Why Dogs Hump & How To Stop A Dog From Humping

We’ve all seen those dogs at the park that run around trying to hump other dogs. This humping behaviour is very common, and unfortunately, many owners neglect to keep it under control and prevent it. In this article we will discuss how to stop a dog from humping and what it means.

When your dog humps other dogs you are setting them up for failure. Fights often occur as humpees do not enjoy this rude behaviour.

Recently, I took Mordecai to the park and embarrassingly for me he started this humping behaviour.

Mordecai is still a puppy (6 months old) and gets very excited when out and about especially when he is in an off leash area with lots of other dogs to play with.

As you can see from the video Copper didn’t really seem to care that Mordecai was humping him.

However, that isn’t always the case and when he has tried to do this with older dogs, he is often put back in his place quickly with a growl or small nip.

There will be a day when it might not be a small nip, and a full on fight may occur. Nobody wants this.

Contrary to popular belief, humping behaviour in dogs is not usually a sexual thing. Often male dogs hump after being neutered, and you may wonder why do female dogs hump.

Some dogs hump people or other objects such as toys.

In most situations, humping behaviour is due to excitement or poor training in social behaviour.

Dog humping behaviour is not due to dominance. Click to Tweet

One myth that I often hear is that humping is caused by dominance. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve never seen a dog hump to gain access to food, pats, toys etc. Dominance refers to trying to gain priority access to a resource and this just isn’t the case with humping situations.
So what are the reasons for humping?

Why Does My Dog Hump?

  • Arousal/Excitement

This is by far the most common reason for humping.

We’ve all seen those dogs that suddenly get so excited that they get the zoomies, it’s hilarious!
While others will bark in excitement, and some, well, they like to hump.

  • Anxiety

For some dogs, when in a situation that they are worried about their anxiety levels increase and this has a knock on effect of increased arousal.

Remember that time when you were really nervous about something, perhaps a job interview? You found yourself chewing your fingernails or sucking your lip. Well, this is very similar.

It’s called ‘displacement behaviour’, and while some dogs may chase their tail, bark, or dig, others will show humping behaviour.

  • It Feels Good

Yep, some dogs hump because it feels good. In effect they are masturbating.

These situations usually occur during quiet time and the object of humping is often a toy, blanket or bed. My old girl, Pippa used to do this with a green knitted jumper of mine, or her bed.

This sort of behaviour is pretty harmless, so unless you are deeply disturbed then you can choose to ignore or manage it as we suggest below.

  • Play

For some animals, this is how they play. I’ve seen this between cats and dogs who live in the same household where the dog humps the cat. Neither party gets upset, they play, then they stop.

The decision to intervene needs to be related to how the interaction is occurring and whether both parties are getting enjoyment verse frustration.
humping behaviour can be play for some animals

How To Stop A Dog From Humping?

To ensure that humping behaviour does not become a habit it is important to be consistent with the way you deal with the situation and how you act.

  • Don’t make a big deal out of it. There is no need to yell or growl at your dog. And please, don’t squirt your dog with a water pistol. This really isn’t going to achieve anything.
  • Remove your dog from the situation to provide “timeout”. For anxious dogs this provides relief. For those who have high arousal, it allows them time to settle and regain their thoughts.
  • Distract your dog. Either do some other training moves like sitting exercises or learning high five or perhaps take your dog for an onleash walk away from the other dogs.

If you find that your dog can’t be let off leash without starting to hump other dogs, then you really do need to go back to basics. If you would like further help with this our vets are available for consults.

Is your dog a humper? Tell us in the comments section below what methods have you used to stop this behaviour.

 

 

Facebook Comments