Why Do Dogs Hump? Stopping It Can Be Easy

It can be embarrassing when your dog suddenly decides to display its humping skills in public, and even more cringe-worthy when your pooch directs its humping towards humans.

So then, why exactly do dogs hump? Dogs hump objects and humans for a variety of reasons including to ease sexual tension, as play behavior, due to stress or overexcitement, to assert dominance or even due to an underlying medical condition.

That said, regardless of whatever is the cause of your dog’s humping, knowledge of how to curb this behavior can come in handy and save you and your dog from embarrassment, and tips on how to control your dog’s humping make up the contents of this article; We’ll be taking a look at these tips in a but, but firstly, let’s see what typically causes dogs to hump objects and humans.

What Triggers Dogs To Hump?

Common reasons for dog humping include a reaction to stress, a sign of excitement, play behavior, attention seeking behavior, sexual tension or due to an existing medical condition.


Image from Ollie

Humping in dogs isn’t limited to sexual reasons alone, and it is quite common to burn off excess energy when excited, by humping an object, and occasionally, humans.

Dogs are also quite playful by nature, and play-humping is a common sight when two pooches are playing with each other. That said, play-humping is particularly observed in puppies, and if not trained appropriately, this behavior may prove difficult to correct when the pooch becomes an adult.

Sexual Needs

Dogs that are at prime breeding age can typically be observed humping other dogs, and engaging in other acts of courtship to show that they need to ease some of the built-up sexual tension.

Humping for sexual reasons can be done by both male and female dogs, and some pooches continue to engage in this act because they enjoy the physical sensation derived from humping objects.

An Attempt To Establish Dominance

Dogs are hierarchical by nature, and if you observe a dog making attempts to hump another pooch, then such a dog is most likely attempting to establish dominance over the pooch on the receiving end of the humping.

In the same vein, it is also quite possible for a dog to attempt to establish dominance over a human by humping such a human’s legs.

Attention-Seeking Behavior

Dogs may hump objects as a way of drawing their owner’s attention. And this behavior of humping objects to seek attention is reinforced by a human’s reaction to the act – either positive or negative; For attention-derived dogs, negative attention is better than no attention at all.

Presence Of An Underlying Medical Condition

All the reasons for humping stated above are behavioral, but you should also know that humping in a pooch can be a sign of ill health, although this isn’t predominant.

Medical issues that cause dogs to hump are typically related to a problem with the reproductive or excretory system, and common examples include urinary tract infectionprostate issues and skin infection.

Why Do Dogs Still Hump When They Are Fixed?

Image from Embark Vet

Most dogs continue to hump even after they have been ‘fixed’ or neutered, either because of the pleasant sensation that typically accompanies the act or because their humping behavior isn’t sexually driven.

Typically, neutering or spaying involves the removal of a dog’s sexual organs, and as this usually results in a corresponding decrease in the level of testosterone production, it is expected that humping should stop.

However, from what we’ve been able to establish concerning the causes of humping in dogs, this behavior isn’t always sexually driven; Hence, there’s a chance that, even after getting rid of your pooch’s sexual organs, stress and over-excitement can still induce humping in the said dog.

Additionally, even after getting neutered, there’s a chance that a pooch’s reproductive system will retain some testosterone. And this in turn leads to occasional sexual urges and corresponding mounting – for up to eight weeks after neutering

How Do I Fix My Dog’s Humping?

You can fix your dog’s humping by maintaining a stress-free environment for the pooch, scheduling a medical appointment to diagnose and treat existing medical conditions, engaging the pooch in regular physical activities or by seeking help from a professional dog trainer.

As discussed earlier, dog humping is caused by several factors; Hence, there are different ways of discouraging and stopping this unattractive, and sometimes, embarrassing behavior by your pooch.

Catch And Stop Your Dog While Humping

Whenever you catch your dog humping or positioning itself to hump an object, it is important that you show your disapproval by either stopping the dog with a verbal cue or eliminating whatever it is humping, where possible.

However, it’s not always possible to distract a humping dog with a verbal cue, and in situations like this, you can try luring the pooch away with a valuable toy or treat. And in addition to coaxing your dog away with a toy or treat, you should also praise acts of obedience to reinforce this positive behavior.

Eliminating Stress Triggers

By identifying and getting rid of factors that may be inducing stress in your dog, you can reassure your pooch that it’s safe, and subsequently reduce such a dog’s tendency to hump.

Additionally, by properly managing your pooch’s environment, you can minimize such a dog’s humping. Make sure the dog’s favorite chew toys are always readily available to act as a sort of stress ball for whenever such a dog is feeling uncomfortable.

Regular Physical Activity

Image from BARK Bright

Similarly, a dog that’s not getting enough exercise and physical activity will mostly take to humping objects in a bid to get rid of excess energy.

Consequently, it is recommended that you take time to engage your pooch in daily exercises to prevent energy build-up and the adoption of behaviors such as humping.

Involve A Professional

If, after you’ve tried all the steps listed above, your pooch continues to hump at every given opportunity, the next point of action is to engage the services of a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist to work on the issue.

These professionals have been specially trained to deal with situations like dog humping, and years of experience will certainly equip them to handle this issue better, and correct your pooch’s behavior.

Schedule A Medical Appointment

We’ve mentioned earlier how humping can be a sign of an underlying medical condition; Hence, in addition to your dog’s humping, if you notice any other unusual behavior and symptoms, get on your phone right away and book an appointment with your vet!

Avatar photo
Pete Decker