Dog is suddenly scared of the ceiling fan

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A tired dog is a- good dog.
Barked: Thu Apr 10, '08 10:33pm PST 
Our 2yr old Yellow Lab Maya has suddenly become afraid of the ceiling fan in our living room. I’d say it started about a week ago, that she would come in the room and stair up at the fan and walk around it to get where she is going. Now if she is in the room on her dog bed, sitting with us or laying on the ground, she will always look up at it every couple minutes. Now if the fan starts moving she will leave the room. If she is on a “stay” in the room she will do the head turned stare of a submissive dog at the fan, and quiver

So, what has changed about the ceiling fan? Well the only thing that I can think of is that we had to put down our cat of 10yrs about 2 weeks ago after fighting Kidney failure for 6 months. During that time we had used the ceiling fan to hold the I.V. bag while doing subcutaneous (sub-q) fluid injections. We would leave it up there sometimes for a couple days, but it wasn’t there all the time. There hasn’t been a bag of sub-q fluid up there for 2 weeks, and now this is starting up.
To through another wrench into the psychological picture, 5 weeks ago Maya had gotten caught on a garden fence while playing fetch and needed stitches. So she had a cone on her head for 3 weeks.

We’re not sure of the correct action to take to correct this problem. We’ve tried several approaches,
1. Do nothing, ignore it and let her over come it by herself. We spend most of our time in the living room and she will come out there eventually on her own.
2. Correct her. Make a noise to distract her when she looks at the fan, just “tsssshh” nothing to scare her, or a “bite” on the neck if she’s that close.
3. Practice obedience training facing so she can see the fan behind me. We do training in the living room any how, so this isn’t much of a change.
4. We’re feeding her now under the ceiling fan. This has not affected he appetite at all, food is gone in a minute or less without hesitation.

More info about Maya, she is an “American standard” Yellow Lab, bred from Field trial’s dogs. She is a very focused dog, and very obedient. She is walked no less than 1 mile every day (mostly off leash), rain, snow, or shine. She goes to doggie day care twice a week. Her worst habit she has is that she is VERY fetch obsessed.

Sorry for being so long winded, but I wanted to be as detailed as possible, so I can get her the best help.

Edited by author Thu Apr 10, '08 10:34pm PST


Dog About- Rosedale

Barked: Fri Apr 11, '08 5:38am PST 
Sometimes fears based on incidents can take a while to develop..it is possible that the iv bag bumped her or moved one day and scared her. She has also had a big change in losing a member of her family (sorry to hear about your loss frown .)
Personally I wouldn't correct her about the fan but would continue with the feeding there. You can also try Bach's Rescue Remedy, which is a natural antianxiety and continue with the training etc in the room. Give her some time using these exercises, it may take several weeks for her to adjust to the changes. Good luck.
Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Fri Apr 11, '08 6:14am PST 
The fan did something to the cat, who then died. And now she's worried it might come after her.

Do not "correct" her for it. You can't help anxiety with correction; you can only make it worse. Distraction, on the other hand, is great. Distraction with positive or neutral things. Or if she's not too stressed, just ignore it.

It's way too soon to say "it isn't working." It's only been a week, and some of what you've been doing (the hand "bite", the "tsssshh", will unfortunately most likely only be making her more nervous.

When I first moved into my current house, my three-year-old cat was terrified of the ceiling fan in the kitchen. My other cats weren't; they were older and had lived with ceiling fans in every room in a previous apartment. But Aquavit was terrified. I temporarily moved their litterboxes upstairs, closed the door to the cellar so that she couldn't hide downstairs in the dark, and put their food bowls right at the entrance to the kitchen from the living room. She had to stick her head into the kitchen in order to eat, but she could keep an eye on the Dangerous Hovering Fan while she did so. Gradually, she got calmer and calmer about it, and eventually it didn't bother her at all. She now totally ignores it. (She's now ten, and her surviving sister is almot fifteen). But it took several weeks; it didn't happen instantly.

Give your dog time to see that the Dangerous Hovering Fan is not waiting to pounce on her.