Help! My Dog is Afraid of the Vacuum

Image source: Pixabay

It is Saturday morning and you have been cleaning all day. You have finally finished the living room and go to the closet. The second you reach for the vacuum, your dog starts barking. Every single week it seems to be the same thing but why on earth are dogs so afraid of the vacuum? Well, who knows why, but we can help you do something about it. Keep in mind, animals will behave in their own way, but you can do things to try to minimize the barking.

Introduce Them to Your Saturday Morning Companion

Don’t just whip out the vacuum and plug it in. Let your dog get used to this new thing. You simply need to take it out and let him or her warm up to it in many cases. Some dogs want to protect their owners from the evil machine that is trying to get them! They do not understand that you are in complete control. Let them see the machine is not a bad thing and that will not bite them.

Let the Vacuum Offer Them a Treat

While the vacuum has no hands, put a treat on the vacuum. Let your dog retrieve the treat and see that the vacuum is not going to attack. Once your dog is sure the vacuum is not a monster, they may be more open to you using it. Push the vacuum gently to your dog with the treat on the front. Let them see that the vacuum is not going to attack, even when it is moving.

Ease Them into the Sound

If your dog is still afraid of the vacuum, see if you can get someone else to run the vacuum in another room. Let them start the vacuum in a bedroom with the door closed and open the door after vacuuming for a moment. Be sure that you are sitting with the dog the whole time. Let them see you aren’t afraid. As the vacuum gets near, encourage them and try to keep them calm.

Keep your dog away

Whenever you begin to vacuum, move the dog to another room so that they can’t see the machine. Some dogs do not like the vacuum no matter what you do, so you have to separate them. You cannot go years between vacuuming (especially if you have a dog as you will need to vacuum up the hair frequently), so you need to separate your dog so that your vacuum is not a nuisance sound. One thing that may help is if you get dog friendly furniture as it will make it much easier to vacuum and take far less time.

Tell Your Dog to Get Over It!

Okay, do not be mean to your dog, BUT you can ignore the barks and just vacuum. You can certainly try to minimize their stress, but sometimes the best thing to do is show your dog that there is nothing to fear. Exposing them to the sounds, lights or movement of the vacuum is likely going to help as much as anything.

But Why is My Dog So Scared?

There may be no reason for your dog to be afraid. There are many reasons a dog may respond with disdain to a vacuum. We can examine the most significant ideas, but keep in mind there may be no real reason.

Bad Experience

If your dog is a rescue, they may have bad memories of many things. While they may not have been attacked by the vacuum, per se, the person they were with before may have tormented them using the vacuum. Chasing them, running over their tail and pushing them with the vacuum would make them skittish.


If your dog has not been exposed to this loud thing that sucks up stuff on the floor, they may not know what it is or how to react. Give your dog time to learn what a vacuum really is.


Some animals do not like loud noises and a vacuum is undoubtedly a noisy machine. They do not know how to make it be quiet, so they let it be known that they disapprove. This is the one area that you may never be able to overcome. If this is the problem, separating the two is the best solution.

Bottom Line

Do not let the battle between your dog and the vacuum control your cleaning habits. Try to expose them to the vacuum and let them get used to what it is. Take a calm approach and realize that you are not always going to be able to stop your dog from being suspicious. Dogs want to protect their humans, especially nice ones. They will try to protect you from unknown predators and often will not understand that you are controlling the loud, sucking robot thing. You just have to practice patience when this happens and show your dog that there really is no reason to be afraid.

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About the Author:

Elizabeth Shields is a writer and small business owner. She is passionate about the environment, animals, and healthy living.

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