Why Does My Dog Hump My Puppy? Dominance? Stress?
Why does my dog hump my puppy? It could be for a variety of reasons, including dominance, play, sexual, over excitement, stress, or a more serious medical issue. This embarrassing trait is, in fact, normal behavior. However, if your dog is obsessively humping your puppy to the point that it could cause injury, is happening in an inappropriate and mortifying environment, or you simply don’t like them doing it, we have some tips to help below.
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Why Do Dogs Hump (neutered and intact)?
Dogs can hump each other, humans, the air, or inanimate objects. This can be for mating purposes and masturbation, however, despite what most people believe humping is not always sexual. It can be a way of dealing with a stressful situation, to understand their position or social status within a pack, or because they have an underlying medical issue.
For Sexual Reasons (To Mate or Masturbate):
Dogs mate by an intact male mounting a female in heat. But, castrated or neutered dogs, as well as spayed and unspayed bitches can still display this sexual behavior. They can not only show this behavior on other dogs, but they may also use a blanket, pillow, your leg, or another object. The reason they would use an inanimate object is to masturbate, it is merely pleasurable and feels good to them. Dogs over eight months that are still intact are the most likely to be thrusting for pleasure.
Some dogs shake, others zoom, and some hump. If your dog begins to hump when something new or fun is happening, it can be because they are overstimulated and excited. This mounting behavior is stimulated by arousal. It is a way for them to release excess energy.
When a dog is stressed, they need a way to calm down. Humping feels good, which can help to calm them down as well as burn off any built-up tension.
A dog humping can be funny. When they hump, we may laugh and, therefore, accidentally encourage them and reinforce the behavior. This then becomes a learned behavior, and whenever they are being ignored or not getting the attention they want, they begin to hump. They are then rewarded with attention.
Humping can be a sign of a allergies, priapism (painful erections), or a urinary tract infection, among other health concerns. If your dog is humping more than usual, as well as biting, chewing, or licking the genitals, rubbing them on the floor more than usual, it may be time to visit the vet.
Habit or Obsessive Issue:
Dogs can form undesirable habits, and humping happens to be one of them. Whether it’s because they seek pleasure, use it as a stress reliever, want attention, as a response to a stimulant, or for any other reason, it can quickly form into a habit or obsessive issue.
Some dogs like to hump others, whether it’s because they’re overexcited and use it as a way to destress, or because they’re unsocialized and have not been taught an appropriate way to play. It could also be to assert dominance over one another and ascertain a social hierarchy.
Is Humping A Sign Of Dominance?
Dominance: To have power and influence over others.
It is considered to be true that dogs have some kind of hierarchy between themselves, and humping can be a way of establishing social control or status. However, this is not always the case. The dog could be humping due to stress, overexcitement, or anxiety.
Is a dog mounting showing dominance? Dominance is a very controversial topic in the dog world. Are dogs really trying to be the ‘alpha’?
Check out these useful resources for more information on dominance, and debunking the old school ‘top-dog’ type meaning.
Check out this article on Dominant Dog Behavior
Should I Let My Dog Hump?
It depends on whether the humping is appropriate, embarrassing, or causing any issues to the dog. If this is the case then you may want to prevent your dog from humping.
If your dog is humping an inanimate object once or twice a day, I wouldn’t be concerned. Let them get on with it undisturbed.
However, if your dog is doing any of the following, it may be time to put a stop to it.
Possibility of injuring your puppy
Embarrassing you by humping guests’ legs
Causing rifts by humping those who are unobliging
How To Stop My Dogs Humping
A new puppy can be stressful and can take all of your attention away from your existing dogs. If your dog is humping in response to the stressor, try to redirect their attention. Use a filled kong, new chew, or fun toy to engage them and make the experience more fun and less stressful.
Catch It Before It Starts:
Usually, you will be able to spot the signals that your dog is about to begin their usual humping routine, whether it’s a sheepish side-eye, lick, whine, or rub. Once you see your dog performing their warm-up routine, put a stop to it. Make them do a trick they know, put them in a sit and stay, or initiate play.
Teach Leave It Command:
Start at home with treats and toys. Place a treat or toy in front of them with your hand in front as a barrier, repeat ‘Leave It’ and once they back their head away, reward them with a verbal queue and an alternative treat. After repetition in and outside the house, you should be able to deter your dog from picking up your puppy or couch cushion with the command.
If your dog is humping your puppy, it could seriously injure them if there is a considerable size difference, as well as running the risk of unwanted pregnancy. Keep your older dog on a leash in the house, and once they begin to mount, remove them from the situation, use a verbal queue too. Soon you will simply be able to use the verbal queue to deter your dog. Ensure you offer your dog rewards once they refrain from the humping behavior.
If the humping occurs with another dog in the park, it could lead to severe fights, some dogs do not like to be humped, and if your dog does not understand social queues, it could quickly escalate. Try keeping your dog on a leash if they begin to approach another dog with the intent to hump, tug at the lead and remove them from the situation using the ‘Leave It’ command.
Increase Exercise and Mental Stimulation:
If your dog is humping to release energy, stress, or for attention, usually a long walk, game of tug, or learning a new trick can help. Try to spend more time stimulating your dog and reducing their energy, as well as mentally and physically tiring them.
Speak To A Vet:
If you suspect your dog is humping as they’re overly sexual, it may be worth speaking to a vet about castration or spaying. This does not always alleviate issues and can cause medical complications, but your vet will be able to discuss this further with you. If the humping is a new occurrence, it may be due to a medical concern. Again, check with your vet to rule out any underlying issues.
Why is my dog trying to hump me?
It could be for a variety of reasons, including stress or overexcitement. As well as masturbation and pleasure. Try to establish when the humping is taking place. Is there a motive? If it happens every time you come through the door, it could be because they are so excited to see you.
Is it normal for puppies to hump?
Yes, it can be to show dominance over their littermates, or some suggest it may be as practice for sexual encounters in the future.
How do I get my dog to stop trying to hump me?
Use our tips above to stop undesirable traits, including additional exercise, removal of stressors, redirecting their energy, and teaching the ‘Leave It’ command.
How do I show dominance over my dog?
Dominance is a problematic word; you need to be the leader of your dog. Show them how to behave using positive methods to train your dog, including rewards. Give them treats and toys when they are doing as you want.
At what age do dogs start humping?
Dogs reach sexual maturity at around 4-8 months old. However, they can hump during play, due to stress, or overexcitement before this time.
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Disclaimer: Each dog is different, and every circumstance is different. All efforts have been made to provide accurate information. However, it is not provided by a qualified Veterinarian, Veterinarian Surgeon, or Behaviorist. The information provided is purely educational. The information should not be used as an alternative or substitute for medical care. If you have any health or medical concerns, contact a qualified Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinarian immediately.