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Dog humping

My Dog Won’t Stop Humping!

Dog humpingMy Dog Won’t Stop Humping!

In the famous words of Cousin Eddie from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, does your dog have a bit of Mississipi Leg Hound in him?

Does your dog hump people’s leg?  This can be a big source of embarrassment for pet owners.  Despite what people think, humping is not always sexual and it is not only male dogs that do it. There are a variety of reasons your dog may be humping, though in older dogs behavioral training may be required. In younger dogs, often times getting them spayed or neutered can fix the issue.

Reason for Humping

  • Sexual in nature (for young dogs)
  • Dominance
  • Improper socialization
  • Reaction to excitement

Humping in young dogs is often sexual in nature. Spaying or neutering your dog can help decrease the urge to hump. However, this will not necessarily fully stop the behavior.  There is an element of of humping that is more based in behavior than in sexual desire.

Humping can often be a common play behavior between dogs. You will often see them hump each other and then switch, taking turns in the play.  It can also be a sign of dominance. A dog that may be trying to establish their dominance may use humping as their method. It can also be a reaction to getting overly excited, by a surprise, a lot of people, or new dogs. Dogs may hump to see how other dogs, or people, react to them, as a way to establish acceptable social behaviors.

The long and short of a humping dog is simple, if you do not want your dog to hump get them spayed or neutered early and start behavioral training as soon as you see the behavior.

Tips to Stop Humping

  • Spay or neuter your dog
  • Give them something else to focus on: a toy, a game, playtime
  • Express your displeasure with the behavior by telling them no. Your dog needs to know that humping is not an ok behavior. You are the lead member of their pack, and you get to establish acceptable behavior.
  • Leg humping: Just get up and walk away. This will show your dog that it is not acceptable social behavior.
  • Keep them on a schedule to reduce anxiety. Anxiety can be big trigger for humping. If your dog is humping an object, try to remove their favorite hump toy, and give them more exercise. If they are tired they are less likely to be anxious and too tired to hump.

Rarely is humping a sign of a larger medical issue. However, if you are concerned please contact your vet to discuss your concerns.