Do Golden Retrievers Bite – A Step-By-Step Guide To Training Them


I see my golden retriever as the sweetest being on the planet. I mean, aren’t they all are?

He plays with everyone and everything. He never showed any signs of aggression. But lately, he started to bite me, it’s not like he wanted to hurt me or anything and it’s not even painful and that’s probably because he’s still a puppy. But I got concerned and decided to look it up.

So, do Golden Retrievers Bite? Yes, Golden Retrievers do bite. Goldens Retrievers can bite out of pain, fear, or distress. Goldens are much less likely to bite out of aggression than other breeds. Mothers teach their pups bite inhibition when they’re young, and you can always train them at any age not to bite. 

To understand more why does your own golden retriever bite and how you can teach them to stop biting, keep on reading.

6 Reasons Do Golden Retrievers

Golden Retriever biting on a chew toy to illustrate why do golden retrievers bite

Dogs could bite for a large number of reasons, but because I am not the encyclopaedia, let’s discuss the 6 more common reasons most golden retrievers bite;

  1. Fear 
  2. Surprise. 
  3. Teething pain.
  4. Bad uprising.
  5. Instinct. 
  6. Your Teaching

Fear:

If someone, something, or a situation made your golden retriever feel threatened or scared, he could bite him out of fear. Your Golden could also be spooked by thunder, fireworks, or cars nearby. 

Your Golden could also have a trauma that may cause them to be triggered by certain things that may not look scary to you. That happens with rescue dogs that may have had a rough past. They could associate certain smells, places, or sounds with their past trauma and the abuse they went through. 

This means that these smells, sounds, or places could trigger their defense mechanisms and make them aggressive. Make sure to check on your dog’s past and try to re-socialize them to help them get over their troubles. It may take some time to readjust troubled rescue dogs, but it’s always worth it. 

Surprise:

If someone or something surprises or startles your dog, their first reaction may be to bite. In this case, you need to take some time to help your dog learn how to react to surprises. It is not easy, but it can be done, here is how; 

You will need to enlist the help of a friend or a family member. Ask them to act out the situation with you and your pup. Start simple and slow with simple surprises such as the doorbell ringing. 

You will need to have some treats and a water spray bottle like the one used for plants. If your dog bites, you could tell them “no”. If they repeat it, you could use the spray bottle to tell them no and then spray them with some water to startle them. 

This way they start to associate the water sprinkle/spray, which is something they don’t like, with the biting and eventually stops biting. 

When they stop reacting to surprises with bites, you start rewarding them with treats and verbal praise. This way they start associating the treats, a good thing, with not biting, which is what we want. 

Teething pain:

When your puppy is teething it’s normal for them to bite, it’s actually healthy for them to be biting in that age.

You just need to train them to bite something else, not you or your guests. If their mom is around, she will teach her puppies that biting is not okay and will start training them at a young age. 

Biting when teething is just a phase they have to go through, but you should get on training them to start nipping and mouthing once this phase ends, otherwise, it could go on for a long time and becomes harder to adjust their behavior. 

Pain: 

If your dog is hurting, no matter the age or the cause, they can bite you when you touch them or get too close for their comfort. 

Some dogs don’t know how to handle pain or feel like you could cause them more pain by touching them, so they try to scare you away altogether. This is more common with senior dogs who are prone to bone problems or other age-related problems that can cause them pain, which is why you shouldn’t try to carry senior dogs as it may hurt them more. 

Instinct: 

Golden retrievers used to hunt and retrieve small animals. They also used their soft mouths to retrieve their hunters’ games. Some of these instincts are still there, and while it may not show itself a lot, it does show itself every once in a while. 

Your Teaching

When your puppy is playing with you and they bite you, you need to let them know that it’s not okay for them to bite. 

Yes, their biting when they’re puppies are harmless and even pretty cute but imagine that bite when they grow up with the whole teeth and the much-stronger jaws, and you will that it doesn’t stay cute for very long. So you’ll need to train them when they’re still puppies.

Do Golden Retrievers Bite Strong?

The bite of a golden retriever is rated as 190 psi. This makes golden retriever the 30th strongest bite of all breeds. It’s also stronger than humans that have a 100-150 psi bite force. But compared to other dogs it’s not nearly dangerous.

Goldens rarely if ever bite using full force, and well-socialized, well-trained golden retrievers do exhibit self control even when playing.

If your dog bites too strongly, they may have an aggression problem, and in this case I advise you to check my Golden Retriever aggression guide to learn how to handle aggression in your dog and make them become the gentle, loving dogs they are meant to be.

Goldens are taught bite inhibition when they are very young, and they instinctively understand that humans have a much more weaker and a more sensitive skin than they do, so they bite gently.

Speaking of bite inhibition, let’s discuss this topic a bit more.

Bite Inhibition Training For Puppies 

When puppies bite their mother and it hurts their mother yelp to let them know that their bite is too strong. The puppies learn bite inhibition from their mother but still, they’ll need some work from us to know that our skin is more delicate and fragile and they need to be more gentle with us.

The concept is very simple: Biting Ends the Fun. You can use any different training method you like as long as you follow this main concept.

Less than 8 weeks – Mom Has It Under Control

The puppy’s mom is the most badass mom there is. She will teach your puppy how strong is too strong during nursing. 

She will start teaching them from day 1 till the day you could finally pick them up. During these lessons, you shouldn’t interfere with them because mom knows best. 

8-12 weeks – Everything is good enough for biting

At this time your puppy will bite anything, like literally anything, you, your kids, your partner, even your grandma. Doesn’t hurt, sure, but they will also bite electrical wires, shoes, your favorite shirt. You guess it, and they’ll bite it. 

You need to make sure that this biting stops after this period.

So when your dog bites you, it’s better if you yelp or makes a squeaking sound, a sound that his brother or his sister would make. 

But a little warning, this doesn’t work with all puppies. This method can make things worse for some puppies. 

You’ll have to try and find out what works best for both of you.

You can also walk away when they bite you hard or if you were playing with them stop playing to let them know that biting hard ends a fun time.

Allowing nipping and less painful biting is okay; you don’t want them to stop biting at all. Remember you’re teaching them biting inhibition  

Do not punish your puppy if they bite you so they wouldn’t become afraid of you. If they get scared of you they won’t learn biting inhibition in the right way.

If they are biting you do not pull your hand. Wait for them to stop and then give them a chew toy and let them chew on it on your lap or beside you. This will teach them that stopping bad behavior deserves a reward.

3-5 months – Minimize jaw pressure

At the age of three months old your puppy knows now that biting too hard during playing time is wrong so they stop.

But as they are growing older, they are responding to you. Now you can teach them that even the soft biting that you are allowing is not okay. Teach them that your skin is too sensitive to handle and all force behind play bites and these bites should be stopped.

Your whole family should know about the training and are willing to participate too. Especially kids, kids tend to play rough with them and puppies will get rough with them too.

Your puppy should learn that all humans are sensitive to their bites, not just you.

 5-6 months old – no more nipping or mouthing

It’s not acceptable for adult dogs to nip and no more mouthing is okay. What was okay when they were young and little is no longer acceptable when they are too big to carry in a bag, and they should learn that by now. 

To stop all biting, mouthing, and nipping. Stop playing with them every time you feel their teeth on your skin and walk away. Soon your golden will realize that biting isn’t as fun as other games.

Other dogs will also teach them the same lesson, and if you notice a certain dog that plays too aggressively with them in the park or the doggy daycare, you should tell the owner that their dogs need to stop biting because the other dogs may pick up the behavior from them. 

Goldens are also very active at this young age, and the behavior calms down as they grow up and calm down themselves. You can learn when will your golden retriever puppy calm down here.

How to Stop “Mouthing” or “Nipping” in Older Dogs

There is nothing as “too old to train”. You can always adjust your golden retriever’s behavior no matter their age, so please don’t be discouraged from readjusting your dog’s behavior or adopting a senior dog because of this myth.

The following method is easy to follow and has proven effective time and time again:

5 Steps to Stopping Biting in Older Golden Retrievers

  1. Give them a chew toy.
  2. Don’t punish them. Instead, use consequences.
  3. Train them all the appropriate behaviors (it will take more time since he’s an adult dog and not a puppy)
  4. If they are playing with you and they start mouthing or nipping you, ignore them completely and don’t give them any attention. 
  5. Every time they bite you walk away immediately.

In older dogs, it will take more time and effort to teach them to stop biting if you haven’t taught them when they were younger. Readjusting a bad behavior is always more time-consuming than teaching a new behavior, but if you are familiar with the process and willing to put in the effort, nothing is impossible. You can also follow the same tricks that were used for puppies but it will take more time.

Related Questions 

Do Golden Retrievers Bite Their Owners? 

Yes, golden retrievers do bite their owners. Just like any other dog, but they are much less likely to bite with force or aggression than other breeds. In General, Golden retrievers are very gentle dogs especially with their owners.

They can also bite their owners out of pain.

Do Bigger or Smaller Dogs Bite More? 

Small Dogs Bite more, but Big dogs have a stronger bite. Like Doberman pinscher, pitbull, german shepherd, and rottweiler.Small Dogs bite more because they feel kinda insecure because of their size and they bite and yelp more than big dogs to prove that size doesn’t matter and they are just as strong as these big dogs.

Are Golden Retrievers likely to bite?

Golden Retrievers are more likely to playfully bite you than to aggressively bite you. Goldens consider biting as part of the fun, and they rarely use biting as a form of aggression. Most golden retrievers bite because they were not properly taught bite inhibition when they were young.

Since Goldens are very smart dogs, it is normally easy to teach a golden retriever to stop biting, and in my experience it has been much easier than with other dog breeds.

Sources 

Mouthing, Nipping and Play Biting in Adult Dogs

Dogs Don’t Bite Out of the Blue

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