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Dogs are known to be brave and fearless protectors, but there are times where even the silliest things can get them to turn tail, but what are dogs scared of so much to have such a reaction?

One of the greatest contributors to this behavior is anything that might make a strange and alien sound to them which will have them jump out of their skin.[1]

Ones that I’ve personally encountered involve fans, tongs, or even an umbrella, the one where you just open it and it acts like a mini shotgun sound.

But that’s not all, there are plenty of different, and completely random things and simple phenomena that some dogs have this strangely irrational fear of.

Let’s discover some of the most peculiar ones, shall we?

1. Fans

Young woman refreshing in front of cooling fan with her dogYoung woman refreshing in front of cooling fan with her dog

To no surprise, a thing blowing air and making some odd noises can be absolutely upsetting to dogs.

It’s something new and foreign to them and they’ll often go on the defensive when facing it, ready to jump back at a moment’s notice when the head of the fan starts turning their way.

The movement of a fan may seem normal to you, but for a dog, it’s some chilling demon waiting to scare him.

This is often evident by the way they instinctively jump back to a “safe distance” when one passes over them.

More often than not, you’ll see the dog even try to attack it from different angles as a means of trying to subdue it.

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Unfortunately for him, it’s to no avail unless he knocks it over which can be quite an entertaining “battle” to watch.

2. Umbrellas

Umbrellas are another odd fear dogs have, most likely due to believing it to be some strange animal that was trying to be territorial and made itself bigger than him?

Now, I’m not sure if this is the case for every dog, but mine was absolutely terrified of me opening my umbrella up or trying to shake the water off it once we got inside and out of the rain.

He’d let out these meek barks as if trying to tell it to stay away, especially if it was accidentally pointed toward him (when dry), most likely because of the sudden motion mixed with the sound.

Whatever it is, it always ends up catching me off guard and making me chuckle heartily before putting the umbrella away.

3. Barbecue Tongs

That’s right, the mere act of clicking tongs can have your dog shift all of his focus from whatever he was currently doing to the metal contraption in question.

He’ll stop and look at it like it’s the scariest monster he’s ever seen.

You’d think that kitchen utensils wouldn’t be the bane of every dog?

Who knows, maybe he just sees you as some giant crab and is worried that those tongs are gonna pinch!

4. Hiccups

the dog jumps on the womanthe dog jumps on the woman

That’s right, hiccups. Most often it’s due to the sudden spasm that happens involuntarily that spooks the pupper.

A friend’s dog suffered from a particularly aggressive case of them for a few hours.

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Every time the hiccup happened, she’d just jump out of her spot in confusion, looking around as if trying to find the attacker.

It got progressively worse to the point where she was absolutely terrified of her invisible assailant.

Thankfully, the neighbor did manage to calm her down, though I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have a few chuckles escape me when I heard about it.

5. Rearranging The House Interior

Turns out changing the layout of a dog’s well treaded ground can have them acting anxious too.

This is most likely due to the fact that it challenges what they already know and turns it on its head.

You know how in The Sims game, the tenants get confused whenever you randomly do a little bit of remodeling and they wonder whether they’ve entered the wrong house?

Well, the same exact thing happens in real life, but with some dogs in particular.

They can get absolutely spooked when coming back from an hour-long walk only to find that the couch and chairs are somewhere else completely, or another piece of furniture has shifted.

They register the change as unusual and new terrain, but not before you see the most surprised expression mixed in with a bit of confusion that you’d ever see on your dog’s face.

Though this surprise is short lived.

The slight fear that lingers on as they start moving around the house, sniffing everything just to make sure they’re back home is evident in their hesitation to approach something in fear of it “moving” again.

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6. Vacuum Cleaners

I’d wager that vacuums are a dog’s biggest nemesis as they’re both loud and confusing to them, and when you turn one on, they go absolutely mental at them.

You’ll see the dog just jump out of what he’s currently doing and start backing away in a panic until he reaches a corner.

He’ll then bark at the vacuuming end until he gathers the courage to start attacking it.

Though he’ll only really go after the areas that don’t have as powerful of a suck.

Because of that, it’ll seem like he’s attacking the floor or jumping around in a circle as if he’s performing some sort of dance that he hopes will subdue the mighty suction beast.

It definitely makes weekly cleaning all the more entertaining whenever I witness it.

7. Smoke Detectors

There’s something about your dog trying to jump around the kitchen when the  loud noise of the smoke detector goes off  due to low batteries that’s quite hilarious and entertaining to watch.

It’s like he’s trying to grab at an invisible stick, and failing, then barking in frustration in the direction of the noise he just can’t get to shut up.

8. The Vet

a veterinarian holds a French bulldog in his armsa veterinarian holds a French bulldog in his arms

Now, I’ll give this one to dogs, we’re also scared of going to the doctor ourselves, especially when we’re young, and even as adults sometimes (I know I’m still not the biggest fan of needles or hospital stays).

That said, there’s just something endearingly funny about the way dogs do it.

You know they have to go and you won’t be taking no for an answer, but your perturbed little pooch is going to do everything in his power to try and prolong this as long as he possibly can.

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It’ll be either him choosing to be dead weight to try and anchor himself to the street so you’d have to drag him or carry him like a baby, or the attempts at pleading and begging as he starts trying to bore a hole in your lap with how hard he’s trying to pull the puppy dog eyes off.

Some dogs you’ll even have to chase around the house to grab them if you even mention the word “Vet” if they’ve had to go there prior.

I know one of my older dogs used to have his eyes widen the moment someone mentioned the word in a similar tone to the one I used.

Those same eyes would then bolt toward me if I was in the room with that “Do I have to?” expression which will never stop being funny to me.

9. The Stairs

That’s right, the stairs of all things! While it’s not as common as some of the others, the stair fear comes from a lack of exposure for dogs who’ve mostly been used to living in single story spaces where no stairs existed.

It’s somewhat similar to the furniture rearranging fear as it’s something that’ll strike him as completely new and so alien.

Because of this, he’ll start approaching this “odd construction” carefully and will be scared to go up or down them.

Where it becomes entertaining is when you start going up said stairs and he thinks you’re being swallowed or something and he’s trying to do his best to warn you.

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Other times, when the dog actually decides to try doing the same, watching him wobble around or clumsily try to figure stairs out can be the most endearing thing.

This is especially true with fluffy pups who can end up landing on their butt and then just continuing on as if nothing had happened.

10. Just About Anything Else

The aforementioned lack of exposure or loud noise can make just about any everyday encounter into one of an irrational and funny fear.

Things like lemons, aluminum foil, bicycles, watermelons, etc. You name it, and if they haven’t seen it and it can make a weird noise or is imposing in some way, he’s likely to fear it at the start.

In Conclusion

There are countless things that dogs are scared of that are absolutely harmless.

However, it can be an absolute delight to watch the interaction, especially knowing that they won’t bring any long term harm to the pooch.

Half the fun lies in trying to figure out what the next item is going to be while you’re out on a random walk and then seeing the dog’s reaction to it which can be priceless.

That said, take it in moderation and don’t do it intentionally.

Your furry friend can only take so much excitement at a time and he’ll need some comfort after the fact anyway.

So, make sure you two cozy up to one another after one of these spooks and show him how silly his fear actually was.

Until next time, pet parents!

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By Andy Marcus

Hello, my name is Andy Marcus, and I am a passionate dog lover and enthusiast. For me, there is nothing quite like the joy and love that a furry friend can bring into our lives. I have spent years studying and learning about dogs, and have made it my mission to share my knowledge and expertise with others through my website. Through my website, I aim to provide comprehensive information and resources for dog owners and enthusiasts. Whether it's training tips, health and nutrition advice, or insights into dog behavior, I strive to create a platform that is accessible and useful to everyone who loves dogs.

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