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HELP! My dog hates the Hoover!

HELP! My dog hates the Hoover!

Does your dog turn into a crazed individual when you try to clean up? I’ve cured a handful of dogs in my time who don’t like the vacuum cleaner and it is usually in just 2 sessions totalling less than 10 minutes.

Notes: I’ll hold my hands up, it really does make it easier if your dog is food motivated, I’ve never done it with a dog who was not food motivated. Most times I used a clicker but not essential.

Equipment needed:

  • Dog
  • Hoover
  • Treats in your pocket or tub set out of the way
  • Clicker or just your voice

How to:

Technique 1 (novice or inexperienced trainer)

  1. Choose a quiet room with no distractions
  2. You need your dog, Hoover, treats, clicker and you!
  3. Don’t switch it on, just have it in the room. The dog does one of the following:
    1. Lies down next to or near or just does nothing
    2. Looks at
    3. Sniffs
    4. Basically, you are looking for ‘no reaction’ or an inquisitive dog
  4. Identify a ‘no reaction’ behaviour and then either click & treat or say ‘good!’ then give a treat.
  5. Repeat.
  6. Then identify a behaviour that moves on from the last, so for example dog looks at Hoover, then dog sniffs hoover. Click treat for sniff hoover.
  7. Ideally, you would repeat the above and call it a day as session 1.
  8. Next day – repeat ALL of the above.
  9. At some point, you will be looking to switch the vacuum cleaner on but for now depending on how reactive your dog is, maybe move the pipe or carefully wheel the hoover about slowly.
  10. The key at every stage here is that you ARE NOT looking for a negative reaction, just positive behaviours as listed above, sniffing, looking etc.
  11. When you feel ready to move on, you can switch the hoover on but it just stays in situ. Repeat as above, so looking, nose bumps etc. Your dogs’ reaction will be individual to him/her.
  12. Do you see the picture now? At every stage you are moving sooo slooooowly that there is never a negative reaction to the hoover.

Technique 2 (experienced)

  1. The only thing I wanted you to do differently in technique 2 really is to teach your dog to nose bump the hoover and/or pipe. If you’ve clicker trained before and understand what you are doing then this is just like a hand touch, or object touching.

That’s it really. Have a go but remember the skill is in moving slowly so that there is never a negative reaction. You may even end up with a dog that LOVES the hoover like my Brock does, he will still touch the pipe now when I say ‘touch it’. He has never forgotten.

~ Sarah


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