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Dog gets into trash

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Does anyone else's dog get into the trash all the time? Whenever I leave him alone in a room, I have to hide the trash cans because he'll get into them and eat everything and anything. We have to be careful not to throw out any foods that are bad for him in trash cans that he can reach.


New Member
My dog loves to raid the bathroom trash can. He can't reach the one in the kitchen. Dogs are natural scavengers, so it's instinctual for them to smell the trash and try to go through it.

We keep the bathroom door closed at all times, but I know there are trash cans out there that you can buy with lids that are difficult for dogs to remove. Though a smart dog will probably figure it out eventually. Really, the best way is to just put the trash can in the cabinet or somewhere else out of reach before you leave.
Do you think that your dog may have separation anxiety? My sister-in-law has a dog that has serious separation anxiety, so she's started knocking over the kitchen trash can, and eating everything she can find. There's a spray can you can buy that sprays water (or hisses, depends on which one you choose), that will spray whenever something gets near it; maybe you can buy some, and put them near your trash cans, that way, whenever your dog gets near it, it'll startle him, and he may stop doing it.
Dogs are naturally scavengers. I presume startling is not the best method. Dogs learn best by conditioning their responses to external stimuli. You can use a reward system to wean dogs off trash cans. For example placing palatable food in its plate every time he moves away from the trash can and them luring him back to the trash can. Believe me, it works.
Obviously, dogs have an amazing noses. The world is a gigantic ball of scents to them, and your trash can is a veritable smorgasbord of vittles that they want to sample. Sure, it might smell ghastly to us, but a dog smells adventure. Learning to dissuade them from going into the trash is the key.

As Remnant already stated, you can divert their attention with something more interesting. Or, you can change the location of the trash can. When I was training a puppy to stay away from the trash, all I needed was to tell him no once or twice. Very smart, that one. He'd give the trash can a whiff, but he knew that if he listened to me, he'd get to play games or have a treat. Eventually, he ignored the garbage all together. If that doesn't work, you can spray the can with scents that deter your dog. For example, I believe hot pepper, vinegar, and lemon was one of the concoctions...

Ah, here's the LINK.


New Member
Just place trash can somewhere that can't be reached by your dog. Dogs have a good sense of smell and the mix of the odor of the things in your trash can is probably heavenly to them. And tell your dog repeatedly that trash can is not something that he can play with. Just be firm about it. He'll eventually come around.
One of our 3 dogs is kept in a cage. Pipoy is a hyperactive pug who would chew on anything. He would destroy the legs of the table by chewing or gnawing and he would scratch the upholstery of the sofa. And since the dog trainer couldn't restrain him on that idiosyncrasy, we have no choice but to put him in a cage. He is now 3 years old and turning slightly mellow but maybe before he turns 4 we can let him loose in the house like the other 2 dogs - Tisoy and Barbie.

By the way, our vet had warned us about dogs rummaging in the trash. He said trash or garbage is the favorite habitat of rabies.


New Member
As a puppy our dogs have always made straight for the trash can but it's something that through training you can stop them doing just like anything else.

At first we stopped putting food scraps in the bin because we thought it was down to the smell of food but that didn't stop them knocking it over. I just put it down to dogs and especially puppies being inquisitive.
Oh yeah! Dogs love any organic matter. They are very curious creatures and they will love to sniff out any food scraps or anything with a scent. Keep your trash away from them and they won't get into it. Keep your trash can under the sink or in a closet.
Dogs and cats have that a penchant for digging trash. It's probably the smell. All too often there are food leftovers and other biodegradable stuff thrown into garbage bags or bins so it's not so unusual for dogs to follow the smell and satisfy their curiosity. We try to hang up our garbage bags or put them in tightly sealed garbage bins so that dogs can't reach them and spread trash everywhere.
We keep the kitchen trash can in a cabinet and the bathroom trashcan is the type that you need to step on the pedal to open. Our living room and office trash cans are in the open. They never have food in them, just things like the plastic wrap from a DVD or paper or non-working pens, but the dog still felt the need to dig in them.

Our first step was to control access unless we were present to observe and correct him. When we were in the room, we sprayed the trash cans with bitter lime (a product to discourage chewing) in the hope that it would make them less interesting. We gave a sharp verbal correction using a cue he already knew ("leave it" meaning take your nose away from that) and rewarded him for moving away from the trash can. At this point in his life, we can leave those trash cans even if he's loose inside and we're not home but that may be partially due to the increased impulse control of age. He's 9 now.
All of the trashcans in my house, except the ones in the bedrooms, have covers which prevent the dogs from rummaging around in the garbage. Surprisingly, none of my three dogs, two of them being puppies, don't seem to have much interest in the garbage unless there's food sitting pretty right on top. My oldest dog, a border collie, gets into my bedroom garbage sometimes when I have wrappers and stuff in there, but she usually doesn't make a big mess.

Those trashcan covers really are one of the best solutions for that problem unless the dog is a big troublemaker who knocks over garbage cans. Those cans with the heavy tops that have the foot pedal are also really great options, unless you have a smart and crafty pup lol. I used to have a dog, German Shorthaired Pointer, who was really the only dog I've had who loved to rummage in the garbage, but she only did if we accidentally left the cover off of it. She didn't want to knock the thing over for whatever reason. She adored it when we had corn on the cob, though. Chewing on corn cobs was one of her favorite things to do outside of sniffing dryer sheets.
My trash buckets are usually hidden inside drawers or behind cupboards to make sure this doesn't happen. I can definitely see how this could be a major problem if you don't have that kind of protection so I would suggest putting it up somewhere high where they can't reach it.
My suggestion is to watch the dog. Just before he starts rummaging the trash can, take a treat and hold it near him. Make sure he notices you, and follows you back to his food bowl before saying "no" a few times and letting him eat it. Do this a few times, then stop. Next time, when you see him tempted by the trash can, stare at him and keep saying no. If he listens, give him a treat. If he doesn't, take the treat, let him sniff it, then put it back. Don't give in to his begging after that. He will slowly understand the trashcan is a no-no.