Take It Away!


While it can be a lot of fun to engage in a planned game of tug of war with your new puppy, you do not want to develop a habit of playing tug of war with every object that he happens to put in his mouth.  Trying to wrestle or force objects out of your pup’s mouth can stimulate an aggressive response that can include growling and even seriously biting your hand.  Believe me, nothing ruins a manicure faster than bleeding cuticles from puppy teeth!


Be it a retrieving game, a fishing pole with bird wing exercise, or his latching on to something inappropriate or even dangerous, there is an easy process for getting him to release an object without force and not even a raised voice.  You just have to be able to catch him.


When the little guy latches onto something that you’d prefer he not have in his mouth at that time, reach down with one hand, place your palm firmly against his chest, and gently lift his front feet off the ground.  Many pups will immediately open their mouths and drop whatever they are holding as soon as their front feet are lifted.  If his jaw is still clenched, go ahead and lift him off the ground completely, as high as your shoulder height if need be.  While you are lifting him, quietly but firmly repeat the word you will use whenever you want him to let go of something: “release,” “give,” “drop it,” whatever, just be consistent.  And of course, as soon as he lets go, tell him what a good boy he is.


If he is still tenaciously holding on, gently blow directly onto his nostrils from very close range.  Have one hand at the ready to catch whatever he is holding when he opens his mouth – you have to be quick, because as soon as he opens his mouth he may realize that he will be dropping his prize and try to latch on to it again.  Repeat the blowing in his nose until you have the object away from him.  Then again praise him and set him down gently.