The Evil and Dreaded Vacuum!

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Does your dog HATE the vacuum?  Chase it around, bark at it, lunge at it, bite it?  Do you have to put your dog outside or in a crate to get the vacuuming done?  Do you yell, body block and get totally frustrated?  Well help is here!

Remember, don’t do your training when you want to get your housecleaning done.  Set up training sessions so that training is the priority of the moment.

First – desensitize your dog to the mere existence of the vacuum.  With the vacuum turned off, put it in different rooms.  When your dog walks by it without taking notice or without reacting, REWARD HIM!  Praise is good but food treats is better!  Are you thinking, “ya, my dog explodes at the mere sight of the vacuum, I have no chance to reward!”   Be creative, there is always a way to introduce your dog to the dreaded vacuum and get one second of quiet behavior that you can mark and reward.  When your dog is quiet for just one second, say “YES” and toss a cookie away from the vacuum.  Repeat repeat until the dog can be in the same room with the vacuum without reacting to it.  Reward the quiet behavior.  Be proactive, don’t wait for the barking but rather reward BEFORE any barking commences.  Move to the second step only when the dog can be in the same room with the vacuum quietly.

Second – Plug the vacuum in and turn it on without moving it.  Reward any quiet behavior.  Do not move the vacuum.  Continue to mark with “YES” and reward each time your dog looks at the vacuum and does not react to it. Do not move the vacuum for this part of the process.

Third – Put your hand on the vacuum handle but do not move the vacuum.  Your dog will anticipate that the turned vacuum is about to move, but it won’t.  Mark with “YES” and Reward for each occasion that he looks at the vacuum with your hand on the handle and does not react.  Vacuum is turned on but not moving.

Fourth – Move the vacuum an inch while simultaneously tossing a treat in the opposite direction of the vacuum.  Move the vacuum another inch and repeat.  Mark with “YES” and reward for each occasion your dog looks at the vacuum and does not react.

Fifth – Move the vacuum a couple of inches – repeat steps four and five until your dog can quietly tolerate the dreaded vacuum!