Cure Your Child’s Pet Phobias

The dark and monsters under the bed may be at the top of your child’s “things I’m afraid of” list, but what about your household pet? Although playful (and cuddly), dogs can be intimidating, especially if they are a new addition to your home. Initially, your child may need time to adjust to the loud and continuous barking, the running, and jumping, but there are solutions available to help ease their fears. Heidi Ganahl, the CEO and Founder of Camp Bow Wow, the nation’s largest pet services company with 150+ doggy-day and overnight care franchises and Home Buddies of Camp Bow Wow, has provided a five-step program to help kids overcome their pet phobias.

Tips for Curing Your Child’s Pet Phobias

1. Pet Practice: Try showing your child how to interact with pets by using a stuffed animal. Show him or her how to safely play with their furry friend. A stuffed animal can make for a lovable practice buddy that your child will feel more comfortable around.

2. Story Time: Read your child stories about happy pets and their owners. Depending on your child’s age, this can greatly impact how they feel about dogs and cats.

3. Don’t Force Contact: Forcing your child to pet an animal or insisting that a pet is harmless may only increase their fears. It’s important to keep your child calm around the dog or cat. If they are forced to make contact, it may only frighten them (or the animal) even more.

4. Play Date: Once your child stops fearing pets at a distance, it may be time to gradually introduce him or her to a friend or relative’s dog or cat. At first, make introductions brief if your child seems hesitant. Over time, lengthen the amount of time spent.

5. Adopt: Finally, take your child to a pet adoption site, and allow them to pick out their new pet! The excitement of having the pet of their choice, may be the incentive they need to let go of their fears. Camp Bow Wow franchises across the country offer adoption services, so be sure to visit your local branch.

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