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What to think before we say ‘Ew’…

Humping is a normal canine behaviour for dogs but we humans can find it rather cringeworthy.

Just like any canine behaviour, some poor dogs can become a little obsessive with it and humping can become compulsive a ritual if left unchecked. At Daycare we discourage humping for the sake of the humpee so if we see humping we interrupt and distract.

The interesting thing about humping is the variety of scenarios it is found and it can be difficult to pinpoint a definitive reason a dog is humping.  We must consider the intention behind the humping.

If someone asks why their dog is humping the best answer would probably be ‘it depends’. 

Dogs don’t always hump in the sexual sense and it may even be a human who gets humped.  

If the dog is regularly trying to hump we need to check ‘Has a reward history developed with the attention a dog has been given for humping?’ For some dogs any attention is good attention.  For others any attention is better than no attention.

A veterinarian could rule out reasons for humping such as a urinary tract infection, skin allergy or prostate problems.

For some dogs humping is a common part of their play repertoire and even a play gesture.

It can also be performed as a means of social dominance.

In a group of dogs sometimes you’ll observe one dog trying to hump a number of other dogs.

Occasionally it appears to be one dog that other dogs are trying to hump.

Some dogs will hump due to exuberance or arousal of the non-sexual kind.

Some dogs will sternly retaliate to being humped, which can quickly lead into a fight depending on the intention of the humper.

Sometimes two dogs may take turns humping during a play pattern without it upsetting either.

Humping can happen as a result of being tense or in other cases over stimulated.

A dog bouncing with excitement, burning off energy or full of adrenaline may also throw in some humping.

It can occur as part of a routine sequence e.g. a dog develops a pattern of doing several actions in a row (one of them being humping).  Or it may occur as a displacement behaviour.

Dogs are capable of humping a dog nearby in response to smelling a pheromone off in the distance, even though the source of the pheromone is not from the nearby dog.

Of course it can be performed in a sexual nature or just because it feels good.

Both male and female dogs can hump.

Both neutered and un-neutered dogs can hump.
Is the dog still young or were they neutered later in life?

We have worked with 100’s of dogs and very few try to hump us yet some folks claim their dog chooses to hump a select one or two of the people they know and no other people.

See how much there is to humping?

Leah & Angela OMeara
Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)