How to Get Your Dog to Stay Out of the Garbage?

In case you are also fed up with your dog raiding the garbage, you can try to keep the garbage away from the dog’s reach at some hidden place, use a garbage repellent, keep him busy with games and try to catch him red-handed. All these methods are proven by dog owners to discourage the raiding of trash by dogs.

After a long day of work, you come home expecting to relax at home with your dog. You want to have a great time, but once you open the door you find the worst surprise of your life. You get wrappers, shredded paper towels, empty containers, and banana peels. There is only one suspect that is responsible for this mess and that’s your dog.

They spent a better part of their day trashing your garbage can and now they are looking at you feeling guilty.

Perhaps, it was not intentional as they were bored and decided to have fun or they were just curious to know what was in the garbage can. Their notorious behavior did not only mess your kitchen but put them in potential health danger.

You may find this behavior annoying but some scholars claim the behavior is hereditary. According to most experts, dogs were domesticated by humans thousands of years ago. Prior to this domestication, wolves were initially captured as puppies or they inhabited near human villages.

The villages were a haven for free food, which was thrown out like trash, and the wolves decided it was a good idea to live closer to humans.

Is Your Dog Raiding Trash an Ancestral Habit?

In the wild, wolves can stay several days without getting any food. It is difficult getting games in the wild and finding enough food every day is not a luxury they get to enjoy.

So when humans throw out the food they think is not good for consumption, for the wolves or wild dogs it is like finding treasure. For our friends at home, the trash is all about the new smell and the fun they can get while digging in their noses.

For the wolves, cleaning up your trash is a necessity as they need it to survive. It is for these reasons that we may claim our full friends inherited it from their ancestors. Trashing is genetic for these animals and may be the reason your dog spends too much time in the garbage.

You may assume they do it because they are hungry but it is not always the case. For your dog, anything that is in the trash can have an unavoidable smell and at the same time could be a potential threat.

Sometimes as they play with the garbage they endanger their health when in their minds it’s just a game. All the scents that come from the trash make them curious.

Remember they were used to a clean environment before they discovered the trash can. At this point, it is like they found treasure and the risks of reaching it are worth every effort. They do not know it could harm them, so they will go for it and start digging in as they throw out everything.

There is More to Raiding Trash Than the Search for a Meal

At this point, we need to understand that our friends spend most of their time in the trash because they are curious. Some dogs may have developed a sense of joyfulness as they dig into the garbage. Sometimes they will find something delicious or interesting to bite.

As your dog is busy figuring out what is attractive in the trash can, they will be spreading litter throughout the kitchen or the house. In their minds, the garbage can is another version of the Cracker Jack – it will always have a prize inside.

In their minds, they are determined and excited to find that prize in the trash. As this happens, every unwanted object becomes a toy that they can bite. You may find that your dog likes to bite different packaging and paper towels in the trash.

As annoying as it could be, sometimes they do not do it deliberately. You may have denied them attention and they just found a way to get it back.

Some dogs know that if they misbehave, you will notice them and stop whatever you were doing. You will obviously come to investigate and in the event, they will get a few minutes alone with you.

Raiding Trash

In many of these instances, it is because they were hungry or bored and you failed to notice them. It is important to understand that your dog can put their health at risk by playing with the trash. Always make sure you balance your time to spare a few minutes just to be with them.

Among other dogs digging into the garbage is a good way to get their owner’s attention. They know it is wrong but they will do it anyway. They understand that every time they trash the garbage can or chew unwanted material you will rush to stop them or shout at them to stop it.

As a result, you may stop working and go out with them for a walk. Once they are outside they know they will get the chance to run around and have some fun. They also know that if they spend the whole day being polite, you will remain focused on your work and their price would be boredom.

Trash Can Harm Your Dog

While our fluffy friends may assume the garbage can is a safe place to play or get curious, they may not understand the dangers they are exposed to. The trash cans contain many items, from empty packaging to the most toxic items. If they accidentally ingest any of these items, they could put their health at risk.

Their health is a priority and the reason we cover the garbage cans we put them where they may not reach them easily. The habit may have been inherited from wolves, but wolves are wild animals and their bodies are naturally prepared to fight some bacteria. Unfortunately, our dogs from clean environments cannot survive an intoxicated meal.

There are toxins and metals in the items we throw away and some of the foods we eat. These toxins and metals are dangerous when ingested by our friends especially when they are ingested in high quantities. It is scary, but there is a possibility your dog may die from this habit (trashing garbage) and it is recommended to stop the habit as soon as possible.

If you are using products that may harm your best friend, it is important that you get rid of the garbage almost immediately. If not, find ways that you can use to stop your dog from playing or eating trash.

Its also important to teach your dog to DROP the thing in his mouth on your command.

Ways to Stop Dog From Going in the Trash

If this is a common problem for your dog, there is a way to help them stop the habit. You can do the

1. Make it Impossible for Them to Reach the Garbage

  1. If you think you need to put the garbage in a hidden place, you can place it under the kitchen sink or in a closed place where your dog will not get to it.
  2. Keep the garbage can in the storage. If your dog knows how to open doors, use a child lock to ensure it remains closed.
  3. Buy a trash can that is difficult to open; do not make it easy for them to open the garbage can.
  4. Place the baby-doors around the trash bin. By doing this, you will send a message that confirms the area is out of bounds for your pet.
  5. It can change the world if your dog is not tempted. Always keep your dog biting or playing with his toys to focus them on their favorite healthy activities.

2. Use a Garbage Repellent

There are many garbage repellents available. Buy one and placing it near the trash to keep the dog away.

You could also spray the trash with the repellent. Dogs dislike the taste of repellents and will keep off once they bite an item with this taste.

Some experts recommend adding baking soda. As your fluffy friend attacks the trash, they will meet this unwanted taste that will discourage them from coming for another attempt.

Note: make sure it is safe to use baking soda before you use it to keep your dog away from the trash.

3. Keep Them Busy

Maybe your dog was bored when they attacked the trash or perhaps you left them idle at home when you went to work. If this is the case, consider doing certain activities while your dog is alone at home. For example, you buy toys that easily get your dog’s attention.

Every time you get home, make sure you take them outside to have enough physical activity. Some dogs have more energy that needs to be used on a daily basis, if your dog falls into this category, you must make sure they get rid of the additional energy. Otherwise, the garbage bin will be their next target when they want to play.

4. Dog’s do not Like Being Hungry

Some dogs look for trash to have fun, but others do it for hunger. Make sure you feed them the same amount of food but within different intervals. Give your dog a few meals a day so he is not hungry and does not develop the urge to visit the garbage bin.

For proper dog food courses on what to feed your dog breed, check this link on dog food secrets training.

5. Catch Them in the Act

In fact, your dog may not understand that he is wrong. In order for them to understand what they are doing is wrong, you should catch them in the act and clarify that it wrong. Do not get angry if you catch them in the act, be polite but clear that the garbage bin is a no-go-zone.

Watch them as they approach the trash. As they put their heads inside the garbage bin, make some sudden noise such as shaking coins in a can or a loud whistle. The noise will disrupt them and they will not be coming back any time soon.

6. Booby-trap the Trash Can (Do Not Hurt Them in the Process)

When you are away from home and cannot see your dog, make sure you have something prepared to scare them off the trash can. You could place empty soda cans above the lid of the trash bin. As your pet attempts to open it, the cans will fall off making a loud noise that will get them running like the wind.

7. Train Them to be Obedient

Obedience is essential for domesticated dogs. It is what differentiates them from street dogs or wild animals. Training is important if you want them to listen to you. They should be able to understand simple commands like “leave it”, “sit”, or “stay”. When you catch them getting excited as they sniff the trash, command them “leave it” and they will immediately walk away. You can also check my 50 dog training commands book for getting on track with obedience training for your dog.


So when you get home and find litter all over your kitchen, do not start screaming at your dog for being a bad pet. Apply any of the above approaches to ensure that they put a stop to the behavior. We love them as much as they love us and trashing the can should not be the reason to make them avoid us. It is an honest mistake that can be stopped.



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