Fear Of Dogs (Cynophobia): Characteristics, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

The fear of dogs, also known among cynophobia specialists, is an irrational fear of dogs. This animal phobia is one of the most widespread, with the number of cases logically proportional to the number of dogs present in various countries of the world.


  • Cinophobia is one of the specific phobias , that is, those whose object is clearly identifiable.
  • In the context of cynophobia, it is the dog. The mere sight of this pet generates, in effect, a very important anxiety in the phobic person.
  • In order to stop feeling it, the latter will adopt, therefore, behaviors of a contrapobic type aimed at avoiding situations of a phobogenic type.
  • The problem is that dogs are among the most widespread animals in France and the chances of crossing them on the street are particularly high.
  • Therefore, social and professional life can be considerably affected by this type of phobia, since the cynophobic individual will no longer want to leave the house.

You could also read: Fear of closed spaces

What are the symptoms of cinophobia?

When faced with a phobogenic situation or even the simple idea of ​​being phobogenic, the cynophobe will feel a whole battery of symptoms whose intensity can vary:

  • Uncontrollable terror
  • Incrise of cardiac frecuency
  • Palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing normally
  • Excessive sweating; tremors
  • Nausea and / or vomiting
  • Irresistible desire to flee or inability to move
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness

What Causes Cinophobia?

  • Although the causes of cynophobia are multiple, they are mostly traumatic in nature. Most people who are afraid of dogs have experienced or seen dog abuse during their childhood.
  • Cultural origin is often underestimated in the context of animal phobias. However, the wolf and the fear that it is supposed to generate in young children during their infancy can have a more traumatic impact than it seems.
  • In all cases, the phobic person will project the anguish they feel onto an object – in this case, an animal – to externalize it and alleviate the discomfort they feel.
  • In psychological language , we speak of a defense mechanism.

What are the treatments for cynophobia?

  • Regarding the specific phobia and, more specifically, the animal phobia, cognitive-behavioral therapy is a reference since little by little it confronts the patient with his fear to help him apprehend it.
  • It can be associated with relaxation techniques or sophrology sessions, to promote a reduction in stress and anxiety.
  • But there are therapeutic alternatives to find the origin of the phobia.

This is the case, for example, of psychoanalysis or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy.

Georgia Tarrant
 | Website

Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.