Humping in dogs is a well-known behavior. Contrary many people’s misconceptions, humping/mounting is not a dominant behavior or sexual behavior. Humping may be observed when dogs are playing with each other, fighting during mating, and even when they’re bored.
Dogs will incorporate many different behaviors in their play. Dogs can exhibit natural behaviors when playing such as chasing after, stalking, and pouncing. These cues are used to cue dogs when they hunt. They also use mouthing and wrestling for fighting behaviors. And humping is a sexual cue.
Practice for real life situations may require play behavior. Dogs with good socialization are able recognize that play is fun by using behavioral cues.
When two dogs are fighting, one will often try to defeat the other. Mounting uses the dog’s entire body weight to subdue its opponent.
Dogs often exhibit a high level of energy arousal when they hump. Their game may be with you. When you stop playing or ignore them, they may hump on your leg or on a nearby cushion. It’s an energy release that can be frustrating for owners.
Dogs sometimes hump their frustrations or boredom through boredom. This could indicate that their owners are anxious or stressed. They should give their dog the stimulation they need. The dog may also display mounting behavior, which is a sign they are having difficulty coping. Just like humans, we can show displacement cues by checking our watches, playing with jewelry, and looking at our phones constantly.
When is Humping a Problem
Dogs can hump for a few seconds between themselves as part of their play. As an example, playing and running can lead to dogs taking turns mounting each other, which is a harmless expression that they are excited about. Some dogs dislike being mounted. This is why it is important to work hard to avoid even the slightest of mounting.
It’s easier to curb humping if caught early and not waiting until it becomes a recurring habit. While it may be funny to laugh the first occasion your dog does a hump, the long-term effect is to intervene immediately to change the behavior.
How can you stop your dog’s humping from happening?
A dog that humps or licks their body or shows other signs of distress may have medical issues. A visit to your veterinarian is recommended if this is the case.
It’s also important that you consider the stressors which might be causing your dog’s behavior to change. Do they get enough exercise or stimulation? What are their triggers?
Once you have ruled the medical and environmental causes out, it is time to turn your attention towards behavioral solutions. Training is key to making your home hump-free. Effective training is important as it establishes your authority.
This is good both for the dog and for you. It can be calming for your dog to know that you are trustworthy. It will be easier for them to get along and socialize with other dogs. Take the opportunity to sign up for training classes. Or, if you really want to go all out, you can enroll in Canine Good Citizen (CGC).
It doesn’t matter if your pet is well trained and still humps. Redirecting is the best treatment for humping. This lets the dog know the behavior is unacceptable, and it allows positive reinforcement if they follow through. The dog should be asked to sit, stay or lie down when the humping begins. If they do, you can reward them with a treat. Another option is to redirect your dog by giving them a game of fetch, or taking him outside to exercise.