Why Your Dog Hates Vacuums

Does your dog run away from the vacuum cleaner? If so, there's no need to worry since most dogs do this. Much like cats, dogs tend to be scared of these machines for several reasons.

Some dogs run away and hide while others bark and jump around attacking the machine. Either way, the animal is stressed and not particularly happy with what you're doing. Why? The dog is usually scared, annoyed, or thinks you're in danger.

Proceed below as Max Kenyon from Clean That Floor explains why this is happening and how you could help your dog. Here are the two reasons why your dog might hate vacuums:
1. He/she is unfamiliar with the machine

If your dog was never exposed to a vacuum cleaner before, it’s quite reasonable for the animal to be scared of it now. Introducing a puppy to a vacuum cleaner seems like an insignificant matter, but it makes a huge difference. 

For this reason, all reputable breeders always make sure that all puppies are introduced to common household appliances. They know the importance of exposing the puppy to all the sounds and sights that could scare him/her in the future.

This is common method breeders use to teach puppies to like vacuums, thunderstorms and other such noisy things.

If your dog never had a chance to see and hear a vacuum cleaner working, he/she might be terrified of it. For adult dogs, it’s a sudden noise that could be threatening, which is why they hide.
2. Your dog might be fearful

We often forget that dogs have different personalities and that some are more fearful than others. While fear is usually directly connected to a lack of early exposure, it might also be genetic. If one of your puppy’s parents reacted to certain noises, the puppy might respond similarly.

Still, another thing people often forget is that fear isn’t necessarily bad. It’s normal for an animal to react and possibly be scared of some noises. In the wild, it’s what would help them survive.

It helps your dog have a healthy level of caution, but make sure to watch how the dog reacts. When fear gets out of proportion, it tends to turn into a phobia which is in no way good for your pet.
Try To Understand Your Dog

Think about how the whole experience might seem to your dog. It’s unlikely your furry friend will ever understand what a vacuum cleaner is. Try explaining its purpose to your pet and see if she/he will calm down the next time you use it.

In the eyes of your pet, a vacuum cleaner is scary, noisy, and he/she can’t hide from it. The frightening thing on wheels follows your furry friend under the couch and table as well.

Just keep in mind your pup won't understand that all you are trying to do is vacuum up their very own fur and dog hair with a reliable machine to give them a cleaner environment to play in. 
Maybe It’s Not Fear

Does your dog hide or bark at the machine? If he/she hides away, it’s probably fear that’s causing that reaction. However, if the animal is barking and jumping around, there might be more to it.

Some dogs aren’t actually scared but want to play. If your dog is barking and jumping around the vac, he/she might just be trying to play and herd the unit. Dogs that would herd sheep in nature sometimes try to do the same with vacuum cleaners.

Nipping and chasing is the instinctive reaction, and your dog’s attempt to do the job right. You can easily tell if this is the case if your dog also does this with cars, bicycles, and lawnmowers. These genes come out when you use a mop or a broom as well.

Once you turn the vac off to store it away, your dog will likely think it’s thanks to barking and nipping at the unit.  
He/She is Defending You

If your dog doesn’t hide but keeps attacking the unit, he/she might just be trying to protect you. In the eyes of the animal, this loud and scary monster is near and following you, so it’s its job to protect you from harm.

The same goes for a thunderstorm. Some dogs hide while others bark at the sky, trying to scare the threat away.
How to Help
The best way to tackle the issue is to manage your dog’s environment. Let the animal outside when you want to clean, so he/she isn’t near enough to feel threatened. If you don’t have a yard, you can keep the animal in a distant room where the sound isn’t as intensive.

Another thing you can do is use treats, biscuits, and other stimulants. This has always been one of the most efficient ways of getting your dog to do or stop doing certain things.

Bring the machine out and hand a cookie to your pet. Tell him/her a few kind words and leave the unit there for a while. Maybe even do this for days depending on how scared your pet is. Having a cleaner out in the dog’s sight might help the animal get used to its presence. You can give a try with small portable vacuum cleaners (like these products) that creates low noise.

Occasional treat near the machine is also a good idea. Move it back and forth without turning it on, making similar movements you would when using the unit. Throw a few treats as you move the vacuum, so your dog thinks that’s where the biscuits come from.

You can now turn the vacuum on in another room. Give your dog a treat whenever there’s vacuuming noise, and stop giving them when the noise stops. It’s to get the animal used to the sound the unit makes.

Now you can try and turn on the vacuum in the presence of your pet. Hand a few treats and carefully move the unit back and forth. Feed a few more pieces as you move, so your dog gets used to this sight and sound bringing treats.

At this point, your pet should be somewhat comfortable with the machine. Though this sounds like a lot of treats, keep in mind the entire process should take time. It’s not something you can do in a single afternoon, so make sure to give it a few days at least.  

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