QUESTION: "Basically, Dillon goes crazy ( chasing, barking, biting the item) when he sees any type of cleaning implement that has a handle i.e. broom, mop, vacuum, stiffer and long or short handled dusters. He did not behave like this as a puppy. But now, Oliver is starting to copy his big brother. I saw something on line that this has something to do with prey drive. I would welcome any suggestions to help correct the behavior. Lisa"
ANSWERHi Lisa -I’ve dealt with this many times and know how annoying this can be. The simplest thing I’ve found is to have your dog on leash with you. Teach your dog “Mine” (taught in My Smart Puppy) which means if you body block him away from something he stops and sits. Now, with your dog on leash, move the broom a small amount. When he alerts - stop the movement - block him - have him sit and reward. Repeat.Once this is pretty smooth, move the broom more. I add a calm, clear verbal negative to any barking/biting activity directing the dog to sit. If they have ALREADY reacted BEFORE YOU BLOCK THEM, they will get some minor verbal praise FOR SITTING then a “show ‘n stow” (meaning that delicious treat you have on your person? Show it to the dog, put it to his nose, then pocket it again. The message: “Try harder next time!”)Keep the movement to a level where your dog can succeed. Make the difference between success and failure clear and generally they pick it up pretty quickly. I’ve also had great success just having the dog on leash with me as I vacuum or sweep so I can keep them back away from the item and give my input as needed.When you just want to clean, crate your dog away from the action and, when cleaning around the crate area, never vacuum or sweep at the crate. That will set many a dog off. Dogs are generally having a total blast attacking brooms, vacuums, rakes etc so getting physical control over them is an important step. First we stop them practicing the unwanted, then we build a better choice. Good luck!
Email your question to Animal Behavior Counselor Sarah Wilson. Learn more about Sarah and how she helps you help your dog here. Visit Sarah's website at www.MySmartPuppy.com for additional tips.