Dogs make life fun and interesting in the best of ways. Take my two lovable goofballs, Bella and Duke, they love to hike. Spring through fall, whenever possible, I take them out to explore the natural beauty we’re lucky enough to live around.
Their reactions when they realize where we’re going is unbeatable. We have some great adventures together that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
To return the favor, I’ve got to be a good owner which includes being aware of things that might scare my dogs. I also need to take the time to learn how to respond in those circumstances.
As owners, we need to be considerate of our pets’ needs and try to understand why our dogs might act frightened and how we could help them feel more comfortable in certain situations.
So, what about your washer? Why is my dog scared of the washing machine? The quick and easy answer is that the fear likely comes from a bad experience, the unknown, anxiety over noises, age, or the painful noises your washer makes. Fortunately, once you know what’s causing the problem there are easy and effective ways to help your dog out.
The Most Likely Reasons Why Your Dog is Afraid Of The Washing Machine
So, you’ve noticed that your dog seems to be scared of the washing machine. Maybe he’s shying away from it when it’s running or whimpering when you hit the start button; there are plenty of reasons why your four-legged friend might be nervous around the washer.
The most likely reason a dog is scared of the washer is due to a bad experience. Something could have happened to your pup while he was near a washing machine or could hear it.
For example, previous owners may have repeatedly locked him in a laundry room as punishment and this traumatic event has left a lasting impression on him.
He Doesn’t Know What It Is
Even if your dog never had a bad experience near a washer, he may still be hesitant around the noise and vibrations of a washer because he doesn’t know what it is.
The loud noise and maybe even some wobbling might be strange and unfamiliar to your pooch and he’s just being cautious about what he doesn’t understand.
Anxious About Loud Noises
We’re all familiar with dogs who are scared of fireworks or thunderstorms, but loud noises inside the house can be just as bad.
If loud noises make your dog anxious, then being near an appliance that hums, whirs, and buzzes is understandably uncomfortable for him.
Your Dog Is Getting Old
The age of your dog can also factor into his fearfulness around the washer, especially if you just got the washer. Like us humans, the older your dog gets, the harder time he might have accepting new things – including some new, noisy machine you just got.
The Washer Makes A Noise That Hurts Your Dog’s Ears
If your dog is scared of the washer, there’s a decent chance that noise emitted by the washing machine could hurt your good boy’s ears.
Dogs have much better hearing than us humans so even something simple like regular beeps signaling cycle changes or done cycles can cause discomfort for them.
On top of that, there are sound waves out of human hearing range such as squeaky belts or electronic controls with high-pitched rings that could hit painful frequencies that your canine companion!
Even if these noises only emit once per cycle, your pup could be fearfully anticipating the sound as soon as you start your machine.
What Are The Signs My Dog Is Scared Of The Washer?
One of the most obvious signs that your dog is scared of the washer is if he tries to hide. If you notice your pup sneaking off under the bed or into a corner when the washer turns on, this could be a sign that he is indeed afraid of it.
Another common sign that your pooch is scared of the washer is if he starts whining or trembling when he’s near it or hears it running. Whining and shaking can be indicators that your pup feels anxious or afraid and may indicate that they feel threatened by the noise or movement from the washer.
Lastly, dogs may start licking you, or another nearby object such as a toy in order to self-soothe. This behavior can appear as an attempt to comfort themselves and reduce anxiety in response to being scared of the washer.
How To Help Your Dog Overcome His Fear Of The Washing Machine
Fear of loud noises inside the house can be just as bad for our four-legged friends as their reaction to fireworks or thunderstorms. If you find that your dog is showing signs of anxiety around the washing machine, here are some steps you can take to help him overcome it.
Create A Positive Association
Creating a positive association between the washer and something your dog enjoys can be a great way to start helping him overcome his fear.
Begin by giving your good boy treats whenever he’s near the washer and gradually work up to only giving him treats when you open it, then again when you turn it on, etc. until he begins feeling more comfortable around the appliance.
Modify The Sounds Your Washer Makes
Our dogs weren’t afraid of it, but when we got our new dryer it made a very loud and very awful noise three times in a row when it was finished. Needless to say, after hearing it just a few times, I replaced the buzzer mechanism with something much more pleasant.
If you’ve found that your dog is bothered by the beeps or chimes your washing machine makes, you should look into how to mute or change them. If simply changing out that annoying beep or chime helps calm your pup’s nerves, it will be well worth the effort.
If you need help figuring out which sounds might be bothering your good boy, you can also purchase an audio spectrum analyzer. This will help you to identify which noises could be hurting your dog’s ears.
Run The Washer When Your Dog Is Far Away
Another workaround is to only run the washer when your dog is outside or far away. Of course, this can be tricky depending on how far he is actually able to go. So, it may take some creative problem solving on your part in order to find a spot your dog can regularly be without being bothered by the washing machine.
Call The Professionals
And lastly, if none of these strategies seem to work out, consulting with a vet about medication options could be beneficial as well.
Summary: Why Are Dogs Scared Of Washers?
Dogs can be afraid of washing machines for a variety of reasons, from bad experiences to simply not understanding the loud noises and vibrations. The most likely reason is due to a traumatic event that left a lasting impression on them, such as being locked in the laundry room by an owner as punishment.
They may also be anxious around loud noises inside the house, or if the sound of the washer is too intense for their ears. Older dogs may have a hard time accepting new things, such as a new washing machine that has just been added to your home.
Some dogs may show their fear by trying to self-soothe by licking objects nearby when they hear the washer startup, while others might whimper and shake.
It’s important to remember that there are many things your canine companion might be worried about when it comes to being near the washer, so give him some extra love and patience while he gets used to it!
You can do your best to keep your dog away from the washer when it’s running or even change its sounds. Or there are rewards-based training techniques available that involve offering something like treats when the machine turns on (or even just plays its sound) so that your pup associates positive experiences with washing machines instead of negative ones.
With enough time and exposure and small steps, this method can be incredibly effective for helping fearful pups become more comfortable around them.