The #1 Resource for Parents to Help Children with Cynophobia

Are you looking for a way to help your child be more comfortable around dogs?

Based on decades of experience as a therapist, parenting coach and mother of a child who was afraid of dogs, I developed the Overcoming Fear of Dogs (OFOD) protocol. This is a step-by-step guide for parents (therapists will find it helpful as well) to help their child overcome the fear of dogs. By using exposure therapy and my specifically designed exercises, parents will gradually increase their child’s exposure to a real dog and thereby decrease their child’s fear and resistance. 


The Benefits Of Overcoming Your Child's Fear of Dogs

There is much to gain when children are able to overcome their fears. 

Get The Book

Overcoming Your Child’s Fear of Dogs is available as an e-book or paperback from the following retailers. 
"If you're afraid of spiders, you can probably go through your life avoiding spiders, but you cannot avoid dogs."
Stefani Cohen

What's Inside

The book's goal is to enable children to feel safe around dogs so their fear doesn't disrupt their lives.

The beginning of this book sets the tone to help parents understand fear and phobias. This chapter addresses the general development of fear in children and how parents can  begin to help their children overcome the fear of dogs. 9 pages. 

Cynophobia, the fear of dogs, affects not just the child but the entire family as well as social dynamics. This chapter addresses the spectrum of fear, criteria to help parents determine whether their child has a phobia, and suggestions for how parents can support their fearful child. 10 pages. 

Cynophobia is not a fear that a child can overcome on their own. It requires intervention. In the U.S., dogs are an integral and prevalent part of people’s lives and cannot be easily avoided. This chapter explains the cost of being afraid, the shame associated with it, and the benefits of overcoming this fear, which helps children become empowered. 8 pages. 

This chapter prepares parents for working with the Overcoming the Fear of Dogs (OFOD) protocol, which is based on exposure therapy with a live dog and its handler. By exploring strategies such as goal setting, positive reinforcement and recognizing the child’s specific readiness, it will help ensure that the exposure therapy will be successful. Parents are provided with the techniques and knowledge to apply the OFOD protocol. 19 pages. 

This chapter provides a detailed step-by-step guide to use the OFOD protocol. It walks parents through the ten steps, which decrease the child’s fear by gradually increasing exposure and interactions with the helper dog. The exercises in the protocol desensitize the child to dogs, so that they learn to observe and interact with dogs in a safe and controlled environment. A detailed case study helps illustrate the steps and process. 28 pages.

This chapter was developed in collaboration with animal behaviorist and humane educator Cathy Malkin, my sister. Parents learn important facts about dog safety and bite prevention. It includes safety guidelines for parents to follow when meeting and greeting dogs. It also highlights the importance of supervision, so that children and dogs can interact in a safe and enjoyable way. 17 pages. 

This chapter, developed in collaboration with Cathy Malkin, provides parents with a brief overview to help their children learn the basics of dog body language and communication. Also considering the dog’s needs, this chapter teaches parents about dog stress signals, warning signs and when dogs are receptive for attention and interaction. This ensures a safe and enjoyable learning environment for all involved, including the dog. 11 pages.

In this chapter parents recognize that all the hard work they and their child have put towards conquering cynophobia will help them reap the rewards of interacting with dogs.  Overcoming fear and learning how to safely interact with dogs will make children feel more confident and empowered. Knowing that they can face their fears, they not only learn valuable life skills, but also receive many health and emotional benefits from being with dogs. 12 pages. 

Happy Readers

See real testimonials from readers of Overcoming Your Child's Fear of Dogs.

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Get a Consultation

Stefani M Cohen, LCSW author of Overcoming Your Child’s Fear of Dogs is available for virtual consults, workshops, and trainings. Please click the button below to contact her. 

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