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Brief intro for those who don't know: Zoe is the submissive, tends to be quite timid, generally lets Zeeke do whatever he wants with her (including pinning her to the ground, chewing on her head, sticking his head between her legs, etc). She's skittish about strangers, but generally very easy-going. Zeeke is a german shepherd. He's dominant without being aggressive. He definitely lets Zoe know he's in charge, and she happily follows his lead.

 

Introduce the vacuum cleaner into the mix and all hell breaks loose, and I am just stumped by it. Oh, and we use a big, very loud shop vac (only thing that cleans all the fur off the hardwood).

 

Zeeke does NOT like the vacuum cleaner. I don't know if it's the noise, or the air, or what, but every time you TOUCH the vacuum he starts getting hysterical. I generally put him in his crate and close the bedroom door when I'm cleaning, and even then I can hear him barking uncontrollably. If I try vacuuming anywhere near him he will attack the vacuum cleaner... and/or run away. It's like he gets frozen in indecision. He wants to get out of the way, but wants to beat it down, too.

 

Zoe doesn't really mind the vacuum cleaner. (I know, WTF? She's afraid of EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN except the one thing you'd expect a dog to be afraid of? I don't get it.) I can vacuum around her and she will move out of its way, but not in any hurry.

 

The weird, crazy part is that when Zeeke is loose and he attacks the vacuum cleaner, Zoe flips out on him. She gets in between him and the vacuum and does what I would consider to be a dominance thing... very loud, very vocal growling, and nipping him on the nose/cheek in order to get him to back off. (She also does this if he harasses the cats near her, especially if they're on the bed.) Yesterday I was a little concerned about Zeeke, because it appeared she got him pretty good on the nose (no blood, no puncture wound, just a Zeeke who looked pretty downtrodden). I obviously separated them after that and made sure they weren't near the vacuum.

 

The solution is obvious: don't let Zeeke loose around the vacuum. But I'm still completely perplexed by it. Why on earth would Zoe be reprimanding him for it? Is she just getting stressed about by the alpha dog freaking out? Is she reacting to us constantly telling him NO, STOP IT? Is she just possessive of the vacuum?

 

Has me stumped. Never do I see Zoe get anywhere close to that aggressive. And it's just plain WEIRD how Zeeke submits to her in that situation.

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No idea, but in my house the vacuum is the opening bell for the WWF. The dogs take it as an invitation to play rough and loud. I think it's because I normally ask them to be quiet in the house and they feel that if I am making a lot of noise they can too :rolleyes:

 

Maybe she is telling Zeke to calm down. Some dogs tend to be very laid back about other dogs until they freak out or do something stupid, then they try restore order. It is entirely possible that she is actually the dominant dog but doesn't care that Zeke pretends to be. Some dogs that really are dominant will choose their battles and only step into their position when they feel it is needed. I used to have 2 dogs with a relationship like that, one who pretended to be dominant (take bones, food, best spots, etc) but when the going got tough he looked to my other dog for leadership.

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I wish I could figure them out. There have been occasions when I've wondered if Zoe was really the dominant one under the surface, but she looks to him and follows him around all the time. But it's like she just has this line in the sand that says DO NOT CROSS. And the weirdest thing is that when she flips her lid at him he backs down. Hmm, you know, when he's pushing her around she lets him... unless he bites a little too hard or something, then she loses it and snarls and bites his cheek. Maybe there is something to the idea that she's the one who's really in charge. SO weird.

 

Not like it changes anything... I let them solve their own little issues unless it escalates (which is extremely rare). They have their own little understanding and it keeps the peace. But boy do I ever wish I knew what went through their little doggy heads.

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Pepper does that to Popcorn when he barks at the vaccuum too! But then after she shoos him off she attacks the vaccuum. I just kind of chocked it up to her being bossy and controlling, as she is the dominant dog...lol.

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Buddy wouldn't allow another dog to create that kind of noisy chaos either. He can't stand it when dogs near him play too rough, or get too vocal. It really stresses him out, and his threshold is pretty low, and he becomes Buddy the Policeman and tells the other dogs to STOP! He'll pin them to the ground if he can - which is why I avoid those chaotic, loud situations with him.

 

I'm thinking that maybe the chaos Zeeke is creating stresses Zoe out to the point where she's attempting to correct him?

 

Mary

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It could be overstimulation/stress of seeing Zeeke act like that, but here's another possibility. If he's attacking the vacuum and you're using it at the time maybe Zoe feels like he's threatening you too and she's protecting you, telling him to back off? I guess one way to tell that would be to turn it on and walk away and see if he attacks it without you nearby if she still behaves the same.

 

Some of mine can seem pretty passive most of the time and take a lot from the other dogs, but when push comes to shove if somebody plays too rough they get told. My pup Flurry gets overstimulated by too much chaos and barking if they all get really wild and for some reason he feels the need to lay into Noah every time it happens. Usually Noah's not even doing much of anything except barking, he doesn't play rough. Who knows what goes on in their heads?

 

Oh yeah, mine are all kind of different about the vacuum. Some want to attack it, some want to hide from it and some really don't care. The really funny ones are the ones who will try to bite at the handheld hose part and get their tongues sucked in :rolleyes: Does anyone vacuum their dogs? I've tried it a few times with the ones that don't mind the vacuum.

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Scooter isn't bothered by the vacuum. I usually have to ask him to move. Believe it or not, he understands the words "Excuse me," and will get up and go elsewhere. We taught Scooter at an early age not to be afraid of the sweeper (and other things) by me touching it first, then telling him "Touch." He would then poke around, smell it, and decide it was okay. You should really try to correct the behavior, for the sake of both dogs. One unstable dog will make the other one unstable (and make housework even more miserable for you!) LOL! Please don't take this wrong, but did you encourage or laugh at this behavior when they were younger? I knew someone who used to kind of chase their puppy around with the sweeper, then when they were older, they wondered why the dog was afraid of the thing! You say in your post that the solution is obvious--keep Zeeke away from the vacuum, but that's probably not the solution, just as putting a dog away when company comes so they won't jump on people isn't the answer. They don't learn to control themselves. He needs to learn not to freak out when you're using the sweeper. Be calm and just let him explore it on his own, with it turned off. Then try it with it turned on. Watch and see what the trigger is. What happens before he attacks the sweeper? Maybe he's sensing your apprehension, especially if it's been going on for some time. Just a thought. I'm certainly no dog expert! LOL! :rolleyes:

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Poke does that to Ceana when she is barking at anything outside... except rodents, apparently they deserve it. He is a control freak and I just chalked it up to control. He use to do this to us when we made odd noises, & every once in a while he will try and control me when I make an odd noise. He did this with movement as well, but we have it pretty much under control. A quick EHH puts bossy britches in his place after a ton of desencitization. (sp?)

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I think the theory of his chaos stressing her out is probably closest. I can certainly understand how him being off-kilter would send her into a tizzy. She is easily stressed, that's for sure. (She just tends to react to stress by hiding, not fighting!)

 

Scooter isn't bothered by the vacuum. I usually have to ask him to move. Believe it or not, he understands the words "Excuse me," and will get up and go elsewhere. We taught Scooter at an early age not to be afraid of the sweeper (and other things) by me touching it first, then telling him "Touch." He would then poke around, smell it, and decide it was okay. You should really try to correct the behavior, for the sake of both dogs. One unstable dog will make the other one unstable (and make housework even more miserable for you!) LOL! Please don't take this wrong, but did you encourage or laugh at this behavior when they were younger? I knew someone who used to kind of chase their puppy around with the sweeper, then when they were older, they wondered why the dog was afraid of the thing! You say in your post that the solution is obvious--keep Zeeke away from the vacuum, but that's probably not the solution, just as putting a dog away when company comes so they won't jump on people isn't the answer. They don't learn to control themselves. He needs to learn not to freak out when you're using the sweeper. Be calm and just let him explore it on his own, with it turned off. Then try it with it turned on. Watch and see what the trigger is. What happens before he attacks the sweeper? Maybe he's sensing your apprehension, especially if it's been going on for some time. Just a thought. I'm certainly no dog expert! LOL! :rolleyes:

 

You're totally right about that, and I'm probably a horrible dog owner for this, but... Zeeke has so many behavior issues I reached a point where I more or less throw my hands in the air about "minor" things. Ie, we work on his constant barking out the window, and let the vacuum thing slide because it only happens once a week. Maybe me and the breed (GSD) just do not mesh (okay, well, I already knew that), but it takes FOR-EVER to get him to modify his behavior. He's freaking stubborn, and especially right now in my life I just don't have the patience to sit and work with him for hours. Oh, and no we never played with him and the vac when he was a pup.... we adopted him at a year old, with many bad behaviors already in place. And until we got the shop vac we didn't vacuum much (hardwood), we swept... but the few times we did bring out a vacuum, same deal, he flipped out. And we were never very impressed.

 

As to the question "does anyone vacuum their dog".... yep! Oreo! She's hysterical. My dad sometimes vacuums her with the canister vac. She doesn't care. But if you say, "Oreo, get it!" or "Grrr!" or "Help, help!" then she heroically jumps to her feet and attacks the mean vacuum hose. Until you tell her it's all done, and she goes back to sleeping. Gosh I love that dog. LOL!

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No, you're not a terrible dog owner. Dogs have all sorts of quirks, just like we humans. :D As long as it's not a real issue with you, then you're right to focus on the behaviors that are more important. They're fun, no matter what. And they really keep us guessing. My husband is always looking at Scooter and saying, "Don't you wonder what they're thinking?" LOL! Good luck and have fun, and enjoy and love your dogs, odditities and all! :rolleyes:

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No, you're not a terrible dog owner. Dogs have all sorts of quirks, just like we humans. :D As long as it's not a real issue with you, then you're right to focus on the behaviors that are more important. They're fun, no matter what. And they really keep us guessing. My husband is always looking at Scooter and saying, "Don't you wonder what they're thinking?" LOL! Good luck and have fun, and enjoy and love your dogs, odditities and all! :D

Thanks for that. :D Zeeke truly is hubby's dog so I let him deal with most of it. Zoe's my focus... working with her many quirks. (Somedays I long for the days when I had a relatively "normal" dog.)

 

I wanted to add that I told my hubby all your theories and he of course does NOT agree with the theory that Zoe is the true alpha. No, HIS DOG, the big german shepherd, is the alpha. She's just scared. :rolleyes:

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I am liable to believe she just gets really freaked out when she sees zeeke act this way, but really, who knows! Daisy used to have a HUGE problem with the vaccuum cleaner, it's getting better, slowly. She acted much the same way zeeke does, just completely balistic even behind a door she would actually lay in front of the door and hit it with her paws if the vaccuum got too close. We started leashing her and keeping her with one human either lying under the computer desk or on the couch, praising her for no reaction and a little jerk on the leash when she reacted, now pretty much everytime I get the vaccuum and bf gets the leash, she just goes and lays on the couch and watches. She still gets kind of miffed if I accidentaly run into the couch but her reactivity level has gone WAY down. When I am done vaccuuming she gets to come sniff it and take treats off it with lots of praise, so I figure, she'll get over it eventually.

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'Lunar' 'Jun 9 2008, 11:04 AM'

 

I wanted to add that I told my hubby all your theories and he of course does NOT agree with the theory that Zoe is the true alpha. No, HIS DOG, the big german shepherd, is the alpha. She's just scared[/i]. :rolleyes:

 

Husbands!! Talk about quirks and oddities (spelled it right this time!) LOL! Husbands and males of the human species in general are untrainable! :D :D Good luck with that one! :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just wanted to bump this up to say my husband has finally realized that it IS Zoe in charge. This morning Zeeke was playing with an empty pop bottle and she walks over, snarls, nips him on the cheek to chase him off, and takes it. Hubby just stared and I pointed out with a, "See? She's in charge." He sullenly agreed that's what it looked like. (But he said, "But he could totally squash her!!" He's perplexed.)

 

Ha.

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Hubby just stared and I pointed out with a, "See? She's in charge." He sullenly agreed that's what it looked like. (But he said, "But he could totally squash her!!" He's perplexed.)

 

Well, my big BC is definately the mightier but my youngest rules the roost. Its not always about size. I actually knew a chihuahua that totally dominated a German Shepherd so you just never know.

 

As for the sweeper I would say she is in charge and just gets to the point of checking the other dog. She draws the line and thats that.

 

My youngest hates the vacuum and freaks on it too while my big boy practically makes you sweep him up to get him to move. He waits til you sweep his spot and goes back to lay down. I have just started to throw the ball while Im vacuuming and this is helping Koda control his vacuum behavior. It brings him in close to it if he wants the ball thrown and he is learning that good things come when its on. Its all about desire and what they want more.

 

Ryan

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