behavior modification

You know how some people use the vacuum cleaner as a behavior modification tool for their pets?  Like when Fluffy is scratching at the bedroom door in the middle of the night so they turn on the Hoover to make him scram.
I think the people upstairs from me employ this practice with their eight year old son.
Every time I hear the vacuum turn on, he starts screaming and throwing what my mother calls a wall-eyed fit.
The screaming is always accompanied by the sound of feet running across the house, followed by the slamming of a door.  Then the vacuum stops and all is quiet.
Is this just a coincidence?  Does he just get scared when mom or dad cleans the house, or is there something more sinister afoot?
We shall see.

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The devil is in the details.

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