Raising your Goldendoodle puppy should be a time of wonder and delight as you watch him grow and change every day. Often though, this joyful time is marred by painful nips and bandaged hands. A biting phase is all too common in puppies, but it should not be what defines your relationship.
How do I get my Goldendoodle puppy to stop biting? Provide the puppy with a variety of teething aids to help soothe sore gums. Consistent bite inhibition training will teach your puppy that biting people is unacceptable, as will refusing to interact with or give attention to an actively biting puppy.
Most of all, remember to be patient as your puppy gets through this frustrating and painful time.
3 Simple Steps To Start With:
- Have lots of toys on hand–we highly recommend this chew toy bundle on Amazon for puppies
- When they bite, divert their attention with a chew toy
- If biting continues, walk away and ignore
You might still be wondering, “is there an end in sight?”. Good news; there is an end in sight. We’ll discuss that, other ways to stop their biting habits, and share some real owner experiences with puppy biting and their suggestions.
Why Is My Puppy Constantly Biting Me?
Unfortunately, gnawing on fingers and toes is completely normal puppy behavior. All puppies, not just Goldendoodles, go through a biting stage, but thankfully, it does not last very long. So, what causes the urge to bite and chew on everything in sight, including your poor fingers and toes?
Around the age of 3 – 4 months old, a puppy’s gums actually begin to reabsorb the roots of those little puppy teeth, and the puppy teeth begin to fall out as the permanent teeth start to emerge.
While there is likely no pain when the puppy teeth are lost, there is probably a lot of discomfort as the adult teeth push through the surface of the gums. Puppies often seek relief by chewing on anything and everything within reach, including you.
Puppies explore much of the world around them with their mouths. They learn about different tastes, textures, and sizes by putting items in their mouth. They discover which items are fun to chew on (slippers – delightful!), and which ones are not so great after all (empty vinegar jug – yuck!).
Testing Bite Strength
Young puppies do not yet realize the strength of their jaws and the consequences of biting too hard. Puppies naturally learn bite inhibition (controlling the intensity of their bites) from their littermates and their mother. This is one reason why a puppy should stay with the breeder as long as possible.
When a puppy bites too hard while playing with a sibling, the other pup will yelp and stop playing. The puppy quickly learns that the fun ceases when he bites too hard. If he makes the same mistake with his mother, the puppy will receive a firm correction from her, and he will likely not do it again.
Puppies love all types of attention. Some quickly learn that biting leads to attention, even though it is often negative and in the form of discipline. Owners unwittingly encourage bad behavior by “rewarding” the puppy with the attention he seeks as they attempt to discipline. This is called unintentional negative reinforcement.
Both the Golden Retriever and the Poodle, used to create the beloved Goldendoodle, were bred to be outstanding water dogs, skilled at retrieving waterfowl. The desire to have things in their mouths was intentionally bred into them. This trait is also commonly seen in Goldendoodles, particularly puppies.
At least we know that Goldendoodle puppies come by their “mouthiness” honestly. As is the case with most retrieving breeds, the intense need to chew and carry things in their mouth sometimes equates to excessive mouthiness in young puppies who are still learning what is acceptable and what is not.
What Age Does a Puppy Stop Biting?
For most puppies, the biting begins to taper off as teething come to an end, usually around 7 – 8 months of age. By this age, almost all of the permanent teeth have erupted, and the chewing, biting, and nipping urges greatly diminish.
By the time your puppy has finished teething, more maturity should be evident as he nears adulthood. Many puppy behaviors, such as whining, submissive urination, and biting begin to disappear by this age.
Get Your Goldendoodle Puppy to Stop Biting
If you suspect teething is the driving force behind your puppy’s biting – good news – there are several ways to help.
- Try offering frozen pieces of carrot, banana, or strawberry to soothe sore gums. Frozen blueberries are great too.
- Many puppy teething gels (see on Amazon) are available to numb tender mouths.
- Provide a wide variety of puppy chew toys (multipack on Amazon) of different shapes and textures.
- Gentle games of tug-of-war can help satisfy a teething puppy’s need to chew and alleviate irritation.
- A puppy Kong can be packed with a treat like peanut butter and frozen. The natural rubber satisfies the chewing urge, the cold numbs the gums, and working to access the treats inside provides mental stimulation.
How Do You Stop Play Biting?
Other than teething troubles, play biting is the next biggest reason for painful nips. This biting is non-aggressive in nature and is common when play or roughhousing gets a little too carried away. The solution is consistent training and will take effort on your part, but the end result is definitely worth the work.
Teach Bite Inhibition
Some training experts advise owners that it’s better to teach proper bite inhibition than to never allow a puppy to contact skin with his mouth. The goal is to help the puppy gain complete control of his mouth so that he can be trusted at all times, in every situation to never use his mouth to inflict harm.
Remember that a puppy would naturally learn how to control his mouthiness from his mother and by playing with his littermates. When you bring your puppy home, it is up to you to continue this natural training.
Each time the puppy bites too forcefully follow these steps:
- Say, “Ouch!” or “No!” emphatically to startle the puppy.
- Allow your hand to go limp so that the game is no longer any fun.
- Don’t jerk your hand away quickly as this might only encourage him to chase after it.
- Stop all play for 30 seconds or so.
- Resume gentle play and repeat these steps if biting occurs again.
Teaching your puppy to let go of something on command is part of bite inhibition training as well. Choose a command phrase such as, “Let go” or “Drop it,” and reward the puppy the instant he drops the item. This training will be quite beneficial when the item in your dog’s mouth happens to be a finger or toe.
Play biting typically begins to subside as the puppy matures and is taught acceptable behavior. Usually, by the age of 5 – 6 months, this form of biting naturally tapers off. However, if you are consistent in training, this behavior can be stopped much earlier.
Schedule Play Dates
Allowing your puppy to interact with other puppies is an easy way for him to learn good behavior. If he becomes too rambunctious when playing, his playmates will walk away and he’ll soon learn that biting ruins good, clean fun.
Replace and Deter
Another way to stop play biting is to immediately offer an alternative. The instant your puppy chomps down on your hand, firmly tell him, “No!” and give him a chew toy instead. Praise him each time he bites on the toy.
Some owners choose to spray a bitter-tasting deterrent, like this one on Amazon, in the dog’s mouth whenever he bites to remind him that biting people does not end well.
You Might Need a Trainer
If you have tried every trick in the book to teach your puppy not to bite, and it is still an issue, it might be time to consult a professional trainer. Some dogs are just more difficult to teach, so don’t feel as if you’ve failed. Instead, know you are doing the right thing in seeking help before the occasional biting becomes a much bigger problem.
Any dog who bites due to aggression requires more intense intervention, preferably by a professional. Do not hesitate to enlist the help of a skilled dog trainer to correct the underlying issues before your dog becomes more of a liability than a pet.
What Real Owners Are Saying…
“Get some bully sticks! They were the only thing that saved my fingers when mine was that young.” — Here are some of our favorite bully sticks on Amazon.
“Once mine hit about 7 months this improved lol all adult teeth by then. Bully sticks and everything to chew for the Dood, and if that doesn’t work leave the room for five minutes as hard as that is to do ????????”
“My girl Tillie was awful at this age, I brought in a trainer because she was out of control with biting and not listening to me at all. The good news is this is just a phase and totally normal. I think I tried every trick out there to get her to stop biting but really it just took time.
I know it can be incredibly frustrating but it gets so much better! Tillie is almost one now and just the sweetest smartest girl. Just be patient because it is so totally worth it. Good luck!”