How to Stop a Dog From Getting into the Trash

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 24, 2017

Millie is a three year old German Shorthair Pointer who lives with eight-year-old Jasper in Omaha. Their guardians called to schedule an in home dog behavior training session to put a stop to the dog marking from Jasper and train both dogs to stay out of the trash can.

When I sat down with the guardians to discuss the dogs issues, I noticed that they invaded the humans personal space and each time they did, the humans petted them. Anything your dog is doing when you pet it is what you are rewarding, so its no surprise the dogs acted that way.

As a dog behaviorist, I knew I needed to help the humans assume the leadership role in the dog’s eyes. Until the dogs see and respect the humans as authority figures, the dogs are going to continue listening selectively.

I suggested a number of ways to flip the leader follower dynamic; petting with a purpose, consistent enforcement of rules and passive training via the Escalating Consequences I developed a few years ago.

Until Jasper sees the humans as authority figures, he is going to continue to mark in the house. Compounding the issue is Millie’s accidents in the places Jasper marks. Consistent enforcement of the rules and incorporating structure whenever possible will help with Jasper’s marking. The family can review this video to get some free remedial potty training tips I shared with another client.

One of the problems the family asked me to help them fix was the dogs getting into the trash. This gave me a great opportunity to show them how to use the escalating consequences to disagree when the dogs got too close to the trash can. Increasing the distance between dog and the trash can is one of the best ways to stop a dog from digging in the trash.

It was great to see the dogs immediately respond to this new rule. Within a few minutes, they were keeping their distance from the trash can sitting in the middle of the living room. Keeping dogs out of the trash, is a problem many people have. But training a dog to stay out of the trash isn’t hard, it just takes practice and great timing.

By the end of the session, the dogs were staying out of the trash, were following the new rules on their own, listening better and faster to the humans and looking up to them for guidance. Its going to be important for the guardians to be consistent with their leadership attention for desired behaviors and use of the escalating consequences when the dogs get out of line or get into the trash, lol.

We finished up the session by filming a roadmap to success covering all the positive dog training tips I shared with them in the session.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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