Humping is something that doesn’t have to be taught but just develops naturally. Humping, mounting, thrusting, whatever you want to call it, can be a super destructive behavior if it is left unchecked.
In fact, I remember when my puppy was around 6 months old, he tried to climb on my little cousin and almost started humping her! Although we pulled him off in time, she was traumatized by this almost full-grown Belgian Shepherd jumping on her. We told her he was just trying to dance with him, but she’s always been wary of him since then.
I wish I spent more time trying to correct these behaviors when he was younger so that we wouldn’t have run into embarrassing situations like these. So, we’ve compiled some of the most common reasons behind mounting and how to prevent it.
Why Does My Dog Hump His Bed?
The primary reason behind humping is sexual pleasure. Mounting is a dog’s method of masturbation, so dogs often do it for sexual stimulation. This means that dogs under 1 year of age are most likely to be humping to mitigate any sexual feelings.
This is totally normal behavior because mounting is a natural body position for pups to be in. It can begin to become destructive when the dogs start to hump items like your bags, clothes, or baskets. Sexual humping usually subsides when the dog reaches 1 year of age and has reached maturity.
Unfortunately, some breeds are just more genetically predisposed to humping and mounting behaviors. You might have seen a lot more Chihuahuas & German Shepherds mounting their beds or toys.
Evidently, the size of the dog doesn’t influence how likely they are to mount. It’s mainly influenced by the breed & their energy levels. High-energy dogs are more likely to expend that extra energy through mounting.
Dogs are super playful creatures with tons of excess energy, and younger puppies love to be playing 24/7 (when they’re not napping!). So, mounting could be a playful behavior and a way for them to start a new playing session.
Also, if they’re laying around the house they may begin to hump out of boredom. If you notice that your pup uses humping as a segue into regular playing, then he’s likely doing it to get rid of pent-up energy & as a means to get your attention.
Act of Dominance
This is a very controversial opinion, as many believe that the dominance theory & the alpha mentality in dogs isn’t real.
However, others still consider that this theory is scientifically accurate, and it is the main reason for dog humping.
If you have an older/spayed dog, then humping may be a way for him to show dominance. Sexual behavior is one of the main ways that dogs can show social dominance; by engaging in mating behaviors, he sends a message to the other dogs that he is the strongest canine there.
However, if there is nobody to mate with, then chances are he will mount his bed to intimidate you! He may also be testing the limits to see how far he can misbehave without you reprimanding him. If you notice an increase in humping when there are guests, around other dogs, or if you’ve just bought another pet into the house, then your pup is most likely trying to assert dominance.
Sometimes humping is just a bad habit that’s been left unchecked since puppyhood. Humping could become a soothing behavior, much like digging or flipping the bed. Then, each time your pup is faced with a slightly overwhelming situation, he may hump to relax.
Letting your puppy engage in mounting regularly makes the habit difficult to break. If you notice that your dog has a usual humping time period, such as right after a walk, try to distract them with playing or basic training.
Overstimulation is a big issue for younger dogs. Some dogs get way too excited, which may lead to excessive humping behavior to expend that extra energy. In this case, mounting is a non-sexual behavior; it is just a way for your dog to deal with all that extra physical stimulation.
You can help him out by identifying the pattern of behavior and trying to deal with it at the source. When you see that your dog is overstimulated, try to begin regular playtime & divert his attention from humping.
Your dog could be humping beds for reasons beyond his control. As your puppy steps into the adult years of his life, he will begin to experience a myriad of hormonal changes, which can be very confusing and downright uncomfortable.
Once puppies reach sexual maturity, they begin having sexual desires, which could lead to frequent humping. Female dogs may start mounting when they begin their heat cycles, and male dogs start when they reach sexual maturity & mating age.
We can help out our growing puppies by criticizing any unwanted behavior. Your pup is likely mounting due to hormonal changes if you notice any flirtatious behavior beforehand, like chasing other dogs, licking lips, and erections.
Thrusting may even be an anxious behavior or one of the symptoms of anxiety. Some puppies may suffer from anxiety, and humping is a way to help them cope with their feelings. Much like how we jiggle our legs or bite our nails, dogs also engage in natural behaviors that can help them feel a lot less stressed out.
If you notice that your pup urinates on his bed when you’re not in the house, then he is likely suffering from separation anxiety. Other than providing him with medication for anxiety, you could also ensure that your pup is getting enough mental stimulation & that he feels safe, so he won’t engage in harmful, compulsive behaviors.
Humping, if paired with other strange behaviors, may also be a sign of underlying medical issues. Your dog could be suffering from painful erections which he is trying to reduce with humping. Your dog may have prostate problems as well, especially if he is an older dog. If your dog is also suffering from urinary incontinence, then it is most likely a prostate issue.
Some older have skin allergies near the penis which they try to itch via humping. If you suddenly notice a sharp increase in humping behavior, take a close look at your dog’s health and see if you need to take him to the vet.
Lack of exercise
Dogs need tons of exercise to be healthy & happy. Make sure they are getting enough stimulation on walks to reduce any problematic behaviors like mounting. If you notice that your pup humps right after getting the zoomies, it’s likely that they are just trying to exert some extra energy.
Can Female Dogs Hump Too?
This is something I had a really hard time understanding, but female dogs can hump too!
The main reason that bitches hump is hormonal influences. As they enter their first heat cycle, female puppies will start to hump the sofa, their bed, or even you! If they do this around 1 time a day, this behavior is generally harmless & shouldn’t be a big deal.
They could also be humping to get your attention. In this case, it’s important to not reward humping with a spotlight. Your female dog may also be suffering from some compulsive behaviors. Or, they are just feeling anxious and need a way to calm themselves down.
Commonly, bitches will hump other dogs during playtime as a signal of excitement or dominance.
So, humping is not a behavior that is only displayed by studs. Bitches can hump too, and this can become a habitual behavior if you don’t take early steps to prevent it.
How To Prevent Humping
There are many ways to prevent humping in dogs. The most important thing to keep in mind is to remain consistent with your training, whatever type of training you choose.
Keep in mind that humping isn’t always a very destructive behavior. If your dog humps his bed only 1 to 2 times a day, this is just a normal genetic process & you don’t necessarily have to fix it.
However, if your dog begins to hump multiple times in an hour, this is a process known as stereotypy. An example of stereotypy is zoo animals pacing or walking around in circles; they do this due to heightened stress & a lack of mental stimulation.
In this case, humping is a damaging behavior and needs to be fixed.
Behavioral Training with Commands
This is probably the easiest way to fix a humping dog. Simple training commands can teach them that humping is a disapproved behavior that isn’t tolerated in your household. First, identify when they are humping.
Are they humping your leg for your attention? If this is the case, make it a point to turn your back on them and completely disengage. If they are humping when they want to play, or for sexual gratification, use a stern “Stop” command and reward your dog with food or attention when he stops mounting.
It’s crucial to keep your dog occupied when they are overstimulated & want to hump to get rid of excess energy. To make sure they don’t mount after a walk, distract them with regular playing. Encourage them to chase after a toy, catch a ball, or just run around.
If you see them running towards their bed and you think they are going to hump it, give them a stern “No” or “Stop” command. Basically, you have to provide other avenues for your pup to expend extra energy that isn’t mounting.
Give them ample exercise & playtime
A bored dog is a naughty dog. It’s crucial that you’re providing enough physical and mental stimulation so your pup doesn’t resort to humping out of sheer boredom. Make sure that they are getting sufficient exercise with regular walks and training. In this way, they are less likely to hump their beds at night.
If you’re not at home for long periods throughout the day, try buying your pooch one of those mental stimulation toys to keep their brain super active & alert. You can’t monitor your dog 24/7, especially if they are humping their bed in the dead of night. So, it’s crucial to provide enough exertion throughout the day so your pup doesn’t want to hump at night anymore.
Remove the bed
Some beds are shaped a certain way that encourages humping. In my experience, super fluffy beanbag-style beds will make your pup hump more because they are able to mount them easily. I recommend crate pads or flat, memory-foam rectangular beds that are hard to lift up to hump. Sometimes, all you need to do is remove the bed and your dog won’t feel like humping anymore.
Spay / Neuter
The easiest way to reduce sexual mounting is to neuter or spay your dog. Ask your vet when the time is right to castrate your dog. Neutering your animal has tons of benefits, such as a lower risk of cancers, decreased aggressive behavior, and longer lifespans. This safe medical procedure is greatly encouraged by vets, as unspayed bitches may develop a painful & life-threatening infection called pyometra.
My beagle in his cone of shame after being neutered- I noticed that he rarely humped after his surgery, even though mounting was a big issue when he was a puppy!
Can Dogs Hump After Being Neutered?
A common question that people have is if dogs will still hump after being neutered.
It has been found that neutering can reduce mounting behaviors by 50 to 60%. However, not all humping is purely sexual. A large reason that dogs hump is the behavioral aspect behind it.
Dogs are more likely to hump if they are bored, overexcited, or playing with other dogs. Therefore, it’s not a certainty that if you neuter your dog, he will stop humping. In fact, some female dogs hump more after being spayed, likely due to the lack of the calming progesterone hormone.
So, alongside neutering, you need to train your dog properly to understand that humping is not acceptable behavior. Begin training from a young age so that your dog doesn’t form a habit of humping. In this case, he may turn to hump whenever he is overwhelmed or anxious.
Humping is a serious issue that can be tricky for pet parents to combat. It’s important to understand why your puppy is humping.
It may be sexual, for attention, or to combat boredom, anxiety, or overstimulation. It may also be brought along by hormonal changes or a genetic predisposition. In rarer cases, it may be caused by underlying health issues.
To reduce humping, you must begin proper training and distraction techniques from a young age. This will prevent the behavior from becoming a habit, which would be really hard to break later on.
If you have any questions or helpful training tips leave a comment down below. If you found this article informative, please share it with some friends for some helpful training advice!
Thanks for reading!