Dog Humping - Understanding this behavior
There is a good chance that your answer is in the affirmative. Humping or mounting is common dog behavior, just like running, barking, or panting. Embarrassing as it may be for you as a pet parent, it is important to understand that it is not always sexual in nature.
There are various reasons that trigger the urge for dogs to mount other dogs or even people. Even though it is normally harmless behavior, as a pet parent or pet lover, it is important to understand the reasons and the ways to handle it.
What is dog humping?
Humping is an action wherein dogs mount other dogs or people, pillows, or stuffed animals because it seems a pleasurable act to them that is not always sexual in nature.
Why do dogs hump?
Humping can be dog behavior when it is exciting. It is a sign of mental or emotional arousal often directed at seeking the attention of others or its owner. Sometimes it can be a form of play especially if they have had little or no socialization.
During the pandemic times when people and pets were mostly indoors and did not socialize much for fear of contracting infection, the pets mostly got to see their owners and no one else. With restraints being lifted and parks reopened, there was a newfound excitement among pets too and dog humping became a thing to witness more frequently. This was just a result of pets being overly excited and their way of a physical and mental outlet.
Dog humping is also a way of showing or proving dominance. In an attempt to show supremacy or authority over other dogs or even humans, dogs mount on them and feel good. It could also be a sign of being stressed due to reasons like the absence of a family member or its owner, a change of place, a change of routine, or being left alone for hours.
Sometimes mounting could also be a sign of over-stimulation or acting out. For people who wonder why their desexed dog humps, this comes as a probable answer
Occasionally, doggy humping can be a sign of an underlying medical reason. In male dogs, it could be prostate problems or just some kind of infection or irritation. The likelihood of humping being sexual in nature is greater in younger dogs that have not been spayed or neutered.
Ways to stop your dog from humping
First, it is for you to analyze the reasons that you think trigger this behavior in your dog. Keep a tab on when he does that and what situation is he in at that moment.
If day after day you notice a particular trend in it, then it will become easier for you to deal with it. Suppose he does it when he is stressed due to various reasons, you can help him engage in activities to reduce his anxiety levels. If you think he is just being playful, then try to train him to a command like saying stop when he does that.
If he humps a person maybe you, quietly walk away from your spot indicating to him that it is not acceptable behavior. Dog humping legs is very common simply because they have no clue that it is unacceptable and think of it as a playful gesture. Some dogs like to hump other dogs when they meet each other while on a walk with their owners or in a park. If this is becoming a trend and he ignores your command, deal with it patiently.
Try carrying a Frisbee to the park to play with him and distract him or give him chew toys to keep him busy and engaged.
If he obeys your command, always remember to reward him with a treat and encouraging words so that he remembers to obey your commands then after. When a pillow or a particular toy is the subject of his mounting, keep it out of his reach so that he gives up the habit eventually.
If you kind of predict a situation where you think your dog may start humping, try averting that situation. This way you can break his habit. There are other and better ways for your dog to burn off energy or relieve stress.
Often, a dog with a good exercise routine shows more mental and physical agility and fewer signs of distress, thereby engaging less often in humping. So make sure that you give him a hike every now and then, take him jogging, and give him toys to fill his empty hours.
Yelling and shouting are not advisable as they may make him more agitated. If humping behavior continues even after your best efforts, take him to a vet to understand better. If there is no medical reason, maybe some specialized training by experts will help him give up this habit.
Finally, if your dog is not spayed or neutered, some experts recommend dog neutering as a way to curb sexually motivated mounting. It is best to put away neutering at young ages as it might have long-term health implications. In any case, go ahead as per the advice of your vet for the best results.