Cynophobia is the fear of dogs. Fearing dogs to some degree is normal, but sufferers of this phobia have an extreme and irrational fear for dogs. Because dogs are present in most places, this type of phobia is far too common. Research has shown that this phobia is more prevalent in women than in men.
Unlike many other phobias, cynophobia does not develop gradually. It is often a result of a single traumatic or frightening event in childhood that can involve chase or bite from a dog. For the sufferer, cynophobia causes an extreme, unhealthy fear of dogs. Often, cynophobia sufferers can experience an anxiety attack at the thought of encountering a dog, let alone coming face to face with one physically.
Like other phobias, cynophobia is a type of anxiety disorder where an exposure to the object of fear, situation or activity can cause symptoms of high discomfort and include excessive sweating, panic attacks, shaking, difficulty breathing and palpitations.
Getting professional help can usually encourage one to overcome the fear of dogs. Cognitive behavior therapy employs problem solving methods in the present and can help the sufferer to change his outlook and thoughts about dogs. Systematic desensitization therapy involves visualization and exposure that is gradual. These are combined with relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises.