July 12, 2013

Why do dogs hump?

If you’re a dog owner, you’ve seen it happen – your pooch starts humping the neighbour, a child, another animal. Here’s the real scoop on why Bruno is so attached to your leg.{{more}}

Your dog may be the picture of good dog health – but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have an embarrassing habit: humping.

A form of masturbation in which dogs mount and thrust up against people, other animals, or objects, humping is normal dog behaviour for the most part (both male and female dogs are known to hump). But in some cases, a humping dog may be showing signs of an underlying health or behavioural problem.

There are many reasons dogs engage in humping. Some possible explanations include:

1. Practice. In puppies, humping is thought to be an innate form of practice for future sexual experiences.

2. Flirting. When mature dogs that haven’t been spayed or neutered hump, it is often to initiate a sexual encounter.

3. Status. For some dogs, humping is a way to demonstrate their dominance to people or other animals.

4. Pleasure. Many dogs hump simply because it feels good. Humping can be pleasurable for all dogs – spayed and neutered dogs, intact dogs, and females and males.

5. Playing. Dog humping can sometimes be a form of play, especially for dogs that have had little socialization or that become overexcited during play.

6. Excitement. During a particularly stressful or exciting time for a dog, such as meeting someone new, dog humping is a normal response.

When Does Dog Humping Signal a Problem?

Sometimes, dog humping is a dog behaviour problem or a sign of a dog health issue:

1. Compulsive disorders. In dogs, compulsive disorders are repetitive habits that can be both uncomfortable and interfere with the way they function. Humping can become a compulsive habit that requires behavioural treatment.

2. Urinary problems. In some dogs, humping can be a sign of a urinary problem, such as a urinary tract infection or urinary incontinence.

3. Persistent erections. When humping is almost always associated with an erection, it could mean that your dog has priapism, recurrent painful erections.

If you notice that your dog has been excessively humping, call your vet. It could be a serious concern that requires treatment.

Four ways to Deal with a Humping Dog

Occasional humping isn’t usually a problem, and you don’t need to do anything about it. In fact, many dogs mount or hump a couple of times a day.

But if your dog’s excessive humping has become an issue, there are some things you can do to help:

1. Distract your dog. When humping is inappropriate or bothersome, try to distract your dog by issuing an obedience command or trick, such as sit or shake, or offering him a favourite treat or toy for behaving politely without humping.

Distraction is especially effective if you use it before your dog begins humping, when you first notice signs that humping may soon start.

2. Consider spaying or neutering. While spaying and neutering do not always bring humping to a stop, they sometimes help to reduce your dog’s sex drive. This is particularly helpful for male dogs that tend to mount around female dogs in heat and for female dogs that tend to mount when they are in heat.

3. Use obedience cues. In many cases, you can teach your dog to stop mounting or humping just as you can teach him or her to sit, stay, or lie down. To do this, watch your dog closely and use a command, such as “leave it,” just before he or she begins mounting or humping. If your dog follows your command, reward her with a treat.

4. Play games. If your dog often humps other dogs or people during play, try showing him or her other games to play with dogs. That way, instead of using humping to initiate play, your dog will be able to enjoy playing tug or fetch with other dogs and other people.

For your safety, do not try to stop a dog from humping if you are worried the dog may become aggressive.

If you’re unsure whether dog humping is just a nuisance or an indication that your dog needs medical attention, xxx

For further information, contact: Dr Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.
Tel: 456 4981