Does your dog have a problem with humping?
Are you looking for some new ideas on how to stop or curtail this behavior?
If you are, the information in this article may prove very useful.
Believe it or not, humping is not always a sign of sex or sexual arousal.
In fact, sex may not even enter into the equation.
Although arousal is sometimes the underlying cause in certain situations, there are actually a myriad of potential reasons for this unwanted conduct—conduct that is present in nearly all members of the canine family.
To help you better cope with this conundrum, in this article we will explore the “dog humping” question in more detail, offering you several possible reasons for this often annoying behavior.
We will also outline and explain a number of helpful tips for how you can curb these occasional hump sessions—and in some cases, stop them altogether.
Why Do Dogs Hump?
When we see dogs humping their owners—or even a pillow—our first reaction is to chuckle and laugh.
And why do we snicker?
Because we assume the dog is demonstrating sexual behavior.
We may even get embarrassed when our dogs act out like this in front of other people.
This is a natural reaction.
But you may be surprised to learn that, according to experts, most cases of humping have little to nothing to do with sexual arousal.
Unlike we humans, dogs can actually hump for a variety of reasons.
The behavior can either be innate (they are born with it) or learned, but like other unwanted conduct—like chewing, digging or indoor potty mistakes—the behavior we call humping can also be unlearned in some cases.
As we dig into some of the causes for this mortifying problem, we will also outline some of the rationale behind each cause.
Dogs May Hump to Assert Their Dominance
Humping can often be a dog’s way of trying to assert dominance.
This innate reason is seen regularly with canine species in the wild.
It is a way for dogs to cement their position in the pack—even if that pack is just your human family.
When dogs hump to assert their dominance, it’s important that you consistently exert the proper discipline—immediately as the act is occurring.
Each time they attempt to hump your leg, you need to let them know that this conduct will not be tolerated, and that there will be consequences should they continue.
After a few tries—and after a few disciplinary actions from you—your dog will quickly learn that he or she is not the alpha of your pack and the behavior should slow.
Because humping is very often carried out as a way for your dog to assert dominance, one thing that will definitely help is a good course of training.
Dogs that are well-trained learn very early on that bad behavior will not be tolerated.
When you, as a dog owner, participate in an accredited training course with a professional, not only will you help stem the humping behavior, you will also show your dog that you are the one in charge.
Trained dogs are usually less anxious, too, because they know what types of conduct are both allowed and prohibited. It’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
Dogs May Hump because They Are Overexcited
When your dog becomes overexcited or overstimulated, he may fall back on this unwelcome behavior.
Humping you or another member of your family is fairly common in dogs who become overexcited.
Plenty of things can cause dogs to become frenzied and feverish.
For example, when you come home after being gone all day, your dog, who is a very social animal, may become overstimulated.
The same thing can happen when you are playing with your dog.
In cases such as these, the behavior has nothing to do with sexual arousal.
Your pooch is merely a bit hyperactive and excited, and as a result, he decides to act out in this inappropriate manner.
When this is the case, it’s important that you not be too hard on him.
However, there are some things you can do to help ease this stimulation and bring down the temperature.
A couple of these steps include:
- Limit the time your dog is left alone. Dogs that are left in the house (or yard) alone for several hours on end are more likely to get overstimulated when you return. While this alone time cannot always be avoided, if you can, try limiting the time your dog is left alone. Try checking in on him (or her) midday during your lunch break. And have all the members of your family show attention to the dog throughout the day when they are home. This strategy will almost always produce a calmer and better behaved dog.
- Give your dog plenty of exercise. Dogs are not meant to be cooped up in the house all day. They need to run and play to expel all their nervous energy. Make sure to take your pooch on plenty of walks, and make time for the dog park at least once a week to allow him to play with other dogs. A tired and well-exercised dog will simply not have the energy to hump your leg.
Dogs May Hump because of a Medical Problem
While showing dominance and being overstimulated are the two most common reasons for humping behavior, in rare instances it may signal an underlying medical issue.
Dogs of both sexes can suffer from some type of irritation or infection in the genital area, and male dogs can develop problems with their prostate.
They may be humping in an attempt to itch or soothe their nether region.
Be sure to check your dog for any underlying problem, and take him to the vet if the problem persists or worsens.
Sexual arousal is NOT the only reason dogs hump, although in younger dogs who have yet to be neutered, this is often the case.
In most dogs, the problem more likely happens because he is trying to show dominance, because he is overexcited, or is suffering from some type of medical issue.
Fortunately, there are ways to cope with each of these scenarios.
Proper training and plenty of exercise can address the first two causes, while a trip to the vet can usually deal with the third.