Table of Contents
- 1 Why Do Female Dogs Hump: 5 Reasons
- 2 Stop the Humping: Proven Techniques and Strategies
- 3 Preventative Measures Against Humping
Why Do Female Dogs Hump? It’s hard to answer in one sentence. The “humping” issue that almost all dog fanciers face has many reasons. It is true that female dogs are less likely to hump than male dogs. However, female canines practice this embarrassing behavior from puppyhood into adulthood. Most people think that it is natural and funny to look at, but such behavior is considered inappropriate and must be nipped in the bud by the dog owner.
Why Do Female Dogs Hump: 5 Reasons
Humping can be prevented.
The best way to do so is just to be aware of the reasons why female dogs and dogs in general do it. Dog experts and animal behaviorists came up with five reasons in the origin of this humping “issue”:
- Dogs express own dominance over a person or an object.
- Dogs express dominance over other dogs or over litter mates.
- Dogs feel stimulation on a sexual level.
- Dogs “relief” themselves of sexual desire.
- Humping has become an addiction/bad habit.
These five reasons will be described thoroughly and later we will conclude this big text with some helpful tips on how to prevent humping in your dog from happening again.
Reason 1: Female Dogs Express Dominance Over a Person or an Object
Humping in such case is considered to be the ultimate showcase of dog’s bossing predisposition towards everyone around. The humping is an inherent behavior in all dogs and dogs are territorial and hierarchical animals. However, speaking of dominance as of the only reason for humping is pointless, as the nature of dogs is versatile and complex at the same time. Speaking in a word, stress, anxiety and emotional outbursts can make the humping thing reveal itself more than as if the dominance was the only reason. When showing dominance, dogs tend to growl and show their teeth. This is why humping is slightly beyond normal – why an animal armed with teeth would do something like that while one severe grin is all it takes? Don’t forget that humping depends entirely on the dog’s emotional nature and current status, when the event is triggered. It is a great opportunity to observe the pre-humping behavior and cease it (read also Bobmckee.com).
A dog humping your leg is the display of dominance that must be stopped immediately! You are the boss as your dog depends solely on you and it must not forget this simple truth. If such mounting behavior occurs, it’s the sign to applying one of the behavior modification techniques that we will discuss later.
Reason 2: Humping to Express Dominance Over Other Dogs or Litter Mates
Now, this is the most common reason. When a female puppy humps a litter mate, there can be more reasons for that than simple dominance. It is evident that all puppies like to play and humping is part of playing. Humping can be considered a natural way of learning sexual behavior and orienting it for adulthood – it teaches how to interact. Both reasons (playing and sexual behavior) are vital for a female puppy to grow into a well socialized bitch that is capable of bearing litters. This is the way all dogs were “invented” by the evolution, frankly saying, all living beings, including…us.
Even though humping in puppies is natural, the overall behavior can be divided into a healthy and unhealthy one. Humping can become an obsession even in the early age, thus leading to constant deviation. If you notice that the puppy is becoming too carried away with this behavior, you should redirect her behavior and grab her attention by something that involves physical activity. We are speaking about common puppy games with favorite toys or task commands, if the puppy is more than two-three months old. An “attention grabber” like a favorite toy or an invitation to play and train commands/obedience is the universal positive reinforcement capable of improving the puppy’s behavior – whether it be disobedience, humping or bad trainability. When using an attention grabber, never cease the humping in a harsh manner – else, you risk creating negative behavior.
Reason 3: Females Dogs Hump to Feel Sexual Stimulation
It may sound surprising, but it happens – the dogs do hump on purpose, because they like the way it feels. Ummm… What?! Exactly! We are speaking about such forbidden topic as … masturbation. It is likely to be attributed to males, but both sexes are made the same way: every living being is another offspring of a previous generation that must bear own offspring making this cycle eternal. When a female dog comes into heat, her behavior becomes so “ignited” that the whole pack starts humping each other. The same happens when a female in heat walks into a local park where other dogs wander. This pack mentality change in a flash and the female gets very interested in every dog she meets as well as each canine passer-by feels the necessity to come closer to the dog in heat.
Reason 4: Humping Helps to Relieve Irritation
Humping helps to reduce irritation in the genital area. This is why sometimes, humping done due to sheer necessity rather than due bad habit. However, the issue that accompanies this case may result in a term known as the “OCD” or “obsessive compulsive behavior”. This is how the battle against irritation becomes a battler…for pleasure which is merely a psychic issue. The only reasonable way to treat this problem is to visit your vet, tell him/her everything about your female dog. We are 100% sure that the pet doc will prescribe some ointment to soothe out the “urge”. Parallel to evident treatment, you should also use the attention grabber we mentioned above. Another means of stopping this unwanted behavior is using an ordinary spray bottle: should the dog give male the slightest scratch, spray some water to cool her down (more about News.nationalgeographic.com).
Reason 5: Humping Has Become an Addiction
Humping provokes a serious chemical reaction in the brain, resulting in big dopamine and oxytocin discharge which both can be described as the joy and satisfaction. Even spraying is not likely to stop the addiction, but it can reduce the desire inhibiting the reproductive nature by reducing the hormonal ejection.
Stop the Humping: Proven Techniques and Strategies
Watching your pet going “physical” with your own leg or some stuffed toy is not something abnormal. Instead of reaching for a newspaper to smack the dog with, you will have to resort to an array of means that will help you with the humping issue. Let’s go through them all so that you can make up an image of how it is supposed to work.
Corrective training is the most used weapon against an outrageous act of “pushing” things around. What can you do in terms of corrective training?
- Make a loud noise. As soon as the dog starts humping, say in a strong voice “No!” or make a similar noise that will cut the process immediately. Any loud noise may be enough to startle the dog and every time she begins humping, do the same in order to make sort of an anchor in her mind. After some time the dog will learn to associate humping with an unpleasant sound – a “buzzkiller” for the dog. Your tone must be assertive and not angry at all. Otherwise, you risk heightening dog’s energy instead of lowering it. If the dog objects and doesn’t react to your voice or to the clapping, for instance, use something making a pitch-high sound like an air horn or a whistle. Perform the sound in the middle of the behavior or better prior to it, but never afterward.
- Separate yourself from the dog. A dog mounting people thus, trying to get their attention and let them know who the boss here is (not people, of course). Showing to the dog that her behavior is completely unnoticed or ignored is the best thing to prevent it from happening. You can accomplish it by turning away from the dog or by pushing her away but not punishing.
- Putting the dog in “time out”. In a persistent case you should try to remove the dog physically from the area. Take the dog out of the room into a quiet corner and let her be there on her own for a few minutes. When taking the dog for a “time out” make sure there are no toys there to play with. The “time out” is not a punishment – call it a “coolant”. After several minutes, check the dog to make sure that she is calm and take her back to the room.
- Keeping a leash on the dog. When a person who is subject to possible humping visits you, keep your dog attached to the leash. Leash is helpful at all times – whether you are training or simply passing time, walking in the park. Leash helps to control any unwanted behavior and humping is not exclusion. Should you notice the pre-humping behavior (the dog is wiggling its tail and “aiming” at another dog), pull softly the dog by the leash and walk in another direction ( see also Leash training a puppy).
- Redirecting dog’s energy. Such “aikido-like” approach is easy to perform. The key to success here is having a treat or dog’s favorite toy. Once you notice that your dog is about to begin “climbing” someone or something, show her a toy or a treat.
- Blocking the dog from temptation is another helpful hint that involves you playing an obstacle. How it works? If your dog moves towards its target and displays dominant behavior, stand between the dog and its target. Remain calm – you need slightly touch the dog with a knee to send a message. You need not hurt the dog, but to redirect its fixation and let her know that you are in charge right here and right now.
Now it’s time to surf through preventative measures.
Preventative Measures Against Humping
Preventative measures really work. The approach with preventative measures can be compared to prophylactic veterinary appointments that help to prevent diseases in the future. Preventative measures cover physical and mental distraction that help re-directing the humping desire into something more practical that bears benefit for the dog.To be honest and simple –
the counter-humping strategy is based on the re-direction solely.
But how this re-direction is done – you will learn later in this passage.
Proven approach towards diminishing the “heat” and “necessity”. It is so helpful that even sexologists suggest humans suffering from sexual hyperactivity to practice challenging sports to reduce their desire. And you know what? It works!
When speaking about female dogs, the aim of the physical activity is to drain the dog’s energy level to such an extent that she has no desire to do anything except take her meal and spend some time napping. However, it doesn’t mean complete exhaustion! For instance, you may devote some time to walking or elaborate some training routine including obedience training, walking, playing fetch, and obstacle course training. Exercising must be done daily to maintain proper state of mind and physical performance of your dog.
You should never encourage unwanted behavior in any context. This universal rule is applicable to any unwanted behavior. Some pet owners find it cute when their puppies hump a stuffed toy, but such habit has serious long-lasting consequences. Do not allow and never encourage humping. How can you do it? You should know that encouraging can be done indirectly: once your puppy/dog mounts a toy for humping you may laugh about it, finding it funny, but the puppy will think of it as of praise and approval. When the puppy humps something or someone, you should never show any positive reaction about it.
Watch your puppy for pre-humping behavior (tail wiggling, aiming at a certain object, pawing, and rubbing against it). When you notice these signs, immediately distract her with a game or a toy before she engages. Distraction works only when applied before the humping, not afterwards.
Teaching Acceptable Behavior
When guests visit you, your dog may start humping, to draw their attention and to let them know that puppy is the boss here, which is not. If you suspect it to be so, then you should substitute the initiative with a command to perform some trick. Make sure this trick earns your dog the same amount of attention, praise and a treat.
Ideally, the trick must be the one that the dog cannot do while humping. Begging, sitting, fetching, barking on command can be a good substitute. Your puppy will have the choice of doing the trick or humping. Should she see a positive reaction to the trick performed while humping gets her negative attention or indifference, she will understand which option is the best for her (see also Puppy training).
Humping can be a response to stress. Once you notice that your puppy is displaying mounting after facing stress, avoid putting your puppy into that situation. Petting, grooming and cuddling can be considered as an invitation to mount. In such case, you should limit the time dedicated to these activities. If visitors trigger your puppy’s unwanted behavior, keep her in the room until her excitement calms down. Let the dog out once she is calm ( read also Greenacreskennel.com).
If your puppy is an active “humper” it means that she has little respect for you or anyone else. In order to stop this behavior, you should let your dog know that she depends on you. The best way to do it is to teach her good manners via standard obedience training. Obedience training focuses on many approaches towards the humping issue at the same time:
- Grab attention of your puppy and teach it to be obedient – not to disperse its attention.
- The puppy understands that, the owner provides food, praise, approval and decent living conditions and has the right to ask certain things. In simple words, the puppy knows who the master here is.
- Obedience training helps the owner to stop any unwanted behavior and replace it immediately with a command to do something.
- Redirecting attention into a trick is the key part of the obedience training in general.
Obedience trainings start early – once the puppy reaches two-three months of age. It is the perfect age to achieve great results in any training and prevent any unwanted behavior ) more about Puppy obedience training).
Preventative measures work in a bunch and less often when being done as one thing at a time. Here’s the list of things to do that other dog fanciers recommend doing:
- Once the puppy reaches the perfect age for training, sign her for special classes or train her yourself daily.
- Check the vet, to ask about reasons for humping once they start to be systematic. Even though, we have mentioned many reasons, the vet who is also a dog behaviorist may give you some helpful advice on the issue.
- Get rid of any stressful situations that your puppy may get into daily.
- Add more exercising aside from the obedience training to re-direct puppy’s energy.
- Visit a local pet store to get a toy for the puppy and keep it by the hand to distract your puppy every time she shows pre-humping behaviors.
This short list is what dog fanciers recommend. As you see, it doesn’t differ much from what we have written above. Now you know not only why female dogs hump, but how to deal with it as well.
We hope this comprehensive article on humping will help you to resolve the situation with your puppy.