Understanding Dog Humping Behaviors

Updated on October 6, 2016

Humping can cause dog fights

Source

The following cliche' is quite a popular one, perhaps one dog owners would probably want to forget all about and cancel it from other people's mind once and for all. You have some guests over for the very first time, your home smells great, you offered a sumptuous meal, and now you are settling on the coach showing them pictures of your recent wedding. Then seconds later comes Rover which as if it was the most natural behavior in the world, goes on a humping frenzy in front of all the guests, grandma and children included. Embarrassed, you take Rover by the collar and off he goes to his crate for a time-out.

Later that day, you start wondering what is going on Rover's mind and think that perhaps time has come to neuter him once and for all. But wait, did you know that humping in dogs is not always sexual? Neutering therefore may not solve the problem as expected (even though it may reduce it significantly if is mostly the effect of hormones). So what can you do next time? Well, first of all a good step is to try to figure out exactly what may be going on in Rover's mind.

How to Curb the Behavior

Curbing this embarrassing behavior requires determining why the dog is humping in the first place. For instance, if a dog is humping out of raging hormones, according to Vetinfo, neutering may reduce humping behaviors in 60% of the cases. If the dog is humping you, you may want to determine under what circumstances the behavior happens. In case of humping pillows or other toys when left home alone, a dog may be helped by removing such items and offering more stimulating toys such as stuffed Kongs or other puzzles. Severe cases may need medical management with drugs.

Humping due to a bully atttiude is rude behavior at the dog park and may cause serious dog fights. This behavior should be discouraged,especially when the other dogs are not happy to be humped. And obviously, humping due to an irritation should be investigated by a veterinarian. But don't be too fast to label your dog as rude; humping can also be due to stress, arousal, anxiety and some dogs hump just for play.

Causes of Humping Behaviors in Dogs

Often dog owners assume that only intact males humps, but surprisingly females engage in this behavior as well, at times even the spayed ones! This explains that humping is not always sexual behavior, but rather stems from other canine motives. Unfortunately, for embarrassed dog owners, humping is quite a natural behavior in dogs, so if you love dogs, that is part of their canine behaviors you will have to deal with every now and then. Of course, if you know what may be causing the behavior, you may curb it as needed.


  • Sexual Behavior

Of course on top of the list is sexual behavior, but it's not as often as thought. Yes, your intact male be aroused and vent off its sexual frustrations using its favorite stuffed animal or other unfortunate animals that live with you. This can be further exacerbated if there is a female in heat nearby, since male dogs appear to sense a female in heat from up to 3-5 miles away, depending on the breed and the direction where the wind is blowing.

If you have recently neutered you male dog, do not get upset if he still humps for some time, since it takes some time for the testosterone levels to lower. Give it a bit of time, but if the humping behavior was mostly out of assertiveness, expect it to not subside as desired.

Curiously, females in heat may engage in humping behaviors as well, and it does not matter if the other dog is a female. This is quite normal behavior that is often seen in multi-dog households. This behavior may not only be sexual per se', but can also be a sign of a status-seeking attitude, towards another dog.

  • Bully Behavior

And then we have dogs humping merely to make a point. This dog is humping simply to tell the other dogs he is a bully Humping however, may elicit fights if the other dog is not willing to be the humpee. If the dog is humping humans, you must evaluate in what context this happens. However, keep in mind that dog "dominance" is a often an overused default explanation for many behaviors in dogs that are simply caused by a dog that simply was not taught otherwise. For more on this please read: Dog dominance, myth or truth?


  • Play Behavior

If you watch puppies play, you will notice that they will engage in humping behaviors at a young age. This is done just for play as they are practicing behaviors they will engage in when they grow up into adults. The principle is the same such as play fighting, and play hunting.


  • Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors

At times, dogs engage in humping behaviors to vent off frustration. For instance, a dog that is left at home alone for large amounts of time, may engage in humping behaviors to get relief from their frustration. If this is done frequently enough, there are chances this behavior may become an obsessive compulsive behavior difficult to eradicate.


  • Itchiness or Irritation

Dog humping is not always stemming from sexual behavior or assertive behaviors, at times, some local irritation may cause frustration in the dog and humping is a good way to get rid of it. Rule out something itchy going on down there by expecting for irritated skin or unusual bumps. Consider this especially if you own a dog that has never engaged in humping behaviors before.


Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        5 years ago from USA

        Nothing stooopid about your questions. I'm sure they cause some head scratching in those who study wolf behavior. My take is that yes, boredom may play a role but also the fact that dogs seem to be perpetually stuck in juvenile behaviors. I'm sure wolves in the wild have much more serious issues and play also less. If you read my article on play you'll see that play is a sign of well-being, animals that are well-fed, healthy and not stressed will play.

      • Larry Fields profile image

        Larry Fields 

        5 years ago from Northern California

        Wow, I didn't know that this canine behavior was so complex!

        Now here's my stooopid question of the day: Are humping behaviors more common in domestic dogs than in wolves? If so, there may be an element of boredom involved.

        Voted up and interesting.

      • Sinea Pies profile image

        Sinea Pies 

        7 years ago from Northeastern United States

        We have two Yellow Labs. One male (neutered) and one female (spayed). I can attest that the male does do this on occasion.

      • mrpudgy profile image

        Clifford Beaver 

        7 years ago from Winnipeg, Manitoba

        Nice. Very informative. I always wondered why my dogs in the past would do this quite often. Even to dogs of the same gender.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)