Canine reactions to vacuums can range from entering attack-mode to running away in fear. Since vacuums are a necessary evil, the best way to help your dog tolerate cleanup day is to train him to make a positive association with his dust-sucking nemesis.
Add self-propelled cleaners to the scary equipment equation, and our dogs are forced to cope with yet another frightening household foe. Vacuums are unlike any other type of household equipment, and a single scary run-in can set the stage for a lifetime of fear.
Sure, hairdryers and mixers are similarly noisy, but they dont emerge from closets and take over the room the way vacuums do. Self-propelled cleaners, like Roombas, are especially frightening because they make noise, move unexpectedly, and appear and disappear without warning. Instead of forcing your dog to confront his fears when you bring out the vacuum, try putting him in a quiet room in a different part of the house and giving him something to keep him happily occupied.
Repeat this step a number of times, adding different types of movement so that it looks like actual vacuuming. It will probably take a series of training sessions spread out over a few weeks before your dog is comfortable with both the sound and movement of the vacuum. Youll know that your dog feels more comfortable with it when he exhibits the same Where are my goodies? response when the vacuum turns on.
Why do dogs hate vacuums?
One of the main reasons dogs are afraid of vacuums is the noise. Dogs have a keen sense of hearing, so if the vacuum seems loud to you, it is much worse for your dog. Not only do vacuums produce a lot of noise, but they also produce high-frequency sounds that can frighten or annoy your dog.
What do you do when your dog is afraid of vacuum?
First try putting your dog in the same room as the vacuum cleaner while it’s turned off. Gradually you’ll need to up the ante – try placing a treat on the vacuum cleaner and making your dog take it off, and slowly progress to turn the vacuum cleaner on while your dog is in the room.
Can a vacuum hurt a dog?
All vacuum cleaners can’t be used to vacuum-clean your dog. The suction power would ordinarily hurt your dog. Specifically created dog attachments can remove your dog’s hair without harming your dog in any way.
Why are dogs scared of brooms and vacuums?
Your dog may think a few nips on the broom will end this relationship the broom has with you. Although brooms do not make a noise like vacuums, they do represent an intrusion in the house. The broom is not around all the time and every time it arrives on the scene it is not part of friendly activities.
You might be cleaning a little extra around the house these days, and have noticed that every time you pull out the vacuum cleaner your dog runs into another room. Have you ever wondered why your dog is scared of the vacuum? Is it the loud noise, the moving of furniture or the flurry of activity that often accompanies vacuuming? Or is it something that they can perceive that you just can’t?
You might only smell the warm scent of a freshly vacuumed living room, but your dog will able to sense dust and old particles that had long since settled under your couch, according to MSN . After about a week of this process, begin setting aside time (approximately 10 minutes a day) to slowly move the vacuum closer to your dog while encouraging them to sit and stay.
Note: If you have a robot vacuum, consider allowing your dog to spend time with the device (while you watch) and rewarding them for good behavior. If this seems to be the case, consider pulling up videos of vacuum sounds online and playing them while you and your dog spend time together in a room.
Does your dog kick up a storm or scoot out of the room whenever you start the vacuum cleaner? This behavior may seem weird to us, humans, because we know its nothing to be afraid of.
As the vacuum cleaner lifts dirt, fur, and other debris from the carpet, it also kicks up odors . Dogs that werent exposed to different noises and environments as puppies may have a hard time around vacuums.
They may growl, snarl, bark, lunge, snap and even bite the aggressor in this case, the vacuum cleaner (3) . So, if you notice your dog yawning and drooling excessively whenever you start vacuuming, it may be a sign of nervousness (4) . Urination can occur when a dog is excited, when its marking its territory or when it answers the call of nature.
Submissive urination occurs when the dog is feeling anxious or in acknowledgment of a more dominant figure. The loud noise from a running vacuum cleaner can result in this type of urination. If your dog runs under the table, chair or other furniture whenever you switch on the vacuum, its a strong sign of fear.
Dogs that embark on destructive behaviors as the vacuum cleaner is going are reacting to the unease they are feeling (5) . More importantly, carpets, rugs, and couches are a haven for dog flea eggs and larvae. So, managing your dogs fear starts with preparing them for the sounds they might encounter in daily life.
The best time to train your pup and expose them to new and different experiences is around the age of 7 weeks to 4 months. If you buy your pup from a reputable breeder, you may find that the process started earlier than 7 weeks (7) . Desensitization involves making the dog less sensitive to sounds, people or objects that trigger an exaggerated emotional reaction.
Storing the vacuum cleaner in enclosed storage keeps your space neat but doesnt do much for your dog. Where possible, ask a family member or friend to help note the dogs reaction. Consider placing treats on the vacuum cleaner to help change your dogs perception of the device.
Place it close to the vacuum cleaner to help make your dog more comfortable around the device. Dont force them to endure the sound: Remember, their hearing is more magnified than yours and this will only increase their fears. Avoid fussing over them: They may get the impression that acting all stressed will get them special attention and treats (9) .
We all have lots to adjust to and experience in todays busy modern life! This is true for your dog as well as you – from new people, to new surroundings, smells, appliances and noises, theres a lot of different sensations for your pet to adjust to. And while your dog may be a little nervous around new sounds, smells and experiences at first, once they know what to expect they should be much more confident!
Even more confusing, this very loud, unusual thing will seem to run around their safe, quiet home – and is being pushed around by a person they trust! If your dog is afraid, they may start barking incessantly, drooling, crouching down, retreating or they may even try to attack the vacuum cleaner in an effort to defend themselves from this strange object that seems to be invading their space.
Throughout any noise training programme, remember to reassure your pet and reward them for calm behaviour when you turn the volume up.
Why Do Dogs Hate Vacuums?
It’s no surprise that many dogs are afraid of vacuums; they’re big, noisy and disruptive. Add self-propelled cleaners to the scary equipment equation, and our dogs are forced to cope with yet another frightening household foe.Vacuums are unlike any other type of household equipment, and a single scary run-in can set the stage for a lifetime of fear. Sure, hairdryers and mixers are similarly noisy, but they don’t emerge from closets and take over the room the way vacuums do.Self-propelled cleaners, like Roombas, are especially frightening because they make noise, move unexpectedly, and appear and disappear without warning.
The Easy Solution: Try a Management Technique
An easy way to help your dog cope with cleaning day is to manage his environment while you work.Instead of forcing your dog to confront his fears when you bring out the vacuum, try putting him in a quiet room in a different part of the house and giving him something to keep him happily occupied.A dog interactive toy, or “busy toy,” that dispenses dog treats or dog food kibbles, like the KONG Wobbler dog toy, gives him something to focus on other than the ruckus down the hall. Turning on a white noise machine or the television can also help to camouflage the noise.
Step 1: Establish a Positive Association
To start the training process, find a friend to help out and fill your pockets with small, meaty dog treats, like Blue Buffalo Blue Bits training dog treats.Bring your dog to a quiet room, and ask your helper to stand far enough away that your dog won’t be triggered when the vacuum appears. (Depending on your dog’s level of fear, it might be an adjacent hallway or even a different room.)Tell your helper to bring out the vacuum so that your dog can see it (keeping the vacuum turned off and still), then immediately start feeding your dog the small treats. Continue treating your dog for a few seconds, making sure that your dog can see the vacuum but maintains a relaxed posture. Then, have your helper remove the vacuum, and stop feeding your dog treats.Repeat the process several times, having your helper bring the vacuum into view and holding it still while you give your dog treats, then stopping the treats when it goes away. This first step helps your dog make a positive association with the vacuum, because when it appears, he gets goodies!After a bunch of repetitions, try a quick test: ask your helper to move the vacuum into your dog’s sightlines, as in the previous repetitions, and watch to see if your dog looks to you as if to say, “Where are my goodies?” That reaction means that your dog is starting to equate the vacuum with something positive!
Step 3: Desensitizing to the Vacuum Noise
The scariest part of vacuum training is turning it on, so make sure that your dog is happily orienting to you and taking treats with relaxed posture around a turned-off, moving vacuum before you try to flick the switch.Even if your dog is calmly tolerating the moving vacuum in the same room, you may want to turn the vacuum on in a different room or at a distance from your dog that is similar to when you began the training process. Ask your helper to start the vacuum for a few seconds, then feed your dog goodies while it’s on and stop when your helper turns it off.Watch your dog to make sure that the noise hasn’t derailed your progress. If your dog is unable to take treats when the vacuum turns on, it means that you’re too close to it; move farther away or shut the door between you and your helper when it’s turned it on.It will probably take a series of training sessions spread out over a few weeks before your dog is comfortable with both the sound and movement of the vacuum. Don’t rush this part of the training process!You’ll know that your dog feels more comfortable with it when he exhibits the same “Where are my goodies?” response when the vacuum turns on. At that point, you can begin moving it around and rewarding your dog, and then in subsequent sessions, start to bring it closer to your dog.
Why Are Dogs Scared of Vacuums?
More often than not, when vacuums surface, dogs exhibit fear-driven behaviors such as trembling, hiding or barking at (or attacking) the vacuum, to name a few. But why? At the core of the issue are two basic reasons:
1. They’re Noisy
The verdict on exactly how powerful dogs‘ sense of hearing is may still be out — but it’s undeniable that in certain cases, dogs are able to detect sounds that even the sharpest human ear cannot hear. The American Kennel Club reported, “The average adult human cannot hear sounds above 20,000 Hertz (Hz), although young children can hear higher … Dogs, on the other hand, can hear sounds as high as 47,000 to 65,000 Hz.” What’s more, dogs can also detect very soft sounds at high frequencies. So, considering a dog can hear sounds at lower decibels that humans (below 0dB), imagine how loud a vacuum cleaner is that often registers around 75dB, according to Yale University.Now consider your vacuum, which emits many high-pitched sounds. To a dog who may be detecting sounds we can’t hear, that racket could become too much to handle — especially if it catches them by surprise.
2. They’re Smelly
Dogs‘ sense of smell is also powerful. While you might not realize it, your vacuum is kicking up a lot of unusual smells that your dog can detect. You might only smell the warm scent of a freshly vacuumed living room, but your dog will able to sense dust and old particles that had long since settled under your couch, according to MSN . Given that dogs rely so heavily on their sharp senses of smell, it’s easy to see why they get anxious.
Are Dogs Afraid of Robot Vacuums, Too?
Robot vacuums tend to be quieter than traditional upright vacuums, and they can be less physically intimidating. So are these less disturbing alternatives if your dog is scared of the vacuum?Without regular exposure, sadly, the answer is likely no. For many dogs, robot vacuums may be perceived as predators. Other dogs may perceive them as toys, while some may consider them prey because their seemingly autonomous nature causes them to “behave” like small creatures. For some dogs, the fact that they stir up new smells and make high-pitched sounds just like traditional vacuums could be enough to bother them.
How Loud Can Your Dog Hear?
Compared to humans, a dog’s hearing is exceptional. They are able to pick up very high and very low sounds that the human ear simply can’t detect.On average, a human adult can’t detect sounds that exceed 20,000 Hertz (Hz). Dogs, on the other hand, do much better. They may pick up high-pitched frequencies of between 47,000 and 65,000 Hz“Hertz” refers to the measurement of sound frequency while decibels (dB) measure the intensity or loudness of sound. This increased hearing capacity exposes your dog to intensities you can’t possibly imagine.Closer to home, most vacuum cleaners are extremely loud to some people with a sound level of around 70 dB
Reasons Why Dogs Are Scared of Vacuums
Understanding these reasons may make you more sympathetic and less annoyed with your dog.
With their heightened hearing ability, noise is a major cause of fear for dogs. Vacuums are sudden and loud and can easily frighten a dog. The amplified sound from the cleaner may cause distress, anxiety, and a whole lot of discomfort for your dog.A dog not used to loud noises may associate these fearful feelings with the vacuum. Therefore, it will panic every time you bring it out.
Alongside hearing, dogs also have a keen sense of smell. As the vacuum cleaner lifts dirt, fur, and other debris from the carpet, it also kicks up odors. This may lead to sensory overload for the dog which is extremely unpleasant.
3. If Your Dog Isn’t Socialized
Dogs that weren’t exposed to different noises and environments as puppies may have a hard time around vacuums. Reputable breeders will expose dogs to various sounds, textures, and environments to make them well-rounded.
4. It’s in the Genes
Dogs have individual personalities. Some will come across as shy and nervous at the sight of the vacuum. Whereas, others may exhibit aggressive behavior when exposed to strange people or objects.They may growl, snarl, bark, lunge, snap and even bite the aggressor — in this case, the vacuum cleaner
Signs Your Dog Is Frightened
Dogs display different signs if they are scared of vacuum cleaners. As mentioned above, some may become aggressive and extremely territorial. They see the vacuum as an enemy and feel it’s their job to guard you and their territory.Some of the typically fearful behaviors that you may pick up on include:
1. Drooling and Yawning
One of the reasons why dogs may drool is stress. So, if you notice your dog yawning and drooling excessively whenever you start vacuuming, it may be a sign of nervousness
Urination can occur when a dog is excited, when it’s marking its territory or when it answers the call of nature. However, when a well-trained dog urinates at an inappropriate moment, there is a problem.Submissive urination occurs when the dog is feeling anxious or in acknowledgment of a more dominant figure. This is usually a sign that the dog poses no threat to its supposed aggressor.The loud noise from a running vacuum cleaner can result in this type of urination. Dogs may release small amounts of pee or a large puddle around the house. If you come across this, it may be an indication of fear of vacuums.
3. Hiding Under Furniture
Fear invokes one of two reactions in humans and animals — fight or flight. If your dog runs under the table, chair or other furniture whenever you switch on the vacuum, it’s a strong sign of fear. Hiding under furniture makes the dog feel safe.
4. Destructive Chewing
Destructive chewing can be triggered by vacuum anxiety. Do you find your dog chewing on cords or wires? Are your armchairs gnawed at or the pillows torn open?Monitor your dog closely to observe times when the destructive chewing occurs. Dogs that embark on destructive behaviors as the vacuum cleaner is going are reacting to the unease they are feeling
Dealing With Your Dog’s Fear
You’re probably feeling ready to throw away your vacuum cleaner now, aren’t you? But, you shouldn’t discard it. Here’s why:What should you do then? There are several ways to help your dog or pup overcome their fear of vacuums.
Working With a Puppy
The best time to train your pup and expose them to new and different experiences is around the age of 7 weeks to 4 months. If you buy your pup from a reputable breeder, you may find that the process started earlier than 7 weeksIf your vacuum cleaner has suction settings, start by adjusting it to the lowest setting. Turn it on for a couple of seconds at a time in the presence of your pup. Watch their reaction and praise them for staying calm.Gradually increase the time and up the suction settings. Also, always remember to offer them a treat for staying calm. By giving the pup a specific treat, they will associate it with good behavior.
Desensitizing an Older Dog
An old dog can learn a new trick after all. Desensitization involves making the dog less sensitive to sounds, people or objects that trigger an exaggerated emotional reaction.You do this by exposing them to a weaker version of the thing they fear. But you do so in a non-threatening way. Over time, the dog may get used to the weakened version of the feared sound.You then gradually increase its intensity until you reach the normal sound exposure
3. Start Small
Have the vacuum cleaner on for only a few minutes at a time. Start with space or a room that’s not occupied by your dog. Where possible, ask a family member or friend to help note the dog’s reaction.If your dog is okay with the vacuum from a distance, slowly approach the space they are in. Leave a clear path to the door in case the dog chooses to leave the room. You may need to repeat the process for a while before your dog can get used to it.
4. Placing Yummy Treats on the Vacuum
Consider placing treats on the vacuum cleaner to help change your dog’s perception of the device. It then becomes less of a threat and more of something that earns them rewards.Similarly, reward your dog with a treat if they remain calm after you have finished using the vacuum. They may even start wagging their tail whenever they see the device.
5. Distract Your Dog
Does your dog have a favorite toy? Place it close to the vacuum cleaner to help make your dog more comfortable around the device. You can also offer your dog their favorite toy while the vacuum is running.While you’re cleaning, you can ask a family member to distract the dog by playing with them. If the dog can’t concentrate, don’t force them to continue playing.