My Female Dog Humps a Stuffed Animal
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Animals exhibit many behaviors which we know are related to their development. Sexual maturity is an important factor in how an animal behaves, especially since it can affect their hormone levels. One of these behaviors is mounting. As a male dog is reaching sexual maturity, they will start to undergo changes in their hormone levels. This can result in various issues, but one of the most common is mounting behavior. This is when the male mounts objects similar to they would do when copulating with a female.
It is possible we see a female dog mounting objects in this way. Since females do not usually mount for copulation, AnimalWised asks why my female dog humps a stuffed animal?
Mating in dogs
Before they reach sexual maturity, most dogs will perform mounting behavior. This will happen regardless of sex, so both males and females will carry it out. It usually occurs between the ages of 1 and 2 years. It is usually a response to frustrations caused by hormone production and will stop occurring when the dog reaches sexual maturity. For this reason, it is common to see older female puppies mounting their stuffed animal.
When it is a way to release sexual frustration, the stuffed animal is a good surrogate. It is often fluffy like another animal and is soft enough to not cause them harm. However, it is important to know that mounting behavior can be due to other reasons. This is especially so when it happens to older dogs.
Some reasons why adult dog mount include:
- Stress or anxiety: this is an unfortunately common reason why female dogs hump objects such as toys. When a dog is subject to stress in the home, they can develop various stereotypies. These are repetitive behaviors which are carried out to make them feel better. They can be almost anything, but certain behaviors such as walking anxiously in circles, licking things they shouldn't and humping toys are common ways to try to release stress. Check out our article on how to know your dog is stressed to learn more.
- Play behavior: alternatively, some female dogs will hump stuffed animals because they enjoy it. This may be due to hyperactivity as overly excitable dogs will often mount objects to release energy. In this cases, we should find ways to help a hyperactive dog calm down.
- Social ranking: this is a controversial topic when it comes to dog care. Many people believe dogs will hump our legs as a sign of dominance, but there is little evidence to support this. Dogs see us as points of reference, but they are not thought to compete with us. However, if a dog lives on their own, they may mount objects as a part of their territorial nature.
- Sexual release: finally, it s important to point out that dogs will mount stuffed toys for sexual release. Although it may seem that male dogs do this more, it is actually something that female dogs will also gain sexual release from. This can happen whether or not they are neutered. It is a natural and normal behavior which should not cause any problems for their guardians, yet many have a problem with it.
Is is bad for dogs to hump stuffed toys?
For many dog guardians, humping and mounting behavior is not appreciated. While it is understandable we might not want them to make a mess on our legs, humping their own stuffed toys doesn't seem like it should be any of our business. While we cannot speak for every dog caregiver, it appears some of the problems around mounting behavior are linked to
- Lack of control
- Fear of obsession
When the dog is mounting inappropriately all the time, then we can see there being a reason to stop this behavior. If it is causing unnecessary disruption with other dogs or members of the household, it might be better to redirect this activity. However, if the dog is healthy and happy, we shouldn't let our own parameters of human modesty get in the way. They are often doing something they enjoy which does not cause them nor others any harm.
How to stop a female dog humping stuffed animals
As detailed above, if a dog is stressed or anxious, we should stop their humping behavior. Since it is an issue with hormone levels, there are some rare occasions when a dog humps objects due to a health issue. These could be due to:
- Changes in estrogen levels (in females) or testosterone levels (in males).
- Urinary, vaginal or anal sac infections. You will often see the dog also repetitively licking her private area.
- Transmissible venereal tumors or uterine infections.
For this reason, if your dog is humping all the time, it might be best to take them to a veterinarian. They can perform and examination, look for concurrent symptoms and establish a treatment program if necessary.
However, in most cases, if the mounting is a problem it is due to psychological issues. In these cases, we need to ensure the dog is properly socialized and stimulated. Take them out for walks where they can exercise, meet other dogs and explore new environments. Provide them with toys and intelligence games to stimulated their minds.
Providing the right amount of care and affection will go a long way. If your dog feels neglected, they may mount their stuffed toys more because they are not sufficiently engaged. Spend time with your dog and help them to feel loved.
Finally, if we need to stop our dog humping stuffed animals for practical reasons, then we should start some training. In addition to the basic dog commands they should already know, you will need to try to train them away from humping. Dogs partly learn by association. If you laugh every time they hump a stuffed animal, it might encourage them to do it. You shouldn't scold them, but you shouldn't encourage either.
If you are in need of certain specifics, you might want to seek the help of a professional. A canine ethologist or dog trainer can assess your dog's needs and provide methodology to help them specifically.
Should I neuter my female dog to stop them humping?
Generally, dogs are less likely to hump stuffed animals if they have been neutered at the appropriate time. An unneutered dog will still have sexual desires and, therefore, will hump alternatives if they are unable to mate. For female dogs, this happens when they go into their heat period. When they are neutered, they won't go into heat and are less likely to mount.
However, if a female dog is not spayed until later in life, it is more likely they will continue humping toys. This is because they have already learned behavior and may still enjoy it. It doesn't mean they are psychologically stressed, although we still need to consider the above possible negative causes.
preventing inappropriate humping behavior is only one possible reason why it is good to neuter a dog. Take a look at our article on whether neutered dogs live longer to find out more.
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