This was one of my most challenging problems with Haley. She’s always listened well and responded quickly to training, but sadly, she was a trash hound. She would raid the trash when we were gone and at times would boldly sneak into the kitchen while we were at home to forage for goodies from the garbage can. Once, she even ate an entire turkey breast carcass!Some dogs will get into the trash because of boredom, but most dogs smell something tempting and quickly learn from experience that the trash can contains a treasure trove of tasty tidbits and interesting things to chew on or shred. It’s frustrating when your dog does this, but it may help to know that your pup doesn’t do this out of spite. It’s instinctual for dogs to scavenge for food. They are opportunists (somewhat like us) and they would survive in nature by foraging for food or leftover scraps. However, since your dog is living inside your home rather than scavenging in the wild, you’ll want to keep her safe from ingesting anything dangerous from your trash. Here are some ways to prevent doggie dumpster diving.
6 Ways to Keep Your Dog From Getting Into the Trash
What worked best for Haley were numbers 5 and 6 above. I wanted her to stay away from the trash can when we were at home, but I felt that it was expecting too much of her to ignore the can if she was left home alone, especially if there was something very tempting in the trash. Here’s how I trained Haley to ignore the trash can.
Teaching Your Dog to Ignore the Trash CanObserve your dog’s behavior whenever she’s in the kitchen with you.
Any time your dog approaches, sniffs or looks intently at the trash can, give her a verbal correction such as “Uh Uh” or “No” in a stern voice.
If your dog knows the Leave It or Off command, either of those will also work well to let her know to back away or ignore the trash can.
Correct your dog as soon as she focuses her attention on the trash can.
Occasionally, reinforce the training by placing something she finds delicious near the top of the can to bait or test her. Be prepared to correct her if needed, but she may surprise you with her good behavior and ignore it.
I still keep a close eye on Haley around the trash can, just in case she ever needs a reminder, but she’s graduated from trash hound to trained hound! When we leave the house, I place the can behind a baby gate so we don’t have to worry about her being tempted or eating something that might make her sick.If your dog gets into the trash, even when there’s nothing edible inside the can, she may be bored or need more exercise. A good walk or some active playtime before leaving the house can release some of her excess energy. Also, giving her a frozen, food-stuffed Kong or toy that she can work on while you’re gone may keep her busy and out of trouble. Another reason some dogs get into the trash is to gain attention. They have learned that stealing something from the trash may result in an exciting game of chase.
When attempting to stop your dog from getting into the trash, prevention is the best approach and remember to only correct your dog if you catch her in the act. Have you had issues with your dog being a dumpster diver? What method worked best for you?