Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/new fear of dogs


My daughter has suddenly become very afraid of our family dogs. She is 19 months old now, but the behavior started right around her 1st birthday. I thought that it would pass, but she does not really seem to be becoming more comfortable with them. She used to sit next to them, pet them, and play without needing someone to be right there with her. Now, however, whenever they are around she cries until someone picks her up. She will pet them, if she is being held, but if they try to lick her, she freaks out. She has never had a bad experience with them, they have never even growled at her. How can I help her get over this fear?

Hi Beverly,

I want to be 100% honest with you. I am not an expert in toddler fears. I focus on discipline, success, raising happy children, and more.

But, I am a father of two girls and we do have pets. I am wondering, how big are your dogs? Do you remember if your daughter has been exposed to any stories, movies, or TV shows where there has been an aggressive dog or even an animal that she might associate with a dog that could be scary?  


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Leon Scott Baxter


I can answer questions about raising happy, successful toddlers (not babies or infants...sorry). The two are synonymous. I would love to help you help your child find his passion or strength, how to encourage your child and give her opportunities, and discuss the importance of failure, perseverance, and resilience. If you have questions about how to get your child to believe in herself or how to parent versus being her friend, I can help. I can answer questions about how to model the right behaviors for your child, and what those behaviors might be for your specific situation. I also can help you deal with excuses: excuses you may be making for your child as well as excuses he is making for himself.


I have been an elementary school teacher for seventeen years. I am also an author, known as "America's Relationship Guru". I was a contributor to "Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul". My first three books have dealt with the relationship between couples in a romantic relationship. I am currently working on a new book on raising happy and successful children. For the book I interviewed happy, successful children (Maddie Bradshaw, Caine Monroy and many others) and/or their parents. I am also the father of two girls (10 and 15). Their resumes include: business owners, authors, YouTube celebrity, fundraisers, and print models. They have appeared in commercials, music videos, have interacted with mayors, international politicians, and one was mentioned on Capitol Hill for her help in finding a cure for pediatric cancer. They have watched a Dodger's Game with Jackie Robinson's daughter, been a pen pal with Dom DeLuise, and one was an official toy tester, while the other was invited to pitch her idea to a toy company. They've had these successes while also dealing with anxiety disorders and OCD.

• • • The Santa Barbara Independent • The Valley Voice • Atlanta Parent Magazine • • Coastal Woman • Santa Barbara Parent Source • • The One World Initiative Blog • •

I received a Bachelor's Degree in Film Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and got a teaching credential from Cal State Northridge.

Awards and Honors
• Named a Ben and Jerry's Citizen Cool • KLITE Community Hero • Certificate of Congressional Recognition in Teaching • Name is on the National Wall of Tolerance • Recipient of Realiastar's "Education's Unsung Heroes" Grant • Numerous "Best Dad in the World/Universe/Galaxy Certificates/Mugs/T-shirts/Hats

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