How to Stop a Mouthing Golden Retriever Puppy

Puppies use their mouth to explore their new world.

Puppies use their mouth to explore their new world.

Golden retrievers love to please their masters and are easy to train. Learning to stop mouthing is a rewarding and fun challenge for this breed. Stay consistent with your training, so your dog knows mouthing is an unacceptable behavior.

Yell “Ouch” loudly in a high-pitched voice to startle your retriever. Fold your arms and turn your back to the dog for 20 seconds. If he continues to play mouthy, leave the room or place him in a crate. After 20 seconds, encourage your dog to play and repeat these steps if mouthing resumes, according to the ASPCA.

Redirect your dog's behavior with a chew toy. If your dog puts his mouth on your hand, yell “Ouch” and replace your hand, clothes or leg with a toy. If your retriever takes the toy instead of play-biting you, enthusiastically praise your dog.

Use a taste deterrent to discourage mouthing. Purchase taste deterrents from your local pet store and spray the deterrent on areas your dog mouths. If your dog removes his mouth, praise him with treats. Apply deterrents for at least two weeks, according to the ASPCA.

Stop moving and go limp if your dog places his mouth on you. If he stops, praise him with treats, toys and petting. Resume playing until mouthing occurs again. Mouthing is not enjoyable for your retriever if it makes you stop playing, according to Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue.

Items you will need

  • Chew toys
  • Treats
  • Taste deterrent
  • Crate (optional)


  • Take your golden retriever to a dog park. This allows him to burn energy and play rough with other dogs instead of you, according to the ASPCA.
  • Wash taste deterrent off your skin before sitting on your couch, lying in bed or eating. It tastes terrible and it's easy to accidentally get a lick of the bitter flavor.
  • Hire a professional dog trainer if mouthing persists after consistent training methods.


  • Never hit your dog during mouthing since it causes dogs to bite harder and play more aggressively, according to ASPCA.
  • Never flip your dog on his back or side in an attempt to be the alpha. This behavior can cause aggression, according to Animal Humane Society.
  • Do not jerk away during mouthing since this initiates a playful, but painful, game of tug-of-war.

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About the Author

Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

Photo Credits

  • Small cute retriever puppy with open mouth on gray background image by Yulia Podlesnova from Fotolia.com