4-Month-Old Golden Retrievers: Training, Chewing, Biting, & Behaviors

When your Golden Retriever hits four months old, you’ll be amazed by how much they’ve grown since you first brought them home!

Physically, they’re not the little puppy that fit so perfectly in your arms and lap anymore, but mentally, they’re most definitely still a young pup.

You’ll likely start to see more physical changes at sixteen weeks of age, and even though their bodies are growing rapidly, it’s important to remember that they still need lots of guidance and patience.

And if you’re struggling with the non-stop puppy biting — don’t worry!

This is peak puppy biting time and it will get better soon.

So to prepare you and help you be the best puppy parent you can be, this article will show you:

  • What to expect from a four-month-old Golden Retriever puppy
  • How big a four-month-old Golden is
  • How much sleep a puppy needs at this age
  • What kind of exercise a four-month-old Golden Retriever needs
  • How to train your four-month-old pup
  • How much a four-month-old Golden Retriever should eat
  • How to deal with teething and chewing

4-Month-Old Golden Retriever Behaviors

four month old golden retriever
Oliver at 4 months old!

At four months old, your puppy has had a couple of months to learn how things operate around the house.

This can make things easier for you because your puppy is likely falling into your daily routine.

They know that when you open that cabinet, it’s time for food.

And when you move toward the closet, you’re going to grab the leash to gear up for a walk.

At the same time, don’t be surprised if your four-month-old suddenly decides that barking at you while you’re working is a fun game.

Or that putting their paws up on the counter while you’re cooking is a cool new trick.

Now that your puppy is a bit older, they may experiment to see what they can make happen for themselves.

This does not mean they are a bad pup!

It actually shows that they are smart and confident, which are good things, and it’s up to you to channel that intelligence and curiosity toward appropriate behavior.

You might observe that your four-month-old puppy has even more energy than when they were three months old.

This is normal as they gain better coordination and stamina.

As they grow, it’s important to give them enough outlets for that energy so that they don’t find their own ways of tiring themselves out.

Always remember that energy is both physical AND mental.

Activities that allow them to move their bodies are important, but don’t overlook ways that engage their brains.

This is also primetime for teething, so you’ll want to be prepared in order to spare your furniture and rugs from an untimely demise.

What 4-Month-Old Golden Retrievers Look Like

Your 16-week-old Golden might start looking a little gangly with long legs that seemingly sprouted overnight (see the video below of Oliver).

They might also begin losing their cottony puppy coat, which can cause them to look a bit funny as their more coarse adult coat grows in.

Sometimes people call this stage the “puppy uglies” but it’s actually quite cute.

The picture above is Oliver at four months old, as is this video below.

He was so lanky and goofy!

Socializing Your 4-Month-Old Golden Retriever Puppy

Around sixteen weeks of age is when the “critical socialization window” closes.

What this means is that before this age, your puppy’s brain was in a prime state for learning about the world, and that those learnings can impact their behavior and temperament for the rest of their lives.

Ideally, you were getting your puppy out and about safely, and giving them positive experiences that will prepare them for life as an adult dog.

Even though your puppy is at the end of the socialization window, it’s still a good idea to be bringing your puppy out in the world and working on good manners in public.

Socialization past four months of age doesn’t make up for a lack of socialization prior to this age, but it can still absolutely have a positive impact on your puppy.

Remember to keep outings with your puppy fun and positive, and avoid things that might be scary or overwhelming.

As your puppy shows more signs of physical maturity, it can be easy to start expecting more from them.

Try your best to remember that they’re still a baby animal in a human world.

You’re their guide.

Be consistent in teaching them how things work, how to act and what to expect.

Keep showing them that you are a kind, trustworthy person who meets their needs and keeps things fun and safe.

Four-Month-Old Golden Retriever Puppy Size

Four-month-old Golden Retrievers will weigh between 20 and 40 pounds, though there will always be outliers.

While your puppy may have been a cute round ball of fluff at two months of age, they should be kept nice and lean at this age.

Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers can be prone to joint issues.

For this reason, it’s important to keep your puppy at a healthy weight, so there isn’t excess weight on their growing joints.

You should be able to easily feel their ribs without having to dig around too much.

It can be fun to compare your puppy’s weight to their littermates, or to other people’s Goldens on social media.

However, each puppy is unique and has a different structure, so don’t worry too much about how big other people’s puppies are.

If you’re worried about your pup’s weight, you can always chat about it with your vet.

How Much Sleep Do Four-Month-Old Golden Retrievers Need?

Four-month-old Golden Retriever puppies need about 18 hours of sleep per day.

Sometimes it can feel like they have tons of energy that you need to burn and it can be tempting to keep them really active to try to wear them out.

While they definitely do need exercise and fun activities, too much go-go-go can actually backfire and push the puppy into an overtired state.

A puppy that is overtired might be really wild — bouncing off your furniture, barking a lot, and biting you more than usual.

So even though they’re growing up, they still need their naps.

Using a crate or pen is still a good idea, as often puppies aren’t so good at settling themselves down for rest.

It’s more than okay to put your puppy down for a nap, instead of waiting for them to pass out on the rug from exhaustion.

Creating a routine around nap time and bed time can really help your puppy relax and fall asleep more quickly.

For example, your puppy has been up for 90 minutes and you’ve met all their needs. 

They ate, they pooped, you took them on a nice stroll and played with their favorite squishy ball.

You even did some fun training games and they worked on a puzzle toy.

Your puppy parent sense tells you that they are ready for a nap, so you take them outside for a final potty.

When you come back inside, you grab a frozen stuffed Kong or toppl for your puppy to enjoy in their crate.

Puppy goes in the crate and you give them their frozen treat.

Then you cover the crate, and turn on a white noise machine to drown out noises while they rest.

Making things predictable and consistent helps them understand that it’s naptime, and that playtime is over.

Any time your puppy is making you pull your hair out, ask yourself when their last nap was.

So often, an obnoxious puppy is actually a tired puppy and the solution is sleep!

What Kind of Exercise Do Four-Month-Old Golden Retrievers Need?

16 week old golden retriever puppy

Fifteen to twenty-minute walks are best for four-month-old Golden Retriever puppies, but a general rule is to let your puppy set the pace when it comes to exercise.

If they need a break and flop down in the shade, let them take a breather.

At sixteen weeks of age, they still don’t have the physical endurance that they’ll have as an adult.

So while you may hope your Golden Retriever pup grows into a great running or cycling partner one day, keep things short and easy for now.

And by four months of age, your puppy probably has all their necessary vaccinations, which is such a relief.

This can open up their world a bit more, which means you have more options for exercise.

For Golden Retrievers, it’s hard to beat time spent in nature.

Get a well-fitted harness and a long leash, and hit up a local trail or open space with your puppy.

Even a large sports field will work, like a baseball or soccer field (I like baseball fields best because they’re fenced-in).

Unstructured time outdoors is ideal exercise for this breed.

That means your pup is free to sniff and frolic around, rather than being in a perfect heel position by your side.

Golden Retrievers were historically bred to spend a lot of time outdoors, running through the fields and bounding through water.

Modern Goldens still love these activities and giving your four-month-old pup some nature therapy will set them up for physical and mental wellness.

Neighborhood walks can also be a nice outlet for a pup of this age.

Always allow your Golden to stop and sniff on walks.

Dogs’ primary sense is smell, and so while it may seem pretty boring to you as a human, sniffing that tree trunk for a straight minute is actually a great mental workout for your puppy.

Training A Four-Month-Old Golden Retriever

Potty training and alone time training should be your priorities with your four-month-old Golden Retriever puppy.

In addition, you can also work on:

Short training sessions are best so that your puppy stays engaged and doesn’t get bored.

Goldens thrive with positive reinforcement training methods, so keep a variety of treats on hand so you can reward them for a job well done.

A treat pouch can also be a helpful accessory, especially on walks as you work on leash training.

Try attaching a short training session to events that are already part of your puppy’s routine.

For example, before you head out for a walk, take two minutes for some training.

Training is an ongoing process and vital to raising a well-mannered Golden Retriever.

Many of the skills you’d like your pup to learn do not come naturally and may even be counterintuitive for a four-month-old puppy.

From their perspective, why shouldn’t they be able to snatch your granola bar from your hand, or drag you over to say hi to the neighbor?

Those are all normal behaviors for a dog, so if you want them to behave in ways that are more appropriate in our human world, then you’ll have to invest some time teaching them.

You’ve likely already been working hard on potty training since you brought your Golden puppy home.

While your pup is able to hold it longer now that they’re getting a bit older, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.

If you don’t give them regular opportunities to relieve themselves, you might have to deal with a potty training regression.

You’ll also want to continue working on teaching your puppy how to be home alone.

Gradually increase the time that you’re out of view, out of the room and out of the house, while your puppy chills out in their crate or pen.

Again, this is a learned skill — Goldens love being with their humans.

It’s vital to help them learn that they can be alone and okay without becoming stressed out or panicked.

And remember, what gets rewarded, gets repeated, so catch your puppy being good and reward them for it!

On the flipside, what they practice persists, so use things like leashes, gates, pens and crates, to prevent behavior you don’t want your puppy rehearsing.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your puppy’s behavior, hiring a certified, professional trainer is always a good idea.

(See what Golden Retriever owners say about hiring a dog trainer here.)

How Much Should A Four-Month-Old Golden Retriever Eat?

Most four-month-old Golden Retrievers eat about three cups of food a day, split over three meals.

Of course, every puppy is an individual and your puppy may eat more or less than that.

With all the growth your puppy is doing this month, you may notice that they need more food than they needed last month.

That is totally normal!

It’s also common for puppies to get “hangry” if they aren’t getting enough food in a day.

Your vet will be able to help you determine if your puppy needs more food, so if you’re unsure about increasing their portion, talk to them about it.

And since you have to feed your puppy, why not burn some physical and mental energy in the process?

There are some awesome toys available that make mealtimes more interesting for your puppy.

Most Goldens love balls, so the Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball is perfect for feeding meals in an interactive way.

The West Paw Rumbl is also an excellent, durable toy that engages your pup’s body and brain.

While your puppy is batting around their food toy, you can eat your own meal in peace!

How To Deal With Teething In Four-Month-Old Golden Retrievers

four month old golden retriever puppy

I know it may seem like your puppy has been teething since you first brought them home, but at four months old, the real teething stage has arrived.

Lock the doors, batten down the hatches and hold onto your hat.

Okay, just kidding, it’s not that bad.

But for reals, you might want to put your hat (and shoes, and remote, and purse) away and out of your pup’s reach, if you haven’t already.

As your puppy loses their puppy teeth and gets their big adult teeth, which happens around this time, their gums can become painful and irritated.

This can lead them to want to chew and bite even more.

The good news is that once they’re done teething, the puppy biting that you’ve been enduring typically goes way down. 

In the meantime, provide your puppy with plenty of enticing chewing options.

Bully sticks and yak chews are great choices and often hold a puppy’s interest more than a classic Nylabone.

Frozen stuffed kongs are also a good thing to keep on hand to help soothe sore gums.

Many Goldens love to hold things in their mouths, which makes sense considering their historical purpose as retrievers, so large, soft stuffed toys can be really helpful in curbing unwanted biting and chewing.

Keep several yummy chew options and toys on the floor around the house at all times.

This way you can quickly redirect your puppy onto an appropriate object if you see them taking a liking to your wooden coffee table or the edge of the sofa.

Remember that your puppy isn’t trying to be a terror, but their mouth hurts and they’re doing the best they can.

Providing lots of opportunities for them to bite and chew appropriate things is key.

It can also help to use pens and gates to limit your puppy’s access to areas of the house where they might chew things you’d rather they not, especially when you can’t be monitoring them.

Living With Your Four-Month-Old Golden Retriever

They really grow up so fast, don’t they?

The puppy months can feel challenging, but they’re also a sweet time to bond with your puppy and develop a positive relationship.

You only have a couple months left before your puppy enters their next developmental stage: canine adolescence.

Focus on meeting your puppy’s needs, providing guidance on appropriate behavior, and growing a connection that will last a lifetime.

Have any questions about four-month-old Golden Retriever puppies?

Let us know down in the comments!

Read the rest of our Golden Retriever puppy series here:

And if you’re about to bring home a Golden Retriever puppy, check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook!

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About the author:

Alisa Healy is a professional dog trainer in the Chicago suburbs, with a wide range of training experience from shelters to in-home training to dog sports. She is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner and is passionate about helping people and dogs live fulfilling, harmonious lives together.

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