If your dog has been barking at the vacuum, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common reasons why they do it and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my dog bark at the vacuum? Possible reasons why your dog barks at the vacuum are that it finds the vacuum threatening, it has sensitive hearing and the vacuum is loud, it feels the vibrations or you might have inadvertently encouraged the behavior.

There are a number of reasons why it might be doing it but there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause. There are also a number of things you can do to get it to stop.

Why your dog barks at the vacuum

Below are common causes and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.

It finds it threatening

To dogs, vacuums do not make much sense and they are not natural. The cause could be that it finds the vacuum threatening. This would be more likely if it shows signs of threatening body language when barking such as showing its teeth, growling and being stiff.

It has sensitive hearing

Dogs tend to have much more sensitive hearing than we do and vacuums are loud. The cause could be that the loudness of the vacuum is too much for your dog. This would be more likely to be the cause if you have a particularly loud vacuum. In this case, you could try getting your dog to stay in a different room or in the yard while you are using it.

It feels the vibrations

Dogs also tend to be sensitive to the vibrations they feel from the ground. The reason why it does it could also be that it feels the vibrations from your vacuum. This would be more likely if you have a particularly powerful vacuum. In this case, it would also help to try to get it to stay in a different area when you are using it.

Encouraging the behavior

The cause might also be that you have been encouraging it to bark at the vacuum. If you tend to give it things it wants when it starts barking such as toys, treats or extra attention, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. This would be more likely if it tends to show signs of excitement when it does it.

Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it barks, to wait for it to stop barking before rewarding it and to giving positive reinforcement training.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why it has been doing it.

What else happened when your dog first started barking at the vacuum

If it did not always bark at the vacuum, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.

If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be because you got a new more powerful or louder vacuum. It could also be because it learned that it gets rewards for doing it.

What is different when your dog does not bark at the vacuum

It would also be helpful to consider if it always barks and what is different when it does not.

For example, if it only barks when you’re in a certain room with the vacuum, it might be the case that it feels trapped in there and it finds the vacuum threatening.

What to do about your dog barking at the vacuum

Below are some things you can do about your dog barking at the vacuum.

Positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage your dog to behave a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.

To use it to get your dog to stop barking at the vacuum you could:

  1. Start by playing sounds of vacuums from your phone and rewarding it when it does not bark.
  2. Get your actual vacuum out and reward your dog for not barking
  3. Turn your vacuum on for a second and reward it for not barking
  4. Gradually leave the vacuum on for longer and longer, rewarding it for not barking each time.
  5. If it starts barking, it would help to go to a previous step and to slowly build up to more challenging steps again.

Get a quieter vacuum

Another option would be to look for a quieter vacuum that you could use instead so that your dog is less likely to react to the noise and vibrations.

Get it to stay in another room or outside

You could also try getting it to stay in another room or to go outside, while you are using it, so that it does not hear the vacuum.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have encouraged it to bark at the vacuum by rewarding it when it barks. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not bark and to follow the other tips above.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.