Golden Retrievers are one of the most beloved dog breeds worldwide, largely due to their intelligence, obedience, and friendliness. They also have enviable playful temperaments, making them great playmates as puppies. But it can, unfortunately, manifest as biting if not checked early. That leads to the question, “When do Golden Retrievers stop biting?”
Thankfully this is fairly simple to answer and explain. While there is no exact age for when a Golden Retriever will stop biting – it generally happens between 6 – 7 months when they start maturing. There are other ways you can help shape their behavior. Ensuring your pup is exposed to different situations (other animals, people, and environments) while they’re still young is key in curbing bad behaviors like excessive biting.
If you want to know how to stop Golden Retrievers from biting, there are a few key things you need to do:
Reasons Why Golden Retriever Puppy Bite So Much
If you’re looking for a pup that’s always ready to play and likes to be around people, then look no further than a Golden Retriever puppy. But one thing that often catches owners off guard is just how much these puppies enjoy biting!
From mouthing your hands and feet to the occasional nibble on furniture, it’s important to understand why these pooches are so fond of their chompers. Understanding the canine behavior behind puppy biting will help you properly train your pup to interact gently with humans and objects.
🐕 They Are Teething
Most people don’t associate teething with puppies, but just like human babies, puppies go through a period of teething from about three to six months old when their puppy teeth start to come in. During this time, your Golden Retriever puppy is likely to be extra mouthy and bite more than usual.
Of course, this can be a problem for owners who are used to having an older, calmer pup around the house. But there’s a really good reason why those pup-bites actually occur: the teething process is uncomfortable and itchy!
When your pup bites on hard objects like toys or tables, that helps to soothe the gum tissue as they are dealing with that discomfort. That’s why it can seem like your Golden Retriever puppy is biting more than usual – it’s their way of managing that annoyance!
🐕 Play Behavior
Puppy biting is normal behavior that almost all four-legged friends participate in during their early stages of life. In truth, Golden Retriever pup biting is usually done as a form of playful interaction. They have no malicious intent. They just want to enjoy their time with you by playing games.
Essentially, when puppies bite each other’s ears or lips, they’re engaging in mock fights that allow much-needed practice for honing important dog skills such as communication and agility. It’s not only beneficial for physical development. Playtime also helps facilitate social growth as they learn boundaries and proper interactions with fellow fuzzballs from both their species and others.
🐕 They Are Naturally Mouthy
Golden Retriever puppies have a reputation as being particularly “mouthy.” But why do they bite so much? Well, the answer lies in their natural temperament. A Golden Retriever puppy is an inherently energetic and playful pup. This is especially true when it’s young! Its spirited nature leads the pup to explore its environment and discover new things via, you guessed it, its mouth!
By placing objects in their mouths, a Golden Retriever puppy can learn about its surroundings and develop object recognition skills. In addition, most of these puppies have extremely sharp teeth — making them prone to nipping and biting everything around them.
While this behavior might seem annoying or even unpleasant to a potential dog owner, it’s important to remember that all puppies go through this phase — no matter the breed.
When Do Golden Retrievers Stop Biting: Common Mistakes That Worsen Puppy Biting
Now that we’ve gone over why Golden Retrievers bite, let’s talk about the common mistakes owners make that can worsen this issue. Here are some things to avoid when it comes to puppy biting:
❎ Giving Too Much Attention
One common mistake many of us make is giving too much attention to our puppies when they bite. It may seem like you’re being affectionate by showering them with love and petting, but unfortunately, this simply reinforces their tendency to bite.
The problem is that puppies are creatures of habit, so if you reward their biting behavior with attention, they’ll be more likely to do it in the future. If your attempts at reprimanding the puppy aren’t effective, try diverting their attention elsewhere by playing with a toy or taking them outside for a refreshing walk. Rather than reinforcing bad behavior with our attention, let’s focus on encouraging good habits instead!
❎ Using Physical Punishments
Another big mistake people make when dealing with puppy biting is resorting to physical punishment. While it may seem like a good idea to scold your pup if they bite physically, it’s more likely to worsen the problem. Instead of teaching your pup not to bite, physical punishments will only lead to fear and aggression.
Additionally, they can also create a wedge between you and your pup as they develop an aversion to human interaction. Instead, try to use positive reinforcement training and keep a consistent schedule when teaching your pup the right behaviors.
❎ Not Teaching Your Puppy Bite Inhibition
Bite inhibition means training a puppy to learn how and when to control the force of its bite. By teaching your puppy correct bite inhibition, you can prevent damaging bites. Without this training, puppies may exert too much force when they bite – even during play – which can lead to problems down the road.
The most important thing when teaching bite inhibition is to set consistent rules and boundaries. If a puppy bites too hard, it’s important to give them a firm ‘No’ in a loud voice. This helps your pup understand what they should not do and immediately end the activity or game.
For milder bites where the pup isn’t intentionally biting too roughly, try giving them a brief distraction, such as a chew toy or chewy treat, as an alternative form of interaction.
When Do Golden Retrievers Stop Biting: Teaching a Golden Retriever Puppy Bite Inhibition
Here are some tips on how to teach your golden retriever puppy bite inhibition.
Stage 1: Decrease Force
The first step in teaching your puppy bite inhibition is to get them used to different levels of force when playing with their mouth. Start off by giving your pup soft toys that she can chew on without causing too much damage to either the toy or herself. This will help her learn how hard she should bite down while playing.
Once she gets more comfortable with softer toys, gradually introduce harder ones that require more force for her to chew on and play with. Praise your pup each time she successfully plays with these new toys without biting too hard, and reward her appropriate behavior by giving treats.
Stage 2: No Teeth on the Skin
Once stage one has been mastered, it’s time to move on to teaching “no teeth on skin.” This means no teeth are allowed anywhere near human skin! When playing together, keep an eye out for any type of nibbling or mouthing happening and firmly say, “No teeth!” if needed. You can also provide chew toys for your pup during playtime as an alternative when their mouths start getting a bit too active.
Stage 3: Gentle Mouthed
This next step is about teaching gentle mouth behaviors, even when taking treats or playing with toys! Ensure to reward positive gentle mouthing behaviors such as using light lips or pressure instead of harder bites when kissing or playing tug with toys. This will help reinforce good habits and ensure your golden retriever puppy learns to interact appropriately with people and other animals!
Stage 4: Practice With People
Once you’re confident about your pup’s ability to differentiate between play and aggression regarding objects, it’s time to move on, people! However, you must go slow here and remind yourself that puppies often don’t mean any harm when they bite too hard during playtime. Therefore, try not to overreact every time they do this.
Instead, remain calm while redirecting their energy towards something else until they understand what action has caused the reprimand in the first place. Also, remember that this process doesn’t happen overnight. Practice patience, as it could take months until you finally see results but trust us – all the effort is worth it in the end!
8 Tips To Stop Golden Retriever Puppy Biting
Now that we know why Golden Retrievers bite and the common mistakes owners make, let’s look at some tips and tricks to help you stop your pup from biting.
① Redirect Biting
One of the best tips and tricks when training a golden retriever puppy to not bite is learning how to redirect their biting behavior. Rather than scolding them or presenting punishment, try redirecting your pup’s desire to bite into something else. You can put something they’re allowed to chew on in front of your pup instead of their attention focused on your hands or feet.
Toys like bones and balls allow your pup to get some energy out and divert their attention away from actively biting. Another great thing about redirecting biting behavior is that it reinforces positive memories for your pup of receiving toys that help them play and keep busy rather than memorizing bad habits.
② Use Positive Reinforcement
Rewarding your pup every time they are well-behaved is essential to reinforce that good behavior. For example, if your golden retriever puppy is behaving sweetly and not biting, you should give them lots of praise or a yummy treat!
Consistency is the key here, too. Puppies will quickly understand what they are being rewarded for each time they exhibit appropriate behavior. Even just verbal praises or petting goes a long way in encouraging good behavior. Your puppy will surely love hearing how wonderful they have been!
③ Give A Command
Establishing basic dog training commands, such as ‘No Bite,’ is the first step in curbing any biting behavior. Puppies are naturally curious and tend to explore the world with their mouths. Teaching them ‘No Bite’ or redirecting them away from undesirable biting helps them re-focus their energy on healthy behaviors.
This training should always be done gently and calmly, as forceful training is both ineffective and damaging. Teaching patience, understanding of commands, and reinforcement with treats helps the process go smoothly while strengthening your pup’s bond with you.
④ Exercise Your Pup’s Mind and Body
It is important to ensure your pup has enough exercise and mental stimulation. This helps keep them from becoming bored or restless. If a puppy is bored, it may start to exhibit destructive behaviors such as biting.
Exercise is one of the best methods, as it keeps your pup’s body healthy and in shape and their mind too. Ensuring they receive adequate physical exercise will also help reduce excess energy, which can be another cause. Activities like fetch games and playing with toys can help provide busy brains with an outlet.
Not only this, but puppies learn through experimentation and exposure. Therefore, it’s important to provide enough different outlets for stimulation. Keeping these things in mind will help prevent bad biting habits before they even start!
⑤ Use A Taste Deterrent
Another way to do this is by using a taste deterrent. This involves applying a simple yet unpleasant-tasting solution such as Tabasco sauce or vinegar to objects in your pup’s environment (e.g., furniture, shoes, etc.) that are likely sources for them to explore with their mouth and try to bite.
The goal of this method is for your puppy to associate the negative experience with the item itself. Therefore, they may be less inclined to take a bite out of it down the road! It’s important to note that you should not apply the deterrent directly onto your pup’s skin, just onto objects in their environment.
Some people may worry about whether this tactic will work on their specific pup. However, research has demonstrated that it can usually be effective if done consistently and correctly.
⑥ Engage In Non-Contact Forms Of Play
Playing with your growing golden retriever puppy should be an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. However, play biting can quickly get out of hand if you don’t take the necessary precautions regarding playtime. One of the most effective methods for dealing with play biting is to engage in non-contact forms of play with your pup. This means steering clear of hands-on play and physical contact, especially since golden retrievers are known to play rough even as puppies.
This type of play involves things like tug-of-war with a toy and playing catch using balls or soft toys. Activities that involve lots of mental and physical stimulation for your pup without involving any contact or biting. A tired puppy will quickly lose interest in play biting due to lack of energy, so plenty of activities are provided.
Once your pup begins to understand the concept of this type of play, it’ll become easier and easier for them to redirect their natural urge to bite into something more positive and beneficial!
⑦ Socialize Your Puppy With Other Dogs
Socializing your golden retriever puppy with other dogs is one of the best tips and tricks to prevent puppy-biting behavior. By exposing them to other dogs, your puppy will learn proper canine behavior, such as safe and polite ways to interact, calm around other dogs, and appropriate boundaries in a playful setting.
This socialization should start early on and continue as they get older so they can become confident and comfortable dogs. Most organizations that breed or rescue puppies recommend that their puppies should have some contact with other dogs for them to grow up in an emotionally healthy way.
Suppose you don’t know any nearby people with pets. In that case, some organizations organize play dates for puppies and their owners. This is where you can give your pup the opportunity for healthy and safe interaction with other canines.
⑧ Be Patient and Consistent
The more patient, consistent, and calm a puppy owner remains throughout the process. The easier it will be to get them to understand that biting is unacceptable. Remaining consistent while training dogs of any age or breed, including Golden Retrievers, will yield better long-term results. Puppies crave structure and stability to grow up into confident adults.
Consistently setting boundaries and working diligently on good habits will help reinforce what is okay and what isn’t okay, specifically regarding biting. So although it may be difficult at times – remain patient and consistent. Always maintain a calm demeanor when dealing with the pup’s biting issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is destructive chewing a sign of aggressive behavior for Golden Retrievers?
Yes, destructive chewing in Golden Retrievers often indicates aggressive behavior. This usually occurs when their owners don’t give the pup enough psychological stimulation and exercise to prevent them from becoming bored and anxious. Destructive chewing can be an outlet for those negative feelings. In order to stop your pup from acting out, it’s important to ensure they get plenty of stimulation, such as playing with toys or learning new tricks. If you’re worried about aggressive tendencies with your pup, be sure to start socializing them early on. Therefore, they get used to being around other dogs and people.
Q: Do adult teeth affect puppy biting?
When adult teeth start to grow in, puppies begin to realize that their new teeth can do some damage! This ramped-up biting may have pet owners concerned. However, this is a normal part of maturation and can easily be managed with proper training. Generally, if puppies are taught not to bite too hard and encouraged to use soft mouths early on, they are unlikely to develop bad habits related to biting as adults.
Q: When is a dog bite considered harmful?
While dogs offer humans a great deal of love and commitment, it is important to remember that they are still animals and can still be unpredictable. In some circumstances, a dog may feel threatened and might bite defensively as a form of protection. It is generally agreed upon that when a dog’s bite causes physical breakage or damage to the person or animal it has bitten. Then it is considered harmful. If you ever find yourself in this position, seek medical attention immediately!
Q: Should I leash my dog when walking to prevent biting?
Walking your dog off the leash can seem liberating at first – a nice long walk through the park with your pup running around, meeting other dogs, and having a fun time. But unfortunately, it could end up in physical harm if your pup isn’t correctly trained. In some cities, leashing your dog while walking is lawfully required. Something that came into practice to prevent bites out of fear or dominance. Suppose you’re unsure if there’s a rule in place where you live. It’s best to err on caution and leash your furry friend just in case. This helps keep them safe since they won’t be able to wander off and get into trouble. Plus, you can rest easy knowing you’re doing your part to keep everyone safe on the streets!
Q: Do Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd biting have similar solutions?
Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds might seem like similar breeds, but their personalities can produce distinct biting behaviors. Even though the same underlying issues may be causing aggressive behavior for both dogs, tailored solutions are often required for each breed. For example, Labradors are usually more active and excitable than German Shepherds, making positive reinforcement and agility training well-suited to encouraging calm behavior in the former. Meanwhile, German Shepherds’ loyal nature makes them rather sensitive to sharp tones and loud voices. Both exacerbate their tendency towards biting. With that said, the most effective approach to calming down a German Shepherd is engaging them with plenty of patience. Plus, reward-based training that stresses consistency above all else.
All in all, Golden Retrievers stop biting gradually as they mature. They may still nibble and nip during play until around two years of age. Therefore, it’s important to remain patient and consistent in training them. Even though you may entirely cure them of nipping, owners can confidently expect their Goldens to have outgrown the harmful habit by reaching adulthood. Sometimes they distinguish between family members and strangers, however, depending on each pup’s personality. No matter what, providing structure and guidance regarding problems like biting is essential. Take caution since a Golden Retriever is strong enough to hurt someone if not handled correctly.