Dear Daisy Dog
My 3-month-old golden retriever bites us. Someone told me to swat her on the nose with a newspaper, but that only makes things worse. What should I do?
First, never hit her. Physical punishment is not effective, and sometimes it provokes aggression.
Puppies use their mouths to play and explore the world, and a retriever, whose genes tell her to put things in her mouth, can be expected to be “mouthy.” That said, she needs to learn that human body parts don’t belong inside her mouth.
When she bites, put an appropriate chew toy into her mouth. It can be a hard rubber toy, a stuffed animal or a doggie rope. She’ll soon learn what she may chew.
Exercise your pup. Walk her several times a day, and encourage her to chase and fetch a ball.
Teach her to sit, stay, come and walk quietly by your side on the leash. Praise her and use food treats to reward good behavior.
Join a puppy obedience training class to socialize her with other dogs and people. These distractions also will help her learn to pay close attention to you.
At home, if she gets so excited she can’t focus, give her a “time out” in her crate. Be calm, so she doesn’t think she’s being punished.
If these techniques don’t work, consult your veterinarian or obedience trainer.