If you’re reading this article, chances are that your Golden Retriever has turned into a biting machine. And frankly, you are clueless about when this little mouthy ball of fur is going to stop biting!
Golden retrievers are friendly and social by nature, so being violent or stubborn isn’t really their forte. Yet, their energetic persona can become problematic when they’re growing up – especially during their teething phase.
This golden retriever guide will help you know more about your dog’s biting habit and what can be done to manage it.
Do Golden Retrievers Ever Really Stop Biting?
Golden retrievers have a reputation of being the gentlest of family dogs. But this does not mean that they are without their very basic dog instinct which is to bite. In fact, golden retrievers are hunters so they are naturally inclined towards hunting, chasing and even biting in triggering situations.
As a puppy, your golden retriever probably started off by nibbling on everything it could possibly find – from the sofa, to your slippers and maybe even your face. This activity is actually healthy for all puppies because it strengthens their gums and teeth. It’s an entertaining phase for an owner, but if you keep encouraging this behavior it will only go on to become more aggressive as the puppy grows up.
Golden retrievers, who grow in their litter around siblings and a mother, usually learn to stop biting when they’re about 8 – 14 weeks old. This is because around other puppies, they quickly learn that when they bite, they are bitten back. The feedback they get conditions them to not bite in the absence of any threat.
So when do golden retrievers stop biting, provided that you are all it has?
The answer is simple: it will stop biting when you condition it to not bite. Proper training and constant discouragement will teach your puppy not to snap at or bite all the time. Since all the dogs are unique, the age that they learn to completely stop biting varies. It also depends on how early you started training them.
Why do Golden Retrievers Bite?
Understanding why your golden retriever is on a biting spree will help you take measures that will not only solve the biting problem but also keep your dog happy. Following is a list of reasons that you should stay aware of:
- Fearful situations: Golden retrievers get anxious in such situations and use biting as a tool for self-defense and protection.
- It is mouthy: Golden retrievers usually need something to chew on when they are bored and have limited physical activities to participate in.
- It needs help: Your golden retriever may intentionally bite you to gain your attention when in distress or pain so that you take notice.
- Unfamiliar environment: Retrievers bite things in new environments to familiarize themselves with their surroundings. This is probably why your retriever tends to bite your guests or people in new places.
How to Stop Your Golden Retriever from Biting?
Fortunately, there are many different ways of training your dog to not bite. Whatever you do, however, know that is always a good idea to start the training when your dog is still a puppy.
Their biting behavior is probably annoying you right now, but the good news is that golden retrievers are known to be fast learners! Dogs are creatures of habit and before training them into any kind of behavior, you need to set a routine and clearly define tasks.
Following are some highly successful and productive ways to channel your golden retriever’s energy. But prior to following any of these, you will have to establish yourself as a pack leader. In other words, your dog should see you as someone it can receive commands from.
You will need:
- A muzzle
- Chewy toys
- A decent supply of treats
- Water spray bottle
- Deterrence collar
- A lot of patience!
Training is an important factor in determining when golden retrievers stop biting. Belonging to a breed that is inherently obedient, your dog will be quick to demonstrate results if you train it well using some or all of the following tricks!
- Say NO frequently! Make sure your dog knows when you don’t approve of something.
- Use the Deterrence Collar. It contains an unpleasant spray of citronella which you can use every time you see your dog bite something.
- The ‘Force’ Approach. In case saying ‘No’ is not working, you may use force methods such as spraying water on the dog’s face or pinching its lips between your fingers. Be sure not to hurt the pooch.
- Avoidance training will be hard for your golden retriever at first. So do give it some private time in a safe space to let out all its frustration.
Keep Your Golden Retriever Active
Your golden retriever mostly engages in unwanted behaviors such as biting when there is not much to do. When do golden retrievers stop biting? When they have little to do. These dogs are always bubbling with energy and it’s only wise to let them exhaust most of it outdoors.
- Exercise is the key when it comes to disciplining golden retrievers. It helps them release all their pent up energy and also allows them to practice their inherent skills. Your golden retriever will be so happy and busy at this hour that it won’t even think of biting!
- Play gently with your retriever. This could include lightly stroking its head, cuddling in bed or going out for a walk. Your dog loves to be around you so any kind of private time with you will make it happy.
- Play games that teach your golden retriever the difference between things that are appropriate to touch and those that are not. Tug-of- war is a great example of such play. Use a chewy toy that your dog can hold and then enjoy the game. It will also teach your dog when it is appropriate to bite toys and when not.
Golden retrievers are super-friendly and love to socialize. No wonder all your friends are so excited to meet them whenever they come over. Giving your dog an opportunity to mingle around people will get them used to social gatherings. They’ll feel less anxious around people as a result. Try out the following socializing methods and see their attention shift away from biting.
- Get your pet admitted into dog obedience classes. These classes are great socialization places where your golden retriever can interact with different dogs as well.
- Position yourself smartly in public when you take your golden retriever out. If your dog is standing in front of you, it may feel obliged to protect you and may end up biting anyone it feels is threatening you.
- Introduce it to new people every day.
- Carry a muzzle and make your golden retriever wear it until it stops biting frequently
Reinforcements & Punishments
You can’t afford to skip this one! It is the most significant aspect of training your golden retriever to stop biting. Golden retrievers love to please their owners. So they are very careful about the nature of their interaction – whether it is positive or negative. What will encourage them to stop biting is your reaction towards their biting behavior.
So make sure that you:
- Show your disregard every time you see them bite
- Give punishments like leaving your dog alone in a room or not talking to it for some time
- Reward your golden retriever if it stops biting things that it used to bite before
But Be Careful!
- Don’t pull back when it bites you.
- Train your children not to tease the puppy.
- Don’t punish your golden retriever by hitting or slamming it.
- Don’t engage in games that encourage your puppy to bite – especially during training.
- Never flip your dog on its back or side.
- Don’t jerk away when your golden retriever nibbles or bites you.
- Be consistent!
Our Last Thoughts: They’ll Eventually Stop Biting!
So, the answer to the question: when do golden retrievers stop biting, basically, depends on how you train it. Training your golden retriever to stop biting can be time consuming. But it’s all worth it in the end. Remember when golden retrievers stop biting depends a lot on their individual personalities and nurturing environments. So don’t get discouraged if your neighbor’s golden retriever drops its biting habit before your dog. Keep working at it.