Perhaps the bad memory of being bitten by the neighbor's dog as a child is having a terrible effect on your entire family. Your spouse and kids want a dog. Maybe the children have already begged you to adopt a dog similar to the one they met at the shelter. You have intellectualized this and know that your fear of dogs is not fair to prevent your children from knowing the love of a dog. You cannot continue postponing the decision on whether to let a family dream come true, so you come to a decision that you have to overcome his fear of dogs, which is also known as cynophobia. It is easier said than done, but with little work and many baby steps, you can reach your goal of overcoming your fear of dogs.
Watch an adult dog: If there is a dog park in your neighborhood, spend time watching the dogs play. You do not really need to go to the park. You can sit in your car and watch the dogs. After doing this for a few days, get out of your car and go somewhere to watch the dogs. Do not go to the dog play area or walk up to the fence. Your goal is simply to enjoy being in the same general area as dogs without putting yourself in any frightening situations. As time goes by, get closer to the area where the dogs play.
Meet an adult dog: If you see the same dog owner returning to the park on several occasions, explain your phobia and see if meeting his or her dog. Make sure it's the dog you noticed not to be a jumper and who shows signs of being well trained. Be sure to take it slow and ask the owner to keep the dog on the leash. For the first few encounters, you should not even try to touch the dog. Try to have a normal conversation with the dog owner while the dog is near you. Once you feel comfortable with the dog, reach out and let the dog sniff the back of your hand. When the dog feels comfortable with you, try to pet its back. Be sure to follow the owner's instructions and dog signs regarding what you should do. If the dog allows it, rub the chest area. This is a calming sign for dogs.
Find a Canine Good citizen: Many dog trainers know dogs in the area that meet the criteria that are considered Canine good citizen. These are dogs that have been trained to face all kinds of situations. Canine Good citizen dogs follow orders under any imaginable circumstance. If you simply cannot meet an adult dog in a dog park, contact the dog trainer in your area and ask if he or she know any Canine Good Citizens. You may have to leave your name and phone number with the trainer so you he or she can give it to the family of the Canine Good Citizen. When the family calls, explain your phobia and talk to them if their dog is a good candidate to help you overcome your fear.
When everything else fails: Then finally, if you cannot overcome cynophobia using the above techniques, you may need a professional help. A behavioral therapist can help you overcome your fear of dogs so that your family can get your new best friend!