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Humping: Why Do Dogs Do It?

Dog experts weigh in on why dogs hump and how to get them to stop.

Breaking the Humping Cycle

Some types of humping are easier to deal with than others, the experts say. When a dog is humping a person, the person should just get up and walk away, which teaches the dog that this is an unacceptable behavior. When they mount other dogs, owners should separate them, and keep the dogs apart when they can’t be supervised.

But when dogs hump objects, such as pillows or toys, it can be a very difficult habit to break, Spiegel says. In those cases, he recommends keeping the dogs on a strict schedule, which lessens anxiety, and giving them lots of exercise, so they are too tired to get into trouble.

There also are medications that can help dogs with obsessive/compulsive tendencies, he says.

And if all else fails, let the dog have its favorite pillow or toy once or twice a day, in private, he says. “Some dogs are just more sexually driven,” Spiegel says. “But in our culture it’s not acceptable to let your dog hump other dogs or people. It’s rude.”

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Reviewed on April 21, 2012

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