Sunday, July 29, 2012

Yes, Dear, I Want You to Vacuum the Rottweilers

The Dyson Groom Tool
Back in April, I ordered the nifty Dyson Groom tool attachment for my vacuum cleaner.  It sounded like such a great concept -- suck the dirt, dust, dander and loose fur right off the dogs before it gets deposited all over the house.  It's basically a retractable slicker brush attachment that clips onto the vacuum hose.  So anyway, my husband is usually the one who handles Puppy Spa Day at our home.  The dogs are used to him trimming their nails, cleaning their ears, putting ointment in their eyes (Lulu caught a thorn on her eyelid once), shampooing them with the hose in the driveway, and other unpleasant but necessary doggy care ordeals.  Naturally, I purchased the dog vacuuming contraption thinking that Bernie would be the one vacuuming our dogs.

My husband's reaction: "You want me to go after a couple of hundred-pound Rottweilers with a vacuum cleaner?  Are you NUTS?!"
Otto and Lulu, Ready to be Vacuumed!

So the Groom Tool sat in the closet in its little box, unopened...  until today.  I found a video of a sweet female Rottie named Blue getting a Dyson grooming here, and found several positive Amazon reviews extolling the virtues of how well the Dyson groom tool works for Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and other medium-to-long-haired dog breeds.  I thought, what's the big deal, really?  If that man with the lovely British accent can vacuum his puppy princess, then surely Bernie can vacuum ours!

As it turns out, dog vacuuming is best approached as a two-person sport.  We started out with baby steps, so each pup only got the vacuuming treatment for a minute or two.  They are not especially fond of the vacuum.  Ahem!  Positive reinforcement, a.k.a. Treat Bribery, was the order of the day.  Bernie held the dog's collar in one hand, and the vacuum brush in the other hand, and brushed a few strokes down the dog's back -- while I stood at the other side, feeding a steady stream of liver-flavored dog treats the entire time the vacuum brushing was going on, and gushing "What a good, GOOD doggie!"  Then we switched off the vacuum, took off the collar, and gave some more treats.  Next puppy!

Honestly?  It wasn't so bad.  We didn't have much dirt and dog fur collected in the vacuum canister afterwards, but Bernie wasn't trying to be thorough today -- just a few strokes in conjunction with treats to build a positive association for the dogs and condition them to accept the procedure.  We plan to try it again in a couple of days, and work up to a more thorough grooming with just one treat at the end of the session.  The dogs aren't thrilled about the vacuum, but hey -- they weren't too wild about the nail trimmers or the hose the first time we used those, either.

1 comment:

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Hilarious! Loved the photo of the unsuspecting victims.