I wish you could meet Jasper. He is one of the greatest dogs we’ve ever owned. A Collie-Shepherd mix rescue, he became top dog literally the day he arrived at our farm. Jasper gets bored every once in a while. Yes, I know we have 7 children. And 5 cats. And 12 chickens. But Jasper still gets bored every so often, and if there isn’t a good chew bone or old shoe handy, he starts looking for mischief.
One day he discovered the cats’ litter box. Hmmm, that was tasty! Another time, he got into a package left by the UPS man on our doorstep. To his credit, the package did contain gourmet dog treats, and he did act pretty sorry, but still. That box was addressed to me! I took a picture of him that day because the guilty look on his face was really comical.
A couple of times, he’s raided the trash cans. That’s no fun to pick up the next morning. And the last time it happened, he had a bad upset stomach for two days following. Thankfully, we have a mobile vet in the area who takes care of livestock and pets on site. That, plus a normal, nutritious diet, got him back to his old self in no time. If you have questions about pet nutrition or your dog’s diet, check out Royal Canin’s Ask the Vet resource.
Since that incident, we’ve taken some steps to ensure that Jasper can’t raid the trash. And since this seems to be something dogs are fond of doing, I wanted to share some tips with you.
#1 Don’t let your dog get bored. Make sure there are plenty of toys or things to chew on. Something that smells like you is especially comforting. You might even have a special treat to give him just for when you are gone; that way, when you leave, he’ll be thinking about enjoying the treat and not thinking about what he can do to kill time. If you are going to be gone longer than usual, consider asking a friend or family member to pop in and break up the monotony for your pet.
# Secure the bins. This might seem like a no-brainer, but dogs can get into pretty much anything, so you have to think ahead of them. We use huge, heavy-duty trash bins outside, and even with lots of bags inside, Jasper has actually been able to topple them over. The jolt easily busts the lid open, spilling out those delicious contents onto the ground. For our large outside cans, we use a tether with hooks on either end, sort of like a bungee cord. The tether stretches up and over the lid and the hook fastens to a receiver on the outside of the house. Keep indoor bins in a drawer or closet, or in a separate area with a door you can close – like the garage.
Another way to secure an indoor trash can, and keep it from getting knocked over, is to put a weight inside (the kind that attaches to the end of a barbel). A 10 or 20 pound circular weight will fit into most standard cans; just put the trash bag on top.
# Teach a command. When you see your dog near the trash, use and reinforce a stern command like “Off!” while you physically redirect him to another area.
# Make a booby trap. Something unpleasant but harmless should do the trick. Try leaving a metal cookie sheet on top of the lid of the trash. The deafening crash it makes as it falls can startle and dissuade a dog. A small stacked pyramid of empty soft drink cans will also produce the same effect. Commercial repellent sprays might work for outdoor cans, but you probably don’t want that smell in your home. I’ve heard that clove oil is anathema to dogs, and the fragrance is likely tolerable to humans. Additionally, booby traps are probably not a good choice if you have an anxious or overly sensitive dog.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.