Why does my dog mount other male dogs?
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If you see your male dog mounting other male dogs, then it can may seem like confusing behavior. It raises certain questions about their actions and it may even embarrass some others at the dog park, not that it should. Much of dog behavior can seem odd to the uninitiated or uninformed. We also often attribute lots of human behavior to our dogs, giving them certain personality traits and even giving them a voice when we speak to them. However loved they are as pets, dogs are not humans and need a different type of understanding to provide appropriate care. AnimalWised looks into why does a dog try to mount another male dog so that we can better understand their sexual behavior and understand their is no cause for embarrassment or concern.
1. Indicator of stress
Mounting, humping, riding or whatever you want to call it, is a common practice in male dogs, but it is not even limited to this sex. It is an action many dogs will engage in during periods of stress. Just as we humans may feel the desire for sexual release during periods of stress or frustration, dogs may try to do the same by humping another dog. This action is not for mating, so it is not necessary to mount a female dog. Essentially, it is often a form of masturbation. f a male dog is nearby, they may be considered a suitable release for the action. Cats, dogs, rabbits and many other animals will even mount inanimate objects to provide this release.
When we observe our animal engaging in this mounting behavior, it is advisable to call them away (this is best done after appropriate call and response training in your dog). This will divert their attention as well as avoid any social conflicts which this may incur. Many male dogs may not want to engage in this activity and will try to assert dominance. We can also distract them with a toy or treat if calling doesn't suffice.
2. Sexual behavior
When a male dog has never had sex with a bitch (female dog), there may come a moment when its frustration becomes too much. For this reason, they may feel like practising sex with a male dog is better than nothing. Another important reason is that neutered male dogs will develop a change in their odor. This is the odor which others smell by expressing their anal glands with their nose. It is believed that some male dogs may mistake a neutered male dog for a female.
Just because a dog is neutered doesn't mean it won't still have sex and it can even ejaculate. This means that a dog can get sexually aroused and want to have sex. Dog societies are not restricted by the social mores of we humans. A male dog mounting another male dog does not have any social stigma and it is recognized by other dogs as natural behavior.
Dogs are also not monogamous creatures, nor do they have the same sexual constructs as humans. Engaging in a homosexual practice does not mean that a dog has a sexual orientation. They may have certain preferences or enjoy certain behaviors, but it is all part of a natural and healthy sexual behavior which does not suffer repression. It is also not bound by the same cultural implications as humans. Anyone embarrassed or annoyed by the act of a male dog mounting another male is likely ignorant of animal sexuality.
A main reason why a dog may mount another male dog is due to the social hierarchy of canines. Mounting can be used as a way for a dog to show they are the big dog, especially in a pack or a family. However, this can also happen when you are going for a walk or are out and about.
It is particularly common in shepherding dogs such as Border Collies, German Shepherds or Australian Sheep Herders. They can use it as a form of dominance when controlling the flock, but they are known to be frustrated breeds in certain domestic situations. This is because they are working dogs which need to be consistently engaged and exercised. If they are not, they mount out of frustration.
4. Learning in puppies
Especially during the juvenile period of a dog's life, young dogs try to experiment with other dogs. This is so that they can learn the behavior of an adult. It is essential for young dogs to take part in this experimentation as it serves to provide the right kind of communication between other dogs and other animals.
This period is also the period of a puppy's latent sexuality. They are developing this side of their nature in different ways and it is an important part of socialization. It is similar to how sibling animals will fight, bite or scratch as a way to gain understanding of their role. It is a way for puppies to train for when they want to procreate or even masturbate as we have previously discussed.
5. Play behavior
It is not just puppies wanting to train who will try to mount other male dogs. When dogs engage in play behavior at any age, they may mount simply as a way to exert some energy. It is a normal attitude and is also a way to relieve stress, play games and rake around.
6. Animal sexuality
Humans are not the only animals which practice sex for pleasure. Dolphins, chimpanzees and, of course, dogs enjoy having sex outside procreation. It is not uncommon for animals of the same gender, both male and female, to engage in sexual activity simply for enjoyment purposes. Dogs also know that they need to maintain a certain level of pleasure to maintain their overall well-being. This makes same gender sex part of their survival instinct and helps to control their other urges.
What should we do to stop male dogs mounting other males?
While the behavior of male dogs mounting other male dogs is natural, this does not mean there are not some situations where it is not appropriate. The same goes for when dogs mount female dogs. In the latter case, it is very important to stop this behavior if the dogs have not been spayed and neutered. While males mounting males is not necessarily negative behavior, if the dog is doing it to assert dominance, it can lead to fighting. It is not advisable to reinforce this kind of fighting behavior as dogs need obedience to help them get along practically. This obedience training along with neutering is important in controlling your dog's bahavior, even if neutering won't stop mounting altogether.
Also, if your dog is mounting as a means to relieve stress, then this issue also needs to be addressed. This could be due to a multitude of reasons, whether between dog and human or dog and dog. In this case, reviewing the 5 freedoms of animal welfare can give us a clue to start dealing with the problem. Take a look at the basic needs for animals to ensure they are being met and they may stop inappropriate mounting behavior.
Serious behavior problems
If your dog mounting other male and female dogs excessively is part of a larger pattern of serious behavioral problems, then you may need to step up your game in terms of care. It may not just be emotional stress. there could be physiological reasons behind these behavorial problems. It is advised you take your dog to the vet to perform a complete evaluation fo your canine. They may even take a blood test to rule out any other specific health issues.
Once you have met with a vet to ensure this is not a physical health issue, you may need to take other steps to prevent inappropriate mounting. This may be in the guise of a professional dog trainer, canine educator or ethologist. These professionals will be able to help isolate the exact behavior which is causing problems and the reasons behind it. They will hopefully be able to make an assessment which leads to a diagnosis. After this time, they will be able to recommend treatment options and offer guidelines on how to improve their day-to-day lives.
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