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

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
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Because the dog hasn’t been socialised properly and doesn’t understand appropriate canine behaviour
  • Because they’re bored or seeking attention
  • For medical reasons, such as urinary tract infections or a compulsive disorder

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.

So, 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.

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

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