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

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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

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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 and Success Stories

Question
bobby
Labrador Retriever
3 Months
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Question
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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 Trainer
670 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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Question
Jenny
Golden Retriever
6 Weeks
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Question
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Jenny
Golden Retriever
6 Weeks

My dog bites alot ..and does not listen to me..how to stop biting of my dog?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
670 Dog owners recommended

Hello Pratham, First of all, try not to become discouraged. Know that at 6 weeks of age, the biting is developmentally normally for a puppy - especially a puppy who was bred to use their mouth a lot of retrievals. Puppies learn how to control the pressure of their bite by practicing. They also explore the world around them, play with other puppies, and communicate with their mouths. So although it can really hurt to be bitten by tiny, sharp puppy teeth, almost all puppies do bite at this age. First, if you can find a puppy kindergarten class that has time for off-leash puppy play, or a free puppy play date class. Attend one of those with him so that he can learn how to control the pressure of his bite by playing with other puppies. Petco and some other pet stores with training offer free puppy play classes if you call and ask for the schedule. A puppy kindergarten class would have additional benefits like obedience and more interaction with people as well. If you have any friends with puppies under 6 months of age, set up play dates with those puppies too. 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. For more information on what type of class to look for, check out the article I have linked below. Know that probably no class will be ideal, but look for one especially that offers moderated, off-leash puppy play time to help with the biting, and a class that cleans their floors classroom floors really well with a cleaner that kills parvo and distemper right before class, and keeps other non-class participants out of the cleaned area to ensure puppies safety - which will allow you to attend class more safely with pup at a younger age if you want to. Carry puppy into the cleaned area to avoid contact with the ground that hasn't been cleaned until pup has all their puppy shots. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ Second, check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Yelp" method. At the same time however, 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 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 (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 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. Don't expect instant results with the biting. This is something that takes a lot of time and practice to teach because pup has to develop self-control through practice to even be able to control his mouth. Any progress is good progress. The main goal is for pup to stop all biting before 5 months of age - when their jaws get stronger and they can do actual damage. Everything before that point is practice controlling their mouths. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Raily
Golden Retriever
2 Months
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Question
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Raily
Golden Retriever
2 Months

Biting habbits can be remove easilyby what way

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Hello, chances are that Raily is teething. Buy her textured teething toys to provide relief for the gums. As well, try the Inhibition Method: https://wagwalking.com/training/not-bite-5. Help Raily to refocus by providing a diversion like a playing session with a tug of war toy or an interactive feeder that dispenses treats. Golden Retrievers need a lot of exercise. Give Raily a long walk in the morning and another one at night. She needs mental and physical stimulation. Getting her out for long walks will provide both and she should have less energy to bite. All the best and enjoy your puppy!

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Question
Churros
Golden Retriever
5 Months
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Question
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Churros
Golden Retriever
5 Months

Nibble & bites. Bites his leash firmly during his walks.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
670 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ghandhidas, For the leash biting, when the leash is in his mouth pull the two ends of the leash coming out of his mouth toward him, further into his mouth, so that the leash pushes against his gums and soft area at the back of his mouth; do this until he tries to spit the leash out, then let it go from his mouth. Expect to have to do this a few times in a row at first...doing this simply makes biting the leash not fun for him anymore. Also, you can try spraying a deterrent like bitter apple or bitter melon on the leash - some dogs dislike the taste enough they leave the leash alone, some determined biters will bite it anyway. You have to try it to find out which your puppy is. For the people biting, check out the article linked below. I suggest following the "Leave It" method and once he understands "Leave It" you can use the "Pressure" method if he disobeys the Leave It command. Focus primarily on Leave It though. Teach Leave It first so that he understands what to do and how to do it. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Rocky
Golden Retriever
7 Months
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Question
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Rocky
Golden Retriever
7 Months

He has full run of the yard and try to bring him in when I get home from work but all he does is jump on me and bite me. I can’t get him to stop biting people. He has toys treats goes for walks but just the biting is bad

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

Hello! I am going to send you information on the nipping/biting, as well as jumping. Both of these behaviors are attention seeking/play engaging behaviors. The best you can do for both is to completely ignore. But I am sending information with much more detail than that! 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. Jumping: Teach your dog that they receive no attention for jumping on you or anyone else. Teach your dog to do something that is incompatible with jumping up, such as sitting. They can't sit and jump up at the same time. If they are not sitting, they get no attention. It is important to be consistent. Everyone in your family must follow the training program all the time. You can't let your dog jump on people in some circumstances, but not others. Training techniques: When your dog… Jumps on other people: Ask a family member or friend to assist with training. Your assistant must be someone your dog likes and wants to greet. Your dog should never be forced to greet someone who scares them. Give your dog the "sit" command. (This exercise assumes your dog already knows how to "sit.") The greeter approaches you and your dog. If your dog stands up, the greeter immediately turns and walks away. Ask your dog to "sit," and have the greeter approach again. Keep repeating until your dog remains seated as the greeter approaches. If your dog does remain seated, the greeter can give your dog a treat as a reward. When you encounter someone while out walking your dog, you must manage the situation and train your dog at the same time. Stop the person from approaching by telling them you don't want your dog to jump. Hand the person a treat. Ask your dog to "sit." Tell the person they can pet your dog and give them the treat as long as your dog remains seated. Some people will tell you they don't mind if your dog jumps on them, especially if your dog is small and fluffy or a puppy. But you should mind. Remember you need to be consistent in training. If you don't want your dog to jump on people, stick to your training and don't make exceptions. Jumps on you when you come in the door: Keep greetings quiet and low-key. If your dog jumps on you, ignore them. Turn and go out the door. Try again. You may have to come in and go out dozens of times before your dog learns they only gets your attention when they keep all four feet on the floor. Jumps on you when you're sitting: If you are sitting and your dog jumps up on you, stand up. Don't talk to your dog or push them away. Just ignore them until all four feet are on the ground. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thank you for writing in!

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