Tried all 3 with my girl at various points...forcing her mouth open & putting it in there worked ok, except she didn't much care one way or another. Back tying her was a dismal failure (as I knew it would be) - that girl is STUBBORN!!! No way was she opening her mouth! Playing...that was key! She is now totally nuts for the dumbbell. Tries to dig it out of my bag, get's all excited when it does come out of the bag, and doesn't like to give it up....it's hers!!!