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Puppy’s First Year – Introducing Puppy to Vacuum

Puppy’s First Year –

Introducing Puppy to Vacuum

Everything in a puppy’s young life is full of firsts – first walk, first car ride, first trip to the vet, first time meeting other dogs.

But let’s talk about the first time you introduce your puppy to the vacuum.

Sharing my home with two dogs and two cats you can be sure that my vacuum is working double duty, so the last thing I want is a dog who is frightened, chases, or barks at the vacuum – although this might be a great excuse not to vacuum 😉

I’m sure before my puppy Edna came home to me at 11 weeks of age she had been exposed to a vacuum, or at least the noise of one, but since I didn’t know her reaction, I wanted to take it slow and easy when introducing her to our vacuum.

How I introduced my puppy to the vacuum

The first step when introducing my puppy to the vacuum was just leaving the vacuum in the middle of the room without turning it on. I encouraged my puppy with treats and praise each time she came close to or touched the vacuum. I wanted Edna to feel comfortable and confident enough to stand next to the vacuum, sniff it, and understand it was not her arch-enemy.

Puppy's First Year - Introducing Puppy to Vacuum

This vacuum’s not so scary ~ Edna

Once Edna seemed comfortable enough with the vacuum I turned it on but still left it standing in place. I acted as if the noise coming from the vacuum was no different than any of the other noises in the house – the tv, stereo, even the dishwasher.  

With the vacuum on, I began guiding Edna towards it, treating and praising her the entire time, letting her know the vacuum is nothing to be frightened or fearful of. In the video below, you will notice how Edna looks up at my dog Edie to view her (non) reaction as well. 

Please excuse the quality of the video, you know those times you wished you had an extra set of hands to help out. I was trying to give treats with one hand, gage Edna’s reaction to the vacuum and video with the other hand 😉

There’s nothing fun about a dog that barks at the vacuum when all you want is to clean the house! 

Next step was moving the turned on vacuum. The one thing I did not want was to make a game of vacuuming, meaning, I didn’t want a puppy that chases or barks at the vacuum head!

Watching a cute little puppy, with their cute little barks trying to be brave and fierce going after a vacuum may seem funny at the time, but it’s not so funny when they are older and all you want is to get the house cleaned!

Overall I am quite pleased with Edna’s reaction to the vacuum, I still have to take it slow when cleaning, not because she is frightened, but because she tries to turn it into a game. So what used to take me 30 minutes to vacuum my home now takes almost 30 minutes to vacuum one room with a puppy!

What’s your dog’s experience with vacuums – love them or hate them?

Author: Kelly Harding with Edie The Pug

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28 Comments

  1. Love that your taking time to social her to something that some dogs think is scary! Mine just kind of lay in front of it, waiting to get run over, and then they act all “how dare you touch me with that thing!” Sigh

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    • LOL, my cat Lily is the same. I can push the vacuum right up to her and she never moves.

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  2. The principle is the same for introducing a dog to anything new, particularly things they might object to or find scary. Baby steps. Changing associations.

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    • Most definitely! Taking a the time when introducing our pets to any loud or potentially scary things can make a world of difference.

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  3. I never had dogs however did have two cats. Both my cats hated the vaccum and would scurry into the other room out of fear. Eventually they grew to learn how to prep when they saw me pull out the vaccum. They would be like “Oh no. She’s about to make noise time for me to go in another room and up high in a window sill”. They learned pretty fast. Glad Edie adjusted so well.

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    • Sounds like my cat Lloyd. If he so much as sees me touch the vacuum he is gone!

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  4. One of my springers loved to bark at the vacuum. I figured it was easy to get two things done at once, play time and cleaning. That dog also barked at the lawn mower and when we would shovel snow. Shoveling snow was so much more work after she died since she loved it so much. I would go out and shovel when there was only an inch of snow, just to see her have so much fun.

    My other dogs just avoided the vacuum and ran to other rooms – which wasn’t much fun.

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  5. This is interestingI am the enemy of the vaccuum, and it is my enemy!

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  6. Your dogs are doing great with the vacuum! My kitties are not fans of the vacuum. Manna is less afraid of it than Dexter is, but she still doesn’t let it get to close to her. We have a robot vacuum that is quieter and they are less afraid of that one than the stand up one.

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    • Oh, a robot vacuum, I’ve been curious about how well they work? I would like one just to see if my dogs or cats would ride it LOL!

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  7. I used to be able to hoover Dash Kitten’s tummy when the machine was on its lowest setting. Thanks for reminding me 🙂 Smiling now! The rest of the cats run away FAST!

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    • I wish I could vacuum our cat Lloyd! He is so fluffy and sheds like crazy

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  8. Your puppy is so cute! We tried to introduce Bella to our vacuum and she just loves to herd it and bark at her LOL my cats as soon as they see the vacuum they go and hide. So vacuuming at home is an adventure.

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    • “An adventure” Love it!

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  9. I should have, but didn’t introduce any of my pets slowly to the vacuum but fortunately, I don’t vacuum often.

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    • Well not vacuuming often is one way around it LOL!

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  10. There are doggies who will bark at or chase the ‘Cuums from the Planet Doom? MOUSES! When I see that ol’ doomy ‘cuum comin’, I make my exit to another room. purrs

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  11. Layla hates them but I also adopted her when she was over 5. I live in a Studio so she normally just crawls on the bed and watches till I am done. She has to try attack one phew

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    • I can imagine it would take longer and be more difficult to desensitize an older pet.

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  12. Edna is so cute! When I went to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, they talked about the importance of exposing puppies to new things just exactly like you did! My cat used to leave the room whenever he saw the vacuum cleaner, so I always used to wait until he left before I turned it on. My dogs don’t seem to mind it.

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    • I’ve always tried to expose my pets to as much as possible at the earliest age so they understand there is nothing to be afraid of, but having said that, I know that there are some dogs, and cats, that will still be frightened.

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  13. Magical-Dawg loved to bark and chase and BITE the vacuum (he’d pick it up!). So I was delighted when Bravo-Boy watched (silently) the first time I vacuumed. Yay!

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    • Oh yes, I forgot about the bitters of vacuums! You know when growing up we had a dog that would try to bite the lawnmower – that was scary! I bet you were ecstatic when Bravo-Boy wasn’t bothered.

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  14. Rufus no longer runs away from the big noise machine and he generally has stopped barking at it. Now the dogs just get up and leave when I bring it in. I would let them sniff it and see that it’s not going to eat them. It’s certainly an understandable fear – I’m always surprised by dogs who are not scared of it.

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    • My dog Edie and one of my cats has never given a care when I’ve vacuumed, now Edna is doing very well but I don’t think it would take much for her to turn it in to a game of “bark and chase”, then there is my other cat that runs the minute I place my hand on the vacuum.

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  15. My dogs’ experience with a vacuum varies with each one. Milo is a fearful dog and is afraid of most everything, vacuums included. However that is getting better now. Zephyr is my vacuuming supervisor. He stands within a few feet of it and watches me the whole time I’m vacuuming. Luke doesn’t care one way other the other about it. However, for whatever reason, vacuuming is one of the things that gets all 3 of them riled up. As soon as I turn it on, the madness starts with them playing together like crazy. I have to stop vaccuming to settle them down.

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    • Oh now that must be very challenging when all three start!

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