I guess my main question is; am I going to have to desensitize him to all brooms, mops, weed-wackers, ect? That is going to be quite a lot of "down~~~~>treat"sessions.
Yes, it is something you want to work on.The reason is that your dog benefits from being able to be reasonably under control in those situations.He might need a little help.Any situation where a dog gets worked up, fear, excitement or whatever is causing an excessive behavior needs to be addressed.The more the mind stays on somethind the harder it is to snap the dog out of it, resulting in even more aggression in dogs who are prone to it.I have been working on a dog I have here for quite some time now.This is a fearful dog and often with fearful animals fear can turn into aggression.That is where the problem is, when the dog looses its mind and the fear and lack of solid nerves decide what the next action is.If it is inappropriate redirection there is a problem.When this dog first saw and heard the vacuum was when I just took him in and he was crated.He lunged, growled and tried to bust out of his crate grabbing the bars with his teeth.Both fear and frustration for not being able to target the object that scared him.The following day I put him in the kitchen, behind a metal gate, and the same behavior repeated when he saw me pulling out the vacuum.He broke two plastic attachment and put a dent on the metal tube of my beloved vacuum.
I started to throw a new bone or treats to him before I turned on the vacuum, to give him the chance to do something else instead of freaking out over the vacuum.If the behavior was really excessive I also let him know it wasn't acceptable with a "hey! Knock it off".No physical actions or request to follow up a sit or down stay, he was not ready to do it anyway.I could force a dog down or restrain it but that doesn't change where its mind is.He would still be panicking without solving the problem.It is more productive to find another way in this case, imo.Tux is responsive to a certain tone of voice and disappointment so he was able to give me random eye contacts and we went from there.I vacuum every day so the vacuum was becoming something usual to him.I have had him since last December and he is now able not only to ignore the vacuum but to be vacuumed.I am going to link some videos of him, you will notice on the video that he wags is tail, he is fairly relaxed and even gnaw on a bone while I vacuum him.That is good, he can put his mind into the bone or me instead of grabbing the vacuum.The vacuum attachment is moved above his head as well, which is something scary for a fearful animal, on top of the vacuum sound.I can gently push him on his side to pet his belly, which means he is not afraid of taking away any defense in front of the vacuum.It is a combination of trust and slow desensitization.
We are now working on the weedeater, which I expect it to be quite a task and the poor lawn mower that has holes on its wheels..they are the devil in his mind! Here is a link to the videos, Tux is the black dog.Excuse the annoying baby talk, he likes it, listen to it and he is being a good boy.