While a dog humping someone’s arm might get a few chuckles out of people the first time it happens, it can become quite a nuisance and even embarrassing to owners if the behavior continues.
If you are here because you have found yourself asking, “Why on earth does my dog hump my arm?” We have the answers for you.
And, yes, answers because there are truthfully multiple reasons why dogs hump, and it’s not always why we think!
Table of Contents
- Humping in Dogs
- Why Does My Dog Hump My Arm?
- How Can You Stop Your Dog From Humping Your Arm?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Wrap-Up: Why Does My Dog Hump My Arm?
Humping in Dogs
Humping is a common behavior in dogs where they stand on their hind legs and rub against another animal, object, or even person. This behavior is not limited to male dogs; female dogs can also participate in humping.
Your dog might hump a blanket or pillow, but they are more likely to do so to other dogs or people. When a male dog humps a female, it’s known as “mounting behavior” and is a sign that he wants to mate.
However, humping can also happen when your dog feels insecure or threatened, as a way to assert control. It’s normal for dogs to hump when they’re excited, especially when they’re greeting someone they love.
Why Does My Dog Hump My Arm? (6 Common Reasons)
If your dog humps your arms, it’s a sign that they want comfort and attention from you, likely due to stress in their environment.
However, it can also be a way of demonstrating dominance, aggression, or confidence. Below we go through six common reasons why your dog may hump your arm.
First and foremost, most of us consider the act of humping to be a sexual behavior. It is, after all, how dogs mate. And while not always, that can sometimes be the case.
This behavior, when it is because of arousal, usually first presents itself when a dog is reaching sexual maturity.
When those hormones are raging, both male and female dogs can display this behavior. Sometimes they do it to other animals, sometimes they do it to stuffed toys, and sometimes they might do it to your arm. Usually, it’s just a matter of what is close by.
Dogs are basically just doing what their hormones are telling them to do. Training and distraction can both be a big help.
If the behavior is becoming excessive or problematic, spaying or neutering your dog is usually the next step, as it will stop those hormones from coming in.
However, in some cases, dogs learn that the act of humping just feels plain good to them. In these cases, it will be necessary to focus on teaching your dog that it is not appropriate to hump your arm.
There is a possibility that your dog could be humping due to an underlying medical condition.
If you notice your dog is suddenly humping or mounting people or things, and this is a new behavior, it may be well worth a visit to the vet.
Humping can sometimes be a sign of conditions like urinary incontinence, urinary tract infections, or other urinary concerns.
For males specifically, it could be a result of priapism, which is a persistent, painful erection, or it could be an indicator of problems with his prostate.
Attention Seeking Behavior
Humping can be an attention-seeking behavior for your dog. It is likely that they are overstimulated and excited and want to share that excitement with you.
In these cases, it is likely just an odd way of your dog asking you to play! But nonetheless, it will be important to redirect your dog to a more appropriate activity.
Training will also be necessary to teach the dog that there are better ways of getting your attention.
For example, you could try teaching your dog to bring you a toy when it wants to play, or maybe put a bell right outside the toy basket and teach your dog to ring the bell to let you know it is time to play.
Sometimes though, you just may not have the time to give your dog attention right then and there.
In these cases, it will be important to teach your dog to be able to find activities to do alone. Ideally, these will be activities that don’t include humping, of course!
Your dog likely sees you as a source of comfort and protection. If your dog is feeling stressed or anxious and doesn’t know how to find relief from that stress or anxiety, he might feel the urge to hump as a way of releasing that pent-up anxiety.
And rather than just humping anything, your dog may choose you because you are that source of comfort and protection.
Sometimes sexual behaviors like mounting or humping can be a normal part of play. Puppies especially seem to do this when they get overly excited during play.
Despite what it may look like, it may be that there is nothing at all sexual about it. Just being overly excited can lead to pent-up energy, and dogs who become overly excited often try to find a way to release all that energy.
A dog can become overly excited for a variety of reasons. For example, they might be excited to see their owner, excited that guests are visiting, excited to go for a walk or go play, or countless other possible reasons.
This over-excitement can manifest itself in different ways. For some, that can look like doing zoomies around the couch or jumping up and down in front of the door before a walk, and for others, it can result in humping behaviors.
Another reason for the behavior could be that your dog is just bored. They may have learned in the past that humping feels good, is a fun activity, or gets a response from you, so when bored, they resort to humping.
In these cases, it can be an indicator that your dog is not getting sufficient mental stimulation or physical activity.
Consider going for more walks or increasing the amount of time you spend on your walks to increase physical activity.
Additionally, find ways to encourage your dog to use its senses for mental stimulation. For example, offer your dog a Kong filled with dog-safe peanut butter, or ask your dog to do some tricks for a treat reward.
Another option would be to get your dog a snuffle mat or a puzzle toy so your dog can work to find hidden treats.
How Can You Stop Your Dog From Humping Your Arm?
As you can see there are many reasons behind your dog’s humping behavior. Your approach to stop your dog from humping your arm will depend on the reason behind it.
Below we go through various tips, techniques, and recommendations to discourage humping in your dog.
Learn the Underlying Reason
Your dog’s humping behavior may stem from various causes. Take a moment to review the reasons and identify which one corresponds to your dog’s actions. Knowing the root of the issue will enable you to come up with a more effective solution.
Ignore Your Dog Behavior
To stop your dog from humping your arm, it’s best to avoid paying attention to the behavior. Don’t reward your pet by giving them attention when they start humping.
Instead, stand up and walk away without making eye contact. This sends the message that humping is not a desirable behavior.
Spay or Neuter Your Dog
As mentioned earlier, if not already done, one of the main solutions to curbing unwanted humping behavior is to spay or neuter your dog. Doing so significantly decreases the hormones that drive the behavior.
Redirect Your Dog to Another Activity
If your dog starts humping your arm, immediately move so that your dog no longer has access to you in that way. Then quickly find something else to distract the dog, like introducing a new toy.
You will likely find that if you act excited about something else, your dog will, too. And as such, hopefully, forget about the humping episode.
Another way to distract or redirect your dog is to give your dog something to work for. Get your dog to perform a command like sit or lay down, or even their favorite trick, and then reward the good behavior.
This will help your dog forget about its urge to hump and refocus that energy in a more positive way.
Put Your Dog in Time-Out
As silly as it sounds, it does work. Much of the time, dogs hump because they are just so excited and overstimulated that they can’t contain themselves.
In these cases, it likely means that there is just too much happening, and your dog needs a break.
Time-out does not mean punishment in any way. Instead, guide and encourage your dog to come with you to a quiet room with no toys or other external stimuli. Tell your dog to sit and leave the room and shut the door for a few minutes.
When you are ready, let your pup out and find a fun activity to do together, like playing ball. If your dog decides to try to hump again, simply repeat the process. Eventually, your dog will get the hint that humping means the end of playtime.
Practice Commands Like Leave It
Sometimes dogs don’t only try to hump their human but also other family members, guests, other dogs, and things like toys, blankets, and pillows.
It will be important to work to stop this behavior as soon as possible, especially if your dog is fond of humping other dogs. Many dogs don’t like to be mounted or humped and will take offense to it.
And while we can’t say we blame them for not liking it, it’s possible that they may react poorly and try to snap at your dog.
In order to avoid fights from breaking out, it will be important to teach your dog good manners around other dogs. A command that often works well for most people is the command “Leave it.”
Consult a Veterinarian or Dog Behaviorist
It’s important to rule out any underlying medical issues that could be behind your dog’s behavior. If this is the case, your vet should be your go-to for discussion on options.
If medical concerns have been ruled out, it might be time to seek out the expertise of a trainer or behaviorist.
These professionals can assist you in modifying your dog’s unwanted actions and promote overall happiness through training.
Wrap-Up: Why Does My Dog Hump My Arm?
While humping is an entirely natural and normal behavior, it can definitely be a bit annoying and even embarrassing!
And while it can sometimes be sexual in nature, it is more often a sign of stress, overexcitement, or even boredom.
Additionally, it can be attention-seeking behavior, but it can also be a sign of an underlying medical concern. Because of this, it will be important to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any medical reasons.
There are several ways you can help get your dog to stop humping. This includes spaying and neutering, redirecting your dog to another activity, putting your dog in time-out, and practicing commands.
Similarly, don’t be afraid to reach out to a qualified dog trainer if you need additional guidance and support.
It is a normal and natural behavior, but with time, training, and patience, you’ll have a dog that doesn’t hump.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Dogs show affection to their owners by licking and humping them. This means that your dog wants to be near you and spend time with you. Licking feels good on a dog’s tongue, and it may also occur when they are feeling bored or lonely. If your dog is licking or humping you or other objects, it may indicate that they want more attention from you.
Dogs often only exhibit humping behavior towards someone they have formed a close bond with. This behavior is a way for dogs to express affection and to create a sense of comfort and security with their owner and others. Humping can also be a way for dogs to feel safe and cared for.
Spaying or neutering a dog does not necessarily eliminate all humping behaviors. This may occur due to a desire for dominance, stress, or pent-up energy without proper outlets. Despite the inability to breed, spayed or neutered dogs may still hump objects or people for these reasons.