So a few months ago Heidi got nipped on the belly by a dog. Prior to that, she had been fearless around dogs. Dog in question was a puppy who was very overexcited and didn’t mean to harm just over exuberant.
Since then Heidi has been very scared of dogs. Today we visited my grandma at her nursing home. They have a dog who lives there and it came up to say hello. Heidi screamed LOUD and tried to climb me. So I picked her up, rather than risk more screaming. Even though I know picking Heidi up reinforces the fear – mummy thinks it is scary enough to lift me out of danger = it must be dangerous.
Mostly mummy was just trying to avoid more nurses running to see what the screaming was all about – the attention of three nurses was enough.
But I’m puzzled as to how to proceed. Heidi loves animals, we’ve got books from the library written for children about how to interact with dogs safely, we’ve talked it over, got a social story in the pipeline.
But what do I do at the moment? Do I stand with Heidi and encourage her to say hello if the dog is friendly and owner agreeable. Do I let her climb up me and carry her to safety?
I think we need to find someone who lives near us with a placid dog who we can visit and help overcome the fear.