Both male and female dogs hump for a range of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with sexual desire. But if allowed to continue, mounting can become habitual, so it’s best to stamp it out before your dog latches onto the family cat – who may not be so understanding.

Two puppies play fight in a park

 

Why do dogs hump?

Puppies don’t reach puberty until they’re six to eight months old, so humping is non-sexual play behaviour. It’s one of the first ways a puppy discovers its own strength and social standing. Because of this, it can continue into adulthood, even if your dog is female and has been desexed.

Some dogs respond to stressful or exciting situations by mounting things. So if your puppy or dog is greeting you at the door with a friendly leg-hump, they’re probably just glad to see you. It may also happen if your puppy is scared at the dog park. Sexually motivated mounting is usually accompanied by certain body language: tail up, panting, whining or pawing.

How to stop your dog from humping

Even if you find it amusing, being a responsible pet parent involves teaching your pet that humping isn’t socially acceptable behaviour. Here are some suggestions on how to stop your dog from humping.

Tough love

If a stern ‘no’ doesn’t do the trick, send your puppy or dog to their ‘time-out’ spot, ensuring there are no nearby toys, and ignore them. If after a few minutes your puppy hasn’t tried mounting again, provide them with positive feedback, for example a treat or praise.

Destress

Your dog may be humping things because they’re stressed or over-excited. Distract them with a toy or get them to follow a pre-learned cue – like sitting or lying down – then reward them.

Exercise

An energetic outside game can also be a good diversion. Extending your dog’s daily exercise regime can burn off any extra aggression, energy or stress that may be behind humping.

Desexing

Spaying or neutering your puppy early can stop them developing sexually motivated humping behaviour. In female dogs it will eliminate mounting while she’s on heat. In male dogs it may reduce sexual desire and testosterone levels.

Medical diagnosis

Get your local Greencross Vet to rule out health concerns like skin allergies, urinary tract infections, or incontinence.

Enjoy 20% off dog desexing at Greencross Vets