Mark Vette – Internationally renowned Animal Behaviourist, Educator, Author and TV personality

How To Stop Your Dog From Humping

HOW TO STOP YOUR DOG FROM HUMPING

Have you had an embarrassing moment when your dog got a little, er, “over excited”?

Humping is a surprisingly common behaviour that dog owners encounter, and it can often be very embarrassing when your dog unleashes its affections on another dog (or person), so I thought I’d give you a bit of insight into why it happens – and how to stop it if you need to.

First off – why do dogs do this?

Humping and mounting are normal behaviours in both male and female dogs, and there can be many reasons they do it:

  • Sexual (the most obvious!)
  • As a sign of dominance
  • As a reaction to something that excites the dog, such as the arrival of someone to your home or playing with another dog
  • Because the dog hasn’t been socialised properly and doesn’t understand appropriate canine behaviour

Aside from being somewhat embarrassing, this behaviour can become an issue: your dog may hump a dog that doesn’t like it, which can result in aggression or a fight; or your dog may hump a person that doesn’t like the unsolicited attention.

If you’re wanting to stop this behaviour, here are some things you can try:

  • See a vet, to rule out any underlying medical cause, especially if the behaviour is new, compulsive or constant.
  • Spay and neuter your dog, as this can reduce sexual motivation.
  • Distract your dog by asking them to perform a trick or tossing them a toy to divert their attention.
  • If your dog humps people, push them off the person and say “No” firmly, and/or ask the person to walk away from the situation.
  • If your dog humps other dogs, separate the two dogs.
  • Remove your dog from the situation by putting them in a different room for a few minutes to calm down.
  • Redirect your dog’s attention to you by giving them a command such as “Sit” or “Down”. This will be more effective if you carry food rewards with you as an incentive!
  • Don’t encourage the behaviour with laughter or by giving your dog attention for it (even though this is very easy to do – it can be somewhat comical!).
  • Make sure your dog has enough exercise and play time.
  • Make sure your dog’s obedience training is up to scratch, as this will give you more control in any situation including when your dog is humping others.

Remember, just like with any behavioural issue you want to change – the sooner you get on to it, the better, so that it doesn’t become an ingrained habit.

Advanced Training

 

If your dog is being quite persistent or doing this behaviour regularly, you may need to introduce some Contrast Training. We use a Safety Slip Collar attached to a long lead in this scenario to deliver an effective check if the dog is trying to hump another. If you’re not familiar with doing an effective check, you can learn about them in my books or virtual training schools.

Some key tips when using an effective check in this scenario:

  • Give a firm effective check as soon as your pup shows signs of wanting to hump. Don’t let it get going too much beforehand, otherwise it will be more difficult to stop your dog! Just get straight into it the second you see it start to happen
  • Don’t give any commands while giving the check. You want it to seem as if the correction comes from the other dog, not from you
  • As soon as your dog comes away from the other dog, click and reward with a high value food treat.
  • Be really persistent, don’t allow it to carry on

It’s really important you have both a consequence for the wrong behaviour (effective check) as well as a reward for the right behaviour (click and reward). Your dog won’t learn without this contrast!

As this is an involuntary, instinctive behaviour you may need to be more firm with these checks than you would be when teaching other behaviours. Persist with this until your dog gives up and leaves the other dog alone. You may need to coordinate a play date with another dog that you know your dog likes to hump in order to be able to do this training properly.

Please join our Virtual Dog School or purchase one of my books if you’ve never done an effective check before. It’s very important to learn to do them correctly, timing is everything.

I hope these tips help those of you with overly amorous dogs!

 

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