Is it time to call the Dog Whisperer?

I don’t know about the rest of you coffee drinkers, but I’ve come to associate drinking coffee with the act of socializing.

For the most part, this usually entails phone conversations with my family.

This morning, as I slowly stirred my java and inhaled its aroma, I had a quirky conversation with my sister.

And since there are some conversations that are too interesting and funny to keep to myself, I just had to share it with you.

On this occasion, the conversation is about our little Roxy.


“So did Roxy conquer her nemesis?”

“Not yet, but we’re getting there.”

“Are you kidding me? She’s going to be three this month!”

“We’re taking baby steps.”

“I’ll say. If she takes longer, she’ll be toothless and unable to bare her canines Cujo style.”

“Bite me.”

“I think I’ll have to since Roxy’s one step away from being fitted for dentures.”

“Oh, stop it. I’d be scared too if I were her.”

“This from a woman who claims to be empowered and fearless.”

“Hey, it’s big, it’s quick, and it makes a lot of noise.”

“To hear you talk anyone would think you’re referring to the Terminator. It’s a vacuum, for God’s sake.”

“Yes, and to a small dog it may as well be the mechanical King Kong they used in the last film.”

“Wasn’t that thing computer animated?”

“Whatever. My point is that the vacuum may as well be King Kong.”

“Which one? The mechanical one or the computer animated one?”

“Who cares? Besides, it’s not like little Rocco’s attacking the neighborhood bullies.”

“Rocco’s a pit bull living in the body of a Mini Pinscher, sister. Why don’t you write that Cesar dude and ask him what to do?”

“The Dog Whisperer?”

“Yes. I saw an old rerun where he helps a Sheltie conquer his fear of the lawn mower. Before the show was over, Cesar had him walking next to it like they were best buds.”

“Maybe you should use Cesar’s method on your husband.”

“Maybe you should stop calling Roxy your ‘tiny human’.”

“That’s part of my training method. If she thinks she’s human, she won’t be afraid of the vacuum.”

“If that were true, I wouldn’t have three grown kids who think the vacuum has ties with Tony Soprano.”

“I think it’s a just a matter of time before Roxy conquers her fear.”

“Or gains ten pounds from the treats you’ve been giving her to come near the damn thing.”

“I’m hanging up now.”

“Why? Is Roxy slaying the vacuum?”

“Just you wait, sister. Just you wait.”


Is your dog afraid of the vacuum?
How can we help Roxy overcome her fear?

82 thoughts on “Is it time to call the Dog Whisperer?

  1. HaaHa.
    I soooooooooooooo enjoy your converstions w/ your sister. FabuLOUS.

    My cat is terrified of the vacuum. He runs like a bat outta hell even when I haven’t turned it on yet!

    Big Dork.

    Love to you, Bella & Rox the vaccum hater. Xxxxxxx Many Kisses

    Have a groovy weekend.

    1. Kim, Charlie’s terrified of the vacuum? Poor baby! Roxy’s getting a little braver now but in the beginning, the minute I started pulling it out of the closet, she disappeared under the sofa. Much love to you from Roxy and me! Have a super duper groovy weekend! Kisses! :)

  2. Maybe she’s smarter than you think! It might not be fear of the vacuum itself but fear that you may make her use it! She is such a smart one!! I’ll have to ask my son about his dog to see what they did – if they did. LOVED your conversation with your sister – so funny.

    1. Nan, you might be on to something! Our little Miss could be using her “apparent” fear as a way of getting out of chores! hee hee! The next time my sister and I get together, we’re giving you a call so you can join us! Laughter shall ensue, I’m sure! :)

  3. LOL! I had a Sheltie (Sienna) who hated the vaccuum. I think she thought it was some sort of hyper-noisy sheep that needed to be herded around the house. Roxy is so cute!

    1. Sahbinah, I love the name Sienna! I’m starting to think Roxy’s not alone in her vacuum fear. However, in Roxy’s case, I think she sees it more as a menace that is dangerous to her well-being. She has been improving though. Treats allow her to come closer and closer to it! Roxy thanks you for your kind words! :)

  4. Bwahahahaha! I love your conversations! I think you should call the ‘sister-whisperer’. Just sayin’ . . .

    1. Diane, I love the concept of the sister whisperer! I think my sister has the job profile for this position down pat! hee hee! :)

  5. Perhaps Roxy is trying to tell you something. Such as, your vacuum cleaner and your hair dryer are conspiring to take over your home and enslave you all. The microwave oven could be in it too, they’re pretty sneaky. You better watch out! :)

    1. Ivana, thanks for the heads up! You’re right–the appliances may just be planning a coup d’etat! Yikes! hee hee! :)

  6. Oh, Bella, you start my day off with a laugh! I can just picture the Dog Whisperer coaching that Sheltie to befriend a lawn mower! No, my Sheltie isn’t exactly afraid of the vacuum. He doesn’t much like it, though. Perhaps he’s afraid it’s hurting me?? Maybe that’s Roxy’s issue, too. When it’s not running, he doesn’t seem to have any problems with it, but turn on that motor and start pushing it back and forth, and watch him start barking! You haven’t “accidentally” teased her with it — even a tiny bit! — now, have you?? Dogs are smarter than humans really — anything that sounds that wicked can’t be up to any good, hehe!

    1. Debbie, your Sheltie sounds like quite a gentleman! I think you might be on to something, though. Perhaps our furry friends think the vacuum is hurting us! I’ve never teased her with it since I know Olivia, my mom’s dog is terrified of it as well. I think the sound is what frightens the poor dear. Maybe I can her doggie ear plugs! hee hee! :)

  7. My 7-year old yellow lab has been terrified of the vacuum since he was a pup. He jumps on the coach or bed knocking everything over in his path when he catches the slightest glimpse of the vac. My golden retriever is just the opposite he lays on the rug while I vacuum giving me a look that I’m sure means, “Don’t even think about making me move.”

    1. Aw, the golden retriever is just a brave boy! I smiled thinking of him sleeping lazily as you vacuumed around his body! I think most dogs react like your yellow lab. I know Roxy tears off like she’s being chased by the devil! hee hee! :)

  8. I’m not afraid of the vacuum, but it’s definitely an invader so I have to attack it. One of these times, I’m going to win.

    1. Lola, you are so brave! I love that you protect your family from invaders! I think Roxy would learn plenty from you. :)

  9. Poor Roxy! Well first off, I associate coffee drinking with waking up… the socializing has to wait until cup #2. One of my two dogs is terrified of thunder. Shivers and quakes, all 60lbs of him. Cesar said we should ignore it otherwise we validate his fear. Here’s another trick: give up vacuuming :)

    1. Astra, maybe I should stop doing chores all together! Brilliant, right. I mean, when someone asks me why haven’t you cleaned this and that, I can say I can’t do it cause Roxy’s mental health is at stake! hee hee! Cesar has a point in regard to validating our furry friends’ fears. Next time I’m not going to reassure Roxy or say anything. I’ll let you know how that goes. :)

  10. LOL!! Hilarious conversation, Bella. :-)

    Roxy and the vacuum: Fact is, it’s probably not just the noise, but the energy (perceived or otherwise) it gives off. Just like some dogs are afraid of thunder storms, and others aren’t; it’s their reaction to the energy.

    Feelin’ groovy! :-) xoxo

    1. Ellen, I’m so glad you found this conversation funny! Chats with family always results in a lot of mirth. Thank goodness for that! Energy. Now why didn’t I think of that? Thanks for schooling me on the subject, lady! I’m much obliged! xoxo :)

  11. Thanks for the laugh with my tea this afternoon. Personally I think Roxy needs to see a doggie Psychiatrist though. Do you think she’d be interested in doing a guest post for Manic Monday? A vacuum cleaner will be provided…

    1. bwhahahaha! Elizabeth, that is so cute! I can imagine little Roxy on Manic monday with this phobia of hers! hee hee! Believe it or not, one of my sister’s dogs was on Prozac because according to the vet, he seemed depressed! :)

  12. Roxy is absolutely adorable. My Chihuahua, Dixie, and my cat, Mason, are both scared of the vacuum. Dreadful device. Fortunately for them, I’m a crappy housekeeper, so they don’t have to put up with it often. ;)

    1. Jayne, Roxy thanks you for the sweet compliment. I think I’m going to have to start vacuuming once a week instead of every other day. The question is, what to do with all the hair Roxy’s shedding? Wait three days and I have enough dog hair to make myself a wig! hee hee! :)

  13. Bella, all 3 of you need to get up on a vaudeville stage–quick! You’re wacky in a wonderful way & we love peeking into your world. :)

    1. Jann, I am utterly delighted that you come and have a peek at the crazy world that is mine! Perhaps one day, when I’ve won the lottery and am comfortably living in Italy, I will swing by Sicily for some espresso and we can laugh till the cows come home! :)

  14. Roxy is allowed to be afraid of anything she wants to be afraid of. Oliver used to be afraid of the Rumba we used for awhile. But I just stopped using it, as i was also a little freaked by it. I sweep the floors now. You could always put your baby girl in the other room while you vacuum. Or have SO vacuum while you take R for a relaxing walk?

    1. Patrice, I love your suggestions! Too bad that asking the Significant Other to vacuum is like asking the devil to kiss the cross! Roxy does run to another room as soon as the vacuum comes out. I just wish she weren’t such a fraidy cat! hee hee! Roxy says she loves you for having her back, by the way! Hugs for Oliver! :)

    2. That’s so sweet that you want her not to fear. I have a lot of Oliver pics in my next post….Roxy is going to fall in love!

    3. Patrice, Roxy and I can’t wait to see Oliver! I hope Monica’s, Sir Henry doesn’t find out! He’s been courting her for a while! hee hee! :)

    4. Patrice, I’m sending the Significant Other over so he can take lessons from Ollie! I don’t remember the last time someone called me Dulcinea! For shame! :)

    5. Sorry for the typo on the name, I’m horrible. Send the SO over. Jim is super jealous of Ollie. It sort of warms my heart to see he still cares.

    6. Lady, the SO is jealous of Roxy from time to time. He says I love her more and feed her better than I do him! ha!

    7. There’s nothing like that effortless love. It’s so nice the way it just pours out, an endless font of affection for the soulful pups. It’s important to love like that.

      yesterday i told O he was heaven on earth, the only kind of heaven I will probably ever know. We were alone on our drive back home from the botanical garden. i need that heaven ;) plus it feels frickin’ great to really a cliche; with O the overworked expression is reborn. I’m sure you know what I mean.

      Remember how fun it was to sit around with others who were so in love with someone, when you were so in love, and it was that crazy senseless kind of love that makes other people uncomfortable. Well, that’s how I feel about O. The feelings between us are a little more tempered now, but they are deeper. I’ve had him nearly 4 years!

    8. Patrice, it sounds like little Oliver has won your heart! Ah yes, the unconditional love of our furry friends. There’s no replacing it. I love Roxy to bits and pieces. I can’t imagine my life without her, silly as that sounds. She’s my best friend, my confidante, and my partner in crime! hee hee! :)

    9. If only our dogs could blog…what would they say ;) ? These animals really do make the world a better place, they make people feel so happy.

    10. Patrice, I think it’s high time Ollie wrote a blog post! This way we’d know exactly what he has to say! :)

    1. Belle, when do we call Cesar? I think it may be time for an intervention, as well as a call to the doggie dietitian! ha! :)

    2. Belle, I hope Roxy doesn’t gain too much weight but it’s only because I worry about her health. My mom’s furry friend, Olivia, is seven pounds overweight! But just like your girl, she’s happy as a clam! :)

  15. I say, let sleeping dogs lie. Point is, Roxy is so cute and she looks adorable on the vacuum cleaner that being afraid of it is a small price to pay. Maybe you can switch to a carpet sweeper or just use a broom and dustpan. Give Roxy lots of hugs from me and Henry–and tell her that Henry has a new post out which I’m sure she’ll love to read. ;)

    1. Monica, I’m thinking I should stop cleaning all together. If only Roxy didn’t shed as much as she does! Ay! Roxy and I are swinging by your blog to read Henry’s post! We’ve been waiting for a break to do so! Finals are in full effect but fortunately there’s on ONE week left! Yay! :)

  16. That was hilarious Bella. Poor Roxy! I think it is time you called that dog whisperer. Fudge the other day had his first experience of a thunder storm and the poor thing was petrified but lucky for me they are not frequent unlike your vacuum cleaner. LOL!

    1. Rimly, poor Fudge! Roxy’s afraid of thunderstorms too and of firecrackers! Poor girl. Anything that makes a lot of noise sends her off in a tizzy! I’ll be thinking of Fudge the next time the skies rumble! :)

  17. My cats hate the vacuum. This caused a semi-major freak-out a few days ago.

    I want to wash the kitchen floor. Innocuous enough. So, I start moving things off the floor and get out the vacuum to get the dust up (easier than broom). So far, so good.

    Cats see vacuum cleaner. Don’t like vacuum. One goes to high perch on shelf. The other just goes. More on that later.

    Take out bag of trash. More on that later. Latch screen door behind me when I come in. We have bad dog in neighborhood that has killed one cat already. Kitties can nose door open. That would be bad.

    Vacuum floor. Wash floor. Kitty #1 still on shelf. Kitty #2 still unseen.

    Put up vacuum, mop etc. Kitty #1 comes down. Kitty #2 whereabouts unknown. Start kitty #2 search.

    No kitty. I’m freaked. *Did she get out when I took out bag of trash?* Bad dog out there. Don’t think about it. Look under, over, inside everything.

    No kitty for 1.5 hours. I’m losing it, brain numb and stomach in pretzel shape. My inner whatever tells me she’s in the kitchen. Look through all cabinets including those firmly closed. Last gasp – open drawer under stove. Green eyes blink.

    Who knew that the drawer under the stove has no back? They’ve been sleeping in there for eons. The casserole dish is full of fur.

    I didn’t need those five years off my life.

    I wonder if they would actually get a kick out of a Roomba or whatever the name of the remote controlled vacuum is, instead of hiding in ungodly places when I wheel out the upright?

    Apologies for long blab. In short – small animals and vacuums don’t mix well. 8)

    1. Eloise, I loved the long “blab”! You’re right–little furry friends and vacuums are not a good mix. Today I vacummed again and placed Roxy on a higher surface but she still bolted. I’m going to have to switch to a carpet sweeper like Monica suggested. Ellen’s also mentioned the energy given off by the vacuum and I think the noise is yet another factor that instills fear. Oh, dear. Your comment made me chuckle! “Who knew the drawer under the stove has no back?” bwhaha! I can imagine the cats sneaking naps back there! :)

    2. Sigh and grin. When I was having work done on my kitchen, one kitty managed to get between the subfloor and the joists. It took me forEVer to find her. Had to lure her out with people tuna; cat food wouldn’t do. I think the carpet sweeper sounds like a winner.

      Glad you enjoyed. I’m betting Roxy runs your house like my kitties run mine 8).

    3. Eloise, Roxy totally runs the house. She has all three of us at her beck and call. And she gets the most kisses! Little minx! I love her so! Sounds like you’ve got a smart kitty. I’d come out for tuna too! hee hee! :)

    1. Renee, you have just made me spurt coffee everywhere with your comment! bwhahaha! Believe it or not, this afternoon on our walk, Roxy had a fit when she saw two young boys kicking a soccer ball around. Vacuums, watermelons, thunder, balls…This is getting out of control. We need Cesar STAT! hee hee! :)

  18. Every one of my dogs has been different about the vacuum. The littlest stayed one room ahead of it; the medium hovered anxiously; the large one wasn’t much bothered unless I aimed directly at her and then she’d very quickly relocate with a nervous sort of “But Ma! What’s…??”

    That’s the first gen. The second gen is two very large guys. The smart one, the pit, just lolls about and cares not a whit about it. He’ll just hang about until you bump into him and grins, “Yes? Shall I move then?”

    The … well, he’s very sweet, one, has the oddest relationship of them all: he doesn’t trust it so he stays behind it. If it’s around the door of the room he’s in, he MUST come out even if it means running into the thing, just so he can get the better strategic position. Once there, he lays down and stares it down. Or follows it around, making sure it doesn’t get out of line.

    I’m really no help, I’m afraid, I’ve always just been amused by their reactions and tease them mercilessly. I like to think the mockery teaches them to get over the silliest bits; they do compose themselves soon after so I’m taking credit. :)

    1. I loved your comment! I could easily visualize each of your furry friends’ reactions to the mean, old vacuum! hee hee! I think furry friends are like people–we all react differently to different situations. I hope that Roxy will someday come to emulate your pit bull’s nonchalant attitude. I’m keeping my fingers crossed! :)

  19. It must be very strange to these animals… they have NO idea what this giant machine that makes such a loud noise, is. If they WEREN’T afraid, I would worry!

    1. Michael Ann, you’re right–no reaction would be cause for concern. If that were true of Roxy, I’d think she had gone deaf! That thing is noisy! :)

  20. We had a West Highland Terrier growing up and he HATED the vacuum! He’d attack it every time it came out. I feel the same way about vacuums myself, noisy, irritating things….

    1. Lady, I know what you mean. Whenever I vacuum, I find myself wishing I had those ear protection head sets people use when they go to the shooting range! By the way, do you have a blog? I would love to pay you a visit but you don’t provide a link! Let me know, would you? :)

    2. My blog is You have visited me before you lovely thing you. I seem to always have trouble with wordpress. If I sign in it doesn’t then link back to my blog (but I am a bit of a Luddite so I am sure there is some easy remedy for this if I could only be bothered to figure it out.)

    3. Kristine, got it! WordPress does seem to be a bit problematic when it comes to non-users, doesn’t it? I’m sorry! I’m just glad I’ve been able to bookmark your site, lady! :)

    1. Bella and Didi, Roxy is glad you understand her fear. I’m so grateful for the feedback, ladies! And I’m delighted you found the conversation intriguing! :)

  21. Randall isn’t too much of a fan of the vacuum, my camera tripod, or bowls & plates. He’s a weird little guy. The picture of Roxy kills me with her cuteness.

    1. Kirstin, Roxy takes a bow and thanks you for your sweet words. Randall is a sweetheart, weird little guy or not. I smile every time I see him in one of your posts! :)

  22. My Dog used to be terrified of the vacuum cleaner. It was really funny, because when I turn off the vacuum, she would attack it barking, and when I turn it on, she would go and hide under the couch

    1. Nikky, why is it the get brave when we turn it off? hee hee! Roxy runs and hides as soon as she hears the vacuum making its way out of the closet and she stays in the family room until I’m finished. She’s a smart one, our Roxy! :)

  23. Ah, the dog days…I remember them well! LOVE the photo! Roxy is such a doll!

    My beloved Lucy, now long gone from old age, was terrified of thunderstorms and the sound of trains. She would howl like a wolf, and all I could do was cuddle her. She never got beyond her fears.

    1. Nadine, the Daughter has a furry friend named Lucy who’s also afraid of thunderstorms! Like you, she cuddles her too. It’s the best thing we can do to reassure our furry friends when they are afraid. Roxy’s tickled pink at your lovely words! Thank you, lady! :)

  24. I taught my cat not to fear the vacuum by using one of the tubes and playing a game with him with it. Once he saw it as a toy he was no longer afraid of it. It had a drawback though. When I vacuumed he wouldn’t get out of the way and I had to stop and pick him up.

    1. Nora, there’s always a yang to the ying, isn’t there? hee hee! I don’t know what’s worse, the fear of the vacuum or the inability to get the job done! Oh, dear. Life can be tiring. :)

  25. I don’t have a dog that’s afraid of the vacuum, but I do have a cat who high tails it behind the dresser when the vacuum comes rolling out. (If you want to see a cat jump up and sideways at the same time, turn on the food processor while grinding coffee beans. She’ll leave a trail.)

    1. Jess, it seems kitties and doggies share the fear of the vacuum. It’s good to know they have something in common! hee hee! It would appear that your furry friend is fearful of the loud noise these appliances make. I think that’s Roxy’s problem as well. :)

  26. I don’t have a dog, but I think my both kids afraid of my vaccuum, cause no one ever is reaching out to help me, in fact they run away every time they see me with it.

    1. Ariana, I think your kids may be related to my kids and my sister’s kids! Or maybe this is a trait shared by all kids! hee hee! Motherhood. Not for the faint of heart…or those who don’t like doing all the work! :)

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