As the owner of two German Shepherds, affectionately known as German Shedders, I have become a bit of a fanatic about vacuuming. During the last big shed, it occurred to me that maybe I was attacking the problem from the wrong end. Instead of vacuuming the floors and furniture so often, maybe I should be vacuuming the dogs! After a week of intensive training, my dog Chloe went from avoiding the vacuum cleaner to loving it! In fact, if she doesn’t need a vacuum I have to put her in another room. Otherwise I have a dog nose bumping my hand while I try to clean.
Here’s what you’ll need to train your dog to enjoy being vacuumed:
- A Kong
- Your dog’s favorite wet treat, such as peanut butter, cream cheese or canned dog food.
- A vacuum cleaner attachment specifically for brushing dogs. Many manufacturers of vacuum cleaners sell attachments to fit specific machines.
Start by getting your dog comfortable with the sound of the vacuum cleaner.
- Fill the Kong with a tasty wet treat and position yourself at a distance from the vacuum cleaner that you think your dog will be able to tolerate the sound.
- Give him the Kong then turn the vacuum on, or have someone turn it on for you. If your dog refuses to eat or stops eating, increase your distance until he will eat. You may even need to start in another room.
- After 5 – 10 seconds of eating, turn the vacuum cleaner off and take the Kong away at the same time.
- Repeat the exercise. As your dog improves, move closer to the vacuum cleaner.
Once your dog is happily enjoying his Kong right next to the vacuum cleaner, you can start getting him comfortable with brushing.
- While your dog is licking his Kong, briefly touch him with the vacuum cleaner attachment. Avoid the temptation to actually brush at this point! If he will not tolerate being touched, you may need to start by simply holding the attachment closer and closer until you are able to touch.
- If he seems more interested in his Kong than being touched, you can move on to very short and soft brush strokes. If he stops eating, stop brushing. After 5 – 10 seconds turn off the vacuum cleaner and take away the Kong.
- Repeat this exercise, gradually progressing until he is able to handle regular brushing.
- If he stops eating at any time, decrease the brushing until he is comfortably occupied with his Kong again.
Once your pup enjoys being vacuumed, you can watch all that hair go directly in to your machine rather than on your floor!