What we do
Unlike people, dogs love rubbish. They love to get right into it and see what they can find. It’s hardly surprising; with their super-sensitive noses, dogs can smell all the delicious food we throw away, and once they know it’s there, they want to eat it. Considering how much most people hate going anywhere near their rubbish, it’s a shame dogs can’t take it out for us. But alas, instead of helping clear the trash, usually once a dog gets stuck in, it just causes even more mess to clean up. So if you are sick of your pooch sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong, check out our ideas for stopping your dog getting into the trash.
• Don’t let it happen in the first place – dogs are extremely clever animals, and this power can be either used for good or bad, depending on how you train them. If you establish from the outset that going into the rubbish in a definite no-no, then this behaviour will not continue. If you allow your dog to do this at the beginning, it will be much harder to rectify later on. When you first get your dog, watch for signs of rubbish loving, and if they approach the garbage make a sharp noise to deter them, and continue to do this each time they try it. After a while they will get the hint.
• Try to avoid putting food in your rubbish – this is often the main reason dogs go for the rubbish, they can smell the delicious left overs they were denied at dinner. But if you don’t want your dog rooting around for it in the rubbish, either give it to them at the time (if safe), or try and compost as much as you can. This helps avoid temptation for your dog.
• Put your trash out of reach – another way to help your dog avoid temptation is to put the garbage out of reach; in a different, locked room is ideal. That way your dog can’t access it. If you don’t have another room (e.g. the garage) to put your rubbish bins, then if possible install a stairgate or other barrier (even a closed door) between the rubbish and your dog.
• Don’t let it build up – if the above options don’t work, or aren’t practical to implement, then instead of having a large bag a waste you take out once a week, use smaller bags instead and take them out daily. Not only does this prevent your dog getting into the rubbish, it also helps stop your home smelling from week old waste.
• Use dog repellent – this can be purchased from a local pet store, and basically smells unpleasant, so the dog doesn’t want to go near your rubbish. If used regularly your dog will begin to associate the rubbish with this unpleasant smell and will learn to keep away.
• Give them something else to do – a lot of dogs get bored, so start exploring around the house, including the rubbish, so give them lots to keep them active and it shouldn’t be such a problem.
• Get serious – if none of the above tactics have worked, then it might be time to get serious and bring a dog trainer in. This obviously depends on how serious you think the problem is, but if it’s reached breaking point, and you can’t find a working strategy, a professional trainer may be the answer. This will help ensure your dog is trained in the best way, and also gives you the opportunity to help learn about how to interact with your dog as well.