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How to Train a Golden Retriever Puppy to Not Bite

How to Train a Golden Retriever Puppy to Not Bite
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-6 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

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.

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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.

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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

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The Talk to the Back Method

Most Recommended

2 Votes

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Most Recommended

2 Votes

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1

Be aware

Make a list of all the times she tries to bite and be very aware of her behavior during these times.

2

No means no fun

When she does bite or nip, tell her "no" firmly.

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.

4

Give her attention

When she calms down, resume play or give her the attention she wanted.

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.

The Distracting Toy Method

Effective

1 Vote

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Effective

1 Vote

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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.

2

Grab a favorite toy

Pick up one of her favorite toys, and keep it with you when she's most likely to bite.

3

Initiate play

Initiate play or any activity where she traditionally bites.

4

Tell her "no"

When she bites, give her a firm 'no' and offer her the toy.

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.

The Bitter Taste Method

Effective

0 Votes

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Effective

0 Votes

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

By Katie Smith

Published: 02/21/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Canelo

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Golden Retriever

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Five Months

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Question

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My male golden retriever bites too much. I am afraid I can't correct this as he's getting older and this is not a good behavior. How can I stop this?

March 28, 2023

Canelo's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I recommend teaching the Leave It command, Out command, and crate training. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Give him a dog food stuffed chew toy to help him get out some of that need to mouth something, while in the crate when everyone needs a rest. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

March 28, 2023

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Frank

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Golden Retriever

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Nine Months

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Question

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Not a question… using a water spray on a water dog breed, like goldens - sounds a bit counterintuitive. Also using a basic “need” like water as punishment ? Make it make sense…

Aug. 26, 2022

Frank's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, My apologies. While the surprise of a water bottle spray can surprise a puppy enough to pause the biting for some puppies, many of the articles on wag have actually been rewritten to improve the advise found there as wag has expanded into training. I recommend checking out the article I have linked below and those methods instead of the one you originally read. I would specifically follow a combination of the Bite Inhibition method and the Leave It method found there. The bite inhibition method can be started right away. Leave It will take time to teach, but ultimately you want to be able to use leave it, so start teaching that now also, while working on the bite inhibition method too. Ignore the specifics of Shih Tzu, this article's methods should work for a retriever as well. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Aug. 29, 2022


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