Is your dog humping you? Even if your dog is only humping blankets or your leg, it can be pretty uncomfortable. Many pet parents want solutions to help them reduce the amount of humping behavior in their dogs.
The following article outlines seven reasons why your dog is humping you, followed by seven tips to help you stop your dog’s humping.
7 Reasons Why Your Dog is Humping You
It’s important to understand the reasons behind your dog’s humping to provide viable solutions to the problem. The following are seven reasons why your dog may be humping you.
- Practice for real sex later in life
- Your dog is anxious
- Your dog is seeking attention
- It makes your dog feel good
- Humping has turned into a compulsive behavior
- Your dog may be experiencing a medical problem
- Your dog is over-excited
Practice for real sex later in life
Your puppy will hit puberty around six months of age, although different breeds reach sexual maturity at different ages. If your puppy is humping you, it may be that they’re practicing for breeding later in life.
Your dog is anxious
Sometimes dogs hump objects because they’re anxious. It’s just a way to cope with stress. If your dog’s humping behavior increases after stressful situations (a recent move, time away from you, the loss of a playmate), it’s likely that his humping is because of anxiety.
Your dog is seeking attention
If your dog isn’t getting enough attention, he or she might hump you in an attempt to grab your attention. This behavior isn’t sexual. Instead, your dog may have learned that you pay attention to them when they hump you.
Attention-starved dogs don’t differentiate between positive and negative attention. While you may be yelling or commanding him to stop, all your dog sees is that you’re suddenly engaging with him.
In some cases, nervous laughter and other human behaviors may work to egg on your dog’s humping behavior.
It makes your dog feel good
Your dog might be humping because it feels good. This is often the case with non-neutered males, especially if they’re prevented from contact with a female in heat. Even when a dog has been spayed or neutered, it may still experience arousal and pleasure.
Unfortunately, some dogs learn that they can get that good feeling by humping objects and people. Although spaying or neutering your dog can help reduce this risk, some dogs require additional training to break humping behaviors.
Humping has turned into a compulsive behavior
Sometimes repeated behaviors turn into compulsions, especially if you don’t intervene early enough. If your dog’s humping becomes excessive or constant, it may be time to talk to your veterinarian or a qualified dog trainer.
Your dog may be experiencing a medical problem
If your dog’s humping is new or recently increased (especially after puberty), it may be a sign that your dog is experiencing a medical problem.
New humping behavior may be a sign of urinary incontinence, a urinary tract infection, skin allergies, or priapism (a prolonged elongation of a dog’s penis).
Your dog is over-excited
This isn’t about sexual excitement but the excitement in general. If your dog is over-excited while playing, he or she may hump objects or people as an outlet for this excess excitement.
When your dog shows other exciting behaviors, it’s a sign that their humping may be due to excess energy.
You may also be interested in: Why does my dog lay on me?
How to Stop Your Dog from Humping You
Now that you know why your dog is humping you, you’re ready to learn how to stop it. The following seven tips will help you reduce the frequency of your dog’s humping.
Redirect your dog
If your dog starts humping you, find a way to redirect them. For example, you might pick up a ball or other toy to grab their attention and move them away from humping. This distraction will effectively redirect their energy into a more productive activity.
Loud toys (such as those with squeakers in them) are great for redirecting your dog’s behavior.
When you need to quickly distract your dog, give his squeaky toy a couple of squeezes and toss it in front of him. In most cases, this will be all the distraction he needs to quit humping you.
Teach your dog “off” and “down” commands
Make sure you’re investing in your dog’s training. Your dog should respond to both “off” and “down” commands.
When your dog starts to hump you, simply use these commands to stop the behavior. Over time, your dog will learn that humping is unacceptable behavior.
If your dog hasn’t learned these commands, take some time to teach them to your dog. Since they’re a valuable tool for a myriad of situations, they’re an asset to your training toolbox.
As an added bonus, taking time to train your dog provides him with the mental stimulation he needs to burn off extra energy (another potential cause of your dog’s humping).
Spay or neuter your dog
Although spaying and neutering won’t get rid of humping entirely, it will drastically reduce the number of humping incidents. The hormonal changes caused by spaying and neutering will help your dog control his or her urges.
One study found that there was a 90% decrease in humping behavior in at least 40% of dogs who were spayed or neutered.
The remaining 60% of dogs saw a 50% decrease in humping. That means getting your dog spayed or neutered should cut out at least half of your dog’s humping!
Treat underlying anxiety
You can’t prevent your dog from feeling anxiety all the time. However, you can treat chronic anxiety that leads to humping behaviors. If your dog is unusually anxious, take steps to alleviate their stress in a healthy and productive way.
If your dog’s anxiety is unexplained or unresolved, talk to your veterinarian. In some cases, dogs with anxiety may need anxiety medication.
Make sure your dog has enough attention and affection
If your dog seems to hump you in an attempt to get attention, you need to spend more time giving your dog positive attention and affection.
Make sure you’re taking time to play with your dog every single day. Regular play with your dog may reduce attention-seeking behaviors like humping.
Sometimes your schedule won’t allow you to give dedicated playtime to your dog. If your schedule is hectic, take time to include your dog in your daily activities.
During mealtimes, talk to your dog and give them attention. These little moments of attention go a long way in reducing bad behavior.
Make sure your dog is getting enough physical and mental exercise
Sometimes dogs hump as a way to alleviate boredom or burn off extra energy. Make sure your dog has daily mental and physical stimulation.
Take some time to research the exercise requirements for your dog’s breed, since these can vary drastically between breeds.
Your dog should also get plenty of mental exercise throughout the day. Give your dog puzzles and other activities to help him keep his mind occupied.
If humping behavior persists after changes to your dog’s routine, look at other possible causes and address those needs.
Get your dog examined by a veterinarian
In some cases, humping is a sign of a medical problem. If your dog’s humping is a new behavior, talk to your dog’s vet about what’s causing these changes.
Your veterinarian should be able to rule out medical problems and give additional feedback about how to reduce your dog’s humping behaviors.
Final Thoughts on Why Dogs Hump
When your dog humps you, it can be awkward. To some extent, humping behavior is normal in dogs. Dogs often hump because of hormonal changes, excitement, anxiety, or a number of other reasons.
Because dogs may hump for such a wide variety of reasons, it’s important to analyze your dog’s behavior before and after humping.
When you determine why your dog is humping you, you’re better equipped to curb that behavior in the future. You can reduce humping behavior by distracting your dog, using the “off” or “down” commands, and ensuring he gets enough exercise.
If your dog’s humping behavior persists, reach out to your veterinarian. Your dog’s vet will be able to rule out medical causes for your dog’s humping.
Veterinarians are also equipped to offer recommendations if your dog’s humping is a behavior-related issue.