Dogs hump for various reasons, and when they perform this action on their human companion or owner, it’s often for attention or to express their bond. Dogs hump against a person when they feel connected emotionally with their owner. It’s normal behavior for dogs, and they do this with the person that makes them feel safe.
Dog owners are seen as a part of the dog’s family, and dogs exhibit this behavior to express their connection. While dog humping behavior isn’t unusual or concerning in most cases, there are various reasons for it and how you can respond to your pet when this activity happens.
Looking for Attention
Dogs love attention, and they will make sure you notice them, especially if they feel ignored. While humping may seem like an unusual way to seek attention, it’s often done instead of pawing, barking, or using other cues to communicate.
Even when a dog misbehaves or does something that elicits a disciplinary response, it would rather receive any attention than be ignored. Dogs are naturally social and eager to be noticed, especially by their human companions.
When a male dog humps their owner, it may be due to sexual behavior if there’s a female dog nearby. If a dog owner has several dogs or manages a kennel, and there is a female dog in heat, close contact with this dog will leave a scent on a person, which attracts male dogs.
They indicate their sexual arousal by humping, a natural reaction for dogs reaching sexual maturity. This canine behavior is most common in puppies and young dogs that haven’t been neutered and is far less common for older dogs to exhibit this behavior.
They Feel Safe Expressing Themselves to You
While it may seem strange, dogs won’t hump a person they perceive as threatening. If they hump their owner, it’s a sign that they feel safe and secure and aren’t worried about facing discipline or a harsh reaction. Essentially, dogs will only perform humping behavior on a person they can trust, as they feel safe expressing themselves with someone who loves them.
Dogs Hump When They Want to Play
If your puppy hasn’t been to the dog park lately, they may be trying to get your attention because they want to play fetch, run, and socialize with other dogs and humans. They may bring you their leash, run in circles or gallop with over-excitement. Puppies are most likely to act rowdy and hump when they want to play, though it’s also expected behavior among young adult dogs.
A Display of Social Status Dominance
Dogs often show their dominance or social status in a pack by humping. When they hump a person, they may be showing other dogs their established status with their pet owner so that other dogs don’t approach their human. Dogs are territorial and will exhibit behavior to show dominance over a specific area, whether it’s a tree or yard, as a warning to other dogs to back off.
Dog Health or Medical Conditions
In some situations where your dog humps vigorously and appears uncomfortable, there may be a medical condition, such as itchy skin, such as a rash, or an infection near the genital area. The humping action may provide temporary relief from inflamed skin or itchiness due to an allergic reaction or contact with a plant or substance irritating.
If your dog underwent a surgical procedure, this might cause them to rub or hump against a person or object for relief from the discomfort of residual pain.
Anxiety or stress due to significant changes in the home or moving to a new house can be another reason why dogs engage in excessive humping.
How to Prevent Excessive Humping and Unwanted Behavior from Your Dog
When dogs hump their owner, it’s typically done for attention, though if it’s done too often, this behavior can quickly become an annoyance that many pet owners want to stop. There are easy ways to prevent your dog from humping or performing unwanted behavior.
- Keep your dog engaged with regular play and physical activities. When you take your dog for walks or play at the local dog park, this will prevent them from seeking extra attention at home and outside.
- A neutered dog is less likely to hump, mainly due to sexual reasons or arousal when male dogs notice the scent of female dogs.
- A certified professional dog trainer is a great way to train puppies and young dogs with positive reinforcement, which can help prevent unwanted behavior, such as humping and jumping.
- If there are other dogs in the neighborhood, keep your dog at a distance. Dogs love to socialize, though some dogs’ behavior may be too aggressive or difficult to control initially and require training and patience.
- Ensure that your dog has a good selection of quality toys, such as stuffed animals, chew toys, and a sturdy, clean blanket for comfort. These can provide a great distraction from unwanted actions and keep your dog busy and happy.
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If humping increases in severity and becomes more invasive and concerning, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian and a behavioral specialist. While most dogs don’t present serious symptoms and humping, many dog owners try to keep this behavior to a minimum, as it can be disruptive.
Dogs are social, playful pets that love to show their loyalty and commitment to humans. While many puppies are excitable, and humping is common, it’s essential to curb and reduce this behavior, as it can get more excessive without obedience training.
Dog trainers are an excellent resource for pet owners and provide helpful techniques to help curb bad or unwanted behavior while encouraging good responses and healthy, normal behavior. Communicating and regularly engaging with your dog is the best way to keep your pet happy and less stressed so that your dog feels loved and secure.