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How To Help Your Dog Get Used To A Roomba Vacuum
Here are some tips on how to help your dog become adjusted to a new Roomba vacuum.
Robotic vacuums like the Roomba are becoming more and more popular and some dog owners are finding that their pets do not like sharing the home with them.
Dog's don't know what to make of Roombas. They don't smell like a animal or look like a toy but they move on their own and seem to be alive.
As a full time dog trainer I have heard from more than one client stories about dogs having "issues" with the Roomba. Here are some things you can do to help your dog adjust to a new Roomba.
Don't Make A Big Deal About The New Vacuum
First make sure the dog has had their daily walk or play time session with you. Next, with your dog in the room, offer them a treat and then their favorite toy as you begin to assemble your new robot vacuum. Let your dog smell it and watch you put it together but don't make a big deal about it. After you have assembled the Roomba and are ready to start it up, choose a small room such as the kitchen. Not allowing the vacuum to take off across the whole house will help your dog feel less threatened. Do this when small children are not present since some breeds may feel that they need to protect the child from it.
Allow the dog to sniff the Roomba but give them a verbal correction if they try to paw at it. Ignore the vacuum and begin another task, such as sweeping and call your dog from time to time and offer them a treat. Show them by example that it is not something to pay much attention to as you sweep or work in another part of the kitchen and offer the dog a treat periodically when they are behaving well.
Praise them and give them treats when they are being good and give a firm verbal correction if they try to chase or paw at the vacuum.
One client that I had in Denver told me that she would put a dog treat on top of the Roomba and let the dog take it after turning the vacuum on.
If the dog had a good experience with you using the Roomba then end the vacuuming session and try it again in a few hours. Again, don't make a big issue of it and don't leave the Roomba and dog unattended until they are used to it. Schedule cleaning sessions for when you are home.
If all of this fails and you can't stop your dog from chasing the Roomba consult a dog trainer. They may suggest other strategies to help you stop your dog from chasing the Roomba, such as working with the dog on a leash while the Roomba is operation. Dogs such as Border Collies and other herding breeds may be especially prone to chase a Roomba vacuum. They see it as something to herd or control while smaller breeds or insecure dogs may see it as a threat and want to attack it. Other breeds may see the vacuum simply as a plaything, especially if they are bored.
Regardless of what breed of dog you own you need to make sure that they have plenty of exercise and play time with you. Make sure your dog has a daily walk or play session before using the Roomba around the dog. A bored dog is more likely to want to play with or attack the Roomba vacuum.
Finally, avoid using negative reinforcement. Don't hit or yell loudly at your dog if they bother the Roomba and don't tie them up or crate them while the robot vacuum is working nearby. Tying your dog up or crating them will only increase their anxiety while the Roomba is operating.
Use Only Positive Reinforcement
A firm verbal correction followed by a diversion, such as a toy or asking the dog to come and sit or lay next to you is best. If all else fails to stop your dog from chasing the Roomba, crate your dog in another room or let them play in a fenced yard while the robot vacuum is operating. Not all dogs can get used to a Roomba but most eventually do make peace with them as time goes by.