Skip to content

    Healthy Dogs

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Humping: Why Do Dogs Do It?

    Dog experts weigh in on why dogs hump and how to get them to stop.
    By Sandy Eckstein
    WebMD Pet Health Feature
    Reviewed by Audrey Cook, BVM&S

    At a local dog park in Atlanta, the other dog owners have a nickname for Lois Gross’ dog, a Dutch shepherd. “They say ‘Here comes Humping Taz,’” the Atlanta resident says of her 5-year-old, spayed female, Taz. “She doesn’t want to play or run, she just wants to hump all the other dogs in the park. We kind of joke about it, but some people get really upset when she gets on their dog so I have to watch her constantly.”

    Although the image of a dog humping a person’s leg, a pillow, or another dog can draw a laugh in a movie or on television, in real life it can be annoying, embarrassing, and even cause fights between dogs.

    Recommended Related to Dogs

    Diabetes in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment

    Diabetes in dogs is a complex disease caused by either a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin. After a dog eats, his digestive system breaks food into various components, including glucose-which is carried into his cells by insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. When a dog does not produce insulin or cannot utilize it normally, his blood sugar levels elevate. The result is hyperglycemia, which, if left untreated, can cause many complicated health problems...

    Read the Diabetes in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment article > >

    Why Do Dogs Hump?

    Humping, or mounting, is a sexual position for dogs, but veterinarians who specialize in canine behavior say it often is done for other reasons as well.

    David S. Spiegel, VMD, who has a behavioral veterinary practice near Swarthmore, Pa., says in unneutered and unspayed dogs under a year old, humping is usually sexual in nature. But in older dogs it can be a sign of dominance, a reaction to something that has excited the dog, like visitors arriving, or a sign that a dog hasn’t been socialized correctly and doesn’t know appropriate canine behavior.

    “The topic draws giggles and laughs, but it’s a very real topic for some people,” Spiegel says. “Some dogs can become very compulsive about the behavior.”

    Gary Landsberg, DVM, a veterinary behaviorist in Ontario, Canada, says mounting is common play behavior in puppies, and is even normal in the play of older dogs if it’s not taken to extremes. “You’ll often see one dog mount another, then a few minutes later they’ll switch off and the other dog will mount the first dog,” Landsberg says. “It’s a common play gesture.”

    It’s done by males and females, even by dogs that have been neutered or spayed, he says. “It’s a play behavior that dogs do because no one has told them it’s not acceptable,” Landsberg said. “It can become enjoyable or a normal part of the dog’s day, so it keeps doing it. It’s the same as jumping up or barking at the door.”

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4

    Today on WebMD

    bulldog in party hat
    Breeds with longevity
    Doberman Pinscher Clipped Ears
    The facts about ear cropping and tail docking.
     
    dog with duck in mouth
    Which are considered smartest?
    boxer dog
    What are their health issues?
     
    Pit bull looking up
    Article
    Pets: Is My Dog Normal
    Slideshow
     
    Dog scratching behind ear
    Slideshow
    dog catching frisbee
    Slideshow
     
    Dog Breed RMQ
    Quiz
    Lady owner feeding dog
    Slideshow
     
    pooldle
    Slideshow
    bulldog in party hat
    Slideshow