What It's Like To Vacuum A Dog

Every dog I've ever known has been either scared or "overly excited" by the resident vacuum cleaner. That's why Dyson's decision to introduce a dog brush vacuum attachment seemed so strange. But after using the Dyson Groom for a couple of weeks on my Golden Retriever, Simba, I have to say that it works brilliantly - within reason.

The attachment is relatively simple in its design: When you push the Groom down, it reveals a series of fine brushes that will collect the dog hair from your pet's back. When you release the attachment, the brushes retract, leaving the dog hair to be sucked down your vacuum's tube, meaning very little mess and convenient hair disposal.

In terms of a dog brush, the Dyson attachment works a treat. Unlike some regular dog brushes, it does a really good job of capturing the hair and not sending tufts of yellow gold hair floating through the house. The hair doesn't tangle in the brush either, so there's no concern about the device not retracting at all.

But of course, the real issue with the Dyson attachment is your dog's reaction to the vacuum cleaner itself. As you'd expect, the first time I approached Simba with the device at the end of a running vacuum cleaner, he cowered away from me like I was a thunderstorm. Fortunately, Dyson offer some handy hints to address dogs like Simba in the manual:

Hints and Tips Some dogs are unsettled by the sound and the shape of a vacuum cleaner. Here are a few tips to help: 1. Place the machine in view of your dog - instead of only seeing it on cleaning days, the vacuum cleaner becomes a part of the dog's surroundings. 2. Encourage the dog to go near the vacuum cleaner by feeding in front of it. 3. Repeat the second step, but with the vacuum cleaner switched on. 4. Groom the dog without the tool attached to the vacuum cleaner 5. Once the dog is comfortable with the steps above, start using the tool while it's attached to the vacuum cleaner. Keep praising your dog and rewarding it for good behaviour.

In the end, I decided to attach the Groom to the end of a handheld Dyson and brush Simba with it switched off, vacuuming up the hair after enough collected. It's not exactly how the tool was designed to work, but Simba can handle it better than with the barrel vacuum, and that makes the whole process easier.

For $89, the Dyson Groom is an expensive peripheral for your vacuum. But if you have a long haired dog, and have the patience to get them to sit still while you vacuum their coat, you can't actually fault its performance. It would be nice if it locked into the brush position to make the physical act of brushing even easier, but given it's not too hard to do anyway, that's a minor quibble.

[Dyson]