Pawscessories is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.
Golden retrievers are considered to be one of the more ‘mouthy’ breeds. Which means your golden puppy is likely to bite, and bite a lot.
Even the best-trained golden retriever will occasionally nibble on their human’s hand. It’s not aggression – it’s just their way of playing.
But if you’re not careful, those playful nips can turn into full-blown biting in a few short months.
So why does this happen, and how do you get your golden retriever to stop biting? To teach your golden retriever not to bite you need to have biting replacements on hand throughout the day. When they are in a biting mood, redirect their attention away from your hands, sleeves, or clothes to certain toys to help train them what’s okay to bite and what’s not.
In this post you’ll discover:
- Why golden retriever puppies bite so much
- Why adult golden retrievers still bite
- The 6 most effective ways to stop golden retriever biting for good
- How to know if what you’re doing is working to stop the biting
- 4 common mistakes golden retriever owners make when trying to stop biting
- And much more
Let’s jump right in.
Why Do Golden Retriever Puppies Bite So Much?
There’s two core reasons why your golden retriever puppy is biting you so much.
First, they’re teething.
Just like with babies, when your golden retriever is just a pup they have their first set of teeth with another set of adult teeth growing in behind them.
This process is very uncomfortable and biting & chewing on different things helps to soothe the pain.
So if your pup still has most of their puppy teeth, a major reason for their constant biting is because they’re teething.
Second, biting and putting things in their mouth is how your golden retriever pup interacts and engages with the world.
Just like when you were a baby and grabbing anything you could get your hands on to get a better understanding of it, that’s what your pup is doing with their mouth.
Which means they’re in their biggest learning phase of what they can and can’t bite as well as how hard they should be biting certain things.
And unfortunately, they don’t have hands to interact with you with.
They have paws with claws and a mouth full of razor sharp puppy teeth.
This kind of puppy biting that’s more exploratory can sometimes last up until they’re 5 months old.
Some golden retrievers continue biting for even longer if their behavior isn’t corrected.
Why Do Adult Golden Retrievers Bite?
There are a few reasons why your adult golden retriever might be biting.
The first reason is that they were never properly trained as a puppy not to bite.
If you didn’t correct their biting behavior when they were younger then it’s likely they’ve continued the behavior into adulthood because it’s become normal for them.
Another reason why your adult golden retriever might be biting is because they’re feeling anxious or stressed.
This could be because of a change to their routine, a new person or animal in your home, or anything else that’s making them feel uncomfortable.
Biting is a way for them to release the stress and tension they’re feeling.
The last reason why your adult golden retriever might be biting is because they’re in pain.
Just like with puppies, if your golden is experiencing any kind of discomfort then they may turn to biting as a way to cope with the pain.
This could be anything from arthritis, underlying health conditions to a physical injury.
If you think your golden might be biting because they’re in pain then it’s important to take them to the vet to get checked out.
6 Best Ways To Get Your Golden Retriever To Stop Biting
1) Help Them Learn To Have a “Soft Mouth”
One of the best ways to get your golden retriever to stop biting is to help them learn to have a “soft mouth.”
And there’s really only two ways for them to learn this.
One is to play with other puppies, and the other is to play with you.
How this works with other puppies is when your golden retriever bites their puppy friend a little too hard they’ll yelp and playing will stop.
Which is the last thing they want.
The more this happens, the more they’ll understand what’s too hard of a bite.
So the only way to keep playing is to be gentle.
Which is how puppies naturally learn to develop a “soft mouth”.
If you don’t have access to a puppy school or have other friends with puppies you’ll have to help teach them what’s too hard.
And how you’d do that is the same way they’d learn it from other puppies.
When they bite too hard, make a high pitch yelp sound or say “Ow!” or “Ouch!” in a high pitch tone and stop playing.
Overtime they’ll begin to learn how gentle they need to be in order to keep playing.
Which is ultimately what they want, not to hurt you with their biting.
2) Redirect Their Biting
Another way to get your golden retriever to stop biting you is to redirect it.
This means having a toy on hand that they’re allowed to bite and using it to redirect their biting energy to it when they start getting mouthy.
This is especially effective if you know when your golden retriever is about to get in a biting mood.
For example, if they always start biting you when you go to greet them, have a toy ready before they start getting mouthy with you.
As soon as they start getting mouthy, direct their attention to the toy and play with them as they bite on the toy instead.
The key to this is planning ahead.
If you know your golden retriever always seems to have high energy and bite you after they nap, have a toy with you during this point in the day.
When they come over to interact with you, let them put the toy in their mouth and continue to play with them.
This helps them learn that certain things are okay to bite and facilitate play time (their toys) whereas biting other things stops play time (your hands, clothes, etc.).
3) Become a Mama Dog
A less common, but still effective, way to get your golden retriever to stop biting you is by becoming a “mama dog.”
This means using the same techniques that their mother would use to stop them from biting.
For example, if your golden retriever is getting too mouthy you can grab their muzzle and apply gentle pressure.
You can also grab their neck scruff and give a gentle pull. Not enough to lift them, but enough so they can feel something pulling on their scruff.
These are both things that their mother would do to stop them from biting/misbehaving so it’s giving them signals they instinctively understand.
As opposed to saying words that make sense to you and me, but not to them.
It’s important not to do this too hard or too rough as you don’t want to hurt your pup.
Just enough pressure so they know to stop what they’re doing.
4) Add More Physical Activity To Their Day
If you have a really mouthy golden retriever, you’ll want to make sure they’re getting plenty of exercise each day to reduce their biting.
This doesn’t mean you have to run them until they drop, but making sure they get plenty of exercise first thing in the morning and a couple times throughout the day can help immensely.
In addition to walks/runs or fetch, you can also look into dog sports like agility or flyball which are great ways to tire out your pup while also having fun.
Adding more physical activity to their day can be a great way to help them burn off some energy so they’re not as inclined to bite.
*Important note: It’s best to pair more exercise with one or two of the other solutions here to get your golden retriever to stop biting ASAP.
5) Put Them In a Boring Environment
More often than not, when a golden retriever starts getting mouthy and biting it’s because they’re over stimulated.
One way to stop this is by putting them in a boring environment.
This means removing all stimulating toys, stopping play time and putting them in an isolated area where they can’t interact with you or anything else.
This could be their crate, a laundry room, bathroom, playpen area, or even outside if it’s not too cold/hot.
The key is that they’re in an area where they can’t see or reach anything to bite.
You want them to learn that when they start biting they won’t get to play or be around people.
6) Put Them In “Food Mode”
Another great way to get your golden retriever to stop biting is to move them from “bite mode” to “food mode”.
When your pup is in food mode they become less interested in biting.
How you do this is by having treats on hand at all times.
If you know the times of day your golden retriever tends to be biting more, make sure you have treats at these times.
What we’re doing here is using their exuberant energy and translating it into training time.
When your pup starts biting, show them a treat, ask them to sit or lie down, then once they listen simply give them the treat.
This teaches them to respond to you as opposed to behaving based on their impulses.
This method is especially good because it satisfies their desire to interact with you as well as satisfying your desire to have a well behaved dog.
If you do this enough times they’ll learn to sit and wait patiently to interact with you instead of biting you.
How To Know If Your Golden Retrievers Biting Is Improving
One sign that shows your golden retriever is starting to make progress with their biting is if they start licking you more as they bite.
This can take a few days or even a few months to start happening with extreme biters.
It’s important to set proper expectations and not to get discouraged.
Some people think doing some of the techniques listed above for a day or two will fix their golden retriever’s biting behavior, but that’s simply not how it works.
In some cases your pups bad biting behavior can improve quickly.
But it’s better to expect that it will take several weeks of training and be happily surprised if they stop sooner.
Mistakes People Make When Trying To Stop Golden Retriever Biting
1) Lack Of Preparation
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to stop their golden retriever from biting is not being prepared.
You need to have a plan in place and know exactly what you’re going to do when your golden retriever starts biting.
If you don’t have a plan, you’re more likely to get frustrated and give up.
2) Lack Of Consistency
Another mistake people make is not being consistent.
If you only work on stopping your golden retriever’s biting behavior once in a while, they’re not going to take the training seriously.
You need to be consistent with whatever method you decide to use and stick to the plan even when it’s hard.
Only then will you see your pup starting to improve.
3) Expecting It To Stop Too Soon
Like we talked about before, it’s important to set proper expectations when trying to stop your golden retriever from biting.
Some people think that if they do one of the techniques above for a day or two their golden retriever will be cured.
But that’s simply not realistic.
It takes time and patience to see results.
So don’t get discouraged if it takes a few weeks or even months to see some real progress.
Some dogs are simply more interested in biting than others.
Just because your golden retriever seems to be taking longer than you think is ‘normal’ to fix their biting problem doesn’t mean it’s never going to work.
4) Physically Punishing Their Pup
One of the worst things you can do when trying to stop your golden retriever from biting is to physically punish them.
This includes hitting, smacking, or using any type of physical force.
Not only is this ineffective, but it can actually make the problem worse by making your golden retriever scared of you or more aggressive.
If you physically punish your pup for biting, they’re likely to bite you more in the future out of fear or aggression.
So instead of physically punishing them, focus on the positive reinforcement and rewards-based training we’ve discussed above.
When will my golden retriever stop biting?
Golden retrievers typically stop puppy play biting around the age of 5-12 months old.
However, if they aren’t properly trained they may never stop biting.
This is why it’s so important to start correcting their biting behavior as soon as possible.
Do golden retrievers grow out of biting?
Some golden retrievers do grow out of biting on their own.
However, this isn’t always the case and oftentimes they need to be trained not to bite.
It’s important to start correcting their biting behavior as soon as possible so it doesn’t become a more serious problem.
Why won’t my 6 month old golden retriever stop biting?
When your golden retriever is 6 months old and biting a lot they could still be teething.
However, it could also be a sign that your pup is bored and has too much energy that needs to be released or they’ve learned it’s okay behavior.
Giving them more exercise each day can work wonders if their biting is from too much pent up energy.
How do I stop my 1 year old golden retriever from biting?
If your 1 year old golden retriever is still biting there are a few things you can do to try and stop it.
One thing you can do is to help them learn to have a “soft mouth” so they don’t bite as hard.
You can also redirect their biting by giving them something else to chew on or play with.
Adding more physical activity to their day can also help as tired pups are less likely to bite.
And finally, you can put them in a boring environment like their crate when they start to bite to help them learn biting stops play/fun time.
Other posts you might find interesting: