Why Do Dogs Hump?
November 11, 2021 | 3 min read
Updated November 11, 2021
Published: November 11, 2021
Updated: October 11, 2022
Summary: "Why does my dog hump me and no one else?" So, you may have noticed that your dog has an interest in humping! In this blog, we learn why dogs hump (even after they’ve been spayed or neutered!), and how to get a dog to stop humping too…
First things first – humping is a normal, common behavior in dogs regardless of their sex. It’s also not just a behavior that occurs when the dog is feeling aroused!
Brief moments of humping during play can be a very common occurrence. When dogs play together they may hop on each other throughout to express excitement at the game. However, some dogs don’t like to be humped and it can be anti-social and uncomfortable if your dog is humping things they shouldn’t… Say, your house guest’s arms and legs!
So, why do dogs hump, and how does one get a dog to stop humping?
Why Do Dogs Hump?
If your dog is humping a pillow or a toy this is usually because they’ve gotten excited or overstimulated and simply need to expend their pent-up energy!
If a dog is humping people or another dog, this is often because they are wanting to dominate. It can also be a sign of occasional stress, over-stimulation or they could simply be acting up.
Sometimes a dog can hump because they’re experiencing a medical issue too. This could be an infection, an irritation, disease, or a prostate problem if your dog is male. They’re most likely humping to try and help alleviate their pain. The behavior may also be accompanied by licking or chewing at the area that is causing them discomfort. If you suspect it may be one of these issues, particularly if the behavior is happening more frequently and your dog is older and has been neutered or spayed, you should check in with your vet.
If your dog humps the air, this can be because they haven’t been properly socialized. This means they may have learned that humping is a way of interacting but this is more common in puppies who are still learning how to behave with other dogs and older dogs who have experienced abuse.
If your dog hasn’t been spayed or neutered and is young, then this is when the humping is most likely for pleasure and is sexually motivated.
Why Does My Dog Hump Me And No One Else?
If your dog is humping you, their master, and no one else this can be an expression of (as above) discomfort, excitement, or dominance but can also be a sign of boredom. They simply may be looking to get your attention. In some cases, though this may be a compulsive behavior they’ve adopted through poor care/abuse which may be a possibility to consider if you’ve got a rescue pup.
How To Get A Dog To Stop Humping
Firstly, if your dog is young and you’re not planning on breeding them, it would be wise to get them spayed or neutered. The most up-to-date advice is to do this around 9 months of age, or after a female dog’s first season. Not only is this better for their overall, long-term health but it is also going to help reduce their need to hump.
If you have an older dog that has already been “fixed”, you may want to get them looked over by a vet to rule out prostate problems, disease, or infection.
If the above has been sorted or ruled out, you’re then looking at training your dog away from humping and redirecting the unwanted behavior. Remember, you should never punish your dog for humping or behaving badly – they don’t understand punishment. All this teaches them is to fear you which isn’t what we want…
Instead, when your dog starts to hump, instruct them to perform a command they know like “sit”, “down” or “stay”. When they stop humping and perform the command, reward them with a big fuss and a treat. Repeat this every time they hump to help train them out of it. Alternatively, you could choose to take them out for a walk or play with them to distract them and help spend some pent-up energy they may have.
Make sure that they have easy access to their toys and are receiving the amount of exercise they need daily to help manage their energy levels and decrease boredom.
If you’re unsure how much exercise your dog needs, check out our handy guide on how much walking time your dog’s breed typically requires per day:
If there’s a particular toy or object your dog likes to hump, try hiding it and distract them with their other ones.
If your dog humps guests, make sure you keep them in their crate or a quiet room whilst that guest visits until you’ve got them trained out of it.
If you’re struggling to redirect their behavior with training and finding it hard to reduce the humping yourself, it may be worth considering seeking out an ethical, kind, reputable, and professionally qualified dog behavioral trainer to help.
Author Robins, Mary "Why Does My Dog Hump? Understanding Humping Or Mounting Behavior" Nov 21. 2019, American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/why-is-my-dog-humping-or-mounting/
Author Piamore, Eduarda "Why Does My Dog Hump Me?" Apr 08. 2019 https://www.animalwised.com/why-does-my-dog-hump-me-3087.html