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My three-month old dog doesn't like brooms. I have to put them away out of his sight otherwise he'll bark at them. I don't know if he is playing with them or just doesn't like them.

Does somebody have a clue about this behavior?

  • My puppy used to chase my broom when i was sweeping -- not helpful. So i whacked her (lightly) in the nose with it. Now she leaves my broom and the dust piles alone – USER_8675309 Mar 23 '17 at 15:34
  • How's the broom holding up? – Mr. Kennedy Apr 5 '17 at 14:14
  • He doesn't care anymore about brooms. Thanks for helping. – Murilo Apr 11 '17 at 19:20
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I found two sources that state you should try and get your puppy use to the broom slowly. One such post can be found here (it's in the context of a mop, broom, and vacuum cleaner):

I think it would help to acclimatise him very very gradually. Start off by putting the mop into the middle of the floor (before he is in the room). Then let him in and just completely ignore the mop. Praise/reward him when he is ignoring the mop too.

Another source also says something similar:

Begin by having your dog on leash (preferably with the leash attached to a harness, if you have one) and with a handful of treats and your mop or broom nearby. Put the mop on the ground and walk your puppy by it, dropping treats for him/her staying calm. If your puppy can’t stay calm, increase your distance from the broom, then work your way up as your dog succeeds. Once your dog can calmly walk next to the stationary broom, you’re ready for step two.

Step two in this process is getting your puppy use to a moving broom. You may need a second person to help you out:

Begin with distance if necessary. With your dog on leash, have a helper make a small movement with the broom, before your puppy has a chance to think about biting or chasing it, pop a treat in his/her mouth. Repeat this a few times, then feed your puppy the treat one second after the broom movement, repeat several times. Increase the time between the broom moving and your dog receiving his/her reward for being calm.

After that, increase the amount of movement you make with the broom. Give your puppy a treat if they continue to keep up the good work, otherwise backtrack. The goal is to eventually lessen the amount of treats and eventually not need them as they learn that they can ignore the broom. As the linked site also states, you will need to be patient, as this will take time, and do not scold the puppy, as this may have an inverse effect and cause them to lash out on the broom.

To explain the behavior, your puppy may be seeing it as a toy or something that it could play with, or something that could potentially be scaring it. Either way, the above should help.

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Your puppy might just not yet be sure what to make of it. Does he cower from it?

Barking at it could just be your puppy's way of getting familiar with an unfamiliar thing. The shape (large at the bottom - maybe larger than the puppy?) of an upright broom might resemble something with a tail sticking up.

Have you tried just letting the dog get familiar with the broom?

Maybe you could try laying it down. While you remain unengaged (i.e. ignore the broom and the puppy) see if the barking subsides to curiosity - sniffing the broom, pawing the broom - when the broom is lying down on the floor.

Your puppy might also be picking up cues from you about how to regard this strange thing. Does your demeanor change when it is time to sweep? The less of a fuss you make will help to clue your puppy in that the broom is neither a threat nor a toy.

You can also help your puppy to regard the broom as a "friend". If you hold the broom in a non-threatening way and present it to your puppy to sniff. Just that you are in control of a foreign object might help waylay your puppy's anxiety or diffuse the puppy's inclination to "call out" at or dominate the broom.

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    I trust this answer most, considering the poster is a dog himself. – Josh1billion Mar 22 '17 at 20:15
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    @Josh1billion heh, I've been called worse ;^) That's Lucy - my three-legged Lab/Goldy re-home special <3 – Mr. Kennedy Mar 22 '17 at 20:41
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  1. Slowly unscrew the stick from the broom.
  2. Throw the stick away and wait for him to fetch it back.
  3. Hold your dog and slowly screw the stick back in*
  4. Shout "Tadaaaaa!"

*the broom, not the dog.

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    This assumes, among other things, that OP's pup is of a breed that will voluntarily fetch. Far from all do. If I did something like this with my dogs, their reaction would be more along the lines of "okay... wtf did you do that for? go get it yourself.". – a CVn Mar 23 '17 at 9:10
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    @MichaelKjörling Also, even if your dog enjoys fetching, training your dog that the broom is a toy can backfire. – Taemyr Mar 23 '17 at 9:17
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    I don't think shouting "Tadaaaa!" will do anything other than startle the pup, and make it more distrustful of the broom. For that matter, throwing part of the broom is just as likely to startle the dog due to the sudden motion and loud noise of the handle hitting the ground. – Doktor J Mar 23 '17 at 16:13
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Mine did similar as a puppy, he'd chase and bite at the broom while its in use.

Two suggestions.

  1. you have to establish yourself as the alpha or at least above the puppy in your hierarchy. Use a clear voice sound to show that this is bad behaviour. One common phrase is a short clear guttural "uuuht!" and puppy should then look at you not the broom. Bonus if puppy licks his lips cos that means he's thinking and not just reacting.

  2. Don't make the sweeping into a game. If he barks or grabs then put the broom down and go do something else. Avoid picking up puppy and comforting him, because he'll learn that barking is rewarded.

Another idea is to put the broom upside down, or hang it up so its not on the ground. Puppy might not recognise it. Downside is this doesn't address the cause, just hides it.

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He is playing, and testing.

He doesn't know what the broom is, but he does know that it smells like the floor. Barking is way to both play, and test to see if the broom will bark back.

Assuming that your dog wasn't beaten by a broom in the past, then you have little to worry about. What your almost certainly have is a dog that needs to play more.

The broom is a potential toy. Give him a more interesting toy. To a puppy smell is very important. Don't give him old cloths or shoes, but do try to give him something that smells "bad" to play with. Take one of toys and rub it in your dirty cloths for example. It will make a far more interesting toy than a broom that no one is using.

If you're using the broom, then you're playing with him. You're putting motion "in his zone" much the way way you do with a ball or tug rope. Just re-enforce that the broom is not a toy, and that the activity is not a game.

I personally go "No, clean up." This is a sign to my dogs that it's not time to play, but time to help clean up. They then go to the dog bed or couch and basically do something else till I can play again.

Remember that your pup is like a baby that is just learning to crawl. They are curious and want to know what everything is. The broom just looks and smells more like a toy than say the end table (hopefully). Play with your pup more, and the problem will go away on its own as he will be too tired, and with any luck, find his other toys far more fun than a broom.

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