Why is man's best friend afraid of the vacuum?

United States
March 20, 2007 10:36pm CST
My dog's are scared to death of the vacuum. Even Blue the Blind is scared of it, and she can't even see it. I used to think it was because of the loud, irritating noise it makes, but when we just have it sitting in the living room, they are scared of it. They avoid it like the black plague or something. It's funny to watch them tip-toe up to it, then scurry past it as fast as they can. We actaully set it in doorways when we want them to stay out of a room. LOL. Then I realized since they are man's best friend, and we all know men (me included, aren't big fans of the cleaning. So maybe that's what the dog's problem is. What do you think? Are your dog's scared of vacuums? Why do you think that is? Inquiring minds wanna know.
3 people like this
13 responses
@Monkish (95)
• United States
21 Mar 07
I dont think my dog is afraid for the vaccum. But I do know she is afraid of bubbles. I found some bubbles one day while cleaning some stuff out, I was kinda bored so I went outside and started to blow some bubbles in the yard...My dog wouldnt come near me. I dont know why she is afraid of them but she is. She will go away when she sees that I have bubbles.
3 people like this
• United States
21 Mar 07
It my cats that are afraind of bubbles. I bought some cat-nip scented bubbles that i thought would drive my cats nuts, but the when the bubbles pop, they run.
2 people like this
@ehlana88 (330)
• United States
21 Mar 07
I bought the same catnip bubbles and my cats loved it but then I had the problem of high cats running around like crazy and when you have five cats that's not always a good thing. Funny, but not safe for breakables.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Mar 07
I can totally see how that would be a problem. LOL. My cats are just boring, I guess.
1 person likes this
• Canada
21 Mar 07
It's actually my cat, Tara, thats afraid of it lol. She is very inquisitive though, and she's not at all bothered by it when it's just sitting there not doing anything. However, when we get it out and plug it in, she eyes it with great trepidation, and as soon as we turn it on, and the headlight at the front comes on, she's off behind the sofa, so I'm convinced its the noise combined with the headlight that scares her silly lol. I do have reason to believe that she may be genuinely terrified of the headlight. She was a rescue cat and before that, she was a stray on the streets. We have reason to believe that she may have narrowly avoided been hit by a car a time or two, and to that extent, seeing the headlight on the vacuum coming towards her, may very well remind her of those times.
• United States
21 Mar 07
I've had other cats that seemed scared of the headlight on the vacuum.
@Autumn42 (64)
• United States
21 Mar 07
I have a doberman/rottweiler mix who is petrified of the vacuum, yet oddly interested in it. It's fun to see her bolt across the living room, jump on and off furniture, come around, try to sniff near the vacuum, get scared and do it all over again. Of course, half the fun is chasing her with the vacuum.
3 people like this
• United States
21 Mar 07
I know it may be mean, but I kinda like playing around with them and the vacuum, too.
• United States
21 Mar 07
My pup is scared of the vaccum as well. She learned to jump on the bed running from it. As soon as I get it out she high tails it to my bed and hides!!! I think its funny. I have tried to get her used to it but to no avail.
3 people like this
• United States
21 Mar 07
My black lab will run over anything in his way to get away from the vacuum.
@DJ9020 (1596)
• United States
21 Mar 07
Mine try to attack it! She will bark and bite and charge at it anytime I'm using it. I think she thinks that it is attacking me! Either that or she's mad that its sucking up all the good stuff she might find lying around to eat or chew on!
3 people like this
• United States
21 Mar 07
Blue used to attack the lawn mower. We'd have to stop mowing and get her away so she wouldn't get hurt.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Mar 07
I ain't afraid of no stinkin' vacuum! - Grrr! Franklin does his best"tough dog" impersonation. He feels much more self-confident since he started refusing to let the vacuum cleaner chase him from room to room.
I don't think dogs are afraid of the vacuum until the first time you turn it on in front of them. Once they know it is capable of those horrible noises, they are always leery of it. After all, they probably don't get that is is us flipping a switch that makes it start, it probably seems pretty random to them. My dog used to be extremely nervous about the vacuum, but I started giving him treats while I vacuumed and now it doesn't bother him. He will even let me vacuum his fur with the nozzel! My cat has never been afraid of the vacuum at all. I have to push him with my foot to get him to move out of the way sometimes (no, he isn't deaf), he lets me vacuum him, too.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Mar 07
Well, we had to work up to the actual vacuuming of the dog rather slowly. Rushing it or holding the dog down to vacuum him will just freak him out more. We never "made" the dog go near the vacuum, we just encouraged him with treats to make him see it wasn't a bad thing. I think doing things like this with your pet helps build trust. If you tell your pet "it's okay" and he discovers that it is ,in fact, okay, he will be less scared of doing things you encourage him to do in the future. Of course, if you say "it's okay" and the dog gets hurt, he won't likely take your word on such matters again...
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Mar 07
That's a simple trust matter. I'm kind of going through this with my blind dog.
1 person likes this
@babyhar (1335)
• Canada
22 Mar 07
Honestly I believe the number one reason my puppy is afraid of the vacuum is... I have a feeling the noise is just way too loud for her. It is either that or she believes the machine is going to end up hurting her in some weird way or even eating her. I sometimes even feel like she thinks she is being chased by some strange monster hell bent on hurting her. I had recently bought a new vacuum cleaner and I figured it would be quieter than it actually is. I remember the first time I turned it on and she went absolutely crazy. She started by running all over the house about five or six times. Even now she has the same reaction to that vacuum cleaner. It still seems to have enough volume to make her run around the house like something was after her. It's even worse if you aim the handle at her by accident or even go anywhere near her with it. She gets really defensive and will start to growl and bark at it a lot. There are other times when I will use another vacuum that tends to have another effect on her. This one makes her actually go and hide under the futon in the living room. When I bring it out she'll immediately run to that one part of the house and hide. She actually hates that vacuum more than the little canister one. I think because it stands taller than the canister one she feels like it is towering over her as opposed to being one that is closer to her size. I feel that she is truly fearful of these machines because of their size and if not that, then it is the noise they create. I have read in many different books that the reason my puppy is so scared of a vacuum cleaner in the first place is because of the loud noise it creates. It is a much louder thing than she is and it seems that when it is running the noise somewhat dominates her. She gets put on edge right after it gets turned on every time. That would make sense to me because when it's running and making a certain noise, if it does anything to provoke her she'll go nuts and want to tear the thing to pieces in no time flat. I would really love it if there was one time where I vacuumed that didn't seem to scare the living heck out of her. I have found that sometimes she is shaking afterwards and she looks downright scared when the vacuuming is all over and done with. I think a great invention would be a completely silent vacuum cleaner. I bet it would be very tough to build and even more expensive to run and that would just really make it not worthwhile to have after all. But I guess all of us will never know until one is actually created.. If one hasn't been already without me knowing.. In conclusion, I believe the biggest reason why my puppy is scared of the vacuum is because of the loud noise it creates. I know her hearing is stronger than a normal human and that might play into the reason why it freaks her out so much. I just wish sometimes there was a way that she could go around the house not intimidated by an appliance that just makes a lot of noise. I cannot think of any other reasons dogs may be afraid of the vacuum in general.. I guess one would have to do research to find out what studies say & so forth.. All I know is I believe this is why my little puppy acts in this manner whenever our vacuum cleaner gets pulled out! . . Thanks for allowing me to share! xx
• United States
22 Mar 07
Thanks for sharing. I appreciate it.
• Philippines
22 Mar 07
I've got two dogs. And they are afraid of bouncing balls, and my hair blower? From my own observation, dogs fear stemmed from bad experience. I remember when my boy was playing his ball, he accidentally hit the dog. From then on, he is afraid of the ball. even if it is motionless, he will hide or stay away from it. He actually hate the ball. When I was fixing my hair using my blower. He was looking at me with wondering eyes. So I showed her the blower right infront of her face, and she ran away. So everytime I took out my blower she will run adn hide. Their fear is associated with their bad experience from it. Maybe your dog the first time that he encountered your vacuum, he felt he was being pulled something which to him is an alien object. So the fear was developed.
2 people like this
• United States
22 Mar 07
That makes a lot of sense and we got both dogs from other people, so it is possible that something may have happened to them in the past. Thanx for your theory.
@jcgbrains (139)
• United States
21 Mar 07
Pets, most of them in fact, not just dogs, tend to be scared of vacuums for the same reason babies may be scared of it; Blue the Blind got his information from the other dogs. The thing is that they do not unerstand how it works, all they know is that it sucks stuff up. Since beyond that, they know not what it does, or how it works, or what makes it start. They are likely affraid it will suck them up. This sounds silly simply because we know how it works, which they do not.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Mar 07
So you're saying it's just fear of not knowing; if we could teach them how it worked, they wouldn't be afraid? Nice idea.
• United States
22 Mar 07
A very good idea, a little difficult, but a good idea.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Mar 07
I try. LOL.
@prestocaro (1254)
• United States
21 Mar 07
I think that they associate the loud noise with the vacuum shape and that's why they act afraid. We've got hardwood floors and never vacuum, and our greyhound sniffs the vacuum in the closet but isn't afraid. I'm sure the first time I use it around him, he'll bug out and hate it, but for now, it sits right next to his food and he sniffs it every morning and night with no fear. My parents have a sheltie that used to run in circles around the vacuum when she was young. Every time you'd vaccum, the vacuum "tracks" would be immediately ruined, lol.
• United States
21 Mar 07
That's a good point, but my dogs seem to understand the word 'vacuum'. If they're being bad, we can say "I'm gonna get the vacuum" and they calm down. LOL.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Mar 07
yeah, someone started a thread about "how many words can dogs understand" and I did a search and found out it's 50! So your dog probably knows exactly what that word means, lol.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Mar 07
Wow. Did not know that. thanx.
1 person likes this
@TerryZ (22083)
• United States
21 Mar 07
Its normal believe me. My cats are afraid of it too they always go running and hide till I put it away. I think its the noise it has to be. There is nothing you can do about it.
• United States
21 Mar 07
Can't just be the noise. Even looking at it or us talking about it scares them.
• United States
21 Mar 07
hah!. It's true. Every dog I've known has been scared of vaccuums; I have no idea why. I used to have a huge pittbull dog named samson. He was fierce..but was terrified of the vaccuuum. If he was across the house and heard it turn on, he would run toward it (not too close mind you) and start barking at it. Then me and my sisters would run after him with it and he would run away as fast as he could. It was only when it was off that he actually had the courage to quickly go up to it and take a bite. They are mens' best friends and men DO hate cleaning, that's a good point. Perhaps that's the reason!
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Mar 07
That's what i thought, so i wanted to throw that out there. LOL.
@Seaclans (215)
• United States
9 Jun 07
I don't like vacuums either. All the pet I have ever had were afraid of it. I think the noise is a big part. Maybe your dogs just remember how scary it is when it's running. I think it might smell bad to dogs as well if it ever gets overheated.