Korben biting our feet and I don't know how to stop him.

Our boy just turned 1 last month and is playing with his birthday duck. The past couple of months he has taken to biting our feet. It does not matter if you have on shoes, socks or barefoot, it is all game for him. How can we break him of this horrible habit. He does it while we are sitting watching TV or when we come into the house or just walking around.
Reg name = Khani's Teazer Endlessly Jealous ack# HP569187/070_1579219919042_Korben duck.jpeg

Try distracting him with something else. Ask him for a behaviour that he knows, e.g. sit or down. If he doesn't obey and continues with the feet biting, say no and physically prevent him from continuing to do it. If he persists, remove him from the room where you are, crate him if you have one, and give him a time out. It's likely he finds the feet biting rewarding in some way, perhaps getting your attention when he is bored. You need to prevent him from getting any reward from this behaviour.

Another thing.....be observant. If you perceive that he is about to indulge in this habit, do something to divert him before he has a chance to act. You could give a command that he knows, and if he obeys it gives you the chance to reward instead of chastise.

Nice looking pup, by the way. 🙂

last edited by eeeefarm

@lory-h - Have you spoken to his breeder? And agree with eeeefarm about diverting him before he goes for your feet... and reward for not indulging in feet biting... seems that he thinks this is a game for him. Work his mind, not just his body

@lory-h Sounds like he is bored and wants to play. Is he getting enough walks and mental stimulation? It is winter and they get bored easily if they don’t get enough walks. During winter we substitute playtime for walk time in the bad weather.

Rub a tiny bit of Vics Vaporub of your feet. Not enough that you will smell it, but he will.
Then distract him in ways that have been mentioned here.
He is biting your feet because he is getting something - a reaction from you. The Vics will teach him that he doesn't like the reaction at all.

In my years in basenjis, they seem to follow the motto: What's in it for me? Take away what is in it for him, and replace it with something he does not like - the smell.

Thank you all for the suggestions. He gets at least one 45 plus minute walk a day. We also run with him outside several times a day in our backyard. We have a long straight away in our house that we throw toys down and he loves to run and get them. I dont think he is bored we play with him quite a bit. He does get a reaction from us when he hits because it hurts. I did distract him today when he came towards me and that worked. Now I have to get all 5 of us in the house to do it as well.

He's attention seeking, is all. And obviously it works ! He bites your feet, you get mad. He's won !

Not easy but try not to react at all. Certainly don't get cross and give him the attention he is seeking. Rugosa has an excellent idea - rub something he doesn't like on your feet but you have to ignore him too -

Good luck

Agree with Zande here. Rewarding him for not biting your feet would work. You'd need some high value treats and a method for rewarding the non-behavior (which is admittedly more difficult than rewarding a behavior).

In this type of situation I start by finding some old old slip-ons. Not having shoe laces removes an obvious temptation and if they get a couple of gnaws no big deal.

Then try this (I've never done this myself, it's the best idea I can come up with and you might have a better idea. But something along this line should shape the behavior you want). Once you have the right footwear, some high value treats, and a toy he likes -- we know he likes at least one plush toy -- put the toy on a slip leash. Walk around dragging the toy. If he goes for the toy walk a bit and then reward him. If he leaves the toy and goes for your feet put him in his crate.

HTH

Love the pic BTW. He's so cute!

@eeeefarm I would calmly without eye contact get up immediately and give him a time out or do something where he can't get your attention. If he is looking for attention engaging him gets him attention. You might try having a short brushing session or other physical attention on a cue so he knows when attention is coming. Sounds like he is getting enough exercise etc. This method is called extinction which sometimes will cause a little temper tantrum of increased behavior right before they perminatly give up.

@arbust91 said in Korben biting our feet and I don't know how to stop him.:

@eeeefarm I would calmly without eye contact get up immediately and give him a time out or do something where he can't get your attention. If he is looking for attention engaging him gets him attention. You might try having a short brushing session or other physical attention on a cue so he knows when attention is coming. Sounds like he is getting enough exercise etc. This method is called extinction which sometimes will cause a little temper tantrum of increased behavior right before they perminatly give up.

The folks that are recommending ignoring the behaviour are going for no r+ in hopes of extinction, and that may work if the reaction to the biting is the actual reinforcement. In practice, positive punishment might work better or faster than negative punishment (time out), but most don't like to use aversives these days so I didn't suggest it.

@eeeefarm said in Korben biting our feet and I don't know how to stop him.:

In practice, positive punishment might work better or faster than negative punishment (time out), but most don't like to use aversives

Positive punishment is giving in to him. You are giving him exactly the attention he is seeking. Basenji do not like being ignored or shut out. That IS a form of punishment to them !

@zande said in Korben biting our feet and I don't know how to stop him.:

Positive punishment is giving in to him. You are giving him exactly the attention he is seeking. Basenji do not like being ignored or shut out. That IS a form of punishment to them !

Agree, they don't like to be ignored. That comes under the heading of negative punishment. But there are things they like less. Depending on the dog, the skill of the trainer, and the punishment meted out, positive punishment can be extremely effective, but timing and choice of consequences is critical, so it's not something I recommend. Punishment is a loaded word, but it is the word used in operant conditioning. It evokes some terrible, painful consequence, but might be something as mild as a well aimed water pistol, which for some Basenjis (and some cats) would be reason enough not to repeat the action that caused it.....while with others it could turn into a game of trying to nail the feet and escape the spray. Without knowing the dog it's hard to guess what the result would be, which is why I am not suggesting it.

The very best form of positive punishment is self inflicted, e.g. electric fence for livestock, invisible fence for dogs (if they don't learn to run through it), because of the consistency which a human trainer may lack. The consequences for most are unpleasant enough that they don't care to repeat the action that causes them. Horses seldom challenge electric fence if it's working properly, although some seem to detect when it is turned off!

last edited by eeeefarm

Looks like your connection to Basenji Forums was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.