You may have seen dogs who hump toys or cushions or who try to hump other dogs. You may have even had dogs who humped your leg -- which is not really very amusing if you are the person who is being humped. All of this humping may have left you wondering what it’s all about.
Different dogs can hump things for different reasons. All humping is a movement mimicking the sexual act. However, that isn’t necessarily why they’re humping.
For instance, if you watch very young puppies playing, they will often hump each other. Both boys and girls display this behavior. They are just playing and practicing for later in life. They are developing sexual roles as well as using humping to display dominance. This is all done in play and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s quite normal at this age.
For some puppies the behavior can become a habit. They can continue to try to dominate other puppies or dogs with humping behavior. It doesn’t have to be sexual in nature. They may try to hump dogs of the same sex. In a reverse situation, humping can be a way for a dog to try to show another dog that they want to be part of their group. “Hey, I’m one of you!” They may try to hump larger or older dogs. This almost appears to be a form of hero-worship.
Sometimes a dog or puppy will hump a cushion or toy just because it feels good, like itching a scratch.
Of course, when a bitch is in season there may be humping behavior long before there is any actual mating. Males may try to hump the female. The female may try to hump the male to arouse his interest, and so on. This is essentially courting behavior. Sometimes humans are inadvertently brought into the mix and a male or female (more often a male) may hump someone’s leg if they happen to be around.
Neutering or spaying a dog does not necessarily stop humping behavior. Since humping can be a learned behavior -- a habit -- it is usually a mental action, not a physical need. There are many spayed and neutered dogs who continue humping unless they are trained to stop the behavior.
The best way to train your dog not to hump is to put the 4 simple rules in place that teach your dog to be CALM. Baxter & Bella teaches the 4 CALM rules using a proven, very easy-to use system. Most often non-sexual humping is a dog’s attempt to “claim” something or someone or claim a position with respect to that person or dog, and a CALM dog has no desire to “claim” things…he’s secure in his appointed position within the pack.
A dog who respects your CALM leadership can easily be commanded to stop humping no matter what the reason.
Certainly not all dogs hump. This is a very individual behavior. Stopping your dog early when he starts humping your leg or other unacceptable things will usually stop the behavior. It is mostly seen in immature dogs. Most adult dogs do grow out of it unless the behavior is allowed to become an ingrained habit.