When puppies play, they use their mouths. Your puppy has been used to biting and mouthing his littermates, usually as part of play and sometimes to get something he wanted. This is rarely aggressive behaviour or intended to do harm.
Biting can be a way to initiate play and is a natural part of playing. Biting and mouthing can be used to exert dominance and determine each puppy's ranking in the pack. This is a natural way for puppies to behave. When your puppy comes home he will see nothing wrong in biting and mouthing your hands and arms as part of play. He will try to initiate play with you by nipping your fingers or tugging at your clothes.
Puppies usually learn to inhibit their bites within the litter. If a littermate was hurt a sharp yelp usually meant the end of the game. Now he needs to learn that human skin is just as tender as the ears of his littermates. You must teach your puppy to be gentle with hands, and that nipping results in the end of social interaction with you.
If your puppy nips your hand yell "Ouch!" to startle him. If he stops nipping you can resume your activity. A loud "Ouch" does not work with all puppies. You may need to turn your back and ignore him until he is calmer. Leave the room if you have to. Return as soon as he is calm and continue the activity. It may take several repetitions for him to understand what is expected.
© Fernamber Golden Retrievers 2002-2006