Use These Tips To Stop Golden Retriever Puppy Biting

Vinod Pandey

You don't have to put up with a golden retriever puppy that doesn't stop biting. There are a few simple steps that you can take every day that'll help them bite less and save your fingers and clothes. I'll share the one habit that made the biggest difference in stopping my puppy from biting my fingers so much. 

Do This Every Day To Stop Golden Retriever Puppy Biting

Table of Contents

Puppy Management Strategies

Let's talk about one of the easiest yet most overlooked things you can do to prevent puppy nipping. And that is using puppy management strategies. This might sound like we're about to bust out our briefcase and a PowerPoint deck, but we're not. 

Puppy management is about setting up your home to prevent behavior that you don't want. This might be putting your puppy in a playpen with loads of toys while you're on your laptop so that your puppy doesn't bite your toes. 

It might look like setting up a baby gate so you can exercise without your puppy jumping up on you and biting you out of excitement. When your puppy transforms from a fluffy little golden retriever puppy to a vicious velociraptor, you'll be thankful that you have a baby gate to step over and give them some space to calm down a bit. 

Puppy Sleep

Being smart about how you set up your home can help reduce puppy biting by making it impossible for your puppy to access you. But before you even get to that point, you might want to consider something that's counterintuitive, but more important than most people think. And that is, Making sure your puppy is getting enough sleep. 

Think about a human toddler. When they're overly tired, they cry and scream and throw things. It is bad news. And it's the same with golden retriever puppies. When they start to get overly tired, you might see an increase in unwanted behaviors like jumping, barking, and biting. I know this is going to sound like a lot, but puppies need 16 to 18 hours of sleep every day. 

This can be especially confusing for us puppy owners because a tired puppy can sometimes look like an energetic puppy. They're running around and nipping at you, so you think, oh, of course, they need to burn some more energy. But playing with or trying to exercise an overly tired golden retriever puppy is like throwing fuel on the fire. It's only going to make the biting worse. 

Just like human toddlers, overly tired puppies need sleep, not more activity. But also just like a human toddler, when they need sleep the most, is when it's hard to get them to actually fall asleep. In this case, it can help to give them a calming activity like chewing a bully stick or smearing a bit of peanut butter on a chew toy. This will help them ease from active playtime to relaxed sleepy time. 

Some puppies do better at napping in a location that's away from the main area of the house, but some will sleep more soundly if they're near the main hub. So it may take a bit of trial and error for you to find your puppy's sleep sweet spot. Keeping your puppy on a good sleep schedule can go a long way to prevent puppy nipping. A well-rested puppy is going to bite much less than a tired one. 


Now, I know you love playing with your golden retriever puppy because they're so cute and fluffy and playful, but let's be honest playtime with your pup often turns into a bite fest, right? Well, a little bit of structure in your playtime can help. 

Now one reason puppies bite so much during playtime is that we play for too long. It can really help to give your puppy breaks, rather than having a marathon playtime in hopes of wearing them out. And not only can you shorten playtimes, but you can also add some variety. You can alternate more active games, like playing with toys, with games that tap into their mental energy and actually have a calming effect. 

How this might work in real life

You could play tug for a few minutes with a rope toy, and then after that, practice some basic obedience skills or tricks. Or you might do a little fetch and then hide some treats around the room for your puppy to seek out using their nose. This way, your puppy is not spending a lot of time in a highly stimulated state, which is likely to trigger nipping, but they're still burning their crazy puppy energy thanks to the brain games. 

How to play with your puppy

Now that we've talked about how to structure playtime, let's talk about how to actually play with your puppy in ways that encourage them to keep those razor-sharp teeth to themselves. Things like making high-pitched or loud sounds, running, and wrestling are very exciting to young puppies, so they'll often result in them nipping you. 

But if you're sick of your puppy biting you all the time, try to play in ways that are fun for your pup, but won't push them over the edge into crazy land. When you're talking to them, talk in a cheerful but calm voice. And when you're playing with toys, make the toy the most exciting thing and not your hands. Minimize your body movement, but make the toys extra fun. 

You can do this by thinking like a squirrel. Squirrels are always stopping and starting and darting erratically away from other animals. So make the toy do that and your puppy will be all over it. And a little tip for you. 

If you want to teach your puppy to keep all four of their paws on the floor and not to jump, which is actually a really common problem with Goldens, then keep the toys that you're playing with on the ground too. But puppies don't only bite during playtime. They often bite when you're petting them. 

Now, I don't have to tell you that your golden retriever puppy is ridiculously cute, and just the sight of their adorable face makes you want to pet and cuddle them. But for a puppy, a person's petting and cuddling often seem like playtime. 

Your attempts at showing affection might seem like an invitation to chomp your hands, especially when they're in a playful, energetic, bitey mood. The truth is, young puppies are often not capable of being pet or cuddled that much without biting. 

Well, unless they're really tired. The good news here, though, is that this is just a phase that your pup will soon grow out of. It won't be long until they figure out just how enjoyable pets and belly rubs can really be. But while they're in this stage, it can help to use slow, calming pets instead of quick pats or scratches which may entice them to bite you. 

The habit that I used with my Golden Retriever puppy

Next up is the habit that helped me the most when my puppy was a crazy, biting lunatic. Keeping lots of toys around the house and within reach to quickly redirect my puppy's biting from my hands to something that they're allowed to chomp has been a game changer. 

Always having toys everywhere my puppy spends time so that I was never caught without something to redirect my puppy's teeth to has saved my fingers the most. It's totally natural for puppies to nip, especially for dogs that have literally been bred to use their mouths, like Goldens. 

You just need to teach them what they're allowed and what they're not allowed to bite. But when they're puppies and they haven't quite learned that lesson, offering stuffed animals for their little dagger teeth to sink into instead of your fingers will be incredibly helpful. 

And if your puppy is still biting you despite using toys as a shield, consider playing with longer or bigger toys. I have a long rope to keep my dog's teeth a few feet away from me. And this big stuffed duck that helps keep my fingers safe. 

Wrapping Up

Okay, let's have a moment of real talk here. Even if you're doing all the things right, you might still have moments when your puppy nips. And the reality is that puppy biting is a normal, natural part of this developmental stage. They're not trying to be mean or attack you. If you've ever seen puppies play with each other, there's a lot of mouthiness. It's just how they play. 

So while these tips will certainly help you minimize the biting, there may be times when your puppy nips you. You will never get completely rid of puppy biting, but the good news is that they will grow out of it soon, usually after they finish teething around five or six months old.

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