How to Train a Golden Retriever to Stop Biting

Medium
2-12 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Your Golden Retriever is now a crucial member of the family. He spends his mornings out for a walk, his afternoons napping and his evenings messing around with the kids. He’s the only member of your household that doesn’t argue back and he’s probably one of the cleanest too. However, he does have one rather bad habit - he bites. It started off as nibbling, which was actually quite entertaining. But now it has become more aggressive and sometimes painful.

Training him to stop biting is essential, for a number of reasons. Firstly, he could do yourself or one of your children serious harm. Furthermore, if he continues this biting habit and attacks another dog or human, he may have to be put down. Therefore, it is essential you get a handle on this behavior before there is no turning back.

Defining Tasks

Training will consist of firstly taking a number of steps to prevent your Golden biting in the first place. On top of these deterrence measures, you will have to find a productive way to channel his energy. You will also need to look at the underlying cause of the biting and tackle that. In addition, obedience commands will be needed to assert your position as pack leader.

If your Golden Retriever is still a puppy, he should be fairly receptive. This means you could see results in just a couple of weeks. However, if he’s older and the biting habit has been years in the making, then you may need several months to fully stamp it out. Succeed with this training and you will never have to worry about leaving him alone with strangers or small children again.

Getting Started

Before you get to work, you will need to get your hands on a few items. A muzzle will be required until training has proven successful. You will also need chewy toys, plus a decent supply of treats. Alternatively, you can break his favorite food into small pieces.

Set aside 10 minutes each day for training, at a time where you won’t be distracted by a noisy household. Also, a deterrence collar and a water spray bottle will be needed for one of the methods.

Once you have the above, just bring patience and an optimistic attitude, then work can begin!

The Deterrence Method

Effective
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Step
1
‘NO’
Whenever he bites, rush over and give a firm ‘NO’. You don’t want to terrify him, as this may make him more aggressive. However, make sure he knows you mean business.
Step
2
Water spray bottle
If the firm ‘NO’ does not have the desired effect, upgrade to the water bottle. Give a quick spray near the face. This will soon get him associating biting with negative consequences.
Step
3
Deterrence collar
You may also want to consider investing in a deterrence collar. You simply hit the button whenever you see him bite and an unpleasant spray of citronella will be emitted. This will make him think twice next time.
Step
4
Privacy
Make sure he has his own space he can escape to. This is particularly important if he is a puppy. Golden Retrievers can get frustrated when they are pestered by small children. So, he needs to have alone time in a quiet space when he wants.
Step
5
Discouragement
Never encourage any forms of aggression. That means do not laugh or talk in a high pitched voice when he does nibble or bite, even if it is just playing around. Each time his biting is met without consequence will only increase the chances of him biting again.
Recommend training method?

The Socialization Method

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Step
1
Obedience classes
Take him to obedience classes from an early age. This is the perfect place for him to learn how to interact with other dogs and people in a controlled way. The obedience commands he learn will also increase your control.
Step
2
A person a day
Try to introduce him to a new person each day. This is particularly important if he is a puppy. Meeting lots of new people will build his confidence, which could prevent biting out of fear.
Step
3
Positioning
When you do meet new people, position yourself between the person and your Golden Retriever. If you are in front, it is your job to protect him. If he is in front, he will feel obliged to protect you and may be more likely to bite.
Step
4
Reward
Make sure he gets a tasty reward and some verbal praise whenever he plays gently and is well behaved when he meets people. Positive reinforcement is often the most effective way to teach Golden Retrievers.
Step
5
Muzzle
Until his biting is under control, you may want to consider fitting him in a muzzle, especially when you are out in public. This will prevent any injury being done while training is ongoing.
Recommend training method?

The Distraction Method

Effective
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Step
1
Exercise
Make sure he gets plenty of exercise each day. Golden Retrievers needs a good run around because they are relatively big dogs. His biting may be a result of pent up energy. So, give him a longer walk or throw a ball for him as you go. A tired dog is a passive dog.
Step
2
Tug of war
Try and direct his biting energy into a few minutes of play each day. Find a chewy toy and play tug of war with it. This will help teach him where and when the appropriate time for biting is.
Step
3
Gentle play
Spend a few minutes each day playing gently with him too. Stroke him and talk quietly. It’s important he has time with you where he doesn’t get too worked up. You can also give him the odd treat as you play calmly.
Step
4
Time out
If he does bite, calmly remove him from the room and place him in a time out space. Ensure there are no toys in there and leave him there for 30 seconds to calm down. You can then release him back into the room.
Step
5
Lengthen the sentence
If he bites again when you let him back in the room, remove him again. However, this time add an extra 30-seconds onto his sentence. Keep adding time onto his time out period until he catches on.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
bobby
Labrador Retriever
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
bobby
Labrador Retriever
3 Months

bites and jumps constantly!!!arms legs fingers etc.
When he is on his leash her tries to pull out.
He pees and on occasion poohs but we have tried to dog proof it.
When he dances around we know the sign and take whim outside.
We built a 20 x 30 kennel, but when he does not see us he howls until we are inside with him..
We have read all kinds of methods but we don't know where to start to get him to become obedient now, o when he is older we have a nice dog.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
80 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sheila, Congratulations on the new puppy. All of those behavior are very normal for his age. To stop the jumping check out the article that I have linked below. Teach him to "Sit" and when you walk up to him when you get home tell him to "Sit" and reward him if he does. If he tries to jump on you, then follow the "Step Forward Method". Do not be afraid to bump into him. You need to be firm and serious when you step toward him but do not kick him. Here is the article with that method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-boxer-puppy-to-not-jump For the biting check out the other article that I have linked below. Try yelping loudly when he bites and then ignoring him for five minutes. If that works, then follow the "Bite Inhibition" Method and also teach him the leave it command from the "Leave It" method and use the "Leave It" command when once he has learned that. If yelping loudly does not stop when you test that, then follow the "Pressure" method instead. You can also go straight to the "Pressure" method if he responds to that well. Teach Bobby "Leave It" in general though, because that can help with a number of behaviors. Expect it to take him several months before he stops biting entirely though. Puppies, especially retrievers use their mouths a lot to learn how to control the pressure of their bites, to communicate, to learn new things, and to comfort themselves and play. It is extremely normal for a Labrador to be very mouthy until five or six months of age. Work on the training but if it does not immediately stop all mouthing from reoccurring that does not necessarily mean it is not working. It may take time. Here is the article on biting. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite At his age he needs to be either taken out every one to one and a half hours or put in a crate with a safe chew toy for no longer than three-and-a-half hours. At night he should be able to hold it for longer because he will be asleep. Puppies can only hold their bladders for the number they are in months of age plus one. Meaning that he cannot hold his bladder for longer than four hours. If he is not in a crate where he will be motivated to try to hold it, then he needs to be taken out every time that it gets a little bit full, which is one to one-and-a-half hours until he learns to ask to go potty. In the crate he should naturally try to hold it for longer if the crate has enough room for him to lay down but not enough for him to pee or poop in one end and stand away from it in the other end. If you have a wire crate you can use the metal divider that came with it to make the crate temporarily small enough if you bought a large crate. The howling is also normal. He is likely bored and lonely and has not learned how to self-entertain. When you put him out there fill hollow safe chew toys, like kong with his moistened dog food, that has been soaked in water, and give him those to chew on. You can also purchase a device like a "Pet Tutor" or "Auto Trainer" that will automatically reward him when he gets quiet to help train him to be quiet. When you put him in the kennel wait until he gets quiet for a couple of seconds, then go to him and drop treats into the kennel and leave again. At first he will probably cry again when you leave, but he should start to realize overtime that when he gets quiet you come back and reward him, motivating him to become quiet sooner. I would highly recommend attention a puppy class with him. That class will help with socialization, mouthing, jumping, and obedience. You do not need to wait until he is older to join. Look for one that cleans their floors right before class with something that will kill things like Parvo. Make sure the trainer requires the puppies to have at least one set of shots, and carry your puppy into the area. Do not set him down until you are inside the puppy area because that area will be clean and with other vaccinated puppies, limiting his exposure to disease. Outside the facility where adult dogs have been will be less safe, so carry him there. When a puppy is young you can prevent things like aggression and fearfulness by socializing them and training them early on. Once a dog gets older you can always teach him things like sit but you cannot effect his temperament as much. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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