Humping or “mounting” is a common behavior and not exclusive to intact or stud males only. Neutered males and females may also “go for it”.
Obviously, in the case of a female dog in heat, any male dog will traverse hill and dale to start that party. Unless you are a professional breeder, you must keep your female dog in lock down to avoid an unwanted litter. Intact males are especially prone to fervent (sexual) humping. See our blog on the Yin & Yang of Spay & Neuter” for unexpected consequences when delaying these surgeries: https://doolittlesdoghouse.com/the-yin-and-yang-of-spay-and-neuter/
There are many reasons why dogs hump each other and, in some cases, hump humans and inanimate objects.
Normal play behavior between two dogs might include some humping. Provided it does not continue indefinitely, nor seem to bother the “receiver,” it is o.k. to let the dogs work it out between themselves. There is a dominance issue involved that often alternates between who is on top. However, some dogs will not react well to being humped, so best to be prepared to intervene if the situation escalates.
Dogs may use this action to relieve stress or frustration. Rather than become horrified, owners should evaluate what might be causing their dog’s anxiety. Are they getting enough exercise? Are they socially frustrated, experiencing disruption to routine or do they lack proper socialization?
Some dogs get overly excited when around other dogs or visitors come to your home. This stimulating event might result in hyper arousal. Leash your dog before introductions are made and be sure to praise and reward them once they have settled down.
In the case of humping pillows, blankets or toys, it simply feels good. Provided you have ruled out any underlying medical conditions, no harm no foul if only an occasional release. Persistent humping of objects may mean a compulsive disorder that requires behavioral analysis and treatment. When humans are the object of desire, best to walk away to dissuade the behavior.
If your humper is in overdrive when playing with other dogs, you might need to separate him for a little quiet time to quell the excitement. Do not punish your dog, yet gently with soft voice tones, ease him away for a cool down before reengaging in play time.
Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise, outdoor release, and mental stimulation.
Your dog may benefit by private or group training classes. This includes specialized training to modify behavior, controlled socialization, agility and/or general obedience. Good Canine Citizen classes are a wonderful choice for owners wanting a stronger and balanced bond with their dogs.
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