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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 07:28 AM Thread Starter
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Afraid of dogs and now I'm in love with a person who has a Doberman

Hello everybody! I guess my problem belongs in here. I'm 33 years old male and as silly as it might sound, I've been terrified of dogs my whole life. When I was 8 years old I was attacked by pack of dogs and I was bitten so severely I had to spend weeks in hospital. I still have scars left and ever since that happened I cannot approach any dog. It doesn't matter whether it's a puppy or a grown dog, I start to panic.

Now I have met a beautiful and wonderful woman. We met in the Internet and later in life and everything seemed just amazing, as if we were made each for other. She doesn't know about my fear because somehow we never talked about dogs or pets in general. Then she invited me to come over to her place and then it turned out she has a huge Doberman. When I saw it I thought I was going to die right on the doorstep. I wanted to turn around and cancel all our date but she was already leading me in the room.

At first it wasn't so bad because she was with me all the time, we were talking and the dog was sitting in the opposite side of the room all the time. Then she went to the kitchen and left me alone for a while, and suddenly the dog came to me. I was sitting motionless and wasn't even looking at it, I don't know why it came to me. It climbed on the sofa and put its head on my shoulder and I was just sitting there frozen with cold sweat dripping down my back and tears coming to my eyes. For a moment I was like - this is how I die, it's going to rip my throat out. I know how silly it sounds but that's how I felt. Now when I think about it, I feel so disappointed of myself, I'm a grown ass man and I was sobbing there like a three year old.

Then the dog went away for a while and came back with something in its mouth and dropped it in my lap. When I dared to look, it was some dog toy.

I haven't talked to anyone about my fear. Mostly it's because I feel ashamed. I believe usually children are afraid of dogs. I haven't told my woman about my fear, I can see she loves her dog a lot. I'm afraid she'll think less of me and I won't be man in her eyes anymore, because what kind of man is afraid of dogs. What should I do?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 10:51 AM
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Lots of people are scared of dogs. Lots of people are scared of many things.

In this case if you're truly interested in getting to know her. Let her know the truth, but tell her whole story.
Then, give everything a chance. It's ok to be apprehensive and scared. Try and see past that. Sounds to me like dog was trying to win you over. Give yourself a chance to heal and grow.
Not all dogs are biters. Responsible people raise dogs to be welcome members of our society. I say give her and the dog a chance to help you heal.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 11:16 AM
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I was afraid of dogs for a LONG time...while I wasn't attacked by a pack of dogs, I've been bit numerous times by popular family breeds.

And you know what? It was a doberman that changed my opinion of dogs forever. I dated a guy who had a big doofus of a dobe. The dog would lean on people, drop toys in their lap, etc. He warmed me up to the idea of dogs as pets in general, and ended up making me decide to buy my own.

I would definitely talk this over with your girlfriend...and spend time with the dog. This dog is not that pack of dogs. This dog is what sounds like a typical dobe - a leaner with a desire to play with people who are welcome in his owner's home.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 11:51 AM
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Everyone is scared of something (whether they'll admit it or not), and you have a very good reason to be scared of dogs. I agree with discussing it with her. Also, maybe consider seeing a professional to help you deal with your fear.


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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 12:22 PM
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You have a great opportunity in your life, the development of a new relationship and the healing of a old wound. I do not have the clinical advice to help move you away from your fear of dogs but the doberman breed is one that will change your mind to the understanding that a dog can add much meaning to ones life. Good luck.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 12:39 PM
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You demonstrated a lot of courage. You didn't let the fear drive you away. You didn't leave the room when the dog walked away after greeting you the first time. You looked to see that they brought you a toy. Really, you should be proud of yourself.

Having an irrational fear is nothing to be ashamed of. (You had a deeply traumatic experience, and while your reasoning knows not all dogs are threats, your fear emains). What defines you is how you go forward from here.

I agree with the others, share the story of your fear with her. It will be hard, but it sounds like this relationship is worth it to you. Let her know how it was easier when she was in the room. Let her know if this is something you want to work through - or not.

Also, know that irrational fears can be worked through. It takes time and work, but if being comfortable around dogs is important to you, you can do it. Professional counseling can speed the process, or get you past places where you feel progress has stalled.

Last edited by danacc; 09-17-2016 at 12:46 PM.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 01:42 PM
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What everyone else said! Let this Doberman be the one to help you overcome your fears.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 02:57 PM
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Just an odd thought here.

You do know that the doberman knew you were afraid of him, right?

You know that he could have done anything and yet he wanted so hard to be your friend.

Please allow yourself to exclude him from the memory of the pack and treat him like a young powerful child. Be kind if you can.

I had a man stay with me for a couple of years who was bitten by a doberman when he was a child. He too was very fearful but he eventually told me about the issue. He came to love my dobes and became very attached to my old girl. He learned and allowed himself to learn to understand them.

I spent a lot of time explaining one dog versus a pack of dogs and the pack mentality etc. I also was very afraid of dogs when I was a child but I was given a doberman-lab cross puppy when I was 17 and I overcame my issues (mainly - I still fear some breeds and dogs acting in strange ways) which were not as severe as yours. I was lucky I believe - to have found how loving and gentle dobermans really area.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by vivienne00 View Post
Just an odd thought here.

You do know that the doberman knew you were afraid of him, right?

You know that he could have done anything and yet he wanted so hard to be your friend.

Please allow yourself to exclude him from the memory of the pack and treat him like a young powerful child. Be kind if you can.

I had a man stay with me for a couple of years who was bitten by a doberman when he was a child. He too was very fearful but he eventually told me about the issue. He came to love my dobes and became very attached to my old girl. He learned and allowed himself to learn to understand them.

I spent a lot of time explaining one dog versus a pack of dogs and the pack mentality etc. I also was very afraid of dogs when I was a child but I was given a doberman-lab cross puppy when I was 17 and I overcame my issues (mainly - I still fear some breeds and dogs acting in strange ways) which were not as severe as yours. I was lucky I believe - to have found how loving and gentle dobermans really area.
Well yes, I've heard that dogs can sense people's emotions.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 07:05 PM
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michael890 - big kudos, for not walking out of her home / and reinforcing the paralyzing fear.

Relationships are built on trust & transparency, so let your GF read these posts.
- just makes it easier to explain, the truth
I got hit by a speeding car (70mph), 40 years ago / men do cry occasionally, nothing to be ever ashamed of.
- she will understand, trust me

I will say, she just might be the long term keeper / a girl that loves a doberman, is high in my books.
- I've even told our son, when picking out a mate / female animal lovers, make better partners

Sounds like you have found a terrific gal & together your dog fears will soon be more than under control.
- her Doberman wants to share your love & companionship / you have found a gift, in that dog
Let the internal healing began, your heart will grow !!
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-18-2016, 12:14 AM
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Hello everybody! I guess my problem belongs in here. I'm 33 years old male and as silly as it might sound, I've been terrified of dogs my whole life. When I was 8 years old I was attacked by pack of dogs and I was bitten so severely I had to spend weeks in hospital. I still have scars left and ever since that happened I cannot approach any dog. It doesn't matter whether it's a puppy or a grown dog, I start to panic.

Now I have met a beautiful and wonderful woman. We met in the Internet and later in life and everything seemed just amazing, as if we were made each for other. She doesn't know about my fear because somehow we never talked about dogs or pets in general. Then she invited me to come over to her place and then it turned out she has a huge Doberman. When I saw it I thought I was going to die right on the doorstep. I wanted to turn around and cancel all our date but she was already leading me in the room.

At first it wasn't so bad because she was with me all the time, we were talking and the dog was sitting in the opposite side of the room all the time. Then she went to the kitchen and left me alone for a while, and suddenly the dog came to me. I was sitting motionless and wasn't even looking at it, I don't know why it came to me. It climbed on the sofa and put its head on my shoulder and I was just sitting there frozen with cold sweat dripping down my back and tears coming to my eyes. For a moment I was like - this is how I die, it's going to rip my throat out. I know how silly it sounds but that's how I felt. Now when I think about it, I feel so disappointed of myself, I'm a grown ass man and I was sobbing there like a three year old.

Then the dog went away for a while and came back with something in its mouth and dropped it in my lap. When I dared to look, it was some dog toy.

I haven't talked to anyone about my fear. Mostly it's because I feel ashamed. I believe usually children are afraid of dogs. I haven't told my woman about my fear, I can see she loves her dog a lot. I'm afraid she'll think less of me and I won't be man in her eyes anymore, because what kind of man is afraid of dogs. What should I do?
Michael, first off, much love to you. My heart goes out to you.

First things first. . . Do not ever let anyone dismiss your fears, however well-meaning their words may be. You haven't had the fortune to have tons of good, positive, loving experiences with stable dogs - your most significant experience with a dog was a brutal attack. This is not an irrational response for you. As many times as you're told that this doberman is safe to be around, your instincts are telling you otherwise. For those of us who have had many positive interactions with dogs, this fear seems irrational, but for you, it's not.

Second, this is what we call a trauma response. Here is a PDF with a little more information on it: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~eap/reactionstotrauma.pdf Your response is completely normal, there is nothing wrong with it. This sucks, but it's what happens. I've had two major trauma responses in the last year myself, and I wish I had handled them with as much strength as you did. It's okay to cry, it really is. A trauma response is basically your body having the same reaction to perceived danger as it did when the initial event happened. It's basically PTSD. Would you (or anyone else) disrespect a a veteran for having PTSD? Probably not. When you're feeling low, remind yourself that you are also experiencing PTSD and give yourself a little break.

As a woman, I'm going to tell you that she already knows, or has some inkling that something's not right. If she hasn't said anything awful to you about it, she's probably never going to - she probably sees your discomfort and also sees that you're trying to cope for her and is touched by your actions.

If you have 20 minutes sometime soon, Brene Brown is an amazing speaker and writer. She's a researcher who focuses on shame, courage, and imperfection. Her work has been life-changing for me, and taking the time to watch this might help you to overcome those "shame spirals" and be comfortable reaching out to someone. You've already taken the first step in reaching out to us, and I can tell you it only gets better from here. https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brow...me?language=en

The next thing that I can tell you will help is to speak to a therapist. Therapy has a bad rap, but they're basically doctors for your brain. If you were sick, you'd get a doctor. If you're experiencing PTSD, you go to a therapist. It's not just "sitting in a chair and talking," it's having someone who can validate your experiences and teach you coping skills - because they've done it for hundreds of other people, too. I'm learning coping skills to use before I panic so that it doesn't happen again, and learning ways to bring myself back down after it happens, and healthy ways to communicate boundaries. Boundaries are your first step - setting healthy boundaries so you can manage your fear is important. Those boundaries may be a time limit at her house (for now - to be increased gradually), or she stays with you, or perhaps you go on walks with her and the dog. Get creative. Learn his name - when you start referring to him as an individual with a name and a personality and feelings, you start to take away the power of your fear. Every little bit counts.

Lastly, you're not any less of a man for this. You're not any less of a man for having a weakness or showing fear. Real men have fears. Real men have skills. Real men are loving. Real men are forgiving. Real men have talents. Think of all of your talents and skills and positive ways you contribute to the world, Now keep thinking about them every time you start to tell yourself you're "less than."

A weak man would have given up. A weak man would have dumped her because she had a dog or tried to intimidate her into getting rid of her dog. A weak man never would have been able to find the courage to post on here and ask us what to do. You are incredibly strong and courageous, and she's lucky to have you. I wish you both the best, and I hope the next time you can find the words to speak about this, it's with her.

ETA: I'm also going to say that you're really lucky in that you have an opportunity to confront your fears and work through them with such a gentle, understanding Doberman. The dog obviously senses your fear and is trying to comfort you - when I'm upset, my Dobe puts her head on my shoulder and brings me toys, too. The Dobe doesn't realize you're scared of him/her. So, remember, that first step is to name your fear - the dog has a name and a sex. Every time you say "it," you can try to correct yourself with "he/she/name," even when it's only in your head. It also helps to "humanize" the dog a bit - acknowledge that the dog has a personality and is an individual. For instance, if you catch yourself thinking, "the dog picked up it's toy," it can help to replace that thought with "he/she picked up his/her stuffed animal. He/she likes snuggling with stuffed animals while sleeping." It will seem weird at first, but I promise that it does help over time.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-18-2016, 09:16 AM
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Many kudos to you. I think you're very brave! I agree with Steph, I'd see a therapist, maybe even a vet behaviorist since they could help you understand what the dog is telling you even though you think something different. I too have been attacked so I understand freezing up and being scared. Mine is more breed specific but I have gotten much better about it although I'll probably never be fully trusting if that breed. You def. need to tell this woman about your fear. If she judges you, she's not caring enough to be with you bc we all have fears and yours is very rightful.

Good luck! Keep us in the loop with your progress!
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-19-2016, 10:47 PM
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Thank you michael890 to come to the DT (Dobermantalk) and open your heart.

I met a guy at the park who was with two Great Dane boys. We talked a lot about the dogs. A few months later, a drama, rather an incident occurred.
Two Danes were found in the woods. Tied to a tree and abandoned. Someone reported to the police and Danes went to the animal control center. I instantly knew they were the Danes I met. When I saw their pictures the center posted, sitting on the cold concrete floor, tears came to my eyes. How could he do that aweful thing to the boys!
Very luckily the Dane rescue group rehomed two boys, but to the different homes.
And the rumor flew in the dog lovers community. He met a woman who is the dog hater (not scared, but hate any animal) and she forced him to choose either herself or dogs. Ridiculous!! Anyway, the guy made a choice, the very sad and wrong choice.

As I knew the worst scenario like the above, I believe you are different and ready to listen to our opinions and advices.

As Beaumont said, "a girl that loves a doberman, is high in my books", I agree!!
As a woman myself, I think she's already noticed you are not comfortable with her Doberman. A Doberman owner is usually sensitive how others react to his/her Dobe since we live with a breed known as viscious. Actually the Dobe is not such a viscious or man-eater breed and we try people to understand.
If you share your fear and experiences with your GF, she'd undersstand and help you with her Dobe! Her Dobe sounds he is temperate.
One favor please: If you state he or she, not 'it', I'm more comfortable reading.

If you get over your dog fear through a 'Doberman", doesn't it sound cool?
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Last edited by Elzajpn; 09-19-2016 at 10:49 PM.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-20-2016, 03:36 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Elzajpn View Post
Thank you michael890 to come to the DT (Dobermantalk) and open your heart.

I met a guy at the park who was with two Great Dane boys. We talked a lot about the dogs. A few months later, a drama, rather an incident occurred.
Two Danes were found in the woods. Tied to a tree and abandoned. Someone reported to the police and Danes went to the animal control center. I instantly knew they were the Danes I met. When I saw their pictures the center posted, sitting on the cold concrete floor, tears came to my eyes. How could he do that aweful thing to the boys!
Very luckily the Dane rescue group rehomed two boys, but to the different homes.
And the rumor flew in the dog lovers community. He met a woman who is the dog hater (not scared, but hate any animal) and she forced him to choose either herself or dogs. Ridiculous!! Anyway, the guy made a choice, the very sad and wrong choice.

As I knew the worst scenario like the above, I believe you are different and ready to listen to our opinions and advices.

As Beaumont said, "a girl that loves a doberman, is high in my books", I agree!!
As a woman myself, I think she's already noticed you are not comfortable with her Doberman. A Doberman owner is usually sensitive how others react to his/her Dobe since we live with a breed known as viscious. Actually the Dobe is not such a viscious or man-eater breed and we try people to understand.
If you share your fear and experiences with your GF, she'd undersstand and help you with her Dobe! Her Dobe sounds he is temperate.
One favor please: If you state he or she, not 'it', I'm more comfortable reading.

If you get over your dog fear through a 'Doberman", doesn't it sound cool?
That's horrible to abandon your dogs because of some *******.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-21-2016, 12:31 AM
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That's horrible to abandon your dogs because of some *******.
Absolutely!!! What a dumb couple!

That's why I am glad you came here to seek advice. Have you had a chance to talk to her?

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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-12-2017, 12:21 PM
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Michael,

You have been "Dobe Blessed". You were paid a high confidence when her dog brought you one of his belongings.

I predict the Doberchild will win, if you can't go with the flow.

Sorry, that sounded rough.

Coming from a horsey type person, "When you fall off, you HAVE to get back in the saddle!"

I must say I have never fallen off a horse. I was merely unloaded.

Hang in there! You are in for a pleasant ride!

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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-12-2017, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretchen_Red View Post
Many kudos to you. I think you're very brave! I agree with Steph, I'd see a therapist, maybe even a vet behaviorist since they could help you understand what the dog is telling you even though you think something different. I too have been attacked so I understand freezing up and being scared. Mine is more breed specific but I have gotten much better about it although I'll probably never be fully trusting if that breed. You def. need to tell this woman about your fear. If she judges you, she's not caring enough to be with you bc we all have fears and yours is very rightful.

Good luck! Keep us in the loop with your progress!
Gretch,

I am inclined to agree with you.

I feel Michael telling his, Love, of his fear won't scare her off! She's has a Dobebaby! She's not going to judge him...

Michael's woman rocks!

Michael will be okay...

Might I suggest a puppy class for you, Michael? Seriously. Her vet can offer suggestions on training classes. And, once you play the "Pass the Puppy" game, it's all over!

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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 09:52 PM
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Hi - I'm joining the party late, so I don't know, Michael, if you are still reading this thread, and if you and your lady friend and her fur kid are still an item. I hope so - dogs, especially magnificent souls like Dobermans, are empathic, intuitive, sensitive, intelligent, and they have really wonderful capacity to unwind and untangle knots that one thinks are beyond help. A dog who watches and studies you, then brings you one of their prized possessions and offers it to you is telling you that they trust you, and that they are asking you to trust them and let them in. A dog like that is a treasure, and is trying to help heal you. It doesn't get much better. I think maybe this lady and her wonderful Doberkid were sent to you. Be patient, gentle - and kinder to yourself!
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their pawprints in our hearts never fade
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 11:20 PM
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One side thought, find a good book about reading dog's body language. This YouTube video is a two part one that I thought had some good info:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8bg_gGguwzg

Knowing when a dog is saying "hi" vs. "I don't like you" might help you feel a little more comfortable (or less uncomfortable anyway).
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 12:15 AM
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post #21 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 10:37 AM
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I didn't even look at the dates! My Bad!

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post #22 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 04:02 PM
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We all tried to help the OP - now MIA.
- a 33 year old man
- afraid of a puppy
- and he met a wonderful & beautiful lady/dog owner
- found Love on the internet......a long distance relationship
This thread was almost doomed to fail, over a year ago......hardly a surprised outcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StrykersPerson View Post
I didn't even look at the dates! My Bad!...
Yes you are StrykersPerson - kicking a man when he down on his "opposite sex luck", with a broken heart.
LOL - just a cruel thread bump, on your part...now go to your room, for a time out...forgiveness be granted later !!

------------Kelly & (Amy - RIP @ 11.7 y/o)

Last edited by Beaumont67; 01-15-2017 at 04:26 PM.
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