Hello!

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I have a bit of a problem, I am a first time mum and all of a sudden my 8 month old son is scared of animals! If he sees a cat or dog (that isn’t my mum’s) he absolutely loses it screaming and kicking and really panicking. I’m not sure what has caused this as he hasn’t had any bad experiences with any animals just the complete opposite! I don’t know what to do as I don’t want him growing up with a fear of animals and we are supposed to be looking after my father-in-laws dog in a few weeks. I would also like us to get a dog of our own in the near future. Any suggestions?

Posted by anon, 29/10/13

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  • Once he is bigger in size as well as developmentally, he might be less scared particularly when he has had more experience with being around them and also realises he is bigger in size than them.


  • You have to bear in mind that some pets are as big as babies are, especially if a baby is on the floor. They can also be fairly boisterous. Maybe he doesn’t like the sound of the dog barking. Your baby may have very sensitive hearing and their noise is simply too loud and overpowering. I know a little one who adores animals but runs away if they make too much noise. He also runs when noisy kitchen appliances are being used – either to his bedroom or another room the other end of the house. He also tells us if the TV or music is too loud.


  • Don’t stress to much.
    Encourage animals by watching animal shows on TV, read animal books, buy stuffed animals, go to the zoo & local pet store, try introducing your Father In Laws dogs over time don’t just bring them straight in, maybe go to your Father In Law’s every couple of days so your child can get used to them & have a chance to make a bond.
    Wishing you the best of luck.


  • Get excited about animals, don’t panic if he does, use a clam reassuring voice and comment on the friendly/cute/happy puppy/kitten etc. Make a point of showing him pictures and comment when they are on tv, visit pet shops too


  • He’s only 8 months old, it’s probably just a phase. Give it time, see if it passes, then worry about it


  • Kids go through many different stages, my 10 month old who previously enjoyed being the star of the show is now terrified of people. Just demonstrate normal behavior around animals and hopefully he will pick up on it


  • there are some good comments here


  • How did u go having same trouble


  • Has any of the advice helped?


  • Don’t push it, you risk scaring him more. Maybe start reading animal stories and playing with his stuffed toys etc…?


  • how is it going now?


  • See how you go with your father-in-laws dog but also have aback up plan in place in case it doesn’t work out


  • What about taking him to an animal nursery, stay outside the fence and let him watch the other children interact. Does a friend have a newborn kitten, puppy, or chicken, these would be a lot smaller than him and hopefully not intimidate him, if you hold the baby animal he can see its not hurting you.


  • own a dog, it might actually take the fear away


  • I had the exact some problem with my daugter (now7) No bad experiences at all yet all of a sudden she was petrified of them. She still hasn’t completely grown out of it, she still haves a problem with dogs, but it is getting alot better. All you can really do is keep positive around animals and slowley encourage a connection. Talk about an animal you both can see,describe it and what its doing together, even wonder what its thinking together, little steps with help alot. good luck


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