You come downstairs and go to slip your feet into your snug slippers. Only there’s just the one slipper waiting for you. It’s also unusually quiet in your noisy household. You wander around calling for your dog. Eventually, you find him tucked away in a corner with a somewhat familiar slipper hanging from his mouth. You try your best to pull it out, but he thinks you just want to play tug of war. Whatever you try, he just won’t give it up. It’s the same problem when you try and feed him tablets when he’s ill, or when he’s got his mouth around anything else in the house.
If you can train him to open his mouth you’ll never lose another slipper to his nashers again. You won’t have an uphill battle when you take him to play fetch as well, he’ll just give up the ball so you can throw it for him again.
Training your dog to open his mouth isn’t always as simple as you’d hope. Once dogs have found something they enjoy chewing, convincing them to let it go isn’t a small feat. Likewise, if his mouth remains firmly shut as you approach with some unpleasant tasting medicine, getting him to open up can be challenging. You will need to use mouth-watering treats and food to encourage him to open wide. If he’s a puppy this training may take just a few days as he’ll hopefully be a quick learner. If he’s aging and not quite as receptive as he once was, be prepared to spend up to ten days training.
Get this training right and he’ll open up regardless of what he’s got in his mouth, or what you want to put into it. It also makes trips to the vet's and examinations a lot smoother.
Before you begin, you’ll need several things. Break his favorite food into small chunks or get hold of some tasty treats. You will use these to tempt him to open up--he can’t get those snacks if his mouth is kept firmly closed. A clicker may also speed up the process.
You will also need a quiet space at home to practice. Find ten minutes each day for training at a time where there won’t be noisy children tearing around, or several things you’re in the middle of (I know that’s easier said than done).
Apart from that you just need a can-do attitude and you’re good to get going!
She bite the vet when he went to examine her teeth, first time to the get for her as well.
Hello Stephanie, Practice handing exercises with her with meal kibble at least once a day. Measure her meal kibble into a baggie, then gently touch her ear then give a treat. Touch her paw then give a treat. Touch her tail then give a treat. Touch her muzzle then give a treat. Gently open her mouth then give a treat. Practice this with every area of her body. Be gentle and start with the areas she is more comfortable with first and gradually work up to the areas she is nervous about like her mouth being opened. When she will happily tolerate you touching her all over while giving her treats, have other family members and friends practice it with her also. The training should be fun and gentle so that she will learn to enjoy being examined. The next time that you take her to the vet's bring treats and feed her treats while she is being examined to help her stay relaxed. You can also bring her to the vet waiting room and have a friend she doesn't know practice the training there too to make the vet's pleasant again. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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