Updated: July 11, 2012 10:12AM
Dear Ollie, I used to love to vacuum the carpet. For years, the loud sound of the vacuum on a weekend morning became part of the fabric of my children’s lives.
I was always an early riser so if they chose to sleep in on a Saturday morning, they woke up to the rude sound of a good upright vacuum doing its job.
I got a real feeling of accomplishment and great satisfaction in watching the clean path on my carpet created by the blending of wheels and brushes.
The kids soon learned that any toy left on the floor could easily be digested by the vacuum and never seen again. This large upright vacuum appeared to the children to have an amazing power. It could actually make little plastic things disappear.
When the vacuum wasn’t in use, I used to store it where it could be seen as a reminder to pick up toys and not to track mud all over the house.
What’s more, I had read in a women’s magazine that the push and pull motion of the vacuum was good exercise for me so I imagined it to be a handsome dance partner.
In addition, running the old Hoover appealed to my noble sense of parenting. I believed that with the sound of the vacuum roaring, any children still asleep on a Saturday morning would know that the work ethic was alive and well in their own homes.
My daughters and son have grown up and moved away to their own homes where they each have a vacuum cleaner. But here is my problem. Now, I have a male dog and my dog is attacking the vacuum.
Every time I bring out the old Hoover, Oscar crouches down and stares at it. When I power it up, he goes mad. He nips at the vacuum bag, runs loops around it and barks incessantly.
Last week, he wove around my feet and practically knocked me down the stairs. What can I do? I would hate to have to choose between the old Hoover and Oscar.
The Queen of Clean
Dear Queen of Clean, In America, no one should have to choose between their vacuum and their dog.
Dogs are messy and cute but you are the Queen of Clean, and I understand that the Hoover has a very special place in your heart.
Dogs observe and respond to humans and are adept at reading human intentions by picking up hand gestures and other behavioral cues. So, Oscar could see this vacuum as an outsider not part of his pack or a potential enemy or something that is taking his place in your life.
Relax, Queen, he may be nipping at the vacuum bag just to get one of his toys back. Have you been vacuuming up his toys? Be honest now, you are the Queen of Clean, so I bet his favorite chew toy is in the belly of the vacuum. Right?