Golden Retriever bite force: Do they bite hard?

Golden retrievers, just like other canine species, have a very strong bite force. When they bite with full force, they can crush even the strongest of bones. 

The loving, playful, and affectionate nature of a golden retriever will make you feel it doesn’t have a strong bite force. But, trust me, that’s a very false assumption to make. 

Golden retrievers might not have the strongest bite force among dog breeds, but they definitely do not have the weakest. In fact, they rank closely to fierce and aggressive dog breeds like Pit Bulls, Labradors, and German Shepherds. 

In this article, we’ll examine how strong the bite force of a golden retriever is. We’ll also find out why they bite, the levels of their bite, and what you can do to stop them from biting. Read on to learn all there is about how hard a golden retriever bites.  

What is the bite force of a golden retriever?

A golden retriever has a bite force of 190 PSI (pounds per square inch). This is powerful enough to puncture bones or even crush them.

Golden retrievers have the same bite strength as other dogs of the same size and muzzle shape. In fact, when compared to other dog breeds, a golden retriever’s bite force ranks 30th. This places it right above many dog breeds when it comes to biting strength.

However, golden retrievers were trained not to bite down hard on anything in their mouth that was not food. This is because they were bred to retrieve items and return them to their owners. Golden retrievers were the handy dogs of hunters and fishermen. So they help retrieve birds or fish killed by the hunters without damaging the skin in the process.

Why do golden retriever puppies bite?

Golden retriever puppies bite only on two occasions: when they’re teething and when they’re playing. Puppies are very mouthy, especially during their teething phase. This phase is a period when their baby teeth begin to fall off and get replaced by their adult teeth.

When puppies are teething, they’d constantly feel the urge to bite something. This helps them massage their gums and numb the pains of the teething phase. This also occurs when they’re playing, as they use their mouth to play. That’s why you’d see puppies nipping or soft-biting their fellow puppies or owners when they want to play. It’s an invitation that they want to play.

However, this is also the phase when you train your doggo not to bite, or at least to not bite with their full strength. This is called bite inhibition, and it’s very necessary if you really want to train your golden retriever to be a family dog. The training is usually done by their mothers, but if you bought your golden at a very tender age, the task falls on your shoulders.

Why do adult golden retrievers bite?

Adult golden retrievers bite because they are scared or feel threatened. Stress or PTSD are also other reasons why adult golden retrievers bite.

Golden retrievers are not aggressive in any way. They hate to enter into fights with their fellow animals or even try to hurt humans. So, if a golden retriever bites, you should know it’s not an innate behavior. It is rather a reaction to an external factor, and you can only stop it from biting when you understand why it does so.

A golden retriever, no matter how loving and caring it is, won’t hesitate to bite when it feels threatened. This is a means of self-defense, as it feels the need to protect itself from any external harm. Just like in humans, dogs handle anxiety in their own unique ways. While some may bark, pant, pace around or even shiver, some will resort to biting anything that causes them anxiety.

Golden retrievers also bite when they’re playing. Though this is referred to as mouthing as they do not have the intention to injure, they can cause harm too. This is usually learned during the bite inhibition stage, as they only behave that way because the owner or breeder encouraged it.  

What are the bite levels of golden retrievers?

Golden retrievers have six bite levels they use to respond to fear or threat. The level of bite they give depends majorly on how scared or provoked they are. The hardness or seriousness of the bite is in ascending order. Level one has the least bite force, while level six has the most serious one.

Level one: This is the bite a golden retriever gives someone who slightly provokes it. It’s more like a warning to the provoker that it has the ability to bite, because it doesn’t really use its teeth here. It has almost the same effect as when a dog is nipping.

Level two: At this level, the golden retriever’s bite is slightly more intense, yet doesn’t leave a mark on the offender. It’s just another way to scare the offender and cause him to step back.

Level three: Here the bite gets more intense as the golden retriever applies more force and breaks the skin of the offender. This is also a defense tactic from the golden retriever, as it tries every means not to get into a brawl.

Level four: The golden retriever at this level bites with a much harder force. It grabs the offender and, unlike in the first three levels, holds onto the skin of the person while shaking its head. It makes sure to leave bruises and puncture wounds on the person or animal it’s attacking.

Level five: At this level, the golden retriever is charged and out to cause severe harm to its victim. The person or animal it’s attacking at this stage will experience serious body punctures and can only escape by a whisker.

Level six: This is the level where the golden retriever ensures its victims don’t leave alive. This is a rare occurrence, though, and it goes to show how visibly angry the dog is.

How do you teach your golden retriever puppy not to bite?

You can use bite inhibition training and positive reinforcement to teach your golden retriever puppy not to bite. Since it’s in its growth stage, this is the exact period when you teach it how you want it to behave as an adult.

At the tender stage, your golden retriever puppy has a greater tendency to become aggressive. During its teething phase, it becomes very mouthy and tends to test everything with its teeth. Using bite inhibition training, you teach it to not exert much force when biting to not damage whatever non-food item it has in its mouth.

When it bites you or any animal close by, you yelp at him/her and outrightly say “no!” As a puppy, he or she might not understand you at this stage, but you have to be consistent with your instructions until your pup gets it. Use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior, especially when your pup is receptive to your instructions. This would mean allowing it to play with its favorite toy, praising it, or giving it food treats.

How do you stop a golden retriever from biting?

To stop your golden retriever from biting, you have to understand why it bites, give it slight punishments, use positive reinforcement to persuade it not to bite and/or enroll it in an obedience training class.   

It is one thing when a golden retriever puppy bites and a different thing when an adult golden retriever does the same. The puppy can be excused for teething, but for the adult golden retriever, something must be really wrong. To stop your golden retriever from biting, you have to do these:

Understand why your dog bites

Understanding why your golden retriever bites are the first step in stopping it from biting. Your doggo might bite if it is stressed, playing, or feels threatened by something or someone. It is your duty to find out what it is and resolve it.

Give it slight punishment

If your goldie bites for no proper reason, then it can be because of a lack of proper training when it was a puppy. While it is true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, trying is better than doing nothing at all. So what do you do? You have to give your goldie slight punishment when it bites to deter it from doing so again. At first, it would not welcome this development, but you have to keep trying until it takes your instructions.  

Use positive reinforcement

Incorporating positive reinforcement with slight punishment might be the right mix of training your goldie needs to stop biting. When it obeys even the slightest of instructions, give it lots of food treats, petting, and praise. You can also allow it to play with its favorite toy.

Enroll your golden retriever in obedience classes  

If the above techniques don’t work, then you might need to enroll your goldie in a professional obedience training class. This class would also be relevant to you, as you’d learn better ways to discipline your dog without hurting its feelings.

At what age do golden retrievers stop biting?

Golden retrievers stop biting when they are about 7 months old. That’s when they’ve completed their teething phase and are mature enough to know biting is bad behavior.

Naturally, golden retrievers are non-aggressive dog breeds, so once they’ve come of age, they will adopt their loving nature and stop biting. However, adequate training is also required to make this possible. Another reason golden retrievers bite is because they’re teething. When that phase is over, the desire to bite everyone and everything they see will die naturally.   

Conclusion – Golden Retriever bite force

With a bite force of 190 PSI, golden retrievers bite harder than humans (who have a bite force of 150 PSI). And as part of the canine species, golden retrievers have the natural tendency to bite.

However, because of the training they receive at their tender age, they learn to not exert much force in their biting, thus limiting their biting power. 

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