Okay, I have to be completely honest here. His name wasn’t really Harold, and he wasn’t really a husky. Actually, the dog that inspired this blog was a chocolate Lab named Artie. But he was pretty humpy, and besides, wasn’t that a catchy title?
So here’s what we’re going to talk about this time. Your dog humps. Your dog is embarrassing you by humping. Now, what are you going to do about it?
Perhaps you remember the first time you ever saw your dog humping. If you were lucky, it might just have been a piece of furniture or a stuffed toy, or even you. If you weren’t so lucky, it happened with your visiting grandma, and that wasn’t so good. You probably had no idea how to react. If it happened with an inanimate object, you might have just looked on in shock. If it was you, you probably recoiled and yelled “Get away!” And if it was grandma? Well, I can’t even begin to imagine how you reacted.
So, let’s talk about humping – what causes it, and what you can do about it.
Is He Masturbating?
It’s possible. And in the same way that masturbation is normal and natural in humans, so it is in dogs. If your dog’s sexuality troubles you, I’m sorry, but it does exist, even in neutered dogs. You might be surprised to know, for instance, that a neutered male dog can still get an erection, and he can even ejaculate. Female dogs will also hump.
Now, having said that, there are a lot of other reasons for humping. Another thing that might surprise you is that humping is often far more about dominance than it is about sex – a lot of the time, a dog will hump another dog as a way of pointing out that he or she is higher up in the dog hierarchy than the dog that is being humped. And yes, that does extend to you – if you are not the “alpha” in your pack, your dog may be trying to dominate you by humping.
Now, I know this sounds really odd, but sometimes dogs who aren’t really sure how to play with other dogs will hump out of stress and confusion. It’s like “I don’t really know what to do here, so maybe humping would be a good idea.” What you need to do in this situation is make sure that your dog gets more “play dates” and learns better how to socialize with other dogs in the right way.
It is also possible that your dog is simply over-excited or somewhat stressed. If this is the case, then you need to find ways to soothe him. Perhaps give him a treat, or a toy, or create a space in your home where he can go to be by himself, away from whatever is stressing him.
Now you have learned about all the social and psychological reasons for humping, and in fact, these are the usual reasons. That said, though, sometimes your dog may have a medical issue that is causing humping. If it seems as though he is humping constantly, chewing or licking at his genitals, or displaying other signs of stress, then a trip to the vet could be in order. It could be that he has a urinary infection, or possibly an allergy.
If the problem is an allergy, then there are remedies available. One that is very effective is Excel Allergy Relief for Dogs The active ingredient in this product is the same as you would find in your own Benadryl, but is specially formulated for dogs.
Is It Normal?
Most of the time, if your dog is humping, the behavior might not be desirable, but it is perfectly normal and can be attributed to a variety of issues. If it seems to be getting “over the top,” though, then your best course of action would be to take him to the vet for an evaluation so that you can rule out urinary tract infection.
You can also try various training methods to stop your dog from humping. Before he begins to hump, for instance, he will probably start to lick, paw, rub or pant. If you see this type of behavior, and you think he is about to hump, offer a toy, or ask him to perform a trick – anything that will distract him from the humping.
You can also try a “time out” where you put him in a room alone. No toys, no distractions, just an empty room. Wait a minute or two, and let him out. You don’t have to make a big deal out of it, but if he starts humping again, put him back in. Rinse and repeat as needed, in short!
Spay or Neuter
Spaying and neutering will reduce the sexual drive in your dog, but may not entirely stop humping. Since you should spay and neuter in any case, though, if it reduces the humping, consider it a bonus.
You love your dog, and you want him or her to have good manners. If he or she is humping, you probably feel horribly embarrassed, and you wonder what in the world you can do to stop this undesirable behavior. The solution depends most of the time on whether the humping is due to sexuality, dominance, or a medical issue.
The important thing to keep in mind is that humping is actually normal. You can train your dog not to hump, but you shouldn’t punish him if he does. He won’t know why he is being punished. So your job, as a loving, caring dog parent, is to help your dog to stop this undesirable behavior without scolding or punishing. Remember, your dog doesn’t think the way you do. Don’t expect him to.