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Help! My Dog has a Humping Problem

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One word describes a behavior that is awkward and mortifying, or funny, depending on the circumstances: humping.
white chihuahua dog face

Both male and female dogs do it, and small breeds tend to hump earlier in life than large breeds, making the odds of your Chihuahua displaying this party trick in front of guests high.

If your dog is having a humping problem, there are a few things that you need to know about this behavior:

Why Do Dogs Hump?

There is a variety of reasons dogs hump, including:

  • Sexual: Dogs hump when they feel compelled to breed. Humping that is very focused is usually a result of a drive to breed.Males most frequently hump females in heat. However, humping is not limited to unaltered males or females in heat; dogs of both sexes, both altered and unaltered, may display this behavior.
  • Social: Dogs may hump to receive attention from people, or to exert dominance or control over another dog.
  • Mental: Some dogs hump out of anxiety, habit or boredom. Humping may also be an outlet for excess energy.
  • Play: Humping may occur when dogs play as a result of high energy or a lack of socialization. If a dog has not interacted with other dogs frequently, they may be unsure of how to initiate play and may hump because of their lack of social graces. In other circumstances, humping may be an invitation to play.

Do Female Dogs Hump?

Yes, sometimes female dogs will mount other dogs, inanimate objects, or people.

Females hump males during courtship, and sometimes if they are in heat they will hump each other.

Females may also hump for the mental and social reasons aforementioned.

Does Neutering Or Spaying A Dog Stop Them From Humping?

There are many reasons that dogs hump other than to breed, making this behavior not just biological but mental.

According to the Whole Dog Journal, neutering or spaying may help reduce the behavior, but will likely not completely eliminate it due to the other possible reasons for this behavior.

fawn long hair chihuahua puppy laying down

How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Humping?

Thankfully, there are quite a few methods available to owners of dogs who struggle with this embarrassing behavior.

Trainer Mikkel Becker discusses how to stop humping in this video, and some of her tips are described below. Where to begin depends on the most likely source of the behavior:

Attention seeking. The best way to stop a dog from humping is to redirect their behavior.

If they are humping you to get your attention, ignore them completely until they stop or ask them to perform a trick, such as sit and shake, then reward that behavior.

Remember that to a dog who thirsts for human attention, even saying “no” can count as attention in their minds.

If you really do not want them to hump, you cannot laugh then ignore your dog; even laughing at them can satisfy the need for attention for some dogs.

Be sure to lavish attention on your dog when she displays a positive behavior, as she may learn to display that behavior instead of humping when she wants attention.

Playing with other dogs. If your dog mounts other dogs during play time, the best way to stop them from doing this is to separate the dogs and redirect their energy.

Pull them apart and redirect their attention to toys by throwing a ball, or just petting them individually to give them a little break from playing.

Anxiety. Anxious dogs need structure and a pack leader to feel confident and calm. A way to help an anxious dog gain confidence is training.

If a dog focuses on their handler to obey commands, that can redirect their focus from what is causing them anxiety and gives them something else to focus on that can help them feel grounded.

Sexual Neutering or spaying your dog is the best way to stop humping originating from the need to breed.

Once the hormones are out of their system, the behavior should be significantly reduced, or cease altogether if you are very lucky.

Should I Be Worried About My Dog’s Humping Habit?

There are three scenarios wherein a dog who has a humping habit should be of concern to their owners:

Medical reasons: Anytime a dog pays extra attention to a particular part of their body for an extended amount of time, their owner should pay extra attention as well.

If your dog is humping, urinating more than usual, or excessively grooming, rubbing or licking their southern region, it can be indicative of a medical issue, such as a skin infection, urinary tract infection, or Priapism (long term erection).

Begin by rolling your dog onto his or her back and visually inspect their body; do you see any rashes, redness, or swelling? Or does everything look normal to you?

If you notice any abnormalities, schedule a veterinary appointment promptly. If everything appears normal, monitor the behavior and check for abnormalities again for a few days.

Always photograph rashes when you notice them for the first time, as they can change before you are able to take your dog to the veterinarian, so having a photographic record may assist with successful treatment.

What is that? This issue is particularly mortifying, incredibly awkward, and almost mind blowing, because most of us think of our dogs as live teddy bears, and this is something that teddy bears just do not do!

According to the ASPCA, male dogs are still able to have an erection and ejaculate even after they are neutered.

Although the majority of humping will not result in a “happy ending”, there is a possibility that it could.

If you have company over and your male dog has a history of this happening, be sure to pay extra attention to your little man’s whereabouts to avoid a very awkward conversation and a very unforgettable gathering.

2 chihuahuas sitting in woman's lap

Play humping: While humping during play is often a harmless part of play, and may even be the method some dogs use as an invitation to play, it is not always well received by some dogs.

If your dog mounts their canine companions during play time, his regular companions may be used to it and may not mind.

However, pet parents should always exercise caution when their extra friendly furry friend plays with unfamiliar dogs, as this behavior could start a fight if the other dog does not take it well.

Summary

Humping is a normal and natural behavior for both male and female dogs. If your dog does not hump frequently and suddenly begins exhibiting this behavior, be sure to perform a visual inspection of their body to see if anything appears abnormal and arrange for veterinary care if necessary.

If humping becomes compulsive and is unable to be stopped even with redirection and neutering, enlist the assistance of a dog trainer to help you manage this behavior.

So, I’d love to know. Has humping ever been a problem with your dog? How have you handled it?

 

 

 

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Lee Harrison

Saturday 28th of March 2020

My little boy chi humps my sister in law little boy chi .. both are fixed .. but doesn't hump my brothers boy chi ....my dog is obsessed with Peace sister in law's chi boy ...My chi's name is cheech ... He's so high strung mentally .. can't put on weight ... very thin ...and often gets over excited during visitors and holidays guest ... I wish he would chill out and relax ...He used to hump his whoopee pillow when we didn't live my brother and his wife house ...they watch him when I'm at work ... He want's to spend all his time with the boy's ... the pac ... I'm not much on my dogs mind ... wow ... he does sleep with me at night apart from the pac got any suggestions ?

Cathy

Saturday 28th of March 2020

How old is he Lee? If he's young, he may settle down as he ages. A small dose of CBD oil may help calm him down too. Since you moved into a home where there was already a dog present, could he be trying to be leader of the pack by showing dominance over him? I don't have any suggestions for you other than the CBD oil and what's mentioned in the article.

Carol Hunter

Friday 27th of March 2020

I have a female long hair chihuahua that has had a stuffed rabbit since she was a baby. She is now 8 years old. Still has that same rabbit and humps it quite often. I would love to toss it, but she would definitely look for it. Too funny!!!!!

Tuesday 31st of March 2020

My female has a stuff bear she's had forever not only does she hump it, she strokes it and acts like she's kissing it kinda of like we do to her. But we don't jump her. Lol

Cathy

Friday 27th of March 2020

That sounds like my Kilo. She passed a few years ago but all her life she had a stuffed toucan she would hump. It finally became so threadbare, it was just a torn rag and I had to throw it away. She never humped anything else.

Lillian Peracchia

Friday 27th of March 2020

My little guy humps his bed but only when we are not in our prrimary residence i.e. motel, summer home, Florida!

Cathy

Friday 27th of March 2020

LOL, I wonder if that is stress humping?