Weird puppy phobia

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sourced from: https://www.reddit.com/r/puppy101/comments/aeyzjc/weird_puppy_phobia/

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So over the course of the last 1-2 months, my 10 m/o puppy has developed a bit of a strange phobia. We have 2 ceiling fans in our house, one in the living room and one in the sunroom. The rooms are adjacent to each other and accessible to him. The living room fan is never on, whereas the sunroom one is on every day, mostly in the evenings. During the daytime it is stationary.

Well, my pup is terrified of these ceiling fans in every sense of the word. Sometimes he will randomly notice them (whether they are on or off) and go into a fit of barking, growling, hackles up, and doing his "scared run" back and forth between the two rooms, all the while barking and staring the the fans. We don't really make a fuss of him when he does this, we just tell him "it's okay" and try to calm him down. Usually it never works and we just have to wait until he tires himself out and forgets about it. I have tried touching the fans (while they're off), pushing the fins, etc. to show him it's okay, but that just seems to make him more concerned.

It sounds crazy but it also seems like he thinks the Evil Ceiling Fans are conspiring against him. Every once in a while when he's in the room he will glance up at the fan like he's checking on it. When we're doing training in the sunroom, he is so distracted by looking up at the fan that it's difficult to get him to focus. Worst of all, whenever something else scares him (he knocks something over, there's a loud noise, he trips over something, and so on) he will run to us and stare up at the ceiling fan in fear, almost as though he thinks the fan is responsible for whatever happened. If I didn't feel so bad for him, I'd find it almost comical.

How can I help/train him to get over this fear? Like I said, most of the barky, growly outbursts are random, but he has started to get into the habit of checking on the fan every once in a while whenever he's in the room. I'm not sure how to proceed without accidentally reinforcing his behavior. Any help would be appreciated!

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