My baby Corgi Hunny has been afraid of the vacuum since the day I got her. I'm a bit of a clean freak so I try to thoroughly vacuum at least once a week and lightly about 2-3 times a week. As far as I know she has never EVER had a bad experience with a vacuum, but I didn't get her until she was three months old.
Any suggestions on how to get her to warm up to it?
As soon as I take it out she literally runs and hides. I'll put her in a room where I am not vacuuming and check on her every few minutes. Sometimes she'll be shaking. It tears me apart! My friend watched her one day and decided to vacuum. Hunny ran in her room and relieved herself on the bed (we think out of fear).
I'm so worried that she will work her little heart up too much. Maybe I can try leaving the vacuum out - in her sight - for a week without turning it on (uggg, I can see the Corgi hair pile up now! lol)?
I would crate her in a different room and give her a long-lasting treat she really likes, like peanut butter on a Kong or something. The noise (as Sam says) hurts their ears. Mine both make faces at the vacuum. Jack will bark and come running if he hears you get the little Shark out; he needs to keep an eye and make sure it doesn't eat anyone.
Also do the desensitization Ein's mom mentioned when the vacuum is off, so just the sight of it doesn't freak her out. Between the two, you should see improvement. Remember, though, that desensitization involves rewarding the dog when they are far enough away to NOT react, so you might need to start with being in another room with her while someone else gets out the vaccuum and just rewarding her for being calm while she hears it being taken in and out of the closet and not turned on, and work up from there. And like I said, lock her safely away when you use it, somewhere where she feels secure and the noise is not so loud.
Xylophone is totally afraid of the vacuum. His ears drop when I turn it on and he usually goes in the other room to hide. When it's nice out I usually put him in the yard while I vacuum, for his own sake. Otherwise I encourage him to go upstairs.
I leave the vacuum out because use it a lot, and he always eyes it nervously when he needs to walk near it, as if it will roar to life and devour him. He's also afraid of coats on coat racks, the window curtains and backpacks, especially if they're open (again, waiting to swallow up the corgi).
As others suggested, it must be the noise of the machine that freaks them out and hurts their ears. I would leave the vac out and let her get used to its presence, and then put her elsewhere when you vacuum, if possible.