My Dog Is Afraid Of Garbage Truck! 5 Reasons + Solutions

As the owner of two of the best dogs in the world (I might be biased!), Duke and Bella, I can tell you that getting dogs is one of the best things you can do.

Having my two lovable bozos around not only makes me laugh but is also a source of wonderful companionship.

And while dogs are a great addition to most families, let’s not forget that they can be really weird at times.

Take my good boy, Duke, despite acting tough and unafraid, he gets really scared during thunderstorms.

Understanding what causes our dogs to get scared of mundane things and helping them overcome their fears is part of being a good dog owner.

So, what about dogs that are scared of trash trucks? Why is my dog afraid of the garbage truck? The quick and easy answer is that your dog is afraid of the garbage truck because of one or more of the following:

  • Garbage trucks are loud and noisy.
  • The trucks are odd compared to other vehicles your pooch sees.
  • Your dog is protecting you (maybe he’s not actually afraid!).
  • The truck driver is a stranger coming to your home.
  • Trash trucks are much larger than anything else your dog has seen come to your house.


Garbage trucks are undeniably loud.

But they aren’t just loud, they also make sounds that are unlike almost every other vehicle

All the rumbling, beeping, and clanging of trash cans can be a bit much for your dog and may trigger his fear.

It’s Unfamiliar

Your dog might be perplexed by that massive, rumbling machine making its way through the neighborhood.

He probably doesn’t understand what it is or its purpose, leading to anxiety and fear.

Guarding You And Your Home

There’s also the possibility that your dog isn’t actually scared of the garbage truck, but is focused on keeping you and your home safe.

When he hears that rumbling thing approaching, his instinct to protect could kick in, leading him to bark or act defensively.

Unwanted Visitors

We’ve all heard the classic stories of dogs not getting along with mail carriers.

In some cases, your dog might be uncomfortable with any strangers coming to your home, regardless of whether they are delivering mail or picking up the garbage.

This can cause him to react fearfully or defensively to the garbage truck’s arrival.

The Size

Garbage trucks are larger than most vehicles your dog will ever see or notice.

The sheer massiveness of the garbage truck could be the root cause of your dog’s fear.

How Do I Help My Dog Overcome His Fear Of Trash Trucks?

Helping your dog overcome his fear of garbage trucks may seem like a challenging task, but with patience and the right approach, it’s possible!

Here are some of the most effective ways to go about it:

Create A Positive Association

The idea is to make your dog associate the garbage truck with things your good boy likes.

So, give comfort, praise, and treats for your dog when the trash truck approaches, when it’s nearby and when it leaves.

Remember, success with this method may take a lot of time and patience.

Don’t expect immediate results!

And, of course, if you’re not home when your trash is picked up, this one might be a bit difficult to do.

Ignore The Behavior

This approach can be successful if you’ve just moved houses or brought a new puppy home.

When your dog gets worked up about the garbage truck, simply say ‘no’ or don’t even acknowledge his perceived problem.

Soon enough, he may realize there’s nothing to fear.

Calming Medicines

Personally, I’m not a big fan of using calming medications for dogs.

When we got Duke, he was wild, crazy and hard to handle. The first trainer we went to insisted that calming medication was the only solution.

But we were convinced there was another way, we switched trainers and methods, and with dedication, Duke learned to behave well without any medication.

If you do decide to try calming medicines, be sure to research, talk to other dog owners who have used them, and consult with your vet.

Keep Your Dog Away

Another solution is to make sure your dog is away from any areas where the garbage truck could cause him distress.

This might mean putting your good boy in the backyard, or a room at the other side of the house when the truck starts rumbling down your street.

Don’t Punish

I say this time and again because it’s necessary and true, don’t punish your dog for not behaving how you want him to.

Punishing your dog for his fear won’t help him overcome it.

Positive reinforcement training and patience will yield far better results.

Is It Normal For a Dog to Fear Garbage Trucks?

When your dog is acting crazy, you can’t help but wonder if that craziness is actually normal for dogs.

When it comes to dogs fearing the trash truck, while it’s not completely normal, it isn’t uncommon either.

As I discussed above, there could be multiple (legitimate) reasons for your dog’s fear of garbage trucks, or any large vehicles for that matter.

That said, it’s not typical for dogs to fear something so mundane and routine.

To help your good boy overcome his anxiety, try applying some of the methods I explained earlier.

Is It Normal For Puppies to Be Scared of the Trash Truck?

Now, when it comes to puppies, it’s more common for them to be scared of the trash truck.

Just like humans, puppies go through various phases in their development which influence their likes, dislikes, and fears.

It’s possible that your pup has only recently started noticing the garbage truck, and it could just be a temporary reaction to this new experience.

Ignoring your pup’s reaction or telling him everything is okay is probably the quickest way for your young dog to get over this temporary fear.

If your puppy’s fear continues, then you probably should try out the other methods I covered to help your little one overcome his fear.

Wrapping It Up: Why Are Dogs Scared Of The Trash Truck?

Your dog is likely scared of garbage trucks due to the loud noises, the unfamiliarity, his protective instincts, his wariness of strangers, or the truck’s intimidating size.

In fact, it could easily be a combination of all of these things. Garbage trucks are the perfect mix of things that could make even a well-adjusted and trained dog nervous.

To help your dog overcome his fear of garbage trucks, focus on creating positive associations. You may also want to try ignoring the anxious behavior. And, while they are an option, I personally avoid using calming medicines if possible.

If all else fails, keep your good boy away from where he’ll notice the garbage truck.

Remember that punishment isn’t an effective way to help your dog overcome his fear.

It’s not entirely normal for a dog or a puppy to fear garbage trucks, but it’s also not uncommon either.

In the case of puppies, the fear might be a temporary phase as they adapt to and learn about their surroundings.

Regardless of how common that fear is, the methods mentioned earlier in the article can be useful in helping your young canine companion overcome his fears.

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