How to Keep Your Dog Out of Trash in 8 Steps | Pet PRO Advice

How to Keep Your Dog Out of Trash in 8 Steps

Dogs have an unfortunate habit of getting into trash cans. Much of this is because dogs simply love human food and will try to get to it no matter where it is. Other times it’s because they’re just curious. Nevertheless, they have the potential to get ill, so it’s a habit that needs to stop as soon as it begins. If you aren’t sure how to keep a dog out of trash cans, take a look at the eight tips laid out below.

8. Refrain From Boredom

A bored dog can readily get into things they aren’t supposed to. It’s through no fault of their own, really, as they’re just trying to cure their boredom and maybe resolve some lingering curiosity. To keep them out of trouble, and out of your garbage, there are a number of things you can do keep your dog occupied:

  • Exercise: Try taking your dog out for more frequent walks. Consider running with them or even biking.
  • Social Interaction: If there’s a dog park nearby, try taking your pet there. This gives them a perfect chance to play, run off energy, and interact with other dogs.
  • Toys: Toys are always a perfect way to maintain your dog’s interest. You can play with them or leave enough around so that they can entertain themselves when you’re not around. A treat toy is also a great way to keep them both distracted and fed.

7. Keep Your Dog Well-Fed

Perhaps your dog is digging through the trash can in search of more food because they’re just hungry. If this happens to be the case and you want to understand how to keep a dog out of trash, then you may need to feed them some more.

Feeding your dog several small meals on a daily basis is a good way to keep them full. Of course, if your dog happens to be on a diet, then working alongside a veterinarian to understand how to keep them full without overfeeding will benefit you and your dog more.

If there are periods during the day when no one is around to keep your dog fed, then consider an automatic feeder. It’s an inexpensive way to ensure that your dog will have the food they need even when you’re gone.

6. Train Your Dog

how to keep dog out of trash training

If keeping them entertained and fed isn’t working, then the next step in learning how to keep the dog out of trash is by training them to stay away. This may seem obvious, but it can be more difficult than it seems.

To start, you can make use of simple, yet firm commands so that your dog understands that the trash is not for them. For instance, try utilizing the “leave it” command. This is more effective if you have caught your dog rummaging through the garbage.

When you see them approach it, tell them to “leave it”. Like with all training, if they listen, be sure to reward them so that they associate the words with staying away from the trash can.

5. Make the Trash Can Undesirable

A stubborn dog may go for the trash can no matter how many distractions, commands, and food you give them. Keeping your dog out of the trash can, in this case, can be done by making it undesirable. In order to do this, try out some of the following techniques:

  • Cayenne Pepper: Sprinkling enough cayenne pepper in the garbage or on the trash can is a good deterrent. The smell is one that most dogs don’t enjoy, so they’ll stay away.
  • Specific Sprays: There are actual sprays available that can keep a pet away from a certain area. As these are motion-activated, they’ll spray whenever your dog gets too close to the trash can.

It is important to note that you should not use these types of deterrents on dogs that are already anxious as these can make their conditions worse.

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4. Make the Trash Can Unattainable

how to keep dog out of trash by hiding it

Headstrong dogs may require a scent-like obstacle to keep away from the garbage, but the truly persistent types may benefit from not seeing the trash can at all. For example, if your dog is prone to getting into the bathroom trash, you can start sticking it under the sink cupboard, a place they are not prone to looking in.

You can do the same with smaller cans in the kitchen. However, if you have a larger can, putting them in places like the garage or simply hiding them behind obstacles the dog can’t see over or around is a good way of keeping them out of your dog’s sight.

3. Purchase Child-Proof Locks

If you do not want to go out of your way hiding your trash cans, then another good tip on how to keep the dog out of trash cans is by locking them up. Child locks can go a long way even if you don’t have babies or young children in the house. They work well at keeping your dog out as well.

You can use these kinds of locks on a trash lid to ensure it stays closed. If you still wish to hide a smaller trash can under a sink whether in the kitchen or in the bathroom, then you can use these locks on the cupboards to keep your dog from trying to nudge it open.

2. Use a Dog/Baby Gate

For some of you out there, proofing your trash cans or cupboards just is not ideal. Maybe you do not like it or you have a tough time (like many adults) getting the locks off yourself. If this is where you’re at in your dog trash prevention case, then you can look into getting a baby or pet gate.

There are numerous gates you can consider, so be sure to choose the one that works best for your home. The way it can keep your dog out of the trash is by keeping them completely away from where the trash is. A perfect place to put up one of these gates is at the entrance to the kitchen. This way, your dog has no chance of getting into the garbage.

1. Buy a Dog-Proof Trash Can

After trying all the previous steps without managing to keep your dog out of the trash can you might think you ran out of options. But luckily, there are trash cans made specifically to keep pets out (works for children as well).

There’s no shortage of these types of trash cans. They have the ability to be locked and coupled with the foot pedal to open them it is highly unlikely that your dog will be able to get into it. They are not exactly inexpensive, but when learning how to keep a dog out of trash cans, the small investment is worth it.


It is only natural for a dog to go toward a trash can, especially puppies as they are not well-trained yet. By using our steps explained above, you will learn various methods to utilize to understand how to keep a dog out of trash cans. In case your dog also has the habit of digging under the fence, we can help with that as well. Have you attempted any of the methods above or others we haven’t listed? Please share your experiences with us and other dog-owners in the comments section.

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