Vacuum cleaning is a very important process especially for pet owners because pets leave pet hair and pet dander wherever they go. Pets bring in extra dirt, dust, and other unwanted particles into the home as well.
This is why it becomes vital that you make your dogs learn that vacuum cleaners and their sounds are not scary because they’ll be coming in contact with a vacuum cleaner regularly.
In this guide, we’ll discuss why dogs get threatened by vacuum cleaners and what you can do to get your dog used to vacuum cleaner.
What Makes Dogs Scared of a Vacuum Cleaner?
There’s a simple reason why dogs are afraid of vacuum cleaners- it is strange for them, it gives off a weird smell and it looks weird as well.
A dog’s hearing senses are very sensitive which means that tolerating loud noises is difficult for them. Vacuum cleaners are like monsters for a dog. Usually, people vacuum once a week. However, in a household with pets, it becomes mandatory to vacuum frequently.
Every time you have to vacuum, your dog will get anxious and the vacuum cleaner will also frighten and startle it. As time passes by, your dog’s reactions may turn into a habit, and then, it will always get hyper and bark as soon as the vacuum cleaner will come into sight.
This can further lead to zuigerphobia, which is the term used for the fear of a vacuum cleaner.
Signs That Your Dog Is Scared of Vacuum Cleaners
If you’re a dog owner, we’re sure you can tell exactly when your dog is scared of something, but there may be times when you miss the subtle signs of uncomfort that your dog would be showing.
That’s why it becomes important to act accordingly and get well versed with the body language of your dog. Doing so will help us understand them better and make it easier for us to help them get okay with the vacuum’s presence.
Here are some reactions of a dog to the vacuum cleaner:
If you find your dog barking at the vacuum cleaner, it is a sign that it may be anxious or nervous. Dogs usually bark at something when it scares them.
2. Running Away
If your dog is always running away from the vacuum cleaner, that is also a sign that it is frightened and wants to stay away from the vacuum. Dogs often enter the fight or flight mode when they are scared of something.
This means that they either start barking loudly, or lunging, or they start running away. Sometimes, they may do a bit of both as well.
Dogs also start hiding when they are scared. If you find your dog hiding from the vacuum cleaner, that’s because it is scared and wants to get away from the vacuum.
You’ll often find her hiding under her safe spots whenever you get the vacuum cleaner out.
Accidents majorly happen when anxiety takes charge. Your dog may feel that nervous tingling in her belly when she is nervous and if the trigger is prolonged, it may lead to your dog pooping or peeing in your home. This is your pet’s nervous system’s way of reacting to uncomfortable situations.
If your dog starts whining, panting, running around, pacing, or humping around the vacuum cleaner, it means that it is uncomfortable around the device. These are all the signs of hyperarousal.
Some dogs often get so scared that they freeze, which means that they don’t move at all. Some dogs get so frightened they don’t really move. If your dog is standing with a fixed gaze and even trembling, you should instantly understand that it is freezing.
Moreover, it is important for you to track the subtle signs that people often miss. These indicators reflect that your dog is worried, stressed, or uneasy:
- Furrowed brow
- Lowered body
- Pinned back ears
- Still body
- Whale eye
- Tucked tail
- Lifting front paws
How to Get your Dog Used to Vacuum Cleaner
In this section, we’ll discuss how you can make your dog get used to the vacuum cleaner:
1. Introduce the Vacuum
Try turning the introduction of your dog to the vacuum cleaner into a fun game by scattering some of your dog’s treats around the vacuum for it to find and let it investigate the vacuum cleaner as per their choice.
However, if your pet avoids the vacuum cleaner, don’t force it on them and just ensure that they are comfortable with whatever they are doing.
2. Introduce the Vacuum’s Sound
If your dog gets comfortable around the vacuum when it is turned off, you should try turning it on to progress slowly. However, make sure that you don’t move the vacuum so that your pet can first get used to the noise.
You can scatter some treats at this stage as well to make the process as smooth as possible. Your aim should be to make your dog get used to the vacuum sound, and they should not be feeling threatened by it.
If your dog appears to be uncomfortable around the sound, turn the vacuum cleaner off. You can try putting the vacuum cleaner in some other room so that the dog tries to get used to the much quieter noise of the device.
3. Introduce the Vacuum’s Movement
Once your dog gets used to the vacuum’s sound, try moving it slowly. Again, you can throw some treats to keep your dog happy and occupied. This will allow your dog to do something fun while getting used to the vacuum’s movement.
Moreover, if they hide from the vacuum, you should stop right away.
4. Make Your Pet Learn to Settle
You should encourage your dog to settle while you are using the vacuum cleaner to clean the house. You should teach them to indulge in some fun games and activities while you are vacuuming the house. Give them their favorite toy to chew or play with, so that they stay distracted the whole time.
By this time, your dog should be comfortable with the sight, movement, and sound of the vacuum cleaner and it should be easy for you to go through with the process. Soon you’ll be able to vacuum while they have fun on their own.
Here’s a video you can watch to see how to get puppy used to vacuum cleaner…
What if Your Dog Attacks the Vacuum Cleaner?
This can be dangerous for both your dog and the vacuum cleaner. You could also get hurt while your pup tries to attack the vacuum. If your dog’s fear keeps escalating, it could also lead to psychological damage.
To stop this immediately, you should first hide the vacuum from your dog. Then, you should try desensitizing your dog to the vacuum cleaner. We also suggest you buy a new vacuum cleaner. Try purchasing a vacuum that doesn’t make much noise.
If nothing works, try contacting a professional and seek their help to solve the problem.
Pet owners need to ensure that they make their pets comfortable around vacuum cleaners. Vacuum cleaning is a necessary part of one’s cleaning routine considering the amount of dust and dirt that makes its way into our homes.
You can count on this guide to help you get rid of your pet’s fear of vacuum cleaners so that it lets you vacuum efficiently and effectively.
What do I do to make my dog comfortable around a vacuum cleaner?
To begin with, you should put your dog and the vacuum cleaner in the same room while the vacuum cleaner is turned off. Then, you can also try putting a treat on the vacuum cleaner so that your dog goes near it or take it off. Once you feel your dog is comfortable doing that, you can try turning the vacuum cleaner on and make your dog comfortable with it.
Why is a vacuum cleaner a scary machine for my dog?
Apart from having a strong smell organ, dogs also have the ability to hear 3x sound frequencies compared to humans. So, just like thunderstorms are scary for some dogs, vacuum cleaners’ sound is also scary for dogs.
Is there a term for the phobia of vacuum cleaners?
Yes, the fear of vacuum cleaners is known as Zuigerphobia. It is a specific phobia, which means that it is irrational, but extreme fear of a specific object. This kind of phobia makes the person immediately anxious and makes them avoid the object.