If your dog is scared of the vacuum, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about it.
Possible reasons why your dog is scared of the vacuum are that it does not like the vibrations the vacuum creates, it does not like the noise of the vacuum or that it finds the vacuum threatening.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the most likely cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog is afraid of the vacuum
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog does not like the vacuum and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It doesn’t like the vibrations
Dogs also tend to be sensitive to the vibrations they feel from the ground. The reason why your dog does not like the vacuum could 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 help to try to get your dog to stay in a different area when you are using the vacuum.
It doesn’t like the noise
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 the vacuum.
It finds the vacuum threatening
To dogs, vacuums do not make much sense and they are not natural. The cause could be that your dog finds the vacuum threatening. This would be more likely if it shows signs of threatening body language such as showing its teeth, growling and being stiff, when your vacuum is turned on, or if it becomes submissive and tries to hide.
Again, it would help to try to get your dog to stay elsewhere, when you are using the vacuum, or to get a less powerful vacuum.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged your dog to behave that way by rewarding the behavior. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it is afraid of the vacuum, it will encourage it to act that way more.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If it was not always afraid of the vacuum, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
If your dog 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 it does it
It would also be helpful to consider if it always gets afraid and what is different when it does not.
For example, if your dog only gets afraid 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 it
Below are some options you have when dealing with your dog becoming afraid of the vacuum.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have encouraged it to act afraid of the vacuum by rewarding it when it is afraid. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not become afraid and to follow the other tips below.
Get a quieter or less powerful vacuum
One option would be to look for a quieter or less powerful vacuum that you could use instead so that your dog is less likely to react to the noise and vibrations.
Get your dog to stay in another room
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.
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 becoming afraid of the vacuum you could:
- Start by playing sounds of vacuums from your phone and rewarding it when it does not become afraid.
- Get your actual vacuum out, without turning it on, and reward your dog for not being afraid
- Turn your vacuum on for a second and reward it for not being afraid
- Gradually leave the vacuum on for longer and longer, rewarding it for not being afraid each time.
- If it starts being afraid, it would help to go to a previous step and to slowly build up to more challenging steps again.
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