Look at this question that came in from Grace:
“I have been having trouble with my dog no matter what I do he digs in the garbage can at night. Last night he ate a big bag of chicken scraps bones, skin, and much more! I try, but now he is sick and has funny poops.”
Grace, you are lucky he just has funny poops.
Getting into the garbage and eating other things can and has resulted in injury and even death.
So here are your options:
1. Manage the behavior - Put a strong lid on the garbage can. Put the garbage can in a room behind a door so dog does not have access to it. A good option.
2. Punish the behavior - (GASP) Did I really just say that?
Let’s break this down. managing the behavior is fine. Put the garbage can in a secure spot that your dog can’t get to.
This is the only advice you’ll get from the “positive only” dog trainers.
But if you really want to STOP the behavior for good and potentially save your dog’s life you have to associate a negative consequence with the behavior.
This is the reason why I tell everyone that “positive only” “force free” training is dangerous.
Learning is a series of consequences both positive and negative. To ignore and refuse to use a negative consequence when needed is dangerous. I would much rather apply a negative consequence and teach the dog to leave the garbage alone than having him ingest something that he could choke on or block his intestines.
Here’s the sad part of this. The whole “force free” “positive only” will jump down my throat for giving this advice. Think about the dog that does get into the garbage because the trainer working with the dog is opposed to using negative consequences.
The dog eats a bucket of left Kentucky Fried Chicken bones. The dog is rushed to the vet and surgery has to be performed.
Painful, expensive, long term healing surgery.
What would you rather have happen to your dog.
A few quick, unpleasant negative consequences associated with the garbage or a long, painful, possibly life ending surgery?
It’s a simple choice for me.
Done correctly, your dog can learn to stay away from the garbage can. Your dog can learn to stop jumping, stealing food off the counters, barking uncontrollably, or any other behavior that makes you want to pull your hair out.
If you’d like to see how it’s done head on over to the Dog Training Inner Circle and join for just $1.00!
All the best,