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Based on decades of experience as a therapist, parenting coach and mother of a child who was afraid of dogs, I developed the Overcoming Fear of Dogs (OFOD) protocol. This is a step-by-step guide for parents (therapists will find it helpful as well) to help their child overcome the fear of dogs. By using exposure therapy and my specifically designed exercises, parents will gradually increase their child's exposure to a real dog and thereby decrease their child's fear and resistance.
When a child has a strong fear of dogs it is important to address this fear as soon as possible. There is much to gain when children are able to overcome their fears. They develop self-confidence and self-esteem and feel empowered. Children who face their fears learn coping skills and self-control, two of the biggest predictors of success later in life. In addition, they learn to speak up and ask for help. By using the method in this book children will become more aware of their feelings and learn to express them clearly. My method helps kids feel in control and "take back the leash" when interacting with dogs.
Dogs are everywhere these days and it is impossible to avoid them. Kids who are afraid of dogs suffer socially and emotionally.
Children are afraid of things they don't understand and this book provides education for parents and children about dogs. My ultimate goal is to enable children to feel comfortable around dogs so their lives aren't disrupted by the fear of them.
While the book is designed for parents of children aged 5-12 my method can also be used with older children and adults.