Your canine gets excited as soon as he hears you coming home. You unlock the door to see an excited face and wildly wagging tail. Because he’s such a social critter, you might also walk in to see a trail of trash all over the place.
Choose an old item of clothing that carries your scent. This could be an old sweatshirt, pair of jeans or an old sock. Toss this clothing item by your dog before you leave home -- as he becomes bored or anxious, he’ll pick up this item and smell it for comfort. Put other items of clothing behind a closet that closes securely or you’ll come home to ruin. Your dog gets into the trash because he’s bored.
Buy a few canine chew toys, such as rawhides or a sterilized beef marrow bone. Again, put your scent on it. Stuff it with canned dog food morsels or a little bit of cheese spread. Just before you walk out the door, grab your keys and jacket and toss the chew toy toward your canine friend. He’ll have something tasty to gnaw on all day long while you’re busy doing your people stuff. As soon as you get home, take it away and hide it. It’s only for him to use while you are away. When he tastes these treats, that trashcan-diving behavior will be history.
Invest in some doggy toys, such as squeaky toys, plush toys and bones to keep your canine pal occupied while you are away. Don’t give them to him all at once. Instead, store most of them in a box inside a closet with a door and give him only one or two to play with. Rotate them on a weekly basis so he won’t get bored. Again, your aim is to prevent boredom.
Give your little guy a challenge with toys that he has to figure out. He’ll be much less likely to get bored and dive into that tempting trashcan full of old bones and stuff. Even better, give him puzzle or treat-stuffed toys -- just don’t give him so many treats he starts turning into the Pudge of the neighborhood.
Buy a trashcan with a secure lid. Make sure it is short enough to fit under your sink or narrow enough to fit into a pantry. Should you be on a budget, recycle an empty cat litter bin with a tight-closing lid. Pry the lid off, put a trash bag into the bin and put the lid back on. To make it easier to remove the filled trash bag, don’t push the back of the lid on fully. Leave one corner slightly askew, but close the front of the lid completely. It will be difficult for your doggy-dude to get into the trash. Again, hide the trash can under the sink or in a pantry.
- Play with your dog when you’re home. He needs lots of interaction and playtime with you.
- Don’t make leaving home a huge, emotional production. Instead, smile at him and just say, “See you tonight, dude!” Then walk out the door.
- Leave some sound on in your home. Keep the radio and television on so the “noise of quietness” doesn’t overwhelm your dude.
- Cover windows with a dark blanket, if necessary, to reduce the visual stimulation that sets your dog off.
- Don’t try to deter your dog from getting into the trash by sprinkling it with ammonia or bleach. It’s just too risky for his health.
Genevieve Van Wyden began writing in 2007. She has written for “Tu Revista Latina” and owns three blogs. She has worked as a CPS social worker, gaining experience in the mental-health system. Van Wyden earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from New Mexico State University in 2006.