Trending :
wamiz-v3_1

Advertisement

Dog humping: How do I stop my dog mounting everything in sight?

Black Schnauzer humping dog advice

Why do dogs hump?

© Shutterstock

Dog humping is a common canine behaviour. Many dog owners have found themselves in the very awkward scenario of their dog starting humping another dog, a human leg or even some inanimate object.

By Zoe Monk

While there’s no doubt it can be embarrassing, if owners want to stop their dog from doing it, it can be helpful to understand this type of doggy behaviour.

Is dog humping sexually motivated?

People generally assume that when a dog humps something, it is sexually motivated. Sometimes this can be the case. But it can also depend on your dog’s gender and age. It can also, for instance, be a reaction to excitement or as a response to being touched on a certain area of their body that causes arousal.

Overall, humping is generally a pleasurable activity for an excited dog. However, as dogs are creatures of habit, they can often learn to associate certain behaviours to situations. Humping can become deep-rooted response each time a particular situation arises. While some dogs may go and grab a toy when you come home or bark when the postman comes, others might go and mount their bed or toys.

Bulldog humping toy
Why does my dog hump his toys? ©Shutterstock

Why does my dog keep humping visitors?

While it can be embarrassing and annoying when your dog starts to hump the legs of your visitors, it’s actually a normal response to something your dog finds new and exciting. Most dogs find it fun to meet someone new and humping when guests visit is a form of displacement behaviour. Your dog is transferring their heightened feelings about the situation onto something else.

How you deal with this situation and how your visitors react will either help or hinder the situation. If you respond to your dog’s behaviour with excitement and give your dog attention for their behaviour, then this will likely encourage them to carry on doing it or repeat it again in the future.

My dog is neutered, why do they still hump?

Unneutered male dogs want to mate female dogs in season. However, there are exceptions to this, for instance when a male dog gets a scent they like on something or someone. Neutering can help to decrease the amount of the sex hormone testosterone there is in a dog’s body. This reduces their urge to mate and as a result, lessens their urge to hump. However, some of the hormone will remain in the dog’s bloodstream, so they will likely still have the instinct to mate and in turn, continue to demonstrate this mounting, humping behaviour.

Dogs humping
Why do dogs hump other dogs? ©Shutterstock

Humping can also be a learned and practised behaviour from when a dog was a puppy and starts well before they reached sexual maturity. It gives a dog a way they can test out their social potential and physical ability. The more dominant dogs in a litter may assert themselves by humping their siblings. Female dogs may also display humping behaviour. It’s a distinctive part of being a puppy just as socialising and playing is. Humping can also be a reaction to anxiety or stress, just as for some dogs it’s a response to excitement.

Can I train my dog to stop humping?

While humping may be natural canine behaviour, many dog owners want to find out if they can stop it or if they should allow it to continue. If your puppy is humping its toys or bed and not annoying anyone and exhibiting normal dog behaviour, it won’t do any harm to let them carry on. However, if your puppy grows into a large adult dog and continues to hump other dogs and even humans, this could become a problem. In many cases, neutering your dog can help. It’s important that you monitor your dog’s behaviour and whether it’s a positive or negative reaction to certain situations.

Humping becomes problematic when it is inappropriate or excessive. If you find that this is the case with your dog, then it’s important that you use positive reinforcement to get your dog to divert their attention onto something else when their obsessive behaviour starts. Behavioural work with a dog trainer may become necessary if your dog develops a problematic or unhealthy habit. It’s also a good idea to speak to your vet as your dog’s humping could be a sign of a health problem such as itchy skin or urinary tract infection. This is more likely if the dog’s humping behaviour has started suddenly or has become unusually excessive.

Dog humping is normal canine behaviour

While it can sometimes be embarrassing to watch, humping is quite normal behaviour for dogs and many owners simply chose to put up with it. However, if it becomes excessive or inappropriate then it might be time to contact a dog behaviourist who can advise on the best course of action.