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How to Force Your Dog’s Mouth Open to Get an Unwanted Object Out

If you have had a dog for any length of time, you most likely have had your dog pick something up in his mouth. Sometimes he drops it, other times he probably eats it, or tries to. And, you may have had to try to pry his mouth open to get it out.

Well, my own dog Storm has come across many things over the years, put them in his mouth, and I have had to get them out. Also, being a dog walker and dog sitter, it is inevitable that one of the dogs I am watching does the same thing. I use the same technique on the dogs that I am taking care of as I use on Storm.

Please, if your dog is so aggressive that this technique will cause your dog to attack you, then do not use this method. Your dog needs more training. Read on to learn this technique.

You must act quickly before they swallow it, and sometimes you just won’t be quick enough. A lot of times you can get the item out. Now, some of the gross things I have had to get out of a dog’s mouth have been cat poop, and a dead bird. The dead bird I had to get out of Storm’s mouth.

A lot of times, though, you won’t have to touch the item to get it out of the dog’s mouth. Again, act quickly and with purpose. If you are hesitant or timid about it, your dog will be more likely to resist you, even showing aggression.

Simply grab the dog’s muzzle with both hands. Usually one hand on top and one hand on the bottom. The dog will usually resist if you just try to open his mouth, so you need to apply pressure towards the back of his mouth, pressing his lips against his teeth. Apply even pressure, using continually more pressure trying to part his teeth through his
lips.

Dogs do not want to injure themselves, and they should eventually open their mouths. And, they do not want to bite down on their lips either. Keep the pressure up until he opens his mouth enough that the item will come out. Tilt his head down, and you may need to shake his head a bit so gravity can do its thing to make the object drop out on its own. Once the item is out, let go.

You should give the ‘Drop it’ command, or other command that you use, and praise your dog when the object comes out. If the item does not drop out, then you will have to grab it yourself.

Now, you may be saying that your dog is too aggressive and would never let you do that to him. Who is the leader, anyway. This is why you act quickly and with purpose. Do not give them the chance to act aggressively. I have used this technique on dogs that I would call more of an aggressive animal.

If your dog is so aggressive that this would set him off, then your dog needs more training and having a dog who picks things up he shouldn’t is not the most important thing to work on. You should also not use this technique if your dog is this aggressive. Do not put yourself in harms way in this type of situation.

What do you say? Have any other ideas about this?

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Katrina A. May 4, 2012, 8:16 am

    I have a 3-month-old Yorkie and I was never able to get him to open his mouth for me until I read this post. Thanks!

    • Rob M June 24, 2012, 11:54 am

      Best thing I have learned to do when a dog has a bird in its mouth is to fill a large bowl with ice and water and pour it over its head and gurantee it will drop it.

      • kshartline April 25, 2016, 8:33 am

        Cruel! Poor dog!

  • Kylee T June 24, 2012, 8:37 am

    im so glad i saw this becuz i have a puppy that is7 wks and likes to chew and scratch !!!

  • Terry February 6, 2014, 6:48 am

    I just found this and thanks.
    My dog grabbed a pork chop bone off the table. I turned around and before you know it she was off and running. I grabbed her (cause she’s fast) pryed her mouth open and able to get it out. My trainer and I just started it DROP IT, but it was too yummy. I injured my finger but I’m ok and so is she. The trick is do it fast.

  • Linda January 4, 2016, 8:25 am

    I have a 8 mth shih tru that loves tissues paper etc.
    He will let me take anything out of his mouth except that and he will tear me up if I try. I’m at a loss.

  • Jodi February 29, 2016, 6:09 pm

    My dog had a small dead animal in his mouth and refused to let go. The technician in my vet’s office suggested spraying him with a hose or giving him food in his bowl. The food in his bowl tricked worked perfectly!

  • Lindsay Pevny September 29, 2016, 1:19 pm

    Good to know, this doesn’t sound too harmful for the dog if you only do it when absolutely necessary. It’s definitely something that should be worked on, but in an emergency, it’s too late for training.

  • Mike August 18, 2017, 4:23 pm

    If it’s sharp or don’t know what it is but it could be dangerous take off your sandal or shoe and smack them on the rump and be ready to grab it when it drops, or pull them up by hind legs if choking. I guess one should still remember to say ‘drop it’ and then praise pet afterward, in case bad habit starts to develop with multiple future occurrences.

  • t.e March 8, 2018, 1:21 am

    we can’t open our dogs mouth. It’s a bulldog and he won’t let us in.

  • Mike March 29, 2018, 7:29 am

    Interesting method- create “discomfort”- with the potential for gum pain to get the dog to release the object. I might try it next time. Thanks.
    Last night our 7 year old Sheltie (a big 30 lb. male- so not exactly a miniature) scooped up a cooked pork rib as soon as it hit the floor and would not be coaxed into letting go of it, barring his teeth and growling intensely, making it obvious he was willing to undergo whatever pain needed to enjoy his find.
    We’ve never seen this behavior from him! I quickly put on some leather work gloves and tried to force his jaws apart to no avail. I took him outside and got him to lie down with that bone firmly gripped in his jaws while I sprayed him with the hose. He ran, and in the short chase let go of the bone, to my relief.
    My next step would have been to just let him chew the bone (knowing cooked pork bones are famous for splintering. It might have ended with an emergency trip to the vet.)
    I just read another expert dog trainer who said to do exactly that. He said it wasn’t worth the potential harm a dog can do to anyone forcing it to release the object, and to seek professional help from a dog trainer for later incidents, that even police dogs have this problem, once they’ve clamped down on a crime suspect. And, as you know, those dogs are trained to let go on command, but with uneven results.
    Food for thought.

  • Jane August 22, 2018, 10:42 am

    My nephew has a male beegle he is 5 months old. He gets very aggressive at time and especially when he gets something in his mouth , we have tried all different types of things. He literally turns into another dog. Has bitten all of us, i have never seen a dog like this before. I think he musr have had something happened when he was a baby. What should we do

  • Jan Christophersen August 29, 2018, 4:05 pm

    Wants my Border Collie puppy gets a nasty item it is now a “catch me if you can” game. What can you do to get the item?

    Jan

  • The Pet Care Guy April 14, 2020, 5:09 pm

    Thank you for adding this important point. A well-trained dog is the best starting point, and a good “Leave It” or “Drop It” command is very effective for well-trained dogs. Please be aware that my post “How to Force Your Dog’s Mouth Open to Get an Unwanted Object Out” is written from my perspective as a professional dog walker and pet sitter, working with other people’s dogs, most of which are not trained at all, or not trained well enough to use these commands on. At the end of the post, I do say that if your dog is so aggressive that this technique would be dangerous, then your dog definitely needs more training and you shouldn’t put yourself in danger. Also, even very well trained dogs will not want to release something from its mouth if it is something that the dog really, really, really wants. As a dog walker, I have had to act FAST and WITHOUT HESITATION in order to keep a dog from swallowing something dangerous. It is my duty to keep my client’s dogs from harm.

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