Let’s talk HUMPING!!! (PG Rated!)

In May 9, 2018
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And it’s not just male dogs that exhibit this behavior!

 Puppies begin humping each other early. Its the way they divide themselves into submissive and aggressive behaviors within the dog pack and is TOTALLY normal. And no, spaying and neutering do not curtail this. And no, the dog humping another pup will not be the alpha dog once away from the pack, nor exhibit aggressive behavior then or later. Trust me, I’ve watched this for 30 years now.

From personal experience, I observed this behavior in a 4-year-old spayed rescue dog (Schnauzer mix) when my daughter was 4-5 years old. Out of nowhere, she began humping my daughter occasionally. My daughter didn’t know what was going on so she just giggled. I didn’t scold Ally, I just let it happen, then one day, about a couple weeks later, it stopped. She had viewed my daughter, Olivia, as a littermate and was establishing herself as the alpha.  She was never aggressive–nothing–it was just the way she established her pecking order, and that was that.

As people know who own cows, they will hump each other signaling to the farmer that they are going into season. Dogs do the same thing. And no, just taking out their ovaries will not mean she’ll never do this again– it’s not just physiological, its social.

Even a casual observer of canine interaction can tell you that humping behaviors involve everything from stuffed animals to couch pillows, from human arms to table legs. Answering the question, “Why do male dogs hump other male dogs,” then, requires us to shift our perspective a bit. Dog humping happens for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. Non-sexual play as puppies
  2. Social interaction as they reach maturity
  3. Pleasure and self-gratification
  4. Stress relief
  5. Urinary tract problems

First, let’s ask a better question about dog humping

Dogs indiscriminate about their humping. Boy dogs hump other boy dogs and girl dogs hump other girl dogs. Melvin Pena says, “Humans ascribe moral or ethical systems to everything, including having a wide range of conflicting notions of sexual propriety. Therefore we think it odd, strange or even comical that sexual congress should take place outside of our well-organized mental frameworks. A better question to ask is, “Why do even spayed or neutered dogs engage in humping or mounting activities?”

 

Why do neutered/spayed dogs hump?

“Spaying and neutering may lessen a dog’s sex drive, but they do not completely eliminate the joy of stimulation, nor do these operations address the other functions that humping serves. Male dogs humping even after being neutered may have a component of social organization or assertion of dominance, but fighting, sniffing and territorial marking all play larger roles in that context. Fixed male dogs may continue to hump different- and same-sex dogs for a number of reasons, most of which can be dealt with through training, attention or distraction,” Melvin Pena explains.

Dog humping can be a response to stress and anxiety

If you live in a single-dog household and find that your male dog humps other males upon meeting them in the dog park or at home? Humping is one way that dogs deal with the anxiety of first contact scenarios. This can be inconvenient or awkward when unwanted attention leads to fighting. Gently nudge them off and distract them–or just keep on walking the other direction.

A similar answer can be given if your dog regularly humps objects around the house. This is realy rare. Training them to stop requires time, effort, and a wealth of distractions. Does your humping male dog have sufficient toys to play with when you are out of the house? Is he getting sufficient exercise during a typical week? Distraction and redirection can be useful strategies if male dog humping is becoming problematic. Perhaps you play fetch or tug-of-war the moment humping begins, and reward him for stopping.

Medical problems could be causing the behavior

Excessive humping, along with excessive licking or biting at their erogenous zones, can be outward symptoms of internal health problems. A dog who only humped sporadically, if at all, and is now doing it all the time may be suffering from allergies or a urinary tract infection. Problems urinating can cause a male dog to seek relief in any way he can, including humping.

“It may sound strange, but if you notice a dog maintaining erections for extended periods of time, he may be dealing with priapism. We all know from endless erectile dysfunction commercials that long-lasting erections can be painful and require medical assistance. Though priapism is rare in dogs, it does occur, and humping is one way dogs may seek to self-medicate. If your male dog is humping other males, females or random things in your home with increasing frequency, it could be a sign not of a behavioral issue, but of a medical one in need of veterinary attention,” according to Dogster Magazine’s blog.

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Thank you for this great article. I think that many people think that spaying and neutering could curtail dog humping.

  2. Solveig, you didn’t read the article. Spaying and neutering does NOT curtail humping.

  3. Thank you Donna . This has validated my point. Our vet will continue her work up on Sophie, our spayed 13 year old, I knew Ben was trying to tell us that she was ill. After her

    her antibiotic therapy the next step will be a work up for an adrenal tumor which we were avoiding because. of her age.

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