Have you ever found yourself sitting on the couch and watching TV? Then all of a sudden, your dog came up to you and started humping your leg? If so, you’re not alone. This is a very common issue with canines! However, it can be very embarrassing, especially if your canine companion decides to hump one of your friends or relatives!
If you’re wondering about this behavior, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together information on dogs and this type of behavior. Let’s get started!
Why Do Dogs Hump?
Humping or mounting is a behavior that may seem as if it’s tied to a sexual maneuver. However, it’s not always tied to that. Humping is both a learned and instinctive behavior that’s completely normal for dogs.
However, it could become a problem if your dog humps people, other dogs (that don’t want to be humped), or if this behavior becomes excessive.
But what causes dogs to hump? There are several reasons for this behavior.
1. Being Playful
Dogs sometimes engage in play humping, which sounds strange but is entirely normal between dogs. The behavior isn’t a problem unless one of the dogs doesn’t want to be humped (mounted). There are dogs who regularly play hump together, back and forth, and both are completely fine. Some dogs enjoy this behavior.
However, there are other dogs who aren’t comfortable with being humped. If your dog seems to be annoyed or distressed by another dog’s humping, it’s best to break it up.
2. Medical Issues
Humping may also be caused by certain health conditions. For instance, urinary tract infections or having a persistent erection may cause this behavior. Other medical causes can include licking their private area, rubbing against furniture, and more.
If your dog is showing these symptoms, it’s time to make an appointment with the vet. The vet can examine your dog to make sure your canine companion doesn’t have an underlying health condition causing him to hump.
3. Stress & Boredom
Boredom and stress may drive a dog to hump other dogs or people’s legs. This might be the case for a dog who doesn’t get enough exercise or lives in a stressful environment. Without the right amount of exercise, dogs may develop excess energy. When this happens and the dog’s bored, he will make his own entertainment.
His idea of entertainment, however, may not go well with you! Your canine companion may choose to hump your leg, the furniture, another dog, and more. He releases tension and gets attention! Even if the attention is negative, it’s something!
4. Sexual Stimulation
Dogs may occasionally masturbate for pleasure and relief. There’s nothing wrong with this, and it is entirely normal. The dog may hump to explore their own bodies, too. This doesn’t mean your dog is perverted or psychologically ill. It is the dog’s own expression of sexuality and is a normal canine activity.
Even young dogs and puppies may experiment with humping. They’re only learning about how their body works and exploring sexual desire. This is also normal behavior for dogs.
5. Socialization Problems
Dogs that are not properly socialized may also hump the air, objects, dogs, and people’s legs. Without socialization, dogs don’t learn that this is an unacceptable behavior. So, the dog keeps mounting. It may also be that a dog has suffered trauma and/or physical abuse. This may also cause a dog to mount.
6. A Compulsive Behavior
Your dog may also try to hump your leg, other dogs, and objects compulsively. This is called a stereotypy, which is a serious behavioral problem in dogs.
These actions may appear if a dog is not well cared for or has suffered (or is suffering) abuse. The behavior becomes compulsive and can even lead to a dog mutilating themselves.
Dogs that seem to hump compulsively need to see a vet and/or a canine ethologist.
What to Do If Your Dog is Humping You
After ruling out medical and behavioral problems, then you may want to consider training your dog to stop humping. This may take a while, but with patience and consistency, you may be able to break your dog off this behavior.
Try these methods to stop your dog from humping everything in sight!
Catch Your Dog While He’s Doing It
The place to start is when you catch your dog in the act of humping. Right then, it’s essential to stop your dog. Call your dog’s name and say a word such as “off” or “stop.” The word “no” isn’t a great choice here as it’s used in other commands and in regular conversations.
Using the word “down” may also be confusing to your dog. He knows he’s supposed to lie down when you give that command! So, try using words such as “off” or “stop.”
Offer a Reward
When your dog responds correctly to the command “off” or “stop,” then offer a reward such as a toy or treat. Your fur baby may also love some attention for his good behavior. Choose a reward that your dog responds to the best.
If possible, remove the target of your canine companion’s humping. If your dog is humping another person, it may be necessary to take your dog out of the room for a while.
For a dog that doesn’t respond to the command to stop, then you may need to lure him away with a high-value reward. This reward should be something your dog finds appealing, such as a treat or a favorite toy. Be consistent when giving your dog the command to stop humping. Each time he starts again, lure him away.
Be sure to praise your dog when he moves away and turn his attention to the reward.
Seek Professional Help
If training doesn’t work to break your dog’s humping behavior, then it may be time to seek help. You may want to consider hiring a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to work with your dog.
Summing It Up
Humping behavior in dogs is completely normal; however, it can become problematic. For dogs that don’t stop after your training efforts, it’s a good idea to see the vet and/or a dog trainer or behaviorist to help solve your fur baby’s compulsive humping!