Dog bites are never desired. Whether it is your family pet or a stranger’s dog, no one wants to be around aggressive dog breeds that act unpredictably.
Golden Retrievers have low biting statistics. They are loyal and friendly pets, and many families opt for these cuddly goofs as their preferred companions.
But if you have another dog at home or young kids in the house, you probably want to know more about the likelihood of a bite occurring from a Golden Retriever.
Deciding on a dog breed to bring into your home means you need to have basic knowledge of dog bite statistics and which dog breeds bite. Future dog owners considering Golden Retrievers will be happy to know that a Golden is unlikely to bite aggressively.
In this article, we will look at Golden Retriever biting statistics and which training methods you can use to discourage your Golden from gnashing down on everything and everyone it sees.
Table of Contents
- 1 Golden Retriever Biting Statistics
- 2 What Causes Golden Retrievers To Bite?
- 3 Training Your Golden Retriever Not To Bite
- 4 Biting Precautions For Golden Retrievers
- 5 FAQs
- 6 Final Thoughts
Golden Retriever Biting Statistics
Frequency of bites
The bite statistics for this breed are low. They are unlikely to bite, especially unprovoked.
In a list of dog attacks between 1984 and 2014, Golden attacks were only reported 11 times in those 30 years. That means one attack occurs every two years or so.
Of all the dog breeds in the world, Golden Retrievers rank 30th on the dog bite statistics charts. So, despite their gentle and loving natures, these dogs still have the potential to bite.
Golden Retriever bite force
Despite Golden Retrievers being unlikely to bite you unprovoked, it is never fun to deal with a dog bite.
There is no extensive research on the bite force of a Golden Retriever because these dogs are not likely to chomp down on a person.
A general estimate is that their bite force is about 190 psi. Compared to a human’s 150 psi bite force, it is slightly stronger but nowhere near as strong as Pit Bulls, with a bite of 235 psi.
These dogs were specifically bred to have a gentle bite. Since they were bred as retrieving dogs, they have to be able to bring back prey without damaging the skin. They are naturally gentle and are reported to have “soft mouths”.
If you had to measure dog bites on a scale of 1 to 10, the Golden would come in at around a 2. Unlike other dogs of the same size (like German Shepherds or Rottweilers), the Golden is placid and careful by nature and rarely reacts aggressively by biting.
Since these dogs have such a soft bite, Golden Retriever dog bite attacks are incredibly rare, and biting is not their first line of defense. Golden Retriever attacks are more likely to involve barking and growling.
What Causes Golden Retrievers To Bite?
The main reason dogs tend to bite aggressively is not because of their breed but because of how they are being handled.
Even the most gentle dog breed will become aggressive in a situation where it is being abused.
Golden Retrievers that are being nurtured, loved, socialized and properly trained will not turn towards biting as a way to communicate.
That said, Golden Retrievers bite under certain circumstances:
Any dog that feels threatened or is placed in a highly stressful situation may lash out by biting. A dog that is in pain may also have elevated stress levels, causing it to bite unprovoked.
You should only buy Golden Retriever pups from registered and reputable breeders. Backyard breeders and puppy mills will not socialize their pups and may also treat them badly.
If your pup spends its early days in neglect or suffered any abuse, it may distrust all people and bite anyone who it considers to be a threat.
Purebred Goldens are unlikely to display aggressive behavior. However, if it is mixed with another dog breed, it might show some natural aggressive tendencies.
Sometimes your rescue Golden may look completely pure, but there could be another breed mixed into the DNA of your pup with some aggressive qualities.
Puppy or old age
The age of your dog may dictate how likely it is to bite. Visit our website for more information on raising a happy and healthy pup who is less likely to bite!
Young puppies are incredibly mouthy and will bite anything. Unfortunately for you, this includes your clothes, your shoes, your hair, and your ankles! You can luckily train away this behavior as they get older.
Senior dogs are also more likely to bite. This is often because they are tired, losing their sight and hearing, or in pain. If they are suddenly startled, they may bite in response.
The Golden Retriever breed was designed to “bite”
Whether you have a Canadian Golden Retriever or an English one, remember that they were bred as hunting dogs and soon became one of the most popular breeds across the world. To this day, they are still used to retrieve dead game birds from lakes or ponds.
To do this, they swim out and collect the birds with their mouths. They have a soft bite and should not crunch the shot bird but rather gently bring it back to the hunter.
This ability means that the Golden was essentially selected to “bite” birds and other game animals and bring them back to their owners.
Because of their instincts to retrieve fowl, they also have a tendency to softly bite your hands, arms, or any objects you provide them with. This is especially prevalent in young pups.
This biting behavior is not aggression but rather just instinct.
Other reasons why Golden Retrievers attack
Most Goldens are gentle and friendly dogs. They have a “love everyone” mentality, and this includes adults, children, other breeds, and even cats!
Still, there may be some other reasons why Golden Retrievers bite:
- Simply put, Golden Retrievers are dogs, and all dogs have a natural impulse to bite. This is simply a quality of canines. When scared, frightened, uncomfortable or in pain, a Golden, just like any other dog, will bite.
- When a puppy is teething, it may display an increase in biting behavior. This is not meant to be aggressive, but simply the puppy nipping at you playfully. You can discourage this behavior by offering appropriate chew toys and chewy treats.
- A dog in pain will not enjoy being handled. To prevent anyone from getting near it and causing it more pain, your dog may try to bite you. This is not because it is being aggressive; it is simply trying to protect itself. Golden Retrievers bite when in pain purely out of instinct.
- Dogs that have suffered any psychological trauma in the past may attack spontaneously. Unfortunately, you do not always know the history of a rescue dog, and if it was abused, beaten, or neglected, it might behave erratically at times. With patience and training, you can get your dog to trust you and become confident again, which will decrease the biting.
Training Your Golden Retriever Not To Bite
Your Golden is not a dangerous dog. Should you experience some biting from your pup, you can train them to stop biting and keep their teeth to themselves.
Golden Retriever puppies will bite anything and everything. This is completely normal behavior, and they are simply playing!
It can be a bit destructive, though, especially once they start chewing through your shoes or electric cables.
Luckily, you can stop the biting while they are still puppies. In fact, it is highly recommended that you stop it as soon as possible because it is much harder to train an adult dog to keep its mouth off of your possessions and limbs!
An affectionate nibble is nothing to be concerned about, but when those sharp teeth start drawing blood, it is time to address the issue.
Here are our top tips for training your Golden Retriever puppy to stop biting you and everything around you:
- Be firm. You must say “No” firmly as soon as the puppy bites you. Even if the bite does not hurt at all or you think it is adorable, being firm with the pup when it is young will prevent you from dealing with an adult dog that bites kids playfully.
- Use a bitter-tasting substance. A bitter liquid will act as a deterrent. When the puppy tries to bite you, it will be put off by the bad taste on your hands. It may take him a while, but eventually, he will learn that if he doesn’t bite, he won’t have to deal with the taste.
- Socialize your puppy. Introduce your Golden Retriever puppy to new people and situations each day. A properly socialized pup will turn into a confident adult who does not get scared in strange situations.
- Distract your pup with a toy. Once your puppy gets a bit over-excited during playtime and tries to bite you, provide it with a chew toy instead. He will quickly learn which items are okay to play with or chew.
Most puppies will naturally outgrow their biting phase. They will eventually learn to control their mouthy impulses. However, you can speed up this process and prevent adult incidents by addressing the biting issue early on.
Golden Retrievers are incredibly intelligent. Their eager-to-please nature means that they take well to obedience training. But even so, sometimes your dog moves out of its puppy phase and still has the urge to bite.
Here are some tips to train your adult Golden Retriever so that it exhibits proper behavior and no longer bites:
- Use positive reinforcement. Goldens are gentle dogs and do not respond well to harsh training or shouting. If your dog shows you the desired behavior (such as when they stop biting when you say “no”), provide them with a positive reward like a treat or toy.
- Provide enough exercise. A hyper dog may begin biting during playtime or training if it gets too excited. Golden Retrievers require at least an hour of vigorous exercise each day. This will help him to release some energy, meaning he will be able to focus better during training sessions.
- Use timeout. If your dog is crate trained, place it in its crate for a time-out if it becomes too boisterous. Pet owners need to sometimes help their dogs relax.
The intelligence of Golden Retrievers means they can quickly pick up on your mood and tone of voice. Even if they do not understand what you are saying, they can understand your body language.
If you are able to express your disappointment in your dog when it bites, your Golden Retriever is sure to pick up on it and may change its behavior accordingly.
If, despite your time and effort training your pup, your adult Golden Retriever is still biting spontaneously, it is time to pay your vet a visit. Your pup may be in need of some medical attention for an underlying condition that is sparking such behavior or causing your dog to be in pain.
Biting Precautions For Golden Retrievers
You may still be concerned that your dog may bite you. Luckily, there are some precautions and safety measures you can take.
You need to always remember that all dogs have the ability to bite. They are bred from predators and have sharp teeth. Even an unintentional, playful bite can break the skin.
Here are some precautions to take around your Golden Retriever to decrease the odds of a bite occurring:
- Teach children how to act around dogs. This includes showing them how to pet dogs (even small dogs!) and how to read the warning signs when a dog is becoming upset.
- Never reach out and pet a dog without the owner’s permission, even if it’s a friendly breed like a Golden Retriever. Every dog has its own personality, and some may react badly to strangers.
- If a strange Golden Retriever approaches you on the street, stand completely still. Do not run away or reach down to pet it.
- If an obviously aggressive dog approaches you, do not make eye contact. Rather, use a strong, loud voice and command it to go home or say, “No!”.
- Never run when you come across an aggressive Golden Retriever. Either stand still or walk calmly.
Will a Golden Retriever attack a person?
While all dogs have the potential to attack a human, their nature makes it unlikely that they will spontaneously attack if not provoked. A Golden Retriever will only attack someone when they are stressed, threatened, or in pain.
Are Golden Retrievers safe family pets?
Yes! Golden Retrievers are amazing family dogs. They have a loving and warm temperament and are brilliant with children and other pets. They also love most people and will enjoy making new friends when you have company visiting.
Golden Retriever biting statistics are low. These dogs are highly unlikely to attack unless provoked, and even when they do, they are not likely to bite very hard. Your Golden Retriever’s bite force is just a bit stronger than that of an adult human!
Golden Retriever puppies tend to bite quite a bit, but you can easily discourage this behavior with the right training and socialization.