You’ve just brought home your Goldendoodle puppy, only to discover they love a good bite here and there. This is not something you are going to want to put up with or allow. So, how can you train them not to bite? And how long will it take, roughly? Well, here is all you are going to want to know.
So, how can you train a Goldendoodle puppy not to bite? You can teach your Goldendoodle puppy bite inhibition as well as the “drop it” command to help him stop biting. If you have small children, teach them how to play gently with your puppy so that he doesn’t get overexcited and bite.
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How To Train A Goldendoodle Not To Bite
You can train your Goldendoodle not to bite by showing him how to inhibit his bite. Do this training yourself while also organizing play dates with other dogs to help him socialize. Teach him the “drop it” command, which can also be useful if he approaches something toxic. Show children how to play with him safely.
Teach Your Goldendoodle Puppy Bite Inhibition
Puppies learn a lot about bite inhibition from their littermates.
Having said that, most Goldendoodle puppies arrive at their new homes before they’ve fully gotten the hang of controlling their biting.
Train Him Yourself
In order to continue to train your puppy to inhibit his bite, you have to do what his littermates did. When your puppy bites you too hard, here’s what to do (and do this consistently):
- Make a loud squealing noise (like a yelp).
- Stop whatever you’re doing and let your hand go limp (be careful not to suddenly pull it away, as that can trigger further excitement in your pup and he might bite you again to ‘chase’ your hand).
- Ignore your puppy for up to a full minute (no speaking, no looking his way, etc.)
By doing this each time, your puppy will gradually learn that biting too hard is a recipe for the end of playtime – so he’ll soon kick the habit.
Note: Be sure not to yell, hit your pup on the nose (even if you mean it playfully), or continue to play with him. Any of those behaviors will reinforce his biting behavior – he’ll think biting you leads to more attention from you, so he’ll do it even more! Puppies crave attention: they prefer positive attention, but they’ll take negative attention if that’s the alternative to being ignored.
By the time your puppy is 5 to 6 months old, he’ll usually be able to inhibit his bite fairly well, provided you’ve been consistent in his training.
Organize Play Dates So Other Dogs Can Help
Your Goldendoodle puppy will appreciate play dates with other puppies so that he can continue to learn good behavior around other animals (and people).
Note: Be sure all puppies have had their age-appropriate vaccinations before letting them play together.
You can also take your dog to puppy classes, which provide socialization as well as useful training in all kinds of skills.
Teach Your Goldendoodle the Drop It Command
While you are training your puppy in bite inhibition, you can also make the most of training to teach him the “drop it” command.
This command is essential for breeds like Goldendoodles who are used to fetching prey.
In fact, the “drop it” command can save any dog’s life – you might find yourself having to quickly stop your dog from eating something toxic.
Goldendoodles are part of various dog breeds who love putting things in their mouths, so you can train your dog to drop whatever he’s got and reward him with praise and a treat.
This command can also save you time: you don’t want to be chasing your pup while he’s got a firm grip on your keys or your wallet!
Using Food as Motivation
Here’s how to teach this command, step by step, using food:
- Stage 1: “Drop” means food. Say the word “drop” once, then put a piece of kibble (or a small treat) on the floor in front of your dog. When your dog looks at you for more, do it again. Do this ten times in a row over a few short sessions. Once your dog starts to look for food on the floor as soon as you say, “drop,” it’s time for Stage 2.
- Stage 2: Swapping a toy for food. Now get one of your dog’s toys (not his top favorite, as he might not want to let go of it). Let your dog play with the toy for a few seconds and then say “drop” while putting a handful of kibble on the floor. Don’t try and take the toy away from your pup – he needs to be motivated to do it himself. As with the previous stage, do this over several sessions, repeating at least 10 times per session.
- Stage 3: Rewarding with food when your pup drops the toy. Now you’re going to repeat the same process, except you won’t put the food on the floor until your dog drops the toy. When your dog consistently drops the toy before you offer food, you can try the same process with a toy he likes more. Keep practicing until you can do this successfully with your dog’s favorite toy. As before, if your dog doesn’t drop the toy, don’t try and take it – stay calm and try distracting him with food. If your dog still finds it difficult, he might need a break, or you may have moved on too fast for him. Go back to the previous stage for a while until he’s ready to try again later.
Using Toys as Motivation
Some dogs prefer toys as incentives, so here’s how to teach the same command using toys. This is excellent for dogs who like to run away from their people while holding a toy (or something else!)
The step-by-step process is as follows:
- Stage 1: Teach your pup to swap between two toys. Begin with two toys that either have the same value in your dog’s eyes or are doubles of the same toy. Throw one of the toys for your pup to fetch. When he brings it back, show him the second toy and play with it excitedly to show your dog that the second toy is so much fun he’ll want to drop the one he has. This will take patience, but try to keep your energy up and be enthusiastic.
- Stage 2: Ensure your dog finds the second toy just as satisfying as the first one. When your pup drops the first toy (you may have to wait), mark him or respond to his action with a “yes”. Play with him using the second toy and make sure he’s having just as much fun as he was with the first toy.
- Stage 3: Exchange the second toy for the first one (and so on). While your pup plays with the second toy, take the first toy and repeat the process of Stage 2. Over time your dog will start to automatically drop the first toy when you offer him the second one. Note: if your pup enjoys tugging games, you can do this instead by following the same steps and using two suitable tug toys.
- Stage 4: Teach your dog to drop a toy when he hears the word “drop.” Once your pup is consistently dropping the first toy when you show him the second one, you can introduce the word “drop” as a cue word. To do this, begin as before, saying “drop” when your dog lets go of the toy. Repeat this process, and once your dog lets go of the toy as soon as he hears the word “drop,” move on by asking him to “drop” the first toy without using a second toy. Be sure that you reward your dog every time he responds to the cue word correctly.
Teach Children How to Handle Your Pup
If you have young children, you’ll need to supervise them at all times when they’re with your puppy.
Teach them how to play with their new friend by encouraging gentle play when your puppy is calm, and if the children want to run around, keep your puppy out of the action so he doesn’t get overexcited and bite.
Make sure children know the signals a puppy can send when he might start to get overstimulated or scared.
Why Do Goldendoodle Puppies Bite So Much?
Goldendoodle puppies tend to bite a lot because they’ve been bred to retrieve prey, which makes this breed a bit more mouth-focused than some other breeds. Goldendoodles can also have temper tantrums to show their displeasure. And sometimes, redirecting him through food or toys may not work.
Goldendoodles Were Bred to Fetch Prey
Your Goldendoodle is a mix of two retrieving breeds: Poodles and Retrievers.
These breeds were bred as working dogs who retrieve hunting kills and bring them back to their people unharmed.
So while your pup may tend to bite a lot since he’s used to fetching prey, he has a strong desire to please you.
As long as he learns what’s acceptable, he will be able to control his biting fairly well.
Goldendoodles Can Have Temper Tantrums
Your Goldendoodle puppy can have the equivalent of a toddler temper tantrum, biting you if you’re doing something he doesn’t like.
He might decide that you brushing his fur or trimming his nails is too invasive and so he can try and bite you.
Because this type of biting is out of anger rather than a lack of bite inhibition, you need to manage it differently.
The best thing to do is teach your puppy that even if he doesn’t like what’s happening, it will continue to happen even if he tries to bite you.
Rather than yelping or stopping what you are doing, if your pup tries biting you in these circumstances, continue doing whatever you’re doing.
He’ll soon learn that there’s no point in trying to bite to make the activity stop.
Here’s what this looks like in practice:
- Let’s say you are trying to brush your puppy and he starts biting the brush (or your hand). Continue brushing while your pup struggles
- Try to get your pup to bite the brush rather than your hand, but keep brushing
- When your puppy stops biting and fighting you, reward him with a treat and praise
Note: If you stop brushing your pup each time he bites you, he’ll learn that biting is a good way to make activities stop that he doesn’t like. He’ll never get used to being brushed – which will leave you with an expensive dog grooming bill (and an unhappy groomer!)
Sometimes Redirecting Your Pup to Food or Toys Doesn’t Work
Some stubborn puppies might return to nipping you once they’ve eaten the treats or played with the toy you’ve offered.
If your pup nips you once he’s eaten his treats, try using the toy swap method to train him not to bite (see above).
If your pup nips you once you’ve tried redirecting him to a toy, it could be he’s bored with the toy.
He might be more highly motivated by food – in this case, try training him using food rather than toys (see above).
When To Seek Help
If any of the below circumstances apply to you, seek help from a professional dog behaviorist for safety:
- Your Goldendoodle puppy is biting so hard that it breaks your skin.
- You notice resource guarding or other signs of aggressive behavior.
- You have young children at home.
When selecting someone to help you, you can look for professional accreditations, such as:
- CPDT (Certified Professional Dog Trainer).
- CAAB or ACAAB (Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist).
- Dip ACVB (Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behavior).
Is It Normal For Goldendoodle Puppies To Bite A Lot?
As with any breed of puppy, it’s normal for Goldendoodles to bite to some extent, particularly during their teething phase. By eight weeks of age, though, most Goldendoodles will have learned a lot of bite inhibition (see above) from their littermates and mother.
Because of this breed’s fetching instincts, it’s completely normal to expect some nipping, which fortunately can be tempered with the methods mentioned earlier.
As long as your puppy learns that pleasure can be had from other activities, the nipping or biting should eventually resolve itself.
Teething, however, can cause most puppies to bite more than usual while they seek relief from painful gums.
Here’s how you can help your pup during the teething phase:
- Let your pup chew on healthy frozen snacks, like frozen carrots, banana slices, blueberries, or strawberries. Offer these perhaps once or twice a day, though, as they are high in sugar
- Have plenty of appropriate chew toys available that have different shapes and textures
- Play gentle tug-of-war games with your pup, using appropriate tug toys (not ones where bits of string can come off, as a string is quite dangerous if swallowed)
- Fill a Kong ball (like a Puppy Kong) with something tasty (like peanut butter) and then pop it in the freezer. Offer it to your pup: the cold will soothe his gums, while he’ll enjoy the mental challenge of getting the peanut butter out
- Let your Goldendoodle chew on some bully sticks when you are there to supervise. Don’t use rawhide – it’s dangerous for dogs, as pieces can break off and tear your dog’s digestive tract when ingested. Bully sticks require supervision because an eager puppy can break off a large piece and swallow it if you’re not there to prevent it
- Try applying some teething gel or oil to help soothe your pup’s gums
How Long Does It Take To Train A Goldendoodle Puppy to Stop Biting?
With consistent training, time, and patience, most Goldendoodle puppies will stop biting by the time they’re seven to eight months old. Goldendoodles are naturally playful and curious, so they are typically highly excitable, which can contribute to the biting. However, there are some additional tips to bear in mind that can help speed along the training process.
The Nature of Goldendoodles
Goldendoodles are naturally playful, and their inner Golden Retriever side is very smart and enjoys nipping and chewing.
Your puppy doesn’t usually bite you out of anger (except during a temper tantrum, see above).
These dogs love exploring the world around them with their mouths, and part of that exploration involves discovering what is edible and what isn’t.
As long as you are engaging their minds and bodies, your Goldendoodle will soon learn to stop biting.
He’ll still need to chew on things, like all dogs, but he will have fairly good control over his bite reflex.
What To Bear In Mind When Training Your Goldendoodle Puppy
Here are some additional things to know about helping train your Goldendoodle to stop biting:
- It’s essential to provide your Goldendoodle with lots of playtime, so don’t avoid playing with him out of fear of getting bitten. Teach him to play nicely so that you both can bond happily.
- Don’t wave fingers or toes in front of your pup while playing – this can encourage him to try and take a nibble out of excitement.
- If your pup does bite you, be sure not to jerk away your hands or feet because this can encourage him to jump on his ‘prey’ out of instinct. Make whatever he’s bitten go limp so that he loses interest.
- If you find your pup loves nipping at your feet when out for a walk, you can deter him from doing this by using a bite-deterrent spray. Once your pup learns your feet don’t taste good, he’ll leave them alone (but use this spray in addition to rather than a substitute for your training methods, see above).
- Arm yourself with your pup’s favorite tug toy at all times. If your pup tries to bite you, get him to bite on the toy instead. Your pup will learn over time that they can bite toys but not you.
- Play games like tug-of-war or fetch rather than rough play with hands.
- Recognize the signs of resource guarding in your dog. Resource guarding can often come from stress or boredom and often leads to biting as well as other aggressive behaviors.
Despite their cute and fluffy appearance, Goldendoodle puppies are quite mouthy.
Perhaps not something you expected when you first brought them home.
Thankfully there are some things you can do to help nip this unwanted behaviour in the bud, excuse the pun.
That’s why I created my eBook. So I do strongly recommend you get yourself a copy.
It will save you a lot of time, effort and pain in the long run!
Related guides you may want to read:
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.