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Overcoming Grace’s Fear of Animals

Gracie is afraid of animals.

She loves to look at them. She loves to see animals through a glass or at a safe distance, but if they approach her or are too close to start with, she will scale my body until she's sitting on my head or shoulders.

Do you already know that, Dear Reader? She has always been afraid of them up close, but it got much worse after she was nipped on the ankle by a dog in May.

I've been working on her fear of animals with her. We read lots and lots of animal books, have at least seven animal puzzles, animal Little People, stuffed animals, and so on. Everything animal.

Exposure leads to familiarity, which leads to less fear, right?

I sure hope so.

At any rate, she loves the animal things, so it works for us.

At the Hershey Gardens, we found a big concrete cow and a small concrete pig. Grace liked them a lot.

Grace and a cow

We haven't tried to pet a real pig or cow, so I'm not sure how they would go over. Judging my her reaction to the artificial ones, it might be okay.

© 2009 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

16 thoughts on “Overcoming Grace’s Fear of Animals”

  1. I’d be climbing on it too! It looks like fun!!

    I played too 🙂
    .-= Teena in Toronto´s last blog ..Camera Critters =-.

  2. That’s a darn shame about Gracie being afraid of animals, but not unusual. If a dog bit me, I’d be weary too. My elderly mom got a terrible cat scratch as a child and never got up close and personal to them again. My son got dunked a few times in a pool as a baby and toddler and wouldn’t finish up swim lessons where they learn to swim under water. In fact, at 22, he’s not much of a swimmer. Wish he’d take lessons again! I know, not animals, but a phobia.
    This is a sweet photo. Ever think of letting Gracie have one of those stuffed pets you have a bed, leash, etc. for? It’s a start anyway. And maybe go to a pet store where there are baby animals like puppies would be better for her to touch and she sees other people touching. If you had a pet that may help in the long run, even a fish in a tank. : )
    .-= Dianne´s last blog ..Photo Hunt-Artificial =-.

  3. That’s a darn shame about Gracie being afraid of animals, but not unusual. If a dog bit me, I’d be weary too. My elderly mom got a terrible cat scratch as a child and never got up close and personal to them again. My son got dunked a few times in a pool as a baby and toddler and wouldn’t finish up swim lessons where they learn to swim under water. In fact, at 22, he’s not much of a swimmer. Wish he’d take lessons again! I know, not animals, but a phobia.
    This is a sweet photo. Ever think of letting Gracie have one of those stuffed pets you have a bed, leash, etc. for? It’s a start anyway. And maybe go to a pet store where there are baby animals like puppies would be better for her to touch and she sees other people touching. If you had a pet that may help in the long run, even a fish in a tank. : )
    .-= Dianne´s last blog ..Photo Hunt-Artificial =-.

  4. Bless her little heart. My Gracie was nervous around dogs, due to our neighbors dog. That dog is tied of most of the day. So when she would get near him, he wanted to jump on her and lick her… because he was so starved for the affection. (Of course his jumps would scare he, he would knock her over and he would scratch her with his paws.) So, she always says hi to this dog, from a distance. “Hi puppy! How are you, puppy?”, she yells from about 4 feet away. Anyway, we stayed at families home, in June. They have 2 little dogs and a cat. Thankfully these dogs were VERY gentle and GREAT with children. By the end of the week, she was cuddling the dogs and cat. So, I am thankful, in our situation, the close exposure turned out okay.

    Have a great weekend.
    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Things I liked about today…Friday =-.

  5. Bless her little heart. My Gracie was nervous around dogs, due to our neighbors dog. That dog is tied of most of the day. So when she would get near him, he wanted to jump on her and lick her… because he was so starved for the affection. (Of course his jumps would scare he, he would knock her over and he would scratch her with his paws.) So, she always says hi to this dog, from a distance. “Hi puppy! How are you, puppy?”, she yells from about 4 feet away. Anyway, we stayed at families home, in June. They have 2 little dogs and a cat. Thankfully these dogs were VERY gentle and GREAT with children. By the end of the week, she was cuddling the dogs and cat. So, I am thankful, in our situation, the close exposure turned out okay.

    Have a great weekend.
    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Things I liked about today…Friday =-.

  6. I’d be climbing on it too! It looks like fun!!

    I played too 🙂
    .-= Teena in Toronto´s last blog ..Camera Critters =-.

  7. I think the exposure will work. She’ll probably also become braver as she gets older. My 4 1/2 year old is much less timid in general now than she used to be. As long as you can make sure her interactions with animals are generally positive, I bet her fears will subside pretty naturally.

    Either way, that’s a great shot of Gracie on the cow. So cute!
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..Isolation and Togetherness: Susan and Rebecca =-.

  8. I think the exposure will work. She’ll probably also become braver as she gets older. My 4 1/2 year old is much less timid in general now than she used to be. As long as you can make sure her interactions with animals are generally positive, I bet her fears will subside pretty naturally.

    Either way, that’s a great shot of Gracie on the cow. So cute!
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..Isolation and Togetherness: Susan and Rebecca =-.

  9. It’s so fun for the kids to play on the concrete animal sculptures. When you get ready to expose her to the real thing just remember cows are quite large and can be awfully intimidating even to grown folks. Pigs are, well…dirty and can be very aggressive. You might want to start with a friendly goat or calf, a cute bunny, or maybe a baby chick or duck. Starting her on smaller animals and working up to the larger ones may help her overcome her fears a little easier. I know when I first encountered a live cow, I was VERY nervous. I can only imagine what it’d be like as a little tyke walking up to a big ole heifer. Good luck and cute photo!
    .-= Jenn @ Frugal Front Porch´s last blog ..Mall of America: Vacation Destination =-.

  10. It’s so fun for the kids to play on the concrete animal sculptures. When you get ready to expose her to the real thing just remember cows are quite large and can be awfully intimidating even to grown folks. Pigs are, well…dirty and can be very aggressive. You might want to start with a friendly goat or calf, a cute bunny, or maybe a baby chick or duck. Starting her on smaller animals and working up to the larger ones may help her overcome her fears a little easier. I know when I first encountered a live cow, I was VERY nervous. I can only imagine what it’d be like as a little tyke walking up to a big ole heifer. Good luck and cute photo!
    .-= Jenn @ Frugal Front Porch´s last blog ..Mall of America: Vacation Destination =-.

  11. Aw, poor sweetheart!
    That’s a shame because animals can bring a lot of joy and happiness into the lives of people. I really hope she can get over her fear to where she can find happiness.

  12. Aw, poor sweetheart!
    That’s a shame because animals can bring a lot of joy and happiness into the lives of people. I really hope she can get over her fear to where she can find happiness.

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