Vacuums And Other Appliances

Many dogs are either cautious or hyper with vacuums. The noise factor and the shape of the object are difficult for them to translate. The worst thing you can do is to chase or tease your dog with the vacuum. Whether it is the vacuum, the coffee maker, or some other appliance that leaves your dog perplexed and frightened, introduce it to her this way:

1 Let her see the object unplugged. Place it in the middle of the floor and lace its border with yummy treats.

2 Manipulate the object without turning it on. Do not look at or interact with your dog as you do so.

3 Ask a helper to turn on the object in the next room as you practice lessons or play games with your dog.

4 Gradually move closer to the object until you can work the appliance yourself without your dog overreacting to it.

POTS AND PANS

The sound of metal against metal or flooring can send dogs into a jag of barking from which it is hard to recover. In this case, work or play with your dog at decreasing distances, using rewards and praise until she is more comfortable with the sound.

DOORBELL

The sound of a doorbell is very exciting for a dog: change, visitors, and the potential for attention do a lot to spark a dog's interest. And wild behavior is generally reinforced immediately: although you wouldn't let me knock you out of the way to greet your company, you might be more permissive with your dog. Shouts and pushes signal clear disapproval to any human, but to a dog they're perceived as hyper, physical play.

The first step in teaching appropriate greeting manners is to reclaim your door. Practice the waiting skill taught on page 80, and enforce containment each time you leave or reenter your home. Also, create a station near the door to allow your dog to interact but not interfere.

SHOUTING

Although a shouting match can be a cathartic experience for humans, it can frighten a dog. To help your dog cope, designate a safe area, such as a crate or a corner, to send her to, and take heated discussions out of the room.

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