How to Stop Your Dog from Bin Diving: Tips and Training Guide

Dogs are curious creatures and love to explore their surroundings.  While this trait can be endearing, it can sometimes lead to undesirable behaviours, such as rummaging through the rubbish bin.  Not only is this behaviour unsanitary and unpleasant, but it can also be dangerous for dogs if they ingest something harmful.  As responsible pet owners, it is our duty to take steps to prevent such undesirable behaviours like “bin diving”.


In todays blog, we’ll provide you with some sensible and actionable suggestions for keeping your dog out of the bin and maintaining a clean and safe home environment.  Follow these tips, and you can ensure your dog remains healthy and happy while also keeping your home free of trash, and mess.


  • Secure your bin

One of the easiest ways to prevent your dog from going in the bin is to secure it. You can consider investing in a bin with a lid that locks securely, or use a bungee cord to secure the lid of your existing bin.  You can also place the bin in a location that’s not easily accessible to your dog, such as in a larder or cupboard.


It is important to consider the size and strength of your dog while choosing the bin. Some dogs are able to open bins with a simple push of their nose, so make sure the bin you choose is sturdy and secure.  If your dog is particularly persistent, you may need to add additional locks or barriers to prevent access.


  • Use a deterrent

Some dogs are more persistent than others, and they may continue to try to get into the bin even if it’s secured.  In these cases, you may need to use a deterrent to discourage the behaviour.  One effective option is to use a dog-specific deterrent spray, which contains a bitter taste that dogs find very unpleasant!  Simply spray the deterrent on the bin or on any areas where your dog tends to rummage.


Another effective deterrent is a motion-activated alarm.  These devices emit a loud noise when triggered, which can startle your dog and discourage them from going near the bin.  Just make sure to choose an alarm that won’t be triggered by other household activity, such as a passing car or a gust of wind as you might find yourself giving up that deterrent fairly quickly!


  • Train your dog

Training your dog to stay away from the bin can be difficult but is of course an effective long-term solution.  Start by teaching your dog the “leave it” command, which involves teaching your dog to leave an object alone when you give the command.  You can then use this command when your dog tries to go in the bin, rewarding him with treats or praise when he/she obeys.


Consistency is key when it comes to training your dog.  Make sure everyone in the household is on board with the training, and that they’re using the same commands and reinforcement techniques.  With patience and persistence, you can train your dog to leave the bin alone.


  • Offer alternative activities

Dogs often go in the bin because they’re bored or looking for something to do. Providing your dog with alternative activities can help to prevent this behaviour.  If  you leave your dog on their own, try giving your dog puzzle toys, chew toys, or other interactive toys that will keep him occupied and engaged.


Usually the best solution can be to make sure your dog is well exercised.  You can also try increasing your dog’s exercise and playtime.  A tired dog is a happy dog, and they’re less likely to engage in undesirable behaviours like bin diving.  Consider taking your dog for longer walks or runs, or playing more games of fetch in the back garden.  If you cannot make the time then make sure you don’t sacrifice on your dogs walks or training and look into apps such as GoWalkies app as a solution.


  • Monitor your dog

It’s important to monitor your dog’s behaviour and intervene if necessary.  If you notice your dog showing interest in the bin, redirect his/her attention to an alternative activity or give him a command to leave it alone.  Consistent monitoring and intervention can help to prevent unwanted behaviours from becoming habits.


  • It’s also important to keep your bin clean and free of enticing smells. 

A smelly bin is more likely to attract your dog’s attention, so it’s important to clean it regularly and dispose of any food scraps or other waste in a timely manner.  Consider using a biodegradable bin liner or airtight container to contain any smelly waste, and clean your bin with hot, soapy water regularly to eliminate any lingering odors.

You can also try using natural odor eliminators like baking soda or vinegar to freshen up your bin.  Simply sprinkle a layer of baking soda in the bottom of your bin, or spray it with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water.

By keeping your bin clean and odor-free, you can help to reduce the likelihood of your dog going in the bin and ingesting something harmful.  It’s also a good idea to keep your dog well-fed and as mentioned, provide plenty of opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation, as a bored or hungry dog may be more likely to engage in undesirable behaviours like bin diving.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to stopping your dog from going in the bin.  By taking proactive steps to secure your bin, use deterrents, and train your dog using positive reinforcement techniques, you can help to ensure a clean and safe home environment for both you and your furry friend.


Here’s a step-by-step guide to using positive reinforcement to stop your dog from bin diving:


  • Step 1: Understand positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement involves rewarding your dog for good behaviour, such as leaving the bin alone.  When your dog does something you want them to do, you reward them with treats, praise, or affection.  Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for training dogs because it encourages them to repeat the behaviour that earned the reward.


  • Step 2: Identify the behaviour you want to encourage

The first step in using positive reinforcement to stop your dog from bin diving is to identify the behaviour you want to encourage.  In this case, you want to teach your dog to stay away from the bin.


  • Step 3: Choose a reward

Choose a reward that your dog will find motivating.  This could be a treat, a toy, or praise and affection from you. Make sure the reward is something your dog is excited about and will work for.


  • Step 4: Teach the “leave it” command

Teaching your dog the “leave it” command is an important part of positive reinforcement training.  This command teaches your dog to leave something alone when you tell them to.  To teach the “leave it” command, follow these steps:


Hold a treat in your closed hand and show it to your dog.

Say “leave it” and wait for your dog to stop trying to get the treat.

When your dog stops trying to get the treat, praise them and give them a different treat from your other hand.

Repeat this exercise several times until your dog reliably responds to the command.


  • Step 5: Practice with the bin

Once your dog has learned the “leave it” command, it’s time to practice with the bin.  Start by placing the bin in a location where your dog can see it but can’t access it, such as in a pantry or closet.  Hold a treat in your hand and tell your dog to “leave it” when they show interest in the bin.  When your dog obeys, reward them with praise and a different treat.


Repeat this exercise several times, gradually moving the bin closer to your dog each time.  Make sure to only move the bin when your dog is reliably responding to the command.


  • Step 6: Use positive reinforcement to discourage bin diving

If your dog continues to show interest in the bin despite your training efforts, it’s time to use positive reinforcement to discourage this behaviour. Here’s how:


Whenever your dog shows interest in the bin, use the “leave it” command.

When your dog obeys, reward them with praise and a different treat.

If your dog ignores the command and continues to show interest in the bin, remove them from the area and try again later.


  • Step 7: Be consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to using positive reinforcement to stop your dog from bin diving.  Make sure everyone in the household is using the same commands and reinforcement techniques, and that you’re rewarding your dog consistently for good behaviour.


  • Step 8: Monitor and intervene

It’s important to monitor your dog’s behaviour and intervene if necessary. If you notice your dog showing interest in the bin, redirect their attention to an alternative activity or give them the “leave it” command.


Consistent monitoring and intervention are essential in preventing unwanted behaviors from becoming bad habits.  By redirecting your dog’s attention to alternative activities or using the “leave it” command, you can reinforce good behavior and discourage bin diving.

It’s always important to remember that training your dog takes time and patience.  You may need to try different techniques to find what works best for your dog.  Positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewards and praise, are often the most effective in encouraging good behavior.

At GoWalkies, we offer a range of services and resources to help pet owners train and care for their dogs.  GoWalkies app provides access to professional dog trainers who can work with you to develop a customised training plan for your dog.  The app also offers dog walking, pet sitting, and doggy day care services, which can help to keep your dog happy, engaged, and well-behaved.

By taking steps to prevent bin diving and other unwanted behaviors, you can create a safe and clean home environment for your dog.  With patience, persistence, and the right resources, you can train your dog to be a well-behaved and happy member of your family.




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