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Most dog owners do not know that both male and female dogs are hump-happy. It can get quite embarrassing if you have guests over and your dog starts humping them. But, it is easy to teach your dog how to behave unless she has a significant medical or behavioral problem. What are the underlying causes? Dogs usually mount other people, dogs, and objects. And the reasons for it are many. Let us look at the most common ones:
- Sexual behavior – If your dog’s humping behavior is sexually motivated, it would usually be accompanied by amorous body language, like pawing, a raised tail, and play bows. Owners need to understand that humping is a part of every dog’s play behavior. If your dog is under-socialized or poorly socialized, for that matter, she might mount other dogs excessively when solicited for play. They don’t know how to play well and get over-excited.
- Excitement or stress – A lot of dogs hump when they are excited or tensed. If your dog is stirred up by meeting another person or dog for the first time, their immediate outlet would be to mount the new person or dog or a piece of furniture that’s nearby.
- Social dominance – Think about this from the point of view of a dog – humping another person or dog is actually a pretty good way of establishing your dominance. The prenatal masculinizing effect of testosterone, estradiol, and other androgenizing hormones can cause some of the female dogs to exhibit dominant behavior. Prenatal masculinization is common in animals that bear more than two offspring, and the males outnumber the females, leading to prenatal hormone transfer. But it is not possible for you to ascertain whether there has been any prenatal masculinization unless you know the breeding history of the dog.
- Compulsive behavior – If not worked upon, humping can become a compulsive disorder, especially as a response to stressful situations. Just like any other compulsive behavior, frequent mounting can interfere with the normal functioning of a dog.
- Attention seeking – In many cases, dogs mount other dogs, people, or objects to get attention, especially if they have been deprived of attention and exercise for the day. From the point of view of a dog, getting told off for bad behavior is much better than not getting any attention at all.
- Health problems – Certain medical conditions like incontinence, UTI, skin allergies, and priapism can cause your dog to hump or lick her affected areas.
What can you do to stop it?
If your dog humps other dogs only when she is in heat, then spaying her will put an end to that problem. Get to know her triggers well. If the act is preceded by whining, panting, or pawing, distract her by throwing her a toy or make her perform an obedience skill like sitting, shaking paws, or lying down. If the behavior becomes too unwieldy to control, consult with an animal behaviorist.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you do when your female dog tries to hump you?
It's important to understand that humping behavior in dogs is not necessarily related to sexual behavior. Dogs may hump as a form of play, dominance, or as a way to relieve stress or anxiety. However, if your female dog is trying to hump you, it's generally not appropriate behavior and should be discouraged. One way to discourage humping behavior in dogs is to redirect their attention to an appropriate activity, such as playing with a toy or going for a walk. If your dog is humping you, try standing up and turning away from her or calmly saying "no" and gently pushing her away.
Why does my female dog only hump me?
There are many possible reasons why a female dog may display humping behavior toward their owner. Humping behavior can be a way for dogs to show dominance, excitement, playfulness, or even anxiety. It's also possible that your dog may be trying to get your attention, seeking affection, or trying to initiate play with you. If your dog perceives you as their primary playmate or caregiver, it may be more likely to engage in this behavior with you. However, it's important to note that humping behavior can also be a sign of an underlying medical or behavioral issue, such as a urinary tract infection, hormonal imbalance, or anxiety. If your dog's humping behavior is persistent or is causing you concern, it's a good idea to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer to identify any potential underlying causes and develop a plan to address the behavior.
Is it OK to let my female dog hump?
While humping behavior in dogs is normal and may not be harmful in and of itself, allowing your female dog to hump people or objects may not be appropriate behavior and should be discouraged. Humping can be a sign of dominance or overexcitement, and allowing your dog to engage in this behavior can reinforce this behavior and potentially lead to other issues, such as aggression or other unwanted behaviors.
Why does my female dog hump me but not my husband?
There could be various reasons why your female dog humps you but not your husband. One possibility is that your dog may see you as the primary caregiver or playmate and, therefore, more likely to engage in humping behavior with you. Another possibility is that your dog may be responding to your body language or other cues that signal to her that you are a more appropriate target for this behavior. It's also possible that your dog has a stronger bond with you and therefore feels more comfortable engaging in this behavior with you than with your husband.
Do female dogs hump when they're in heat?
Yes, female dogs may hump when they are in heat, which is the period when they are fertile and able to mate. During this time, female dogs experience a surge in hormones, which can cause changes in their behavior, including increased activity, restlessness, and a greater interest in mating. Humping behavior can be a way for female dogs to show their readiness to mate and to attract potential mates. However, it's important to note that not all female dogs in heat will exhibit humping behavior, and humping is not the only sign of heat.