Puppy biting, also known as puppy nipping, can be very worrying for you as a new puppy owner. Nonetheless, know that these are natural characteristics of puppies, especially golden retrievers because they were originally bred to catch shot birds and generally put things in their mouth.
Puppy nipping forms part of the development of puppies, and helping to control it ensures they do not become wild and dangerous when they grow. Naturally, though, it does slow down.
Some reasons your golden retriever puppy may be nipping may be to relieve irritation in its jaws when teething or really just play biting, which is seen in almost all puppy breeds.
Let’s first talk about something called Bite Inhibition.
What Is Meant By Bite Inhibition?
This comes naturally to puppies, and they usually learn this from their parents after birth. It is puppies’ ability to control or modify the pressure of their bite.
In playing with other puppies in the litter after birth, puppies tend to tumble around each other, usually biting.
When the bite is too hard, the parent dog will scold them, or even a squeal from the affected puppy will make it know that the bite was too painful. Eventually, they learn to control their bite force.
At home, there could be an instance where you might accidentally hurt your puppy. If your puppy learnt bite inhibition from its parent, no matter how much pain you cause it, it will rather use its mouth on you or bite with less force.
This is what bite inhibition is all about, and it is a very important learning process for a puppy’s development.
Let’s now look at some ways you can help your dog control its biting force.
Tips On Helping Your Retriever To Control Its Biting Force
In as much as puppies naturally learn to control their bite from their parents, it is important that as a golden retriever owner, you also find ways to assist your dog with this, especially if they’re still biting hard after some time.
Below are some ways you can help your dog.
- As with all forms of dog training, you should start as soon as you get your puppy home. Waiting will only increase your retriever’s biting behaviour, which can be troubling.
- You should be consistent in training your dog if you want to achieve great results. Once you skip training sessions, your dog is likely to forget what you thought earlier. Use the same methods, toys and treats.
- Keep their toys in a central place so that it’s easy for the dog to access them at any time of day. You want the puppy to learn that biting is not acceptable behaviour when they are playing with their toys.
- Since the first and best place your puppy learns inhibition is with other puppies, it would be ideal to take your dog out to socialize with other puppies. Your retriever will learn faster this way.
- Distancing yourself from your dog for some time also helps. Once your dog is in its nipping mood, you can put them in a crate or isolate it until it calms down or distracts itself with toys. Being consistent with this can help a great deal.
- Exercising your puppy can also prove helpful. Your puppy won’t be in the mood to bite that much when it’s tired or worn out from exercising, as it’ll rather want to rest and be calm.
- You can as well apply bitter spray on your hands and other areas in your house where your dog is usually biting, like your couch. But make sure it’s a quality spray that will not have any negative effect on your dog’s health. With time, your dog will realize that your hands don’t taste that good and will stop biting.
- You should let your dog know there are consequences if he starts biting, take it away and put it up out of reach. You want him to know that play time will be over if he bites.
What You Should Not Do When Your Dog Starts Biting
New puppy owners usually make some mistakes in trying to control their puppy’s nipping behaviour. These are some things you should note not to do;
- Some new retriever puppy owners tend not to be ready for this phase of their dog’s life, and that could be detrimental to your dog’s development. Know that regardless, your dog will start biting and thus be ready. You can schedule training and exercising routines for your puppy just to wear them out, so they don’t go about biting incessantly. A tired puppy is a good puppy.
- You should also not execute any physical punishment on your puppy when they bite. Thumping your puppy on the nose, grabbing their mouth, or spraying water in their face is not the way to go.
- Most importantly, do not lose patience no matter how long it seems to be taking. It can your dog a while to learn to control their biting or completely stop it. You should be patient while sticking to the tips. Eventually, your puppy will get it.
Training your dog on biting inhibition could take longer than you expect. Yet, once you are patient, it will pay off.
Know that teaching your dog to control its biting is an important step to preventing it from becoming a dangerous adult dog, while building your puppy’s confidence in being handled.
You should stick to the tips and contact your vet for assistance if you do not think you’re handling this training aspect so well.
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