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Fan Phobia: Understanding and Helping Your Dog Overcome Their Anxiety

By Aviram K.
Published in Training & Behavior
February 12, 2023
4 min read
Fan Phobia: Understanding and Helping Your Dog Overcome Their Anxiety
✏️ This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.
🏥 The information in this article is not a substitute for professional help.

It’s a lazy weekend around your home. The weather is finally starting to warm up, and this seems like the perfect time to chill out on the patio!

You plop down on your favorite lawn chair with an iced tea in your right hand. Your left hand mindlessly strokes your dog’s head as you two relax into the moment.

All is right in the world until your pup looks up to the ceiling and starts shaking. He lets out a few deep growls and then hightails it out of there.

Confused, you gaze up to the ceiling…ah yep, your patio fan is up there swishing away!

That’s what scared Fido off!

For as long as you can remember, your pup has seemed to have some kind of fear of ceiling fans.

What’s up with this?

Dogs can definitely have a fear, even a phobia, of ceiling fans. Possible reasons include fear of the unknown, past negative experiences, and noise sensitivity. Thankfully, there are several ways you can help your pup overcome this.

In this article, I will reveal the potential reasons why dogs may hate fans. I will also provide you with some tactics to try to help your dog overcome their fear of fans.

Wish you could recreate that patio oasis, lounging out with your pup by your side? Only this time without them freaking out and fleeing the scene?

I’ve got you covered!

I will help you figure out what’s behind your dog’s fraidy-fan behavior and show you how to put an end to it.

Let’s get into it!

Table of Contents
Why Do Dogs Hate Fans?
How to Help Your Dog Overcome Their Fear of Fans
Your Dog Can Become a Fan of the Fan

Why Do Dogs Hate Fans?


Your dog’s distaste for ceiling fans may seem strange or petty to you. It’s just a fan, after all!

But for your pup, that seemingly-innocent household item may carry a whole different meaning.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons your dog may hate fans:

Fear of the Unknown

Your dog may simply be afraid of the fan because they don’t know quite what to make of it!

It makes sense if you think about it: it’s a big object that is high up in the air…spinning around furiously! This goes double for a fan that is extra wobbly…it may appear to your pup that it could come crashing down on them at any moment!

Past Negative Experiences

Your dog may also have an aversion to fans if they’ve been hurt by one in the past. Maybe a loud, squeaky fan kept them up all night. Or perhaps the fan kept their room way too cold for their comfort.

On a more serious note, a running fan may be linked to a painful recurring event from your dog’s past. Perhaps a previous owner would turn the fan on high right before a beating or prior to leaving your sweet pup alone for days at a time.

Noise Sensitivity

Some fans can be downright noisy, and this may bother your pup! Your dog may have sensitive ears and fans that constantly squeak, tick, clunk or create any extreme sounds may be uncomfortable or even scary for them.

How to Help Your Dog Overcome Their Fear of Fans


While you might not totally understand your dog’s fear of fans, you can still help them overcome it.

Here are a few simple methods to try:


If you can desensitize your dog to the fan, you can easily help them overcome their fear. During the process of desensitization, your pup will ideally get used to the fan. The way it sounds and looks will no longer intimidate them!

To do this, start your fan on the lowest setting while your pup is in the room. Gradually turn it up to a higher setting and reward your pup with treats and praise as they continue to tolerate the fan. If your dog gets scared in the process, pause immediately and take things back down to a level they are comfortable with.

Take your time and allow your dog as much time as it takes for them to feel safe with the fan.


With counterconditioning, you can actually train your dog to love the fan.

You heard that correctly-your pup can learn to enjoy the fan rather than fear it!

The best way to get this to happen is to make sure you train your dog to directly associate the fan with something that is rewarding to them.

This could be blowing the fan and then immediately giving your pup their favorite treat. The key is to make sure that the association between the fan and the treat is intrinsically linked together. This way your pup comes to think of the fan as being part of a positive experience.

Seeking Professional Help

If your pup truly fears the fan, especially if they associate it with a past negative experience, you may need professional help. Your dog’s vet, a trainer, or a dog behaviorist may have more tips, tricks, and tactics to help your pup overcome their fear for good.

Keeping the Fan Out of Reach

Oftentimes your fan will be fixed on the ceiling, and there’s not too much you can do to keep your pup from seeing it. You can always avoid the fan triggering your dog by keeping them out of any room that has a fan. Of course, this may not always be realistic, convenient, or practical.

But say your dog is afraid of a floor fan or a small portable fan of some type. In this case, try experimenting with positioning it away from your dog or in an area where they can’t easily see or hear it.

Using a White Noise Machine

Maybe you’ve realized that it’s the sound of the fan that bothers your dog the most. This may be an easy fix! Try using a white noise machine to block out the sound of the fan.

What your pup can’t hear can’t bother them!

Your Dog Can Become a Fan of the Fan


If your dog fears the fan, you can find yourself in quite a pickle. After all, you probably have one in most, if not all the rooms in your house!

This may seem like a strange or silly fear to have, but it actually makes sense…fans can look and sound weird and scary. Like something out of a Sci-Fi film!

Your pup doesn’t understand that they’re one of the most essential objects in your home, working overtime to keep you cool as a cucumber. They just see an object they don’t understand, that they may have had an unpleasant experience with, or that may just be a bit too loud for them.

Thankfully, with these tips, you’ll never have to go without your fan due to your dog’s fear. If you’re really lucky, through training, your dog may even come to love your fan just as much as you do!

Dog BehaviorsDog Training
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