How to Train a Golden Retriever Puppy to Not Bite

Medium
1-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Your Golden Retriever puppy is the cutest, sweetest little girl...until she starts to bite. Biting is a perfectly normal habit in puppies, but it's a behavior you want to address quickly. Puppy teeth may not make a dent, but the bite of a full grown dog is a different story. Teaching your Golden Retriever puppy to not bite is an important part of her training.

It's important to remember that she's not biting to be bad or to cause trouble. Biting is a normal activity for a puppy still learning from her mom and littermates. If she bites or plays too hard with another puppy, that puppy will yelp and stop the fun. If she's too rough with an older dog, that dog will put her in her place. As the leader of her pack, it's your job to outline behaviors that are fun, and behaviors that are no fun at all.

Defining Tasks

Golden Retrievers are some of the most loyal dogs, known for their devotion to owners and generally docile temperament. Your puppy really wants to please you and play with you, so if she learns that biting ends playtime and does not make you happy, she's not going to want to keep doing it. 

If she never learns that biting is unacceptable as a puppy, this could cause bigger problems when she grows up. She could become aggressive towards other dogs or even people. As the leader of her pack, it's your job to let her know that biting never results in a reward and good manners get her further toward her goal. With firm training and patience, you'll curb that biting habit in no time.

Getting Started

Training your Golden Retriever puppy to not bite doesn't require a lot of equipment, but it does require consistency and patience. She should never be rewarded with attention or food after she bites. There are three methods below that explain how to train your puppy not to bite. Here are a few items you will need to get started. 

  • A special toy
  • Bitter, dog-friendly anti-chew spray
  • Tasty treats
  • A good plan to stop the biting

The Talk to the Back Method

Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Be aware
Make a list of all the times she tries to bite and be very aware of her behavior during these times.
Step
2
No means no fun
When she does bite or nip, tell her "no" firmly.
Step
3
Turn your back
Turn your back to her and cross your arms over your chest so play time stops and she gets the opposite of attention.
Step
4
Give her attention
When she calms down, resume play or give her the attention she wanted.
Step
5
Stick with it
Stick with this method each time she tries to bite you. Eventually, she'll learn that a bite is no fun and she'll use her manners.
Recommend training method?

The Bitter Taste Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Get familiar with her habits
Does she bite when she wants food or attention? Does she get mouthy during play time? Take note of these habits and be prepared to react.
Step
2
Get some bitter spray
You can buy bitter tasting dog spray at a pet store or make your own. Just be sure it's safe for dogs to ingest and tastes bad to her.
Step
3
Be ready for a bite
Now that you know when she's most likely to bite, spray the bitter liquid on your hands during those activities.
Step
4
Say "no"
When she bites your hand, say "no" immediately. She should recoil when she tastes the bitter liquid and hearing "no" will reinforce that biting is not fun.
Step
5
Stay consistent
Keep that spray handy for a month and spray your hands anytime she might bite. With consistency, she'll learn that biting is not fun at all.
Recommend training method?

The Distracting Toy Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Know when she likes to bite
Figure out the scenarios that most often end in a bite and be extra aware of those moments.
Step
2
Grab a favorite toy
Pick up one of her favorite toys, and keep it with you when she's most likely to bite.
Step
3
Initiate play
Initiate play or any activity where she traditionally bites.
Step
4
Tell her "no"
When she bites, give her a firm 'no' and offer her the toy.
Step
5
Repeat
Each time she tries to bite, tell her 'no' and give her a toy to chew instead. Soon she should learn that biting a toy is more fun than biting you.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Mochi
Golden Retriever
2 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Mochi
Golden Retriever
2 Months

Mochi aggressively bites my hands and legs all the time, except when she's sleepy. If I'm playing with her with a toy, she will soon go from a toy to my fingers or hand. If I'm lifting her to clean her, she will move roughly to bite me. If I try to pet her when she's not tired, she tries to bite me. What do I do, how do I train her not to bite me? I got her when she was just over six weeks old and now shes around nine weeks old.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dhruv, First, the biting is completely normal and how puppies interact with each other and learn at this age. She isn't intending is as aggressive most likely just treating you like another puppy - that doesn't make it feel any better though I know. Check out the article linked below. Follow the Bite Inhibition method starting today, while also starting the Leave It method. Leave It will take a bit to teach so use the Bite Inhibition method while she is learning a good Leave It. Once she has learned Leave It, switch to the Leave It method when she tries to bite you. Tell her to Leave It when she tries to bite you or looks like she is thinking about biting you. If she shows self-control and doesn't bite at all when told not to, then toss a treat at her paws. If she bites anyway, then use the Pressure method to gently discipline her disobedience to your command. Teaching puppies not to bite generally takes a few weeks, so be patient and try not to get discouraged. As hard as it is, try to stay calm when she nips you because a lot of excitement (angry or high pitched sounding) can make puppies think it's a game. Calm firmness helps take the fun out of the game and help them learn faster. You may also want to enroll her in a puppy kindergarten or puppy play class that has time for off-leash puppy to puppy play that's moderated by owners and trainer to keep puppies from bullying or getting overwhelmed - giving breaks as needed. Playing with other puppies is extremely helpful for puppies to learn how to control the pressure of their mouths - and learning how to control that makes them much safer as adults too. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Buddy
Golden Retriever
5 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Buddy
Golden Retriever
5 Months

My challenge is that my dog play bites. He bit my 6 year olds ear today when they were playing. I am hoping when he gets neutered this will reduce drastically, but in the mean time I am needing help.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lo, Check out the article linked below. Work on teaching Leave It from the Leave It method. Once pup knows Leave It, use that command to tell pup not to bite before a bite or during mouthing to stop - if pup doesn't stop when you say leave it, use the Pressure method as a gentle discipline for disobeying the Leave it command. Finally, teach pup and Out command. Enforce Out when pup is too wound up to listen and when your other dog needs a break. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ When pup is really crazy, he also probably needs some quiet time with a dog food chew toy in his crate. Puppies can get really wound up when overtired and mouthing can actually be worse when pup really just needs a nap. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Max
Golden Retriever
2 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Max
Golden Retriever
2 Months

I heard about the bitter anti chew spray how can I make it?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Leslie, You can either buy Bitter Apple or Bitter Mellon spray online or at pet stores or make your own...If you use lemon juice in the recipe just be careful where you spray because lemon can lighten things. https://www.cuteness.com/blog/content/how-to-make-homemade-taste-deterrent-for-dogs Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Mocha
Golden Retriever
Ten Weeks
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Mocha
Golden Retriever
Ten Weeks

She bites and eats everything. How do I stop this?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Trinity, At her age what you are experiencing is completely normal and even healthy...even though we as people don't enjoy being nibbled on, it is normal for puppies to bite each other in play to help them learn, so she has to be taught that people are different than puppies and you can't bite them. This takes time to teach so try to remember that it's normal while you are teaching her to be calmer. Check out the article linked below on puppy biting-called mouthing. Follow the Bite Inhibition method starting today, while also working on teaching her "Leave It" from the Leave it method. Once she is good at the Leave It command, then switch from the Bite Inhibition method to the Leave It method to teach her to stop biting completely. When she knows Leave It really well, tell her to Leave It whenever she tries to bite you. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite For the chewing, check out the article linked below: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ When she gets especially crazy, I suggest placing her in a crate or exercise pen with a food stuffed chew toy to chew on. Many puppies will get really wound up when they are tired and need some down time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Olivia
Golden Retriever
8 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Olivia
Golden Retriever
8 Weeks

How to control my pups biting habits and how to toilet train her?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jhalak, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Yelp" method. BUT at the same time, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when he attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if she makes a good choice. If she disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told her not to. The order or all of this is very important - the yelp method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The pressure method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just roughhousing. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Another important part of this is puppy learning bite inhibition. Puppies have to learn while young how to control the pressure of their mouths - this is typically done through play with other puppies. See if there is a puppy class in your area that comes well recommended and has time for moderated off-leash puppy play. If you can't join a class, look for a free puppy play group, or recruit some friends with puppies to come over if you can and create your own group. You are looking for puppies under 6 months of age - since young puppies play differently than adult dogs. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Finding a good puppy class - no class will be ideal but here's what to shoot for: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ When pup gets especially wound up, she probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help her calm down and rest. Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep working at it. For the potty training, check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. You can also combine the Crate Training method with the Tethering method if you want pup to be with you more, once pup is doing well with crate training and potty training. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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