fbpx
Pet Friendly House

Dog Humping – Why They Do It , What is Normal

Picture of a Jack Russell

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dog Humping

Seeing your dog hump your leg or that of a friend will fill you up with mixed emotions. On the one hand, you have to admit that it’s pretty funny, and if your friend has a sense of humour, none of you will take it too seriously.

On the other hand, it can be a pretty complicated issue to manage, especially if you have people coming over that you don’t consider close and that you’d hate explaining to why your Fido does what he or she does. By the way, we included ‘she’ here because female dogs can engage in some serious dog humping, too.

Dog parents can be mortified due to these behaviors, but the truth is that dogs don’t ever consider your embarrassment whenever they choose to do something. Don’t take it personally – they don’t hump someone’s leg just because they want to make you feel uncomfortable. That’s the last possible thing that’s going through your pet’s mind.

When do dogs start humping?

Mounting is considered a learned behavior, so it can even start to happen when your dog was a puppy. Puppies can begin mounting as early as six or seven weeks of age, after their whelping period has ended. As soon as they gain control over their legs, they start humping each other.

So, if you’re thinking that something in your environment, your dog’s past experiences, or anything else might have triggered the humping, the truth is that it’s quite likely that you’re not at fault and that your canine buddy learned mounting at a very early age, when you weren’t even present in his or her life.

Pups engage in humping as a form of exploration, play, and to find out as much as possible about the possible hierarchies among the litter.

Why do dogs hump?

We already mentioned that they do it for social ordering, especially when it comes to integration in a new group. Some dogs can hump others to show them that they are dominant over them (and that can happen with males on males and females on females) and they’ll also do it to see whether they’ll submit or not.

What other reasons are there?

  • Sexual gratification

Yes, it’s true, some dogs will find pleasure when humping your leg or when humping toys or other dogs. Dogs masturbate using this technique, and since they have rather strong sex drives, they will want to do it quite often. And get this – the more they do it, the more they want to do it again. It’s true that it is more common in dogs that weren’t neutered or spayed, but it can also fail to cease if your Fido has gotten ‘the snip’.

  • Play

It might be unclear or might seem befuddling to some people why dogs begin to hump as a form of play, but they do it anyway and from when they’re very young. While we might think that it’s ‘unnatural’ for a puppy that’s only one and a half month of age to hump another, the truth is that they might do it as part of normal play.

Furthermore, you’ll notice that they can switch positions. There is this theory that they start mounting as a form of play to ‘practice’ the sexual experiences they’ll have once they become older, but nothing has been proven until now.

  • Itchy genitals

As unsavoury as it might sound, we have to ask you this question. Have you ever itched so bad that you couldn’t wait to scratch? Maybe you couldn’t even control yourself and had to do it right away or you did it without even realizing it.

Let’s just hope that the itching happened in a less… sensitive area and that you weren’t judged for it. But you know the feeling and you know how good it feels when you finally scratch that itch. That’s precisely what your canine companion wants — that satisfaction. And if he or she is is suffering from an allergy or a urinary tract infection, humping can provide a momentary much-needed relief.

  • Habit

This is the biggest issue of all because breaking a habit is very hard for humans, and even more so for animals; you can’t even tell your dog why he isn’t supposed to hump your leg or various things around the house. Actually, you can tell him, but it’s unlikely that he will get the message and behave accordingly.

You have to remember that humping is pleasurable to dogs, so they find no reason whatsoever to stop. Some will do it for sexual gratification, others when they are feeling anxious, and some will want to mount every little surface in your home just because they are bored out of their mind. Finding the cause of this behavior is the first step that you can take toward solving it.

Because there are a lot of misconceptions with regard to dog humping and many people still have a lot of questions, we decided to tackle them all below.

Picture of several dogs in a park

Why do dogs hump toys? Most of the times, they do it out of boredom or for sexual gratification. However, they can also do it to mark the toy as being theirs, especially in households where they share their living space with another dog. That’s why it is not uncommon for you to notice that your dog humps his favorite toy. Not only does it bring him or her comfort, but it’s also a way of ensuring that it remains your dog’s possession.

Why do neutered dogs hump? Getting your dog fixed doesn’t solve the problem, especially if the surgery was performed after he or she has entered the first heat cycle. So, if you got your dog neutered or spayed after the age of 5-7 months, it’s quite likely that he or she developed the humping habit on account of the hormonal changes having happened already.

Your dog’s memory retains the fact that humping is associated with some kind of pleasure or satisfaction, and even if it might not be the same after he was neutered, there are still many other reasons to do it, and one of the most important ones is establishing dominance. Another mistake that most dog parents make is that they expect the neutering procedure to work like a charm and have immediate results in this sense. Actually, it takes a while for your dog not to have any sexual drive, sometimes even several months.

Why do female dogs hump? While it might be true that they engage in mounting a lot less compared to their male counterparts, female dogs can hump, too. If you’ve noticed the mating ritual several times by now, you might have noticed that some females like to hump the male as part of the foreplay. Other than that, she can do it for dominance-related reasons, too, but also because it’s a habit she got when she was a puppy.

Does neutering or spaying your dog reduce humping? Most of the times, yes, it does. However, as you might know already, there are always exceptions to a rule, and if you end up neutering or spaying your canine companion later on in his/her life, it’s practically impossible to eliminate this kind of behavior completely.

Think of it this way — if your dog has loved humping everything and everyone for the whole 8 years he’s lived and then you decide to get him neutered, what are the chances of the behavior disappearing entirely if he’s done it for most of his life? They’re practically null. If you’ve ever heard the saying ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’, you know what to expect. Therefore, our recommendation is to get your dog neutered or spayed at the first sign of humping, so way before it becomes a habit.

Do male dogs ejaculate when they hump? Not every time. If they do it for sexual gratification, they will, especially if they are not neutered. Nonetheless, we already mentioned that humping can be a result of a variety of causes, so it doesn’t have to happen each and every single time. But it might occur on occasion, and as you might expect, that can make it even more uncomfortable for the pet parent.

Why do male dogs hump other male dogs? This can usually be seen either as a type of habit that was developed during years and years, but also as a sexual interest of a dominant male towards an adolescent male dog. When they are around ten months of age, dogs release a lot of pheromones that could confuse other male dogs. And they can be mistaken for females.

Medical problems

Any problems related to urination, local infections (penile yeast infections included – balanitis, especially), as well as allergies, will make a dog mount because of the itchiness. Under these circumstances, the poor animal is only looking for relief.

However, there is another less common, yet possible medical issue that can be encountered in some dogs and it’s called priapism. It happens when your dog maintains an erection for extended periods of time. Even though it is somewhat rare in dogs, it does occur, and humping other dogs, your leg, or things around the house is a sort of ‘self-medicating’ attempt. Take your dog to the vet if you see that your dog engages in humping often and has an erection for a long time (even a whole day).

How to stop a dog from humping

It can be a challenge to handle this task and you might wonder how to get a dog to stop humping if you haven’t been faced with this problem before. The first step would be to get your dog spayed or neutered, but do keep in mind that this way of action doesn’t necessarily guarantee success.

To handle the situation of a neutered dog humping, you have to find out what triggers this type of behavior. It can be boredom, anxiety, the presence of something or someone in his or her living environment, or competition with other dogs over things or attention. Let’s face it, your dog will definitely get you to pay attention whenever he starts humping your leg, right?

Punishing your dog for this type of behavior is not the right way of going about things. Most of the times, your pet doesn’t understand what’s so wrong about humping. Our canine friends do not live by the same social norms we try so much to abide by and they couldn’t care less about embarrassment, especially when it’s put side by side with the feeling of being paid attention to or receiving sexual gratification.

One way of trying to keep your dog’s ‘advances’ at bay would be to slowly but firmly get up and stop paying attention to him. Many dogs like negative attention rather than not getting any at all. However, this can also make them aggressive, in which case you have to consult the opinion of a dog behavior specialist.

If it’s not excessive, it’s normal

As much as you might not like this conclusion, it’s true. If you notice that your canine companion occasionally humps other dogs, toys, or blankets, it’s a perfectly normal activity, even if you have a male neutered dog.

However, if you notice that the behavior is consistent and happens often, you should consult a veterinarian and a behaviorist to rule out medical issues and behavioral complications that could lead to the development of aggressive tendencies.

Related posts

Putting a Dog to Sleep | What to Expect when Euthanizing a Dog

Cristina Vulpe PhD

Health Signs to Never Ignore in Dogs

Cristina Vulpe PhD

Dog Farts – Flatulence and Gas Problems in Dogs

Jason Homan

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.