Why Do Dogs Hump

Dr Kate Mornement - Pet Behaviourist profile picture

Dr Kate Mornement - Pet Behaviourist

PhD in Companion Animal Behaviour, BSc(Hons) in Zoology

Dr Kate Mornement is an Applied Animal Behaviourist, Consultant and Educator to pet parents, industry, government and media. She has a PhD which focused on companion animal behaviour from Monash University and a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Zoology (Animal Behaviour) from La Trobe University.

Why Do Dogs Hump

If you’ve observed your dog humping other dogs, humans or toys you may be asking yourself “why does my dog hump?” Or maybe you’ve seen your dog being humped by another dog?

Humping is a common behaviour in both male and female dogs and can cause pet parents much embarrassment! Although it’s a normal behaviour, humping tends to reduce as puppies grow, especially following desexing.

So why do dogs hump and how can you prevent it from becoming a habit?

How to Identify Dog Humping

Humping is easily recognised when a puppy or adult dog mounts and then thrusts their hips repeatedly, mimicking mating behaviour. This behaviour can be seen in both puppies and adult dogs.

Why do dogs hump?

Although humping is typically related to mating behaviour, dogs can hump for other reasons such as relief from stress or over-excitement, to assert themselves in social interactions, because it feels good or because the behaviour results in attention from people.

Who or what do dogs hump?

Dogs tend to hump people or other dogs. They may be selective about which dogs and people they hump. For example, dogs might only hump other dogs who allow them to engage in the behaviour as not all dogs tolerate being humped.

Sometimes dogs develop a habit of humping a particular cushion or blanket.

How to Control your Dog Humping

There a few things you can do to help stop your dog humping other dogs, humans and toys:

  1. Desex your dog to reduce humping due to sexual behaviour as they mature
  2. Alleviate stress and anxiety where possible by providing appropriate exercise, training, socialisation and enrichment opportunities
  3. If you catch your dog humping, put them on lead and separate them from the person or other dog or take away the item they’re humping
  4. Avoid inadvertently rewarding your dog’s humping behaviour with attention (e.g. laughing and pointing). Instead, reward them with attention, treats and praise when they don’t hump

Dogs humping other dogs, humans or toys is quite common. However putting these strategies in place can help put a stop to the unwanted behaviour.

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