How To Keep Your Dog Out Of The Trash

Keeping your dog out of the trash is a common challenge faced by many pet owners.

Dogs have an acute sense of smell, and the various odors emanating from your garbage can be irresistible to them. Additionally, they may find food scraps, leftover snacks, or even interesting textures and smells that pique their curiosity.

However, trash can diving can lead to a mess, health hazards, and sometimes even danger for your furry friend.

In this guide, we’ll explore effective strategies to prevent your dog from rummaging through the trash. From training and positive reinforcement to smart trash can placement and maintaining a dog-friendly environment, we’ll cover it all.

By the end of this article, you’ll have the tools and knowledge to keep your dog out of the trash and ensure their safety and your peace of mind.

Training and Positive Reinforcement

Basic Obedience Training

Teaching your dog basic commands like “leave it” and “stay” can be invaluable. “Leave it” is particularly useful in redirecting your dog’s attention away from the trash can. To train your dog to respond to “leave it,” start with treats in both hands.

Show your dog a treat in one hand, and when they show interest, say “leave it” and close your hand. When they stop trying to get the treat, reward them with the treat in your other hand. Consistent practice will help your dog associate “leave it” with not approaching the trash can.


Consistency in training is vital when teaching your dog to stay out of the trash. It means that everyone in your household should follow the same rules and commands.

If one family member allows the dog near the trash while another discourages it, your dog might become confused and less likely to learn. Ensure that everyone understands and consistently enforces the “leave it” or “stay” commands. Consistency also applies to the timing and type of rewards you offer.

Whether it’s treats, praise, or affection, use the same rewards each time your dog obeys. This predictability helps your dog understand what’s expected and reinforces the desired behavior.

Use of detergent

It’s crucial to maintain consistency when employing detergents to discourage your dog from rummaging through the trash. Choose a suitable dog-safe detergent or repellent designed to discourage unwanted behavior around trash cans.

Consistency involves applying the deterrent consistently, making sure it’s present whenever the trash is accessible to your dog. This reinforces the connection between trying to access the trash and encountering the deterrent.

Additionally, be consistent in supervising your dog’s interactions with the trash. Never leave them unattended with access to the trash, especially during the initial training phase. This consistent supervision reinforces the negative association between trying to access the trash and the deterrent, making your dog less likely to repeat the behavior.

Trash Can Placement

Elevate Trash Cans:

Elevating the trash can be an effective strategy. Choose a trash can with a pedal-operated lid or one that hangs from a cabinet door. These elevated options are harder for dogs to access.

Install a child safety lock on the cabinet if necessary to prevent your dog from nudging it open. Raising the trash can keeps it out of your dog’s reach and reduces the temptation to explore its contents.

Hidden or Enclosed Trash Bins

Consider using hidden or enclosed trash bins to keep your dog away from the trash. These can be integrated into cabinets or placed inside a cupboard with a door.

When the trash is concealed, your dog won’t be visually stimulated to investigate it. Ensure the cabinet or enclosure is secure, and use child safety locks if needed. This method combines aesthetics with functionality, keeping your trash hidden and your dog’s curiosity at bay.

Securing the Lid

Secure Lid and Lock: The first step in keeping your dog out of the trash is to ensure the trash can has a secure lid. Look for trash cans with locking mechanisms or heavy lids that are not easy for your dog to open. A tight-fitting lid prevents your dog from accessing the tempting contents inside.

Additionally, consider placing a weight on top of the lid for added security. This physical barrier can deter even the most determined trash explorers.

Outdoor Cans

Using outdoor trash cans is a strategic choice to keep your dog out of the trash. These cans are typically designed with sturdier materials and secure lids.

Select an outdoor trash can that has a tight-fitting and secure lid. This ensures that even if your dog investigates it, they won’t be able to access the contents.

Make it a habit to take trash outside immediately, and be sure to secure the lid afterward. This consistent behavior helps your dog understand that the outdoor trash can is the designated place for waste disposal, and they won’t find any enticing surprises indoors.

Maintaining a Dog-Friendly Environment

Disposing of food scraps properly is essential to maintain a dog-friendly environment in your home. Consistency in this aspect ensures your dog doesn’t have easy access to tempting leftovers.

Make it a habit to scrape food scraps into a trash bag or container with a secure lid immediately after meals. Avoid leaving plates or dishes with food residues within your dog’s reach.

By consistently disposing of food scraps properly and ensuring they are not accessible to your dog, you reduce the temptation and reinforce good behavior ā€“ your dog learning that food scraps are off-limits. This contributes to a cleaner and dog-friendly environment.

Empty the Trash Regularly

Don’t let the trash can become too full, as it may be easier for your dog to access its contents. Emptying the trash regularly is a crucial step in maintaining a dog-friendly environment. Consistency in this task prevents trash from accumulating and becoming a tempting target for your dog.

Make it a routine to empty indoor trash cans, especially those with food scraps or appealing odors, on a regular basis. Avoid letting trash sit for extended periods, which can increase the chances of your dog being enticed by the contents.

By consistently emptying the trash, you reduce the chances of your dog being drawn to it. Your dog learns that there are no rewarding surprises in the trash can, promoting a cleaner and more dog-friendly environment.

Use Trash Can Deodorizers

Consider using trash can deodorizers or liners designed to contain odors effectively. Utilizing trash can deodorizers is a practical strategy to maintain a dog-friendly environment. These products can effectively neutralize odors emanating from your trash can, making it less enticing for your dog.

Choose deodorizers designed specifically for trash cans, as they are formulated to tackle strong odors effectively. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement, which may include putting the deodorizer at the bottom or inside the trash can.

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To maintain a dog-friendly environment, be consistent in using these deodorizers. Replace or replenish them as needed to ensure their continued effectiveness. Be vigilant for any signs that the deodorizer is losing its odor-fighting power, such as the return of unpleasant smells.

Secure Bags

Securing trash bags is an additional measure to prevent your dog from rummaging through the garbage. Using strong, durable trash bags can help deter your curious canine.

Consider using heavy-duty trash bags that are less likely to tear or rip open if your dog tries to access the contents. Double-bagging can also add an extra layer of protection.

Additionally, you can tie the trash bag securely with a knot or use twist ties to keep it closed. Some trash cans come with built-in features like locks or straps to hold the bag in place.

By ensuring that the trash bag is properly secured, you reduce the chances of your dog gaining easy access to the tempting contents inside. This small effort can contribute to a cleaner and safer environment for both you and your four-legged companion.

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Seek Professional Help

If your dog continues to rummage through the trash despite your best efforts, consider reaching out to a professional dog trainer or behaviorist for help. These experts can analyze the root causes of this behavior and offer customized solutions.

In summary, preventing your dog from digging into the trash isn’t just about avoiding messy situations; it’s also about ensuring your pet’s safety and overall happiness. By employing a mix of training techniques, positive reinforcement, and thoughtful environmental adjustments, you can establish a dog-friendly environment where your furry companion is less tempted to embark on trash-related escapades.

Remember, patience and consistency are key when teaching your dog good behavior. Avoid punitive measures and focus on rewarding positive actions. Over time and with dedicated effort, you can set clear boundaries and establish expectations that pave the way for a harmonious bond with your four-legged companion.

In the end, a well-trained and content dog is a happier dog, and your commitment to upholding a trash-free environment will enhance the health and joy of your relationship with your canine friend.

image source : pixabay


Hi, friends! I'm Sam (blog owner/article researcher). I research & write dog useful and helpful related articles for common questions many dog owners search for answers to. My goal is to educate dog owners about the ins and outs of canine behavior and keep up with the latest scientific research in the canine niche. Thanks for visiting my blog. Feel free to browse my great articles from the menu above or the home page.

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