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Why does my Golden Retriever nibble?

Why does my Golden Retriever nibble?

If your Golden Retriever has been nibbling a lot you might be wondering why and what you can do to get it to stop.

This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my Golden Retriever nibble? Possible reasons are that it is looking for attention, it is teething, inadvertently rewarding the behavior or a lack of training.

There are many different reasons why it might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of different reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to understand exactly why it does it. There are also a number of options you have when getting it to stop.

Why your Golden Retriever nibbles

The different reasons why it nibbles will likely come with some clues in the way that it does it.

Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.

It wants attention

The cause of the nibbling could be that it is doing it for attention. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.

In order to get it to stop it would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it nibbles. You can do this by standing up, turning away, hiding your arms and leaving the room if necessary until it calms down. Doing this whenever it starts nibbling should teach it that nibbling causes you to stop giving it attention.

It hasn’t been trained not to

If your have not given your Golden Retriever much training it could be the case that it has not learned how it is meant to behave. If it has not had much training then it will behave the way it wants to which is unlikely to be the way you would like it to.

It would help to start training it if you haven’t already by starting with the basics such as to sit or stay and then to build up from there.

It’s teething

The reason why it has been nibbling on you could also be that it is teething which would be more likely if it is a puppy and if it has started nibbling on other things as well. In this case, it would help to give it lots of other things to chew on such as toys. It would also help to start giving it lots of training now so that it learns how to behave as an adult.

Excitement

The cause could be that it is trying to show its excitement. This would be more likely if it does it more in situations such as when you come home or when you are about to take it for a walk.

In this case, it would help to withdraw your arms and attention when it starts doing it and to reward it when it stops biting.

You have inadvertently reinforced it

The cause could be that you have been inadvertently rewarding the behavior. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things that it wants when it does it such as extra attention, toys or treats. Instead, it would help to stop giving it attention when it starts doing it and then to reward it when it calms down.

Things to consider

If it has always done it

If it has not always done it, considering what else happened when it first started nibbling would likely be helpful since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.

If it did start doing it suddenly it would make it more likely to be due to things such as teething or learning that it gets rewards when it does it.

What is different when it doesn’t nibble

It would also help to consider the timing of when it does it since it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.

For example, if it tends to do it more when you come home then it would be more likely to be due to excitement or that it is doing it for the extra attention it gets when doing it.

How to stop your Golden Retriever from nibbling you

Below are some options you have when getting your Golden Retriever to nibble you less.

Train it not to

One option would be to use positive reinforcement training to get it to learn that nibbling you does not result in it getting rewards when it does it.

To use it to get your Golden Retriever to stop nibbling, you would:

  • Stand up, turn away, and hide your arms when it starts biting them leaving the room if necessary.
  • Wait a few moments and then go back to giving it attention and then turning away again if it starts biting
  • Repeat the above until it learns that biting causes it to lose your attention
  • Reward it with a treat when it does particularly well

You can watch the video below to see more on how to get your Golden Retriever to stop biting with positive reinforcement training along with more tips.

Avoid negatively reinforcing it

As mentioned above it could be the case that it has learned that it gets things it wants when it nibbles you. Instead of giving it things that it wants when it does it such as toys, treats or extra attention, try to stop giving it what it wants until it stops doing it.

Give it distractions

In addition to the above, you could also give it things to be distracted with and to nibble on such as toys, bones or chews. This would be especially important if it seems to be in the teething phase.

Get help from a dog behaviorist

If you can’t get it to stop or it seems to be doing it aggressively then it would help to get the help of a dog trainer or behaviorist in your area. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Golden Retriever and to see how to train it safely and effectively.

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