Life in the Fast Lane



By 9:58 AM , , , , , , , , ,

Lately, we've been noticing strange things about our two-year-old Golden Retriever, Buddy.

We first saw that he had this inexplicable fear of large, static, black objects as a two-month-old pup. He would cower whenever he'd see my mom's black rolling luggage. At the time, my mom hadn't fully unpacked after her three-week European cruise so the luggage was placed somewhere in the dining area, where then-puppy Buddy would sleep. Every time one of us would roll the luggage to start unpacking, he'd run away, terrified. Even if he happened to walk anywhere near the luggage (which would be parked against its usual corner of the dining area), he'd sniff curiously, his fur would stand, and he'd back off, head lowered.

It wasn't as if he hadn't been exposed, at the time, to bigger objects (plants, the vacuum cleaner, what have you) or things that made fairly loud sounds (again, the vacuum cleaner, his crate being dragged from one corner of the room to another). So none of us understood why he was afraid of my mom's black rolling luggage.

Fast forward to present day Buddy. He's much bigger (at least 4" taller than Cassie, our female chocolate Lab, who already happens to be taller than our elderly male black Lab, Shadow), much heavier, and undoubtedly fluffy. In fact, most of our visitors are always shocked at his size. When he stands on his hind legs, he's around 5 feet "tall".

As large as he is, though, we've discovered recently that he's afraid of the following. And we don't know if it's because they're solid black objects.
  1. My black stuffed toy dog (which I got after being depressed over the death of my nine-year-old Lab, Ashley, back in 2006)
  2. A black badminton racket bag
  3. My sister's penguin stuffed toy
  4. A pillow with a black cover
  5. Black cloth
He lowers his head, hides his tail, and slinks away whenever he sees any of these aforementioned objects.

With anything else, he seems to be fine. I just don't understand why he's afraid of black objects shown to him or black objects at rest.

Is it because before coming to us, he must've had some traumatic experience with his former kennel?

Or is it because we should keep getting him used to these sorts of objects? Neither Shadow nor Cassie has ever had any problems with such things (in fact, we rarely see those two afraid of anything).

Cassie (upper left), Shadow (upper right), and Buddy.

Cesar Millan, if you're out there, any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Or if anyone in general has some tips for us, please let me know what they are.

We'd really love for Buddy to be a phobia-free dog.

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