Fear is an often demonized and even more often hidden emotion.
Actually, fear should prevent us from underestimating dangerous situations.
But what kind of situations are they and who decides about their dangerousness?
We usually perceive something as dangerous when our basic needs are endangered.
That sounds strange at first.
But if we look at the basic needs (by the way, not only ours but of all living beings), it becomes clearer
The basic needs include the needs for
– Care (food, drink, rest/sleep)
– protection/security (physical and psychological), health, rituals
– Contact with conspecifics or social relationships
Now you might think: “But contact with conspecifics is not a basic need of me or my dog”.
This can happen if something goes wrong in socialization or there is trauma.
Nevertheless, this is usually more a matter of being overwhelmed, trusting, or not liking some conspecifics. Rarely it is all conspecifics in any form & distance (so with the dog, for example, that he is not even interested in the smells of other dogs).
And even with complete conspecific incompatibility, the desire is usually not for loneliness but another species serves as a social partner and fulfills the need.
In any case, the other basic needs look much different in their more precise definition than they did in the Stone Age, and they will also differ if we look at other countries.
For example, we are not afraid of the sky falling on our heads (little anecdote from Asterix & Obelix), but we are certainly afraid of climate change and its consequences.
We don’t have to worry about the supply of clean drinking water, but when the media talks about some food contagion, we don’t reach for the said food anymore or at least have a bad feeling about it.
Regarding security, the situation is very similar.
We don’t tend to be afraid of aliens, but if we don’t know when our dog will suddenly fly teeth-first into our face, we live quite unrelaxed.
But is it even ok to be afraid of your own dog, even if it is a completely natural reaction of your body?
I grew up with the advice to never show fear to an animal because then it would recognize itself as the stronger one and in the best case do what it wants.
Additionally, as a child, I was regularly laughed at and insulted by adults when I was afraid.
Of course, I took that on and didn’t allow myself to be afraid in my adult life.
It is 😉
After all, simply suppressing or denying a feeling doesn’t make it go away.
Only if we accept our feelings, question them, and learn to deal with them, we can live in a balanced way.
For example, it makes sense to ask yourself if the fear you are feeling is justified.
At the beginning of my self-employment I was totally afraid of working with people because they might not like me (always supported by the hateful social media comments and childhood memories in my head).
At some point, however, I stopped trying to push this fear away and took the time to ask myself if it was justified.
In other words, whether there are really only people who don’t like me, insult me, or treat me like crap. And the answer is very clearly NO.
I’ve been focusing on reading and paying more attention to the positive comments on social media and recognizing nice gestures in real life.
And they do exist if we just learn to see them.
Let’s get back to the dog, though.
So it’s totally ok if you feel fear concerning your dog.
After all, dogs can be dangerous to us humans.
However, I recommend that you always question whether the fear is justified and what it is taking away from you right now.
If it is justified, there is an urgent need for action, because a relationship in which fear reigns is cracked, if not more.
Don’t let yourself be persuaded that you only have to hide the fear or show the dog who is the master in the house (by the way, you can already see from the wording how outdated this view is).
If your dog shows aggressive behavior (threatening or attacking), you don’t have to endure it or put up with it or deal with it yourself.
You need new security and positive experiences in dealing with your dog.
And I am happy to help you with that