How to Train a Golden Retriever to Stop Biting

How to Train a Golden Retriever to Stop Biting
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon2-12 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

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.

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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.

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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!

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The Socialization Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Distraction Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Deterrence Method

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‘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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

By James Barra

Published: 02/12/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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TY

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Golden Retriever

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8 Weeks

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Question

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BITES CONSTANTLY, I KNOW HE IS JUST PLAYING BUT HE BITES AND TUGS AT MY CHILDRENS HAIR AND CLOTHES AND IT UPSETS THEM, THEY ARE 5 AND 7

July 22, 2021

TY's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kellie, For the biting, I recommend teaching pup the Leave It command. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite I also recommend teaching pup Out - which means leave the area, and using the section on how to use out to deal with pushy behavior, and you enforce Out on behalf of the kids after they tell puppy Out, if pup doesn't obey them. This helps pup learn respect for them as an extension of pup respecting you, and takes the pressure off the kids. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ When pup is overtired, pup will also bite more, so I would crate train pup and place pup in a crate or exercise pen with a dog food stuffed chew toy, like a kong, for a rest time when pup is especially rambunctious. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

July 23, 2021

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Sky

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Golden Retriever

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7 Weeks

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Question

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He is bitting very aggressively we are training’s him saying No but he is continuously bitting he is not listen anyone is coming he is bitting everyone playing time is different we know but he doesn’t play he just bite everyone and now we are scared because his teeth is hurting us

June 5, 2021

Sky's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Karina, 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 he makes a good choice. If he disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told him 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 (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. Leave It method, Bite Inhibition method, and Pressure method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out command - Section on How to Teach Out and then section on How to Use Out to Deal with Pushiness: 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. 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, he 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 him 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. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

June 7, 2021


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