your wife and made safety a priority.

  • Yes, it is irrational.

  • I have two miniature schnauzers, and I walk them twice a day. I have had a few scary experiences with unleashed dogs coming up and trying to jump on my dogs. In most of those cases, if I glare at the dog, looking straight at its eyes and yell in a VERY mean, loud and assertive voice, I can make it run away. I’ve yelled a couple of them straight back to their doorsteps. :) I think if you act really dominant, then you can keep most dogs away from you (especially if you don’t have your own dogs with you), unless they are extremely agressive or protecting their own property.

  • My good friend (very good with animals) just got released from the hospital last night because a stray bit her face off!  Well… tore her lip in two places and made several puntures in her cheek.  Scary…

  • yes. last week, I got bitten by my friend’s dog. it was calm when it saw me and then suddenly it got really agressive.

  • While I’m not exactly afraid of dogs, I think it is very rational to be cautious.  I’m a runner, and having a stray follow at your heels for half a mile, never knowing if it might start snapping, is no fun at all, so I’ve learned to calmly cross the street and do what I can to avoid attracting the dog’s attention… fear is not helpful, but being careful is always a good idea.  As for your son going to the bus stop, I would have walked with him to be an example of not being afraid.

  • I think caution is good. Fear helps nothing. The problem is, whether her fear is rational or not: she has it. Your son can pick up on it quickly. Perhaps talking with her (in private) about your concerns, while acknowledging the need for caution, would be a good thing.  I think if a stray dog was hanging out at the bus stop and barking, I would probably have accompanied my child to the stop, too. You don’t know what an unleashed dog will do.

  • i just wanted to drop in to say hi dan :)

    hope we can talk soon……..have a great day :)

  • Well yeah, you don’t even know that dog. In saying that, I feel the same way about any dog. There’s always the potential for it to harm you, but the bright side is that the vast majority will not. I’m not afraid of dogs but I respect them and won’t go up to them unless I know them or the owner says they’re gentle.

    And I’m not sure why but people are saying no fear is rational? I think you’re thinking of phobias. Some fear is good, it keeps you from doing stupid things.

  • I agree, caution never hurts. Like another commenter said, teach your son to be aware of dogs’ body language.  Watch for the dog to be making a lot of eye contact, especially staring (bad) vs. tail wagging (good).  Watch for the dog to show his teeth.  Also, teach him that if the dog “stands” on his back legs, that is very bad and a sign of aggression.
    After living next door to a very strong, very aggressive Rottweiler for many years as a child and teenager, I learned to read the dog’s mood.  We also learned that when an aggressive dog “stands up” to you, a good move is to put your arms together at the wrists, and raise them to your neck, so that the dog, if it attacks, at least bites your arms, but can’t get at your neck.  Also teach him that if a dog is attacking, kick the dog hard in the soft part of it’s stomach, that always causes the dog to release and back off, if only momentarily.  I saved my aunt’s puppy when he was attacked by a much larger dog and was being torn up by doing this.

  • I think it’s smart to be aware of stray dogs, and to be cautious, but I would hate to go through life being terrified of ever terrier (ha) that crossed my path. There has to be a happy medium. 

  • dogs might have rabies :x

  • I dont know what rational fear means. I know what rational means though.

    Im scared of dogs. I hate them. I wish they go extinct.

  • Yeah.

    I’m not afraid of stray dogs (we’ve had several drop-offs/strays at our house) but I can see how people can be afraid of them.

    And yeah, dogs can smell adrenaline and they’re more likely to attack if you’re pumping it out than if you’re not scared.

    And stray dogs could have diseases, or at the very least worms.  Ick.

  • I only know stray dogs from vacations in other countries. There these kind of dogs were quite afraid of people.

    I can understand the fear of dogs, barking or not.

  • Absolutely.  I hate dogs, especially big ones.

  • I would say that your wife is trying very hard to make your son the laughing stock of his school and to scar him for life.

  • Yes.  I’m typically afraid of stray dogs unless someone else is around me.

  • Jeez, you have a lot of dog haters hanging around your site Dan.

    Also, all of this talk of rabies is surprising to me because squirrels, raccoons, and even foxes can all have rabies and all of them are common throughout the US so maybe all of these people who are scared that a stray dog might have rabies should lock themselves into a room and never leave because you never know when you might encounter an animal infected with rabies.

  • It depends!!!

    If the dog is growling, barking, in a defensive posture then it certainly is rational. If the dog looks relaxed it’s tail is waging then no.

    But I’m not saying it’s a good idea to aproach and or try to pet the later dog. If you don’t know a dog, if it does not go near you, leave it be.

    I recomend that your wife watch “The dog whisperer” on national geographic chanel Friday nights, and/or read his book “Ceasar’s way”.

    Fear tends to be generated by ignorance, and if she take the oportunity to learn more about dogs, you wife might be less afraid of them. 

  • @oOBuBBLes711Oo - Extinct? Sounds a bit drastic. You’re not a member of PETA are you?!?!?

  • I don’t think it’s rational to be so scared that you freeze up, but I do think it’s rational to at least be cautious, since you don’t know anything about the nature of the dog.

  • well, there’s always that possibility that it’s a vampire

  • most of my pets have been strays. in fact, one of the dogs i have now is one that ran up to me barking and menacing. she is one of the gentlest dogs i have ever been around, our first encounter was at a time when she had been abused and abandoned.(this information given to me by they guy whos yard she was in. his neighbors had abused her then moved out and left her behind.) once fed and cared for, she got that she didnt have to be afraid any more, and she is and extremely friendly and gentle dog. it could be that if your son feeds this dog, it will bond with him. i say go out with him and leave a bowl of food for it every so often, it could make a good pet.

    and yes, it is irrational.

  • Has your wife ever been bitten by a dog or present for an attack?  Or was her mother one of those mothers who teaches their children to be afraid of things unknown?  I would guess she doesn’t know why she is afraid.  See if she could work through her fear by doing something in a controlled environment – like volunteering at an animal shelter a couple of days a month.

    @huginn - @aznhellaangel - Phobias are irrational fears.  Fear is a survival instinct.

  • I’m afraid of dogs, but my fear in rational, because as a child I was bit in the face by one and my eyebrows didn’t grow in even [now they do because I pluck them].

  • I would think so because it’s not a….can’t think of the word….anyway, he’s stray, not living with a family. That’s so sad having to see stray dogs. :(

  • @silverspunwebs - I was being sarcastic.

  • Depends on the breed of stray (or different mixes, just by appearance) I would say a fear of dogs can be rational.

    I love dogs, but I’m terrified of Pits and that’s rational because those mofos are bred with an intent to kill. My director is terrified of all dogs because he was bitten when he was younger, but your way of helping teach your son not to show fear is a great one. Another way is to allow contact with owned dogs.

  • Yeah. I’ve always been afraid of big, black, barking dogs. If I try to walk past one, my heart starts pounding, I can’t breath, and I walk away from it very slowly, without turning my back on it.

  • If a person had ever been mauled by a stray dog, I would understand. But if the dog doesn’t look vicious and is just wandering around sniffing, then I don’t think there’s anything to be  afraid of. I mean, I wouldn’t go up to a stary dog and be like “LOOK A PUPPY!” I would still be cautious, but not deathly afraid.

  • fears are not rational.  

  • Okay, hold up  .. YOU MADE HIM WALK ALONE TO THE BUS STOPPPPP?!?! It is okay to fear the dogs to a certain extent but to be prepared is even more important. Just because one doesnt fear an animal does not mean that it isnt dangerous. Sheeez Dan!, I am not afraid of animals(Just Friggin Spiders!!!) BUT I’m not going to send fresh meat out to save question!!!
    Face it, you are scared and you are trying to play it off. Hahaha

  • Caution is rational.  Debilitating fear, not so much.  But I used to be the same.

  • my mom used to go out walking. there were a group of dogs along the route that were not strays exactly, just not attached to a chain or person.  So she carried a spray bottle filled with amonia. it only took one spray for the dogs to leave her alone. just aim for the face and the dogs will go away.

  • depends on if the dog is foaming at the mouth.

  • It’s wise to be cautious around an animal that you don’t know, but I’d say the majority of the time – even in the case of strays – the dog is harmless. Most likely it’d either ignore you completely or demonstrate some innocent curiosity; I think it’s unlikely that the situation would end with your boy being eaten by Cujo. 

  • fears are never rational.  there is nothing rational about my fear of roaches and monkeys and apes.

  • I was attacked by an abused greyhound back as a small toddler, but I don’t really hold anything against the dog and love animals. I’m the one who will want to try and coax the little guys over so I can pet them. I do think it’s important to respect their space, though, and leave the approaching to the animal.

  • Most fears are 100% irrational.  Being cautious is one thing.  Having it ruin your life is something else entirely.

    My dog barks.  A lot.  She is not mean, nor does she bite.  Dogs bark for more than one reason.

    And if you’re afraid of a dog, it knows it.  You have to be the dominate one and show them who’s boss.

  • Just teach your wife to shoot and get her a gun she can tote around with her.  Then, she can simply shoot any mangy mutt she feels threatened by.

  • My legs start to shake as soon as I see a stray dog so I completely understand where’s your wife’s coming from. I also think that the fear is acceptable if it doesn’t entirely dominate one’s life.

  • My parents have three dogs at home, and the most loyal, loving and friendly one was a stray. Just because no one owns it doesn’t mean it’s going to kill you, jeez. Why would a dog have an interest in hurting a person anyway, unless it was threatened? Silly Mrs. Dan.

  • um yeah that sounds a little bit irrational. i think with you watching him wait for the bus stop is perfectly ok. what i cant believe is that your wife is more afraid of a stray dog than of a child preditor. now i would understand her wanting your son to stay in the car with her if there was a man always lingering out there but not a dog especially if the dog is not hurting anyone. if its barking then so what its what dogs do. now does your wife not like dogs at all? is she afraid of them b/c something happend when she was younger? i can see her not liking them but i would hope that she would let your son make his own desicions about dogs.

  • Yes, it can be a rational fear depending on past experiences. People just need to be cautious around stray dogs or any dog for that matter. You’re right though, usually if you go about your business and don’t freeze up, they won’t bother you. 

  • use caution when around animals you don’t know, but the majority of dog bites are the PERSONS FAULT!

    as long as you don’t hurt the animal or lean into it’s personal space (all those people who get bitten in the face are almost always leaned over a dog or in its face. Dogs can not reach a person’s face on their own!)

    Children learn from their parent’s reactions – so your wife freaking about the dog will cause you son to grow up with the same fears.

  • It’s rational. Stray dogs and rabies is not an uncommon combination.

  • Over the years, I have been bitten three times by dogs… and I LOVE dogs.  I am not in fear of any dog – in the control of its owner.  The fear of a stray is not irrational, Dan.  You need to supervise.

  • I don’t think fear is irrational. Some people “rationalize” in strange ways, and their experiences produce these fears.

    I would say the fear of death is perfectly rational

  • I have 2 BIG dogs that are well maintained (rotty and rotty/cane corso). Most people are scared of them just because their big and bulky. When you actually look scared they’ll try to sniff you and if not, they’ll mind their business. Stray dogs or cats on the other hand aren’t healthy and might have some fleas. Your wife is some what irrational because as you said, dogs have a sense of fear in people. 

  • No, but most fears aren’t. Why don’t you do the right thing and call animal control so the stray can go to a shelter?

  • it’s not what i’d call rational,  but maybe understandable if she’s had bad experience with those cute little canines. =)

    i love animals, especially dogs, so i even try to pet them and talk to the when they’re barking ferociously. they’re typically scared of people so when i try to pet them they run off. cuuute <3

  • I don’t think that there’s a real reason to be afraid of them unless they are growling or baring their teeth. They are usually just hungry!

  • I would classify it as irrational unless she is privy to knowledge i do not have that would qualify it as rational (ex: She’s read reports of a high rate of stray dog attacks in the area, the area is currently having a rabies issue with stray animals, etc.) If she is simply afraid of that stray dog because she is simply afraid of dogs, no matter the situation or circumstances, then yes that would tend to be irrational. Not to say that the fear did not come from a rational place though. If she was attacked by a dog when she was little, then the beginnings of her fear of dogs would seem perfectly rational. But further life experiences would tend to teach a person that that fear of dogs in the U.S. is not as rational as one first suspected (unless she lived in an area growing up where dog attacks were the rule and not the exception). Dog attacks are not too common, and serious injury or fatalities caused by these attacks are even more rare (if i’m mistaken on this, someone please current me though. I will admit I have not done to much research to support that last sentence, rather based it off common knowledge).

  • Not really.  So what if it was barking?  That’s what dogs do.

  • Yes, very much. Both my younger brother and I were attacked. He almost lost all control of the left side of his face because of a nerve the dog had just barely missed.

    Me? I had a battered arm that took a good surgeon’s care to fix.

  • I developed a fear of dogs while I was in high school.  I lived on a horse farm and then I would help out.  The guy who owned the farm was supposedly one of those horse whisperers and we went to another farm to examine a horse.  A dog came up to me and acted like it wanted to be petted.  I gave its head a couple of strokes and then it reared back and almost tore off one of my fingers.  Ever since then I do not like to be anywhere near dogs.

  • I think that to an extent it is, yes. Freezing up? No.

  • Rational in a way, but not to that extent.  Leave them alone and educate yourself…like anything.

  • Yes its pretty rational to be afraid of stray dogs. you never know if they have rabies & might just be looking for someone to bite or kill or something. I’m not really afraid of dogs though. 

  • It’s ok to be cautious.  It’s all about the body language of the dog.  99% of the time the dog isn’t going to do anything.  But there is always that 1% chance that the dog is mean.  So don’t fear them, just be careful a bit.

  • Its understandable, but mostly irrational.
    Less irrational than my fear of clowns, though… =/

  • I got chased leaving a friend’s house once by a rabid dog. I left the house and was walking and got about into the neighbor’s yard when I realized there was a dog sitting and foaming at the mouth and acting funny. It stood up when it saw me and kinda began to snarl and growl, so I turned and ran. I could hear it barking so I assume it chased me, but I didn’t bother to look, I knocked over a bunch of trash cans too to try and block the path. I was about 10 at the time, so when I got back inside the house I just started crying ’cause of all the adrenaline. For a very long time after that I was afraid of dogs, but I’ve since gotten a better understanding of them so they don’t frighten me anymore. 

    So yeah, I suppose it is rational, but it can be conquered as well. 

  • It depends if they’re barking or snarling. If they are, I’m out of there. I’m especially out of there if they’re foaming at the mouth…which I haven’t happened to encounter yet.

  • What’s with all the strays in the area…? Anyway, if the dogs are going for people and acting even a little feral, I’d say it’s rational. It’s not like a fear of dogs in general.

  • I don’t know. It never hurts to be cautious but on the other hand it is rare that a dog will just attack someone. I guess I would have to say it never hurts to ere on the side of caution.

  • I don’t know if it’s irrational, but I myself would probably freeze in terror.  No matter how a dog looks, it’s hard to be certain it won’t launch a vicious attack on you.  I am personally unwilling to take that chance. 

  • Yeah…its irrational. But so are other fears.

  • @lovesporks - Fear is what keeps us from doing stupid things. It’s there for a reason.

    I really don’t think there’s much reason to be afraid of a stray dog (especially in the States.) Additionally, outwardly displaying a fear of a dog is not going to do you any good.

  • My neighbor’s dog – this huge gray great dane, I think – always runs toward me, growling aggressively…

    So yeah, my fear of dogs is rational.

  • If it’s just a stray dog, no, not really.

  • I am afraid of all dogs… stray or not.

  • Sure, but I think your wife is letting the dog control the situation. This could result in threatening notes demanding steaks left out in the yard, free bathroom breaks on your lawn as the dog travels from one location to the next, and permission to bark and run up to you at will.

  • You’re asking if an emotion is rational?

    An emotion can make you do irrational shit, yes.  You’re wife sounds like she has a fear of dogs that isn’t fully warranted. 

  • yea. sure.
    I get nervous sometimes. But it depends on if they have drool comin out their mouths and look real rough or not. I usually try and get my mom to take them in :-/ lol

  • Being afraid is counterproductive – with dogs it puts you in greater danger. Being cautious is fine.

  • most stray dogs become the best of pets you just have to give them a chance and not abandon them like their previous owners.  the best dogs i’ve ever had most loving and caring and fierce to protect me have been strays.  i think it’s an irrational fear.

  • I think there is a difference between fear and terror.  Any animal should be respected as being dangerous.  But the terrified individual needs to understand that their terror only causes things to escalate.  

  • I am more cautious of dogs rather than afraid. I learned a long time ago about them being able to smell your fear so I just keep an eye on them and see what they are up to. If I see that they are just looking for food or someone to love them (i.e. harmless) then I’ll pay them no mind. But if the dog is like Old Yeller at the end of the movie, foaming at the mouth and growling, then I’m calling animal control.

    I grew up in the south which is the kingdom of strays so I’m used to it. So no, it isn’t a rational fear really if the dog is obviously harmless.

  • I think it’s rational to have a fear of an animal that isn’t domesticated. However, when it comes to dogs the worst thing you can do is be afraid around them. My Boxer picks up on fear better than any dog I’ve ever had. If someone is hesitant around her she starts growling. I’ve seen children who have never been around her run up to her and throw their arms around her and she acts like the perfect dog. I’ve had other children reach to touch her, then hesitate and she immediatly starts growling. It’s pretty amazing that they can sense that hesitation.

  • If the dog is showing aggressive behavior…yes.

  • For me no as i absoultely adore dogs.
    But i can see why there might be a fear. You never know what kind of disease or something that a stray dog may be carrying.
    It seems like more of a fear of catching something off the dog than the dog itself.

  • Same here! i really don’t like stray dogs. I think this fear was brought about by my bad experience when i was a kid.  I was almost mauled by 3 stray dogs in our neighborhood.

  • That would depend on whether or not the dog in question was frothing at the mouth and the size of a truck or if it was being sold between two pieces of bread at a baseball game.  But dogs seem to always know to target the scared ones.  The best way to eliminate the fear is by experience.  If your son never has experiences with dogs, then he will more likely learn to fear them.

  • It depends on the dog. I’m not necessarily afraid of strays, but seeing as I’ve been attacked by two… I know to use caution. Your wife was right to not let your son walk past a barking stray, now, if it had been rolling over showing it’s belly and wagging it’s tail, that’s different. 

  • Only if you’re not strong enough or poorly equipped to fight back.

  • Driving him to the bus stop seems a little silly. 

  • Yes…they may be rabid.

  • @Snevetsy_Lime -  i agree, you should teach your son to figure out which dogs he should be scared of and which not to be… some dogs you should be afraid of, and others shouldnt…

  • not unless the dog is about to attack you.

  • i love dogs and cats so much. i love sweet animals. stray or abandoned pets need to be in a loving home with a good caring family. 

  • This isn’t really relevant to the post, but I have to wonder if all the people saying “fears are never rational” have ever really had anything seriously worth fearing in their life. Because it seems to me that it’s a lot easier to state something like that when the worst thing that’s ever happened to you was… perhaps a nightmare or a bad thunderstorm that made you nervous? than if, say, you were actually ever attacked by something or someone. Having been on both sides of this, I know.

  • I was never afraid of dogs, in fact, made fun of my best friend who was, until I was attacked. I was attacked by a Boston Bull Terrier, a small dog. I won’t walk by the fence’s of some dogs now and I surely won’t let my children walk past.  I was attacked more than 15 years ago.

  • yes it is ….

    safety first

  • My first job was delivering newspaper to our local neighbors on my bicycle.  I have dogs chase after me barking like they have mad dog.  I was not the type of person who is afraid of dogs in fact, I’m a dog lover.  But, that summer job experience as a paper girl was scary.  Do anyone knows why dogs does not like mail man/women or paper boy/girl?  

  • Yes to a degree your wife’s fear is justified. Stray animals can carry diseases. My daughter has no fear and that is scarier to me then the dog itself. You are right about the sensing the fear though. I try to ignore stray dogs. If they bark or growl though I also get scared. The bigger the dog the bigger my fear is though.

  • depends on if you have been bitten~   the fear the animals have for US came after the flood I think.   On the Gallapagos, very protected place, NONE of the wile animals fear man.  Very interesting.  And different.  we need to learn about them;  we are the ones who were created to have dominion etc.  not vice versa.

  • i don’t think it is a rational fear, but it is one that many people have. i personally am not afraid of dogs, but i have never really had any trouble with them, so i guess that’s why. but i think it does have something to do with not understanding animals and not being so confident in your behaviour around them.

  • Sometimes, but not most of the time.  Just barking is not necessarily a sign a dog is vicious. If you are patient, most strays will come to you to get petted or be friends. Often the initial standoffishness of an animal has to do with it’s fear of you, and an attempt to access if you are friend or foe.  If you act skittish and repulsed, you are viewed as a foe.

  • Depends on the dog……our neighbor’s dog recently escaped their fenced yard (they are in the Carribean for six months) he is a ferocious mutt…..I have had a fear of big dogs all my life……and it’s not irrational….when I was ten I got bit by a bulldog……..I’m better around female big dogs though. But not the males…….they scare me. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!

    So, the other day when I went for a walk, at the insistence of my mother, I took a big stick and waved it over my head and whacked the bushes when when the neighbor’s dog (also a he) ( the dog I got bit by was a he too) got to near with his growling.

  • i’m wary of strange dogs…probably a good idea. i like dogs but if dogs are loose and you are near their territory, it’s good to be a bit careful.

  • The fear’s itself isn’t irrational, but the level of fear appears to be. A complete lack of fear would probably be wreckless or even stupid, but the key in ANY situation is to control your fear. Fear is the #1 biggest obstacle to accomplishing anything in life. Control it or be controlled by it. It’s your choice.

  • When I was a teenager I was bitten by a big German Sheppard. For a couple years after that every time I so much as heard a dog bark I got s surge of adrenalin, bordering on complete panic. That was my bodys natural learned response to a stimulus. I had to make a very conscious effort to learn to control it.

  • Absolutely.  And I LOVE dogs.

  • Depends…I was bitten by a dog when I was young.  Now I have a dog…go figure. 

  • I’d say it is sensible to be leery of stray dogs.  I love dogs, but I see stories on the news frequently about pit bull attacks on children, adults or other dogs.  Not only that, but my dog was attacked by a neighbor’s pit bull.  My dog responded in an undogly manner after initially growling for a second.  She quit reacting.  I believe this saved her from harm.  I yelled, and the neighbor came out and removed the pit bull from my dog’s back.  I had tried to do that, but it was like a rock – immovable, at least by me.  I’d previously had a different neighbor with a pit bull, but that dog was smart and not just an instinctive brute with legs.

    I was traumatized by the incident.  A year later, I am still afraid to walk outside my own door with my dog.  I take pepper spray with me, and my husband goes with me when he is home.  My dog is like a child to me, except better!

    You can’t know what kind of temperament a stray dog has, so I think it’s wise to be aware and cautious.  I generally trust dogs that aren’t pit bulls, Rottweilers or German Shepherds.

  • I do think it is a rational fear.  Though for a child to be afraid of a dog to me possibly indicates either some degree of latent fear, and/or a high intelligence. 

    A dog on the loose, is not under a human’s authority.  They frequently move quickly and can be unpredictable.  They can also be sick, afraid, neglected or abused or abandoned animals. 

    And if the dog is large it can potentially be dangerous, though even medium sized dogs can be as well. 

  • I would say no. Most stray dogs are harmless so long as you leave them alone.

  • If the person once had a traumatic experience involving a stray dog, such as getting bitten, then it’s understandable.

  • definetly not stray dogs are cuties that jackass bastard piece of shit people put into shelters and kill

  • Just give him a paintball gun,  he’ll be OK.

  • It’s not irrational to me, but i have a fear of all dogs I don’t know, whether it’s on the street or bc i’ve never been to my friend’s house before…

  • aww, that dog’s so cute and innocent, i hope it goes to doggie heaven

  • umm yes. Im terrified of stray dogs. you never know what theyre going to do. they could run away or they could attack you. why risk it?

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