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Why Are Dogs Scared Of Vacuums?

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Vacuuming is an easy task. Well, if your dog is not afraid of them! 

Have you ever questioned the reason behind your dog’s fear of the vacuum? Is it the movement of the furniture or is it the loud noise? It is commonly known that dogs and vacuums do not get along, but few of us really know why.

First, they likely despise the noise. Other than when you’re really vacuuming, has your dog ever heard a vacuum sound? You probably only use the vacuum once or twice a week in a typical home. Therefore, our dogs do not have enough time to become accustomed to and comfortable with the equipment. It can get intimidating, noisy, large and appears to be attacking them. 

When exposed to sounds they are unfamiliar with, dogs will experience sound phobia. Your dogs often enjoy running and barking at passing cars or other strange noises because of this. Due to our dog’s extremely sensitive hearing compared to our own, loud noises are much less pleasant. 

The emotional responses eventually turn into learned behaviors, and even the sight of the vacuum can cause hyperarousal and barking.

Next is the smell. Certain scents that the dog might not be accustomed to could be released into the air as the vacuum is moving back and forth over your carpet and floors. The dog may become nervous around the vacuum because it is easy enough for the vacuum to pick up trash and dust that may bother the dog. 

While you may only be able to detect the scent of a freshly vacuumed living room, your dog will be able to detect dust and old particles that have long since settled under your couch. 

Given how reliant they are on their keen sense of scent, it is understandable why dogs experience anxiety around vacuums.

Lastly, it’s probably the suction. While the exact cause of this behavior is still unknown, some scientists think that the vacuum’s suction is comparable to how dogs react to scents. A dog typically uses its nose to investigate a new area or another animal. Since the vacuum is also “sniffing” like a dog, it’s an action that the dog would recognize. But because the suction is so strong compared to a straightforward dog sniff, the dog can regard this to be threatening.

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Can Your Dog Get Used To Vacuums?

Your dog can be desensitized to the vacuum cleaner using various techniques. It may be worth trying to progressively expose them while also giving them praise and treats, depending on how severe their phobia is. 

First, try turning the vacuum cleaner off and placing your dog in the same room as it. You’ll need to step it up gradually. Start by putting a treat on the vacuum and asking that your dog take it off. Then, move on to turning the vacuum on while your dog is in the room. While it may be irritating, keep in mind that this will take time and that punishing your dog will only make them feel worse.

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