Like most animals in the world, dogs also have different ways to express themselves. Most of the time, dogs use vocal sounds and body language to communicate their feelings, motives, and desires to their human companions.
As the dog’s owner, it is essential for you to understand the canine nature to communicate better with them. While most canine behaviour is pretty easy to understand, some behaviour can seem a bit strange.
One of these behaviours is humping. While mounting on other dogs and humping is a natural behaviour in dog’s, why would they hump their owners. Some dogs even hump and bite at the same time.
There are many reasons why your dog might do this. Some of these reasons are related to anxiety, attention-seeking, playfulness, and lack of exercise. Another reason is sexual arousal. Your dog might hump you or objects to show that they are happy.
Most people may find it surprising that dog humping behaviour towards an owner is mainly most of the time utterly unrelated to sex.
When they are trying to hump another dog, it is usually for sexual reasons or some kind of dominance over the other dog.
But when your pet is trying to hump you, sex is the last thing on their mind.
It does not matter whether you approve of this behaviour or not. It is always interesting to know why your dog showcases this particular behaviour.
Humping Behaviour In Dogs
The first thing you need to know about this issue is that there is no single reason to explain it.
Canine body language and behaviour is a very diverse and complex topic.
The same kind of behaviour of one dog can mean something completely different when another dog showcases it.
The reason for a certain kind of behaviour often has a deep-rooted connection to the individual characteristics of the animal and the context of the situation.
So while you try to analyse the humping behaviour of your dog, you need to consider its expression, posture, and attitude carefully. It would help if you also thought of any external motivation or triggers that might lead to this action.
Will neutering stop my dog from humping?
Neutering doesn’t always resolve or limit your dog from humping. The best way to stop your dog from humping is to find the trigger reason why they hump in the first place. There are many reasons why a dog displays this behaviour. See below the list of potential triggers a dog will hump.
11 Triggers Why A Dog Will Hump
I have put together 11 possible reasons why your dog will display the humping behaviour and what you can do next to resolve it.
You should work through the list and see if you can figure out which trigger suits your dog for you to correct it.
1. Sexual Reasons
As it is evident, humping in itself is a sexual behaviour only to us humans. So when a dog displays this behaviour, we automatically assume it’s also sexual; however, this is not the case with dogs.
Generally, dogs have a higher sexual drive. So, if your dog has not been socialised and trained correctly, they may showcase this humping behaviour now and then.
To understand whether the behaviour is sexually motivated or not, you can observe this behaviour when it occurs and retrace your steps.
For example, in animal shelters, volunteers often get humped by male dogs if they can smell or notice a female dog in heat beforehand.
This will stimulate the dog’s natural desire, so if you have not been in contact with a female dog on heat beforehand, you can rule out that this is sexually motivated.
2. Itchy Genitals
Your dog is maybe exhibiting humping behaviour if they are suffering from underlying health issues, like skin allergies or urinary tract infections.
In this case, humping may occur when the dog is scratching their genitals.
It is essential to know the trigger of this kind of behaviour rather than the root cause of the problem.
If you know the trigger, you can then resolve it.
Check your dog’s genitals for any redness or sores. If any is displayed, then you and your dog will need a trip to the vets.
Your dog could be trying to hump your hand or leg if they want to play with you.
This is not direct sexual behaviour. Your dog is just very excited at this moment and loves the way you are playing.
Such behaviour is pretty typical among young dogs and puppies.
While playing with each other, young puppies often mount on their playmates and try to hump each other, just through non-sexual excitement.
In this case, a simple correction command would be advised and stopping playtime for a while.
Your dog could be bored or stressed. For example, not ensuring sufficient walks and exercise can lead to your dog becoming bored.
If your dog does not get any chance to channel their accumulated energy, they can get stressed.
In this case, the bored dog will try to find alternative ways to release their accumulated tension.
While some dogs can start showcasing destructive behaviour, others develop behaviour, like humping legs, doh toys, blankets, or other dogs.
In this situation, you should try to increase your dog’s exercise time and mental stimulation.
5. Sign Of Illness
Humping can be a very prominent sign of a health issue for your pet dog. Anxiety, stress, and other behaviours associated with over-excitement can also lead to this behaviour.
In such cases, your dog will start to showcase this behaviour rather suddenly and excessively.
Various hormonal issues and autoimmune diseases can lead to humping.
The dogs often use this exaggerated and repetitive gesture of humping to reduce their pain and discomfort.
Dogs suffering from bone diseases, like hip dysplasia, or problems like urinary tract infection, often showcase excessive humping behaviour.
That is why if you notice that your dog has started to showcase humping behaviour excessively and suddenly, you should get in touch with the veterinarian.
Improper leadership can also lead to a dog humping an object, like your leg, or the air uncontrollably.
The lack of proper leadership and neglect can make dogs develop this behaviour as a route of escape.
This problem is generally associated with dogs that have been mentally or physically abused in their past.
If you know of your dog’s background and believe your dog hadn’t had the best start in life before you adopted them.
Give your dog time to settle into your home and to feel at ease, correct them through voice commands and show leadership the proper way.
Provide your dog with agility training to give them confidence and a task to achieve and get rewarded.
7. Compulsive Behaviour
If your dog tries to hump other people, objects, or dogs constantly, you may be dealing with a compulsive behaviour-related issue.
Compulsive behaviour is a severe problem when it comes to dogs. If you do address this problem right away, it can lead to self-mutilations as well.
Compulsive behaviour will also come along with other behaviours such as pacing, barking, chasing unseen objects, licking the air for no reason, freezing and staring and generally acting out of sorts.
Suppose your dog displays any of these behaviours as well as excessive humping. In that case, you should most certainly consult with a veterinarian right away and a local dog behaviourist in your area.
Most dogs are always full of energy, and they do not require much reason to get excited. However, nothing can excite them more than to find their owner returning to them. This behaviour is especially noted among high-energy dogs and young puppies.
In this case, you should enter the house or seeing them for the first time in the morning and not give any attention to your dog until they settle down.
By doing this, you dont need to correct the dog for this behaviour because hopefully, they will have settled down enough to not hump by then.
9. Attention Seeking behaviour
While humping your leg might be a weird way to seek attention, but dogs often use this tactic to get your total concentration.
If you do not give them the necessary attention while they jump up at you or bark, they will try their luck using another method such as humping.
In this case, you need to showcase your leadership and say, hey, no, this isn’t what you should be doing. A correction command would resolve this if your dog is trained. Such as the command “down.”
If your dog is not trained in the basic commands, this requirement is vital for you and your dog to communicate.
You should contact a local dog trainer and start training your dog with the basic commands.
Please note, regardless of their size, you should train even small dogs.
It’s part of being a responsible dog parent.
The Basic Commands
- Stay or Place
- Come or Here
- Leave it
The saying goes, a dog is as good as its owner, which is very accurate. Most of the time, a dogs behaviour is down to the owner’s actions or no actions in some cases.
It would be best if you displayed guidance and leadership qualities to your dog. This in its self can dramatically reduce any unwanted behaviours in dogs.
Your dog may have learned this behaviour to be okay over time as they have never been corrected.
Dogs keep on showcasing this type of behaviour from a very young age.
For example, perhaps you have adopted a dog, and the past owners have ever sounded excited through laughing at the humping behaviour. Perhaps more than often, they or you have ignored it and just let them carry on humping without correction.
Over time your dog will think this is okay, and then humping becomes a habit. It can be difficult to resolve due to the confusion for your dog.
In this case, being able to communicate with your dog correctly is vital. You and your dog must learn the basic commands for this.
You must be consistent and not ignore or laugh when they are displaying this behaviour.
Also, make sure that all the other household members understand that you are trying to resolve this habit.
Getting house members on board with helping with the commands would be very beneficial. Or if they can see the dog displaying the behaviour to make you aware of it and correct it.
11. Social Ordering
Social ordering and leadership play a significant role in the humping behaviour of dogs. Some dogs hump to establish their dominance over other dogs. However, on sparse occasions, it can be displayed towards owners or other household members.
The type of dog that keeps on showcasing humping behaviour of this kind has an excessively dominant nature and wants to rule.
In this case, you need to show your leadership.
Training your dog for the basic commands will help you establish your leadership qualities to your dog.
Your dog will understand that you are the person in charge, and humping should stop.
This type of leadership takeback can also control dogs that bark through anxiety, as they don’t worry about protecting their owners as much. You take that responsibility away from them by showcasing your leadership.
If you have a fully trained dog, then you will need to start some behaviour modification training.
A local trainer in modification should help you achieve this. Usually, dog trainers aren’t specialised in this type of behaviour, so you will need to make sure that you find a trainer that does.
Social ordering is usually mainly showcased among dogs. However, the above suggestions are in the rarer cases its aimed towards people.
I am speaking from experience. The most common reason dogs hump is purely through the excitement of seeing their owners and having playtime with them. It’s not sexual at all! If your dog is well trained, then use the commands they have been taught.
If your dog is not trained, then this is where you need to start to resolve the humping problem.
It is much easier to communicate to a dog in a way they understand, and this is taught through basic command training methods.
About the Author
Teresa has studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition. She loves sharing her knowledge and educating through her articles. Teresa has some pets that she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster.