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I have a 8-lb garbage picker. It's making me crazy. And, I don't know what to do to stop it. I've never had this kind of problem before.

When I leave the house he dumpster dives. I come home and the garbage is all over the house, the kitchen, the living room even on my bed one day. I am now in the habit of picking up the kitchen garbage can and putting on the kitchen counter when I leave. The garbage can is the type that has a swing top. He has to jump up and dive into it to pick the garbage out.

Just now I took a shower and walked out and the garbage can in my bedroom is spread all over the floor. He was hiding in my closet when I went looking for him. There was nothing edible in the garbage. Just some ripped up papers and tissues.

Needless to say I walked him over to the pile of garbage and walked him around it and from every angle I told him how bad he was then marched him into the badroom/bathroom (don't have a cage to crate train. He's 5 year old.) and turned off the light and that's where he's gonna spend the night.

As I'm typing he sobbing and moaning to get my attention to let him out. No way Guido!

Please please somebody :help: What do I do?
 

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get bins that he can't get into and/or prevent him being able to get to them. And never ever blame the dog when you forget to prevent it happening!

There is NO point walking him around the mess and telling him how bad he is! He does NOT equate the mess with being his fault and the action of him doing it having been a bad thing. All he knows is that you're mad for some weird reason, when there's a mess.

DO NOT ever punish him when he is not caught IN THE ACT of dumpster diving. And even then, be very careful about it!

Go and get him out of the bathroom and give him a cuddle, he's one confused lil dog right now, and from his point of view you are being reeeeally odd and inconsistent! If need be, lock yourself in the bathroom with the light off to punish yourself for not remembering to secure the bin from him. ;)


The best thing to do is prevent it being POSSIBLE for him to get into the trash, but getting cans with lids he cannot open easily. Or having them where he cannot reach them. Failing that, booby trap them somewhat so that he gets an aversive reaction when and AS he goes into the trash, and the booby trap is set off by him and caused by trash diving, and has to have NOTHING to do with you causing the 'punishment' (or he'll just learn he only gets punished if he gets CAUGHT, so he'll avoid doing it when you're around!) You want the trash can *itself* to 'punish' him, or at least make it less than nice to trash dive! I'm thinking like some nasty spicy stuff on the rubbish in there, or perhaps double sided sticky tape on the lid if he paws at it so it feels yucky. Or perhaps balance a cup of water ontop so he gets wet when tries to dive in, or even just something *weird* like tinfoil that feels strange and sounds strange and falls when he tries to get into the trash. I don't know, you need to think of something there that could happen to train him the trash isn't so great any more!


And I'll say it again, do NOT punish him YOURSELF, or he'll only associate it as being a problem if you're around. And never ever ever punish him if you've found out after the act has happened; it's too late, it was your fault to not sort it out, NOT his, suck it up and get whatever rubbish is left off him, thank him for giving up the bit of tissue paper and clean up the mess, but do NOT tell him off after the deed is done.
 

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Absolutely with FlyingDuster - he has already learned that you go mad if there is rubbish on the floor and is hiding from you because he is afraid of you - is that really the relationship you want with your dog? Mine will explore kitchen garbage and waste bins if I am foolish enough to leave stuff where they can get it - why wouldn't they? To them it is a toybox full of tissues to tear, loo rolls to play with, and the occasional empty snack bag to lick out. The kitchen stuff even has tuna tins, and similar delights! Your dog is not being naughty, he is being a dog. Get bins that he cannot open, or put them well out of reach, or shut him out of the kitchen. Then keep a rolled up newspaper by the door, and use it to hit YOURSELF over the head if you come back to a mess because you forgot!
 

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one other thing I thought of to add, is that when I bring this up with people generally their first reaction is "but he acts GUILTY! He sulks and hides! He'll act all guilty before I even KNOW there's a mess, and I go to find what he's been in to! So therefore he MUST know he's not allowed to get into it, or why would he act guilty later??"

Firstly, guilt is a human emotion. Dogs don't feel guilt. They feel primal things, like joy, sadness, fear, grief. Guilt needs a more conscious mind to think back to things done prior and feel guilty about. I love dogs, but they don't have a brain like that! He's NOT acting guilty, he's acting unsure and trying to appease you, cos as far as he's aware, any time there's a mess, you get mad with him. I bet you if you made a mess with the trash while he wasn't looking, then left him there and came back later, he'd still act 'guilty', despite if being YOU who made the mess and got into the rubbish; not him! It's not guilt, it's him being smart enough to recognise the environment in which you're unhappy and him trying to appease you before you can get mad.


Dogs think very much in the 'here and now'. If theirs a trash can right here, right now, then lets look inside! He wont' even be aware he's making a mess of the trash, he'll just be hunting through the trash, and the mess is the by product of that. 10 mins later and being shown the mess will NOT be connected with him causing it and being bad. You could walk him around the arm chair in the living room and tell him he's bad for all he understands it.



If nothing else works I suggest thinking about crate training. It's never too old. My foxy was 9 when I crate trained her! Both my dogs are fine if one is in the crate and the other isn't too if that's a worry to you (crate training one and not the other) though I'd suggest training them both purely for the convenience of it!
 

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agree - he must be a confused little poodle at the moment! i'd definitely get a secure bin or put the kitchen (is it just the kitchen bin or all bins?) off limits if crating isn't your ideal solution.

thankfully mochi doesn't really have a nose for the dumpster, but when i catch her sniffing the bin at all, then the "LEAVE IT" command is very very useful.
 

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I have a trashcan, with a lid that locks in the kitchen. And the trashcan in the bathroom sits up on a shelf, so no ones nose can reach it. Mia has figured out how to get the kitchen one open if it isn't locked... :rolffleyes:smart poodle... but she can't unlock it:giggle:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You want the trash can *itself* to 'punish' him, or at least make it less than nice to trash dive! I'm thinking like some nasty spicy stuff on the rubbish in there, or perhaps double sided sticky tape on the lid if he paws at it so it feels yucky.
Great idea!

I'm going to pick up some cayenne pepper and hot chili peppers next time I go to the grocery store. It worked well with my Spoos when they dug holes in my backyard. I put the pepper sprinkled in the holes and when they went back to it they got a snot full of pepper.

I did price the flip lid garbage cans you step on to flip open the lids. They are upwards of $75.00 and I bit pricey for me right now. I live in a place in Florida where everything is over inflated pricing. Gonna do the pepper trick first and see how that works out.

Thank you all.

I'll report back and tell you how the pepper is working.

But one last question -- Why does he dig in the garbage that doesn't have food in it and only paper?
 

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But one last question -- Why does he dig in the garbage that doesn't have food in it and only paper?
Ummm - for fun?

I think you are still being a bit punitive - chili and cayenne must be horrendously painful to a dog's sensitive nose.
 

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Ummm - for fun?

I think you are still being a bit punitive - chili and cayenne must be horrendously painful to a dog's sensitive nose.
I agree on both counts.

Lilah LOVES paper and rubbish- eating paper, shredding dryer sheets, playing with tissues, unrolling toilet paper and just generally getting into the trash. I know this so I try not to set her up for failure with temptation. When I catch her in the act I say "NO" and take it away and then try to be more carful next time. In our house, sometimes the dog really does eat Gabby's homework!
 

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Man, it really is a pain to come across trash strewn about isn't it. My big boy Luke has his sneaky routine of waiting to visit a can or two when we are watching movies downstairs, it's the only time he does it. Thought I'd solved it by buying cans with covers, you have to step on a pedal to open the lid, but no, he manages to lift it somehow with is nose!
So, being I don't want to have to worry about Luke resisting Q tips or other weird or dangerous stuff, its simply out of his reach period! I know its too hard for him to resist, so I'm creating a situation where he cannot fail, and I don't have to be frustrated at him for doing bad stuff. I'd love to think Luke would know better but he doesn't. He sure does know how to be sneaky though!!!
 

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HSP ... we've had good results with the metal step-on lidded trash cans. Even if your poo figures out how to step on the pedal to open the lid, he'll likely get a pop to the head once he lets go :). I've also found them from small to large quite inexpensively at HomeGoods, TJMaxx, KMart and Target. They are great in the kitchen and bathroom. The cayenne pepper could potentially cause an allergic reaction or damage to the fragile membranes of the nose ... ouch ! Hope you find a sure proof solution. Keep us updated.
 

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I have 7 dumpster divers...so I keep a little wastebasket under the bathroom vanity behind a door. The tall kitchen wastebasket had a custom built cabinet that is as tall as our refrigerator and has a door that matches the other cupboards. It took some plywood, 2 hinges and 2 small shelves on the inside and the entire bottom was made just wide and high enough to hold an average kitchen plastic wastebasket. We also put a little eye-bolt latch on it. It saves so much clean-up. I remember the days of coffee filters dragged throughout the house along with McDonald bags, snot rags and bloody meat styrofoam trays. Any thing that does not get thrown away properly is fair game for the poodles....its my husband that leaves an ice cream container on the kitchen counter for someone to steal and shred...not me!
 

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My mom has a really really bad food thief/counter surfer/dumpster diver. She puts the trash can on the counter, or behind a cupboard door, and all food (especially bread, Molly's favorite) either in the fridge or microwave or oven.


Kaden and Willow's breeder has a cool trash can in her RV with a motion sensor lid. When I asked her why she had one like that, she said that because it opens by itself, it kinda freaks the dogs out and they don't go near it LOL
 

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Jackson (who's very tall) accidently opened one at my friends house and it scared the heck out him! Now he tries to sneak by it as quickly as he can.
 

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We used 2 carbiners (you can use more that 2) together to attach to the handles of the cabinets & that keeps the cabinets from being able be opened. The are metal so she can't chew thru them. It was just the cost of the carbiners (they aren't that expensive & she can't open the doors to get into the trash -- it prevents the problem from even developing.
 

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Great idea!



I did price the flip lid garbage cans you step on to flip open the lids. They are upwards of $75.00 and I bit pricey for me right now. I live in a place in Florida where everything is over inflated pricing. Gonna do the pepper trick first and see how that works out.


But one last question -- Why does he dig in the garbage that doesn't have food in it and only paper?
I just bought a black plastic step, locking kitchen garbage can made a simple human at Bed Bath and Beyond a few months ago. I believe if was $50. It looks good and works great! It might be on sale by now.

To answer you question: It's FUN to tear things up. My dogs are fed raw and my boy loves to stand on his bones and pull the meat off in long strands. Guess who also likes to raid the garbage can.:) Good Luck!
 

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You have gotten some good advice:

Get trash cans with lids.
Put trash under sinks or in cabinets where the dog can't get them.
Use bitter apple or hot pepper sauce to deter the dog.

I have to disagree with folks who say that dogs don't feel guilt. I absolutely think Poodles do. Maybe they are a higher form of dog, but I know for a fact that my dogs know that they have done something wrong. Sometimes they just choose to do it.... owner be damned. I think it is totally appropriate to show a dog the dumped trash can and tell them in no uncertain terms that they have done a bad thing.

There is a whole new movement in dogs where owners seem afraid to tell their dogs NO or to punish their dogs for bad behavior. I feel like when I go out in public I am surrounded by dogs who are calling the shots for themselves and their owners. I don't think this is a good thing.

As far as relationship, I reprimand my dogs and my dogs still positively worship me. They are happy and outgoing and they love their work. Don't be afraid to get after your dog for bad behavior.
 
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