In over their head - Getting a better look

In over their heads

What are you scared of?  Not to the point of panic, just something you don’t really like, it makes you uncomfortable.  Something you are a bit scared of and would really rather not be around.

Spiders you say!

So let’s say, you find a big, hairy spider hanging right above your bed.     

When you think about the fact that this is a fear reaction what most people do next seems a bit illogical.  At that point, a lot people slowly inch in closer to get a better look even though this is something they fear.

Now if the spider quickly drops an inch, there is a really good chance you would jump back, quickly exit the room or scream. Or maybe you will rush in a smash it (increased aggression).

Why in the world do we put ourselves in this position?  It is as if we are being drawn in. 

Why do we move closer to the scary beast in the first place?

Have you seen your dog do the same thing?  They do this same thing all the time.  

You think your dog is “fine” because it is moving towards the scary monster.   It might even be wagging its tail but then something happens & your dog looses its courage, it suddenly backs, barking in fear.  And it takes you by surprise because it just does not make sense.

Why does this happen?

There are a number of hypothesis as to why this happens.

  1. We want to gather information so we can make a decision as to our next move.

2.  We are more comfortable when we have control over what scares us.  The only way to control it, is to get closer to it.

The take home message - don’t assume because your dog is approaching something or someone that it is happy or relaxed with it.  It is very possible your dog is scared and it just takes 1 little thing to set the dog off into a barking fit, lunging or biting.

Try really hard to not put your dog, in that situation!

So what do you do about it?  If it is an intimate object, let your dog go up at its own pace, don’t encourage or coax.  Don’t lure your dog up.  Let your dog decide if and when it wants to check it out but do give it the opportunity to do so.  If it is a person, dog, cat, etc. the solution is more complex but we can help you with this problem.