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

ribbon-method-3
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 Distracting Toy Method

ribbon-method-2
Effective
1 Vote
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?

The Bitter Taste Method

ribbon-method-1
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?
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Written by Katie Smith

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

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Golden
Golden Retriever
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Golden
Golden Retriever
3 Months

When I go walk with her, she want to play and bite me so hard. How can I stop her ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jiajun, For the leash part, check out the Pressure method from the article I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash For the biting, check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" 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 she 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 Out command from the second article linked below to make her leave the area as a consequence. The order or all of this is very important - the Bite Inhibition 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 Out 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 playing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area, is also a good command for you to use if pup bites the kids. Check out the section on Using Out to Deal with Pushy Behavior for how to calmly enforce that command once it's taught. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ 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. Right now, an outside class may be best in a fenced area, or letting friends' pups play in someone's fence outside. 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. Practicing regular obedience commands or having pup earn what they get by performing commands like Sit and Down before feeding, petting, tossing a toy, opening the door for a walk, ect... can also help stimulate pup mentally to increase calmness and wear them out. Commands that practice focus, self-control, and learning something a bit new or harder than before can all tire out puppies. 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. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Jiho
Golden Retriever
1 Month
0 found helpful
Question
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Jiho
Golden Retriever
1 Month

My male golden retriever puppy bites too much. Nowadays he silently comes and bites too hard. How can I stop this?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Paavani, At this age biting is a developmental part of pup learning about the world around them. They usually learn how to control the pressure of their mouth from playing with litter mates. Check out the Bite Inhibition method from the article I have linked below. Once pup is old enough, I would also enroll pup in a puppy play group or kindergarten class with off-leash puppy play. Once pup is a couple of months old I would also begin the Leave It method from the same article I have linked below. Bite control takes about 3 months for a puppy to learn, so look for gradual progress not immediate results, that's normal developmentally for a puppy. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Daisy
Golden Retriever
14 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Daisy
Golden Retriever
14 Weeks

She bites and goes to the bathroom in side the house

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ethan, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" 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 bite inhibition 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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Bucky
Golden Retriever
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bucky
Golden Retriever
2 Months

My puppy is really aggressive, like not only does she bite, but she literally attacks me, even after yelling or shouting no, he only gets more aggressive, and hurts really badly, even if we give him a toy,its no use, he growls really loudly, showing his aggression, he is playful with strangers, but not quite with us, what should i do?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
257 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is information on puppy nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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

As Buddy is our 3rd GR in 21 years, the first 2 GR were very easy to train. The biggest problem is his biting when HE wants to play. I will confess he is “ negatively “ rewarded, especially when he has my wife by her arm or thigh. Our arms and hands and legs have been ripped apart. At 63# my wife has trouble even pushing him down. As a puppy, he went through puppy kindergarten but now his behavior has gotten worse. Any advice is appreciated…..David email is dabrgr@comcast.net

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello David, I would work on commands that help pup build impulse control. The Leash method for jumping: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Come - Reel in method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Drop It – Exchange method: https://wagwalking.com/training/drop-it I suspect your case might be similar to the dog in this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcwvUOf5oOg Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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