Why Does My Dog…Hump?
“Dear Barks and Recreation, my dog is always humping his toys and other dogs! He is neutered and I am worried this is him being dominant. Why does he do this and what can I do?”
Humping is commonly mistaken as dominance. Most of the time dogs hump because of simple arousal, stress, or normal dog play. Dogs practice all sorts of natural behaviours during play, including instinctual sexual patterns, as play is a way for animals to rehearse hunting and social skills in a safe manner. This is one reason we will often see dogs, even neutered or spayed ones, mounting each other, people’s legs, or inanimate objects. Humping can most often be attributed to a simple arousal behaviour, meaning that the dog is just excited or stressed. As dog daycare operators, we deal with humping on a daily basis!
If humping is bothersome to you, it can be humanely and effectively dealt with in the following manner:
1. Don’t make a big deal of it. If you make a big huff and fuss, your dog may decide that humping is a fun way to get your attention.
2. Interrupt, Redirect and Reinforce. Get your dog’s attention in a positive manner by saying it’s name or making a “kissy” sound. Then, give him something appropriate to do and reward him with something he enjoys like a good pet, play session, or yummy piece of food.
3. Manage The Environment. Make sure your dog doesn’t have access to anything he likes to mount when you can’t supervise to interrupt and redirect.
4. Teach a New Behaviour. Reinforce your dog with a small piece of tasty food or a short play session whenever it behaves how you prefer in a situation where it could be prone to mounting.
While humping is embarrassing for us humans, it’s totally normal dog behaviour. Until next time, be kind to your dog and happy training!
Sarah Fulcher is a Certified Dog Trainer and animal behaviour consultant with Barks and Recreation from Trail, BC. If you have a question you’d like answered, feel free to Contact Us.