It took me almost 2 years to get Birdie to "trade" with me or give me what she had in her mouth. It would appear that at some point before she was pulled from the shelter in Oyster Bay, LI, someone would beat the hell out of her if she had something in her mouth, so she would hold on to it. No. Matter. What.
Part of the reason it took so long was my lack of experience & the fact that Birdie is a smart cookie who I needed to learn how to out think.
After failing many many times, what finally worked was learning to NOT freak out when she had something she shouldn't have in her mouth. To hear the whole scenario through, most people would be calling for the men in white coats to come get me because I sound like I'm possessed & speaking in tongues.
I'd start by saying "Goooose Va Ba" to calm myself.
Then I would get a high value treat, usually cheese or a piece of pepperoni.
I'd call Birdie which sounds something like " 'ere Bewdie, Bewdie, lookie Ma's gots!" in a chirpy high pitched voice while showing her the treat.
Instead of trying to put my hands on what's in her mouth or taking it from her, I teased her with the treat, waved in her face, in front of her nose & mouth, letting her smell it & get interested in it.
Then I'd move AWAY from her waving the treat at her while saying " meres Bewdies, (slapping my thigh, which is her HERE/COME command) Ma's gots some 'ronis for the youuuuuu" in the same sing-song chirpy crazy lady voice.
She'd follow because she wanted the treat with her tail wagging.
At this point one of two things would happen A) She'd drop the object & I'd lure her away from it distracting her with silly sing song voice & 'ronis, making it a game to heel & sit to get the coveted 'ronis. - or - B) She'd do the drop, grab & dive for the object. I garnered every ounce of will power & continued the game until the roni's & playing were more important.
I tried kicking the object away from her once. EEEEEEEEHHHH (the sound the toaster makes when it's stuck) WRONG MOVE! Go back to the beginning & start ALL OVER again.
Once she started to think that the object in her mouth wasn't really all that high value after all, dropping it for something yummy from the crazy Mommie was much better.
After several months of the distraction method, we were able to work on "Trading" for the high value treat. I'd wave the treat in her face, then offer to "TRADE?" (yes, I phrased it as a question) & I'd point at, but NOT touch, the object in her mouth, still keeping out of her "space" to keep her from bolting away with the object. Once she figured I wasn't going to "steal" from her, she'd come closer as I held the treat closer to me.
Eventually I started touching the object, but not trying to grab it, offering to trade. Soon after that, she spit the object out in my lap or my hand for the treat.
The other thing I did at the same time was take things from her that weren't high value & that she wouldn't run off with, then hand them right back to her, praising her.
I also started teaching her what "TRADE?" meant but offering to "Trade" her for things she'd readily hand over, but using a lesser value treat.
So after that loooonngggg, rambling, drug induced ramble, the end result is that Birdie hands over just about anything I ask her to, even without a treat. She'll even pick up pennies, coins, pens, a dropped debit or store card off the floor & hand it to me upon request.
Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men ~ General George S. Patton, Jr.
She taking all the stars down from her sky to hang them up someplace new, where there's better weather and the sky's a different blue. ~ Autumn Fields