The other thing is, we have a lot of stray dogs in our neighborhood. Many of them are of the dreaded pit bull variety, but I've never really had any problems with them.
Nope, most of my problems have been with small dogs. Teeny, tiny dogs with Napoleon complexes are the bane of our walks.
Today, on the God-sized Dream team, it's Tuesday. That means Holley Gerth gives us an assignment, and today's assignment is to address our Chihuahua of fear that only sounds like a Doberman. (actually Dobermans are very sweet dogs and have a totally undeserved reputation, but I digress).
Actually, my dog Kipper has taught me a lot about dealing with tiny dogs and their big dog complexes. As I've said before God uses some interesting things to teach me what He wants me to know, and one of those things is my dog.
As I've watched my big, fluffy dog deal with some ferocious sounding (if not looking) dogs, he's shown me a thing or two about dealing with the "chihuahuas" in my own life.
First, there's nothing to really fear. Kipper easily weighs 65 lbs. Most of the dogs we've encountered are about the size of his head. Kipper has absolutely no fear of these tiny dogs which means he has no aggression toward them. He has a true picture of the situation.
Most of the times, my fears only sound big. When I get a good look at them however, they are tiny. They cast a much bigger shadow than they actually are. They sound ferocious, but they are really all bark and no bite. Even if they do bite, their teeth are so small, they won't do much damage. When I come up against my fears, I need to remember to take a look at the big picture, so I can see my fear for what it really is.
Second, get close and make friends. Kipper will approach a snarling, growling dog with a slow swishing tail, relaxed body language and inquiring nose. He's even laid down to appear less intimidating to the little
In my life this means I have to get up close and personal with my fears. I need to look them in the eye and make friends with them, rather than run away and hide. Sometimes, a fear is rooted in truth and by acknowledging that truth, I can grow and move forward. I can make my fears an ally rather than an enemey.
Third, if overtures of friendship don't work, show 'em your teeth with a growl thrown in for good measure. I remember one particular time, Kipper and I ran into a little, tiny Chihuahua mix named Lucky. Lucky had less than a sparkling personality. He was all about showing everyone how tough he was. Kipper did his usual, "Hey I'm your friend." He laid down. He did everything he could to convey he meant no harm. Lucky was having none of it and launched himself at Kipper's head. Kipper ducked, and as little Lucky tried another attack from the flank, Kipper turned his head, showed his teeth and gave a low growl of warning. Lucky's eyes bulged even more. He tucked his tail and whimpering in fear, turned and ran home.
Sometimes, we have to get tough with our fears. We have to show them we've got some teeth and growl at them. Usually, when we get tough with our fears, they turn and hightail it out of there. Instead of letting my fears bully me, I can stand up to them.
Finally, expect trouble. Usually, Kipper is aware of any dog in the area way before I am. His ears prick forward. His tail lifts in a wag and he starts to whine. (he's always up for new friends!). He's ready to meet any newcomers and excited about the possibilities.
I'm not sure why I am blindsided by fears, but I often am. It's like I don't expect them to rear their ugly heads, even though it's a fairly regular occurrence. By being proactive and being ready for my fears to come after me, I could probably head off a lot of angst.
So, how do you face your fears? If you want to read about how others have sent there Chihuahuas of fear running for the hills, stop on over here.
~ blessings, Bronte