Training Your Dog Not to Fear the Vacuum

To most dogs, vacuum cleaners and other home appliances are the ultimate enemies. Many dogs react to household tools differently, including vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers, and other tools. Their reactions include running, hiding, barking, and even attacking the power tools. This is dangerous to both the dog and the person using the appliance. Most tools are powered by electricity which can cause electrocution. Others have dangerous components, such as the blades on a lawnmower. To manage this reaction, dogs need bay area dog training and desensitization. The desensitization process varies between dogs and their degrees of reactivity. Below is a list of general guidelines to desensitize your dog to the vacuum cleaner.

Step One

Start with the vacuum cleaner at the center of the room while turned off and with a few dogs treats ready. If the dog does not come towards you, determine how far from the vacuum he is willing to come. From this location, encourage the dog to approach the vacuum cleaner using the dog treats. When the dog is comfortable approaching the vacuum, place a treat on the tool itself and encourage the dog to take it. Practice this severally and try placing the vacuum cleaner in various rooms and positions.

Step Two

For this step, you are going to need someone to work with. Start with the dog on a leash that it is familiar with so that it is not alarmed. With your dog in a sitting position, have the helper start moving the unplugged vacuum cleaner closer and further from a safe distance. Repeat this step while moving towards the dog. When the dog becomes uncomfortable, correct with a firm “No” and tug on the leash. Practice this for a few days until the dog is comfortable with the vacuum cleaner.

Step Three

This step starts with the dog leashed and in the sitting position. Have the helper move the vacuum to a different room, keeping it out of sight. Instruct the helper to turn on the vacuum in short bursts of between 2 and 10 seconds. Observe the dog and encourage it to stay calm while the vacuum is on with treats. As the dog learns to stay calm, try increasing the time you have the vacuum on. This step may take time but practice with short bursts for several days.

Step Four

This step starts with the dog sitting in the middle of a room with a leash on. Turn the vacuum on in a different room and observe that the dog stays calm, as practiced in step 3. As the dog stays calm, slowly approach the room, bringing the vacuum within sight in short bursts of time. Observe the dog and reward calmness while correcting any barking or lunging. This step may require a few days of practice, and eventually, the dog will be able to stay in its place while you vacuum. Desensitizing a dog is a slow and methodical process that should be taken at the dog’s pace. If you want help desensitizing your dog or other types of training, contact us at


Spectrum Canine Dog Training

34060 Rowland Dr

Fremont CA 94555

(510) 629-9498

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