A fear of water – known as acquaphobia, is an interesting phobia for Brits, considering we live on an island surrounded by water. The only way of travelling abroad is to fly over a great big ocean, or to sail the seas to reach your final destination. So it can be a pretty difficult phobia to battle and rid yourself of. But, if it makes you feel any better, it is not just humans who suffer from this psychological condition, but our feline pet friends too!
In the last month or so, an 11 stone dog, who was so traumatized of water, has finally taken the plunge and had swimming lessons to overcome his crippling fear of water. The extent of his phobia went as far as not wanting to drink water from his water bowl. Acquaphobia can present itself in a variety of ways, and just like animals, humans too can suffer in different ways; some more extreme than others. The dog, named Logan, who is a Saint Bernard, developed a fear of water when he was just a young puppy, and unfortunately chased another dog’s ball into a lake, realizing he couldn’t swim. From then on, he has become resentful of anything related to water. Logan, who is now 3 has caused his owners Miranda and Gordon Enderson endless troubles and can’t even get him into the bath to wash him.
After speaking to their vet, it was recommended to take the canine for swimming lessons. Logan has now done three lessons and his owners have noticed an incredible difference and improvement, who is now confident to splash around and swim around by himself. Miranda, logan’s owner commented: ‘I never imagined I would be taking my dog for swimming lessons but I am so proud of him. Between the first and third sessions you can see a huge difference. He’s gone from being a bit frantic to grip to the edge of the pool to actually swimming on his own.’
She continued to add, that ‘You just assume that all dogs know how to swim but not Logan. He’s such a confident and laidback dog in every other way but sprinkle a bit of water near him and it’s all over. It’s awesome to see him overcoming his fears.’
So if it’s not just humans who suffer from a fear of water, then it must be assumed that the causes are all the same. So here are just a few:
- It often derives from an instinctive fear of drowning
- It also relates to the ‘fear of the unknown’ and not knowing what might be lurking beneath the water, if it is deep, cloudy or muddy
- You have had a bad experience related to water from your early years
- You have been influenced by your family members, or parents who may have a fear of water
- Perhaps you tried to learn to swim and your teacher did not show you properly or for long periods of time
Here are some basic instructions to try and overcome and address your fear of water.
Like all phobias, you will only ‘cure’ it, by facing it, so in this case you need to be in the water.
- Firstly, all exercises you do should be done in shallow water to avoid any panic attacks or anxiety, as to go into the water you want to be reassured that you feel safe. So don’t go deeper than your chest – stay in control.
- Secondly, try and perform all exercises in a clear swimming pool, so you can see to the bottom and feel a lot more at ease that there is nothing else in the water with you.
- Wear swimming goggles – getting water in your eyes, especially chlorine which can sting some people, is the best way of immersing yourself in the water when you feel comfortable and confident, without stressing that you can’t keep your eyes open
- Make sure you enter the water with someone you trust – and make sure they are an experienced swimmer too.
- Only go into the pool when it is not busy, as overcrowding can stress you out and cause unnecessary anxiety, if someone is splashing around