How To Keep Dogs Out Of Trash?
[Everything you need to know]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

What is it about the trash that our dogs can’t seem to stop themselves from digging into it! What’s the universal treasure that our dogs find in our bins but not us? Be it a tiny one like a toy poodle or a great Dane, if there’s something the dog community across the globe agrees upon, it’s that trash is a picnic spot!

They don’t differentiate between indoors and outdoors. They just dig, and the nuisance after is real. Worse when the neighbor comes to tell you what a museum your dog has created of their garbage!

Even when I was training dogs initially, it took me a while to grasp why my otherwise obedient students went haywire near bins and trash cans. One of my trainees, Suzie, an otherwise lovely labrador, found herself running towards every trash can and tearing apart every garbage bag inside at all possible instances.

Obedience training definitely helped, but there were steps her humans had to take for this problem to eradicate from its roots.

I’ll be sharing those and more helpful tips in this article. Keep reading!

Why do dogs get into the trash?

As I’ve always said, to solve any problem, and especially a behavioral problem in your dog, you must first know what its root cause is. While training is a good answer to most issues, you still have to know which type of training your doggo needs!

Your dog needs training

Our pets are not born trained. So it’s okay if your dog doesn’t behave like a military school student. (They aren’t supposed to). With time and effort, every pet can be trained and regulated in times of need.

Jumping into the trash can be harmful. It may cause infections or some other diseases we don’t even want to talk about. To prevent your dog from facing any such adversities, training them becomes essential. Dogs in the wild are used to digging into the garbage and hunting for food. For pets, this behavior is unnecessary and potentially harmful.

Once you know why your dog could possibly be so interested in a bunch of trash cans, you will be able to eliminate the root cause. You may not succeed in the first attempt, but one of these solutions is bound to come to your aid.

How do I keep my dog out of the trash?

Be it dog owners or neighbors of a dog or simply people living where street dogs exist. Trash bags opening and garbage flowing out of it is a problem we have all faced at some point or the other.

Some try loud noises, waving sticks at the dogs, and some even try scaring them away by running after them! Mostly to no avail. But I assure you, there are simpler and easier steps you can take with results that will last and even end the problem once and for all.

Here are some solutions I personally work on with my trainees.

Changing the diet

A simple change such as modifying the dog’s diet can turn their world around. A good and filling diet ensures a happy and content pet. It should have a balance of nutrition as well as taste.

Just like we wouldn’t eat broccoli, carrots, or spinach every single day, our dogs wouldn’t like to be fed the same taste every meal. I do not ask you to spoil your baby but pamper them enough to keep them away from digging into the trash to find some tasty treats.

While most of your pet’s diet should include vet-advised food, an occasional treat to satisfy their tastebuds causes no harm. In fact, it prevents attacks on any and all garbage bags around them.

Along with the right food, you must ensure that you feed them enough to satisfy their hunger. A hungry dog is definitely not a happy dog.

Less rest, More play

Having a dog around can be pretty entertaining. But having us around may not be entertaining for them! Not necessarily. Sitting around lazing, napping all day long, eating the same food, and barking that no one understands isn’t exactly the most engaging routine. Is it?

Your dog obviously wants to hunt something that will hook their attention. What’s a better place than trash cans! You can prevent this from happening by engaging them yourself.

I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again! Exercise is important for your fur baby. Even a little every day goes a long way. Take them for a walk or a run or skate with them. Play some frisbee or make a hurdle circuit for them in your backyard. There are tonnes of games and puzzles available in the market today that will help you keep your dog entertained.

Here are some examples.

Interactive Puzzle Game Dog Toys

Chuckit! Ultra Ball

Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball

Training time.

Behavioral training is so much more than just “sit,” ‘stay,” and “eat.” It’s about building a bond between the dog and the owner. The more you train together, the more comfortable your pet gets with you and obeying your commands.

More training time allows your dog to trust you and follow your orders blindly. But this needs effort and a lot of time. This is one of the many reasons I suggest that the dog owners be present during the training sessions. Something most people sideline or ignore because it doesn’t seem so important.

However, this training is what helps you regulate your dog’s actions in unprecedented instances. When your pet knows that stop means stop and nothing else, there’s no way they would dare go near the trash can.

Spend time in training and teaching your dog some tricks. Let them get used to you being the alpha and them following your orders. And the rest will just happen.

Sometimes the problem may be severe and may need time to be resolved. So, while you look for a permanent solution, you can go for the more temporary ones. Two of which I have explained in detail below. One, spraying on the garbage, and two, getting a dog-proof trash can.

What can I spray on my garbage to keep animals away?

The sensitive olfactory senses seem to drive our dogs around. Wherever a strong smell exists, our naive pets seem to follow. But what if we used the same senses to keep them from digging into the garbage?

Possible? Absolutely!

Just like dogs catch smells easily and go finding them, there are some scents they would never try to find. A lot like repellents. For example, felines do not go anywhere near citrus scents.

For canines, too, we have a menu they will hate. Which and where to find them, you ask? Here’s a detailed list curated specially for you!

Just like cats, dogs are not a fan of citrus scents either. You may place orange peels or lemons around the trash can, but after a while, the scent will fade, and the problem will persist. Vinegar, ammonia, alcohol, and mothballs are some of the other materials people use to keep dogs away from their garbage bags. These do work, but the remedies are short-lived, and you will end up scratching your head looking for answers once again.

Instead, try these sprays.

A multi-usage spray. Used to prevent dogs from urinating in unwanted places as well. Our goal is to get the job done, and this spray does it.

Here’s another one that you will find useful in keeping the dogs at bay.

This one reportedly works like magic. Try it for yourself.

ANGRY ORANGE Pet Odor Eliminator

What is the best dog-proof trash can?

Maybe you’re not worried about your pet dog digging into the trash. Pets generally have a lower threshold to facing hurdles as compared to dogs on the streets. So, if you have already tried sprays and locks and other methods and are still facing the problem, chances are it’s the seasoned notorious from the streets in action.

Luckily for you, there’s a product for almost everything these days! There are some trash cans named “dog-proof” that are available online.

Here are the ones I recommend.

Pet-proof sensor trash can for your needs. A popular choice and for good reason.

A Modest hands-free step trash can to keep your dog from diving into the garbage.

If you are looking for a more economical solution, you may go for these trash can strap locks to keep the bin shut. The can may be pushed around by dogs, but it will not open.

12 Pack Vmaisi Multi-Use Adhesive Straps Locks


It’s not news that our pets are capable of amusing us every day. What they say to us is as good as a mystery and what they do remains difficult to be comprehended.

Who would’ve thought that random garbage and trash cans would become a point of discussion amongst fellow dog owners? After all, almost every dog parent has had to face this smelly issue, and now you know the answer to how to deal with this trouble.

Training remains at the top when it comes to dealing with dog troubles. But trashy concerns can be dealt with other solutions given above. Now you can move on and never have to worry about another digging adventure by your dog!