Why Does My Dog Hump Me?
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Dogs, like all animal species, have a different way of expressing themselves. Dogs use specific body language and vocal sounds to communicate their mood and feelings. As dog tutors, it is important to both understand and respect canine nature in order to learn to communicate better with our furry friends. However, some canine behavior can appear especially strange.
One of these is humping. Mounting and humping in dogs is a common natural behavior type, but what does it mean? Are you wondering, ‘‘why does my dog hump me?’’ For more about dog mounting and how to stop it, keep reading here at AnimalWised.
Why does my dog hump my leg?
The first thing you need to know is that there is no single reason which can explain why a dog mounts a person, another dog or object. Canine body language and behavior are both complex and diverse. The same behavior or action from one dog can mean something completely different for another. These reasons and causes often vary depending on context and individual characteristics.
so, you may be wondering, why does my female dog hump stuffed animals, my leg or air? The first thing you need to analyze is your dog’s attitude, expression and posture. In addition, you will need to take note of any evident stimuli or motivation behind this action. For more on how to analyze canine mounting behavior, below we will be listing all possible reasons as to why dogs hump. Keep reading for more!
Dog mouting: a sign of dominance
Dominance in dogs is intraspecific, meaning that it only occurs between animals of the same species. Therefore, we need to clear up the myth that dogs hump up legs because they are "dominant." In fact, you should never try to extrapolate dog behavior to humans. This thinking often leads to the belief of inappropriate and dangerous theories and methods. It is a myth that a "dominant dog" is one that behaves aggressively towards other dogs, animals or people. In fact, dominant dogs are actually known for being being self-confident and balanced.
Canine aggression is one of the most serious canine behavioral problems and can be associated with different causes. Common causes of canine aggression include poor socialization, psychological problems and trauma. Therefore, if your dog is suddenly acting aggressively, you need to identify the cause and treat it accordingly. For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss, ‘‘Why is my dog suddenly aggressive towards me?’’
On the other hand, canine dominance also forms a large part of a dog’s social behavior and language. Dominance between dogs is essential when it comes to hierarchical organization and interaction between two or more members of this species. In addition, dominance in dogs is dynamic, meaning that a dog can exercise dominance in different ways and for different reasons.
In short, your dog is not demonstrating dominance when it mounts you or other people. This is important to remember, especially when analyzing why your dog humps you and other people.
For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss, ‘‘Why does my male dog mount other male dogs?’’
Why does my male dog hump me and no one else?
So now that we’ve clarified that dog humping is not related to dominance, why do dogs hump people? For more about dog humping, mounting and reasons why dogs hump people, take a look at our list below:
1. Stress and boredom
Boredom and stress are two of the most common causes that can explain ‘‘why does my dog hump my leg.’’ A dog that lives a sedentary routine and/or in a negative environment can easily develop symptoms of stress and boredom. If dogs are not offered sufficient exercise, walks and game time, they have no way of expelling accumulated energy. Therefore, dogs that lack entertainment will look for alternative ways to release tension such as humping legs, other dogs or stuffed animals.
If your dog shows a constant impetus to hump or mount, this may be a sign that it is stressed or bored. If this is the case, you can stop your dog humping your leg by increasing the amount of exercise within its daily routine or lengthen its walk duration. In addition, you can positively improve your dog’s general enrichment through dog intelligence games.
For more about stress in dogs and how to treat it accordingly, we recommend reading:
2. Discovery and sexual stimulation
Canine sexuality continues to be a taboo within our society. A common belief is that sex among dogs is only practiced as a matter of reproduction, which is not the case. While it is an uncomfortable subject for some people, educating yourself about the concept of self-stimulation and sexual discovery in dogs is necessary in understanding canine behavior and nature.
Dogs sometimes masturbate or self-stimulate for pleasure or relief. In addition, dogs also hump as a way of discovering and exploring their own bodies, while also freely expressing sexual desire. Of course, this does not mean that they are perverted or are suffering from psychological problems. This act should rather be understood as a spontaneous expression of sexual behavior within the species.
If a dog mounts another dog or if a dog humps a person’s leg, for example, it does not mean that the animal is suffering from a sexual-related problem. A dog humping air or a leg may be a simple case of a dog that needs to orgasm to feel better. In addition, you may also be wondering, ‘‘Why do puppies hump stuffed animals?’’ Puppies and dogs alike may hump objects or things to explore this feeling of sexual desire, which is in fact essential for a dog’s physical and emotional development. Like babies, puppies experience several stages throughout their sexual development before reaching adulthood. During these phases, it’s normal that a puppy may feel the need to explore its own body, especially its reproductive organs.
Have you noticed any additional changes in relation to your dog’s reproductive organs? If so, we recommend reading, why does my dog have pus coming from his penis? or my dog keeps licking her private area, why?
3. Humping as a sign of illness
Stress, anxiety and behaviors associated with over-excitement may also appear as symptoms of certain health problems. In these such cases, this humping acting will appear suddenly and excessively.
Hormonal problems in dogs and autoimmune diseases are conditions which are most commonly associated with this type of behavior. Often, this repetitive and exaggerated execution of humping is done as a way of alleviating pain often associated with canine urinary tract infections and bone diseases like hip dysplasia.
For this reason, if notice that your dog is humping excessively, you should consult a veterinarian who will be able to identify the cause and treat it accordingly. For more, we recommend reading our article about hip dysplasia in dogs.
4. Problem with socialization
Dogs may hump air uncontrollably or objects as a result of bad socialization. This lack of correct socialization often leads dogs assimilating this behavior as a form of interaction. This problem commonly occurs in dogs that have a history of physical and/or emotional abuse.
In addition, it is possible that some dogs assimilate humping with playing, like a game. Humping can also appear during an active game session or in situations that generate an over-stimulation. This is more common in puppies and young dogs. For more about how to correctly socialize a dog, we suggest taking a look at our article where we discuss everything you need to know about socializing puppies and adult dogs.
5. Dog humping as compulsive behavior
Why does my dog hump me all the time? If your dog tries to hump your leg, other people and objects compulsively, you may be dealing with a stereotypy. This is a serious canine behavioral problem which in the worst cases, can lead to self-mutilation.
Generally, stereotypies appear when an animal’s welfare is seriously compromised, and/or in cases of past/present abuse. This is why if your dog is suffering from a compulsive behavior, it should not be ignored. In the case of a dog excessively humping, we recommend consulting a veterinarian or canine ethologist. For more about stereotypy in dogs, read our article about compulsive behavior in dogs.
Why does my dog hump me: what to do
As we’ve already mentioned above, dogs humping can be caused by different things. In order to treat this behavior or stop it, the specific cause of it needs to be identified.The first thing we recommend doing if you notice your dog humping excessively, is consulting a veterinarian or canine ethologist.
If the cause is not a pathological, you will need to revise your dog’s daily routine, specifically analyzing physical activity and mental stimulation. But, what does a dog need to be happy and healthy?
- High quality diet.
- Clean water.
- Safe and secure environment.
- Sufficient games.
- Sufficient exercise.
- Proper hygiene.
- Adequate veterinary care.
For more, take a look at our article where we look at what do dogs need to be happy.
If notice that your dog’s habit of humping is beginning to generate problems in the home, professional training and socialization will be necessary.
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