How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Trash When You Are Gone

by Chris Miksen
    Some dogs aren't very good at hiding their trash picking evidence.

    Some dogs aren't very good at hiding their trash picking evidence. Images

    In your puppy's quest to become the creme de la creme of trash collectors, he has forgotten that's no job for canines. Without you there to catch him, he gets off scot-free and doesn't learn a darn thing. That's all about to change.

    Step 1

    Use a lid to thwart your puppy's plans. Whether you use a lid you have to physically lift up, that springs up with the touch of your finger or swivels around with a bit of pressure, lids of all shapes and sizes work well for most curious puppies. You can find plenty of lids at retail stores and online, or you can opt for a new trash can, although that usually means more money coming out of your wallet.

    Step 2

    Booby trap the area. Puppies typically do not enjoy surprises, unless the surprise comes in the form of a tasty bone filled with peanut butter. Since your little guy can't seem to help himself to garbage pickings while you're gone, set him up for a little bit of puppy failure. Tie a string to the handle of an empty plastic bottle and tie the other end of the string to the garbage so the string is tense. When he pokes his head into the trash, he touches the string and down comes the bottle for the startling effect. Other options include mats that emit a static charge when stepped on and traps, similar to mouse traps, that snap without actually pinching your dog.

    Step 3

    Keep the garbage out of reach. That means actual trash and the can itself. If your puppy doesn't have access to the trash, you won't be greeted with shredded paper, bone splinters and smelly food all over your floor when you come home. Avoid leaving garbage on your counters, tables, computer desk and anywhere else your puppy can reach, and keep trash cans behind closed doors, baby gates or under your kitchen and bathroom sink.

    Step 4

    Make the garbage disgusting even to your puppy's odd taste buds by spraying it with bitter apple spray or something similar. Pet stores sell such sprays. A small amount inside the trash and on the outside of the can will make him think twice about diving in for a treat.

    Step 5

    Switch out smaller cans for larger ones. What your puppy can't reach, he can't grab with that little mouth of his. The downside to this is your puppy may attempt to jump onto the trash can, which can send it crashing to the floor and cause even more of a mess. Plus, it may be unreasonable for smaller, confined spaces, like bathrooms, but it might be worth a try in your kitchen.

    Step 6

    Take dangerous trash outside. Until you're absolutely sure your puppy is done with his trash picking days, take anything that could pose a danger to him to your outside garbage cans or dumpster. Cooked bones, chocolate, peach pits and so forth can cause your little guy to become very sick and even die.

    Items You Will Need

    • Trash can lid
    • String
    • Empty plastic bottle
    • Bungee cords


    • Static correction mats do not harm your puppy. They make him uncomfortable and may startle him, but they cause no pain.
    • Your dog may find a way to remove the lid from your trash can. If he does, weigh it down or tie it closed with something like string or bungee cords.


    • Never put your pup in any danger if you booby trap the area. Actual mousetraps, heavy bottles and the like have no place in teaching him the trash is a bad area.
    • Do not booby trap the area if you have a fearful pup.

    Photo Credits

    • Images

    About the Author

    Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.

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