5 Tidy Tips for Keeping Your Dog Out of the Trash

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
fast facts

Guess who got into the trash… again. An irresistible target for curious pups, there are ways to keep your dog out of the trash.

When you throw something in the garbage it is usually because it is no longer useful to you or because it has gone bad. What you consider garbage, however, could seem like a treat to your dog – a smelly, disgusting treat. Having a dog who constantly digs through the trash is not only messy, but it can be dangerous for your dog if he accidentally gets into something toxic –keep reading to learn some simple tips and a training sequence to keep your dog out of the trash.

Related: Training for Off-Leash Dog Encounters

Practical Tips for Keeping Your Dog Out of the Trash

The easiest way to keep your dog out of the trash is to put the trash somewhere he can’t reach it. Keeping your trash can in a cupboard under the sink is a great way to prevent your dog from having access to it – unless he learns how to open the cupboard. If you don’t have a cupboard big enough to fit your garbage can, it may be enough to just switch to a trash can that has a tight-fitting lid. With this option, however, you’ll have to remember to put the lid back down every time you use the trash can. Many dog owners find that trash cans with a foot pedal that opens the lid are highly effective because the lid closes on its own. Another simple thing you can do is to put food scraps in a plastic bag before placing them in the trash – this will help to muffle the scent so your dog is less tempted.

Related: Why Are Dogs Afraid of Vacuums?

Teaching Your Dog a “Leave It” Command

In addition to employing the simple tips listed above to keep your dog from getting into the trash, you may also want to consider teaching him to respond to a “Leave It” command. This command can be used to stop your dog from doing anything that you don’t want him to do, including getting into the trash. Here is a simple training sequence to teach your dog this command:

  1. Pinch a treat between the thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand and kneel or sit in front of your dog with your hand outstretched.
  2. Wait for your dog to take notice of the treat and, as soon as he goes for it, say “Leave It” and close your hand into a fist then turn it upside down.
  3. Let your dog sniff at your hand and try to get at the treat, watching his eyes as he does so – as soon as his eyes move away from your hand, tell him “Good” and give him the treat.
  4. Keep repeating this training sequence until your dog learns to associate the “Leave It” command with the desired behavior – then you can try it with toys or other things instead of treats.

As is true with any kind of training, teaching your dog to stop digging through the trash can take a little time and a lot of patience. While training your dog it is important that you do not punish him for bad behavior – if you do, it could confuse him and it might also have a negative impact on your relationship. The best thing to do during training is to keep things fun and to reward good behavior consistently.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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