A dog-proof trash can has probably crossed your mind if you're like most pet owners and have occasionally come home to find trash scattered across your kitchen floor. Unfortunately, the lure of the trash can is something that most dogs just can't resist, but it can be a real hazard, not only to the cleanliness of your kitchen but also to their health.
The smell of food scraps can draw any dog toward a garbage can but once he gets inside it, there can be many potential hazards waiting for him. Everything from types of food that are dangerous to dogs, to household cleaners or pieces of metal or plastic can cause serious harm if ingested. That's why the garbage raiding habit is one that needs to be curbed as quickly as possible.
If your dog is prone to invading the trash while you're away, there are several things you can do to prevent this behavior. Everything from changing feeding habits to getting more exercise to investing in a dog proof trash can will potentially help.
Of course the first step toward successfully preventing this behavior is understanding what is causing it in the first place, which is usually either hunger, boredom, or a combination of both.
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The trashcan can be full of irresistible temptations for your dog.
If your pet is going to the trash to find something to eat, then he is likely not getting enough food regularly. Feeding him enough throughout the day can solve this. Boredom can be a particular issue for high energy breeds like the Australian Shepherd that need a lot of regular stimulation. Getting plenty of exercise regularly and having a chew toy or a dog puzzle to occupy him when you're gone are some ways to keep your dog from getting into trouble due to boredom.
Another obvious way to prevent this behavior is by limiting your dog's access to the trash. You could try using baby gates to close off your kitchen while you're away, or get in the habit of crating your dog when you're not there. Otherwise you can lock the trash in a closet or cupboard so that it isn't accessible. If you don't have the space or ability to do any of this, you can instead opt to use a dog proof trash can.
There are several brands on the market, available at Amazon and other retailers, including the simplehuman step trash can, that have a slide lock for keeping pets out of the trash. This simple locking latch slides into place to keep the trash can lid securely in place. When you need to access it, simply slide it open again. It's a quick and easy solution that can save you a lot of aggravation and save your dog from potential injury.
Of course, as with most behaviors you can train your dog to stay away from the trash with a simple command, such as "off", any time he goes near it, which you can practice even if you have a dog proof trash can. You should remember, too, that scolding your dog won't help unless you actually catch him in the act. Scolding him after the fact will just be confusing as he won't understand exactly what he did wrong.
Getting into the trash is a bad habit and like all bad habits, it needs to be addressed before it gets more serious. As frustrating as it may be, rather than losing patience with your overactive pup, take a deep breath and consider your options for avoiding the issue. With the right approach you can solve the problem and make life easier for both of you.
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