Why does my Frenchie attack the vacuum cleaner and can I stop them?

It isn’t uncommon for Frenchie owners to find their dogs attacking their vacuum cleaners. Some dogs may stand their ground and bark incessantly until the machine goes away. Others may go after the device to try and stop it from going near people or possessions. This might be cute at first, but it soon becomes a challenge. So, why is your Frenchie attacking the vacuum cleaner and how can you stop them?

First of all, don’t be too alarmed by this behaviour because it is something a lot of dog owners have to deal with. All kinds of breeds do not get along with vacuum cleaners, either because of the noise, the vibrations, or the simple fact that they feel threatened. It is important to take note of what your Frenchie does and when so that you can work on ways of stopping this behaviour in the future.

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Sharing a room with a vacuum cleaner isn’t a pleasant experience for our pets. 

We need to remember that our dogs experience the world differently from us, especially when it comes to their senses. If you have ever been annoyed by the monotonous whine of a vacuum from the room below you, imagine being a dog in that room. Dogs have more sensitive hearing and the whine will be louder and more high-pitched. So, they may be attacking the machine to get it to stop.

There is also the possibility that they can feel the vibrations through the floor and don’t like that either. This could be even worse for dogs that were minding their own business with a chew toy on the floor or taking a nap in their bed. You wouldn’t want to be startled like that with a mechanical monster suddenly waking you up. 

Frenchies may feel threatened by the presence of this strange beast. 

Your dog may start barking or going for your hoover because they feel that the machine is invading their territory. This can be even worse for dogs that are fearful of other people entering the home. They can get so comfortable with the family dynamic and so possessive of their owners that they don’t like this other creature in their space. You are paying a lot more attention to that vacuum, allowing it to make all that noise, and allowing it to bother your dog. It is no surprise that they might get a bit upset. 

The problem may also be worse with robotic vacuum cleaners. Robotic cleaners seem to have a life of their own as they aren’t controlled by you. Dogs may understandably feel concerned that a new creature is entering their space and trying to exert dominance over them. They may bark and attack, which could make you and other family members laugh and find the situation more fun than it really is. This leads to an important question…

Have you ever encouraged your Frenchie to attack a vacuum cleaner?

This could play a big part in your dog’s behaviour. If you have a robotic cleaner and gave your dog attention and a treat when they “played” at attacking it, this may have incentivised the dog to do this more often. Perhaps they think that this is what you want from them, to attack the intruder and protect you. 

When did this all start and do they attack every single time you vacuum?

When determining why your Frenchie hates your vacuum cleaner so much, it helps to figure out when it all began. Have they tended to bark and go for your vacuum from the very start, or did it suddenly happen? Dog’s that start to attack vacuums out of nowhere may be dealing with a deeper issue. It might be that you scared them one day and they now associate the machine with that fearful experience. Or, perhaps they only attack when they are in a certain room. Is it a room where they might feel cornered by the vacuum with no escape? Or is it only in the room where they sleep? 

How can you stop your Frenchie from attacking your vacuum?

With a better understanding of why this is happening, you can work on controlling the behaviour and making your dog more comfortable. There are two main approaches here. You can either:

~ Make your dog more comfortable with the vacuum

~ Remove the dog from the situation. 

It can help to make your Frenchie more comfortable with the vacuum cleaner by systematic desensitisation.  To do this, first take the vacuum out of the cupboard and leave it in the room without turning it on. Reward your pet for staying calm and quiet. This could take some time so work slowly and patiently. Then you can turn the vacuum on without using it to get the dog more used to being around the sound. They will slowly realise that there is no threat from the noise. If you need to use the device to clean, you can call your Frenchie over to show them that it is out before starting. This way you won’t startle them.

The alternative is to remove your dog from the room whenever you need to clean. Have a family member take them to another room. If they can hear the noise from the other room but decide not to bark or get aggressive, give them plenty of positive reinforcement. With time, they may learn to ignore the sound completely. You can also plan to hoover the home when your dog is out for their walk so that they have no interaction with the machine at all. 

Frenchies can learn to live with a vacuum cleaner with time. 

It could take some patience and careful training for your Frenchie to tolerate a vacuum cleaner. Or, you may just have to work around them. But, if you can better understand why your dog dislikes the machine so much, you have a better chance of helping them. 

Mother of Frenchies

I’m Sarah-Jane White, an Animal Behaviourist and Trainer and one of my degrees is specifically in Canine Behaviour and Training. I’m a supporter and occasionally foster for the Phoenix French Bulldog Rescue and French Bulldog Saviours. I have grown up with bullbreeds and currently have one fawn pied French Bulldog called Dolly, her nickname is Po, after Kung Fu Panda because she loves noodles and has some great ninja moves.

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