Mounting, thrusting (humping) and masturbation are normal
behaviors exhibited by most dogs. Dogs masturbate in
various ways. They mount and thrust against other animals, people and objects,
such as wadded-up blankets, dog beds and toys. Sometimes, dogs just rub against
people or objects (without mounting them), or they lick themselves.
Puppies often mount and hump their littermates, other playmates, people and
toys. Some experts believe that this behavior functions as practice for future
sexual encounters. As puppies reach sexual maturity, they start to mount other
dogs in sexual contexts. After they’re neutered or spayed, many male and female
dogs continue to mount and even masturbate because they have learned that the
behavior feels good.
Intact (not neutered) males will often masturbate if prevented from
approaching a female in heat. Often, during
courtship, females in heat mount and hump their male “suitors.” Female dogs
also commonly mount and hump other females when one or both are in heat.
Masturbation is part of normal sexual behavior for both altered
(spayed or neutered) and intact dogs. Both male and female dogs mount other
dogs, people and objects. Most people don’t realize that this behavior isn’t
limited to intact male dogs, nor do they know that neutered males can display
erections and ejaculate just like intact males. Sexually motivated mounting and
masturbation are often accompanied by “flirtatious” body language and courtship
behavior (tail up, ears rotated backward, licking, pawing, play bows,
Sexual behaviors, including mounting and thrusting, are part of
normal play behavior. Dogs don’t usually display erections or ejaculate in the
context of play. Some poorly socialized or undersocialized dogs excessively
mount other dogs in response to play solicitation. They don’t seem to know how
to play well and get overaroused during play.
Response to Stress or Excitement
Some dogs respond to stressful or exciting situations by
mounting or masturbating. For instance, after meeting a new dog or person, an
aroused and excited dog may mount another dog, his owner or a nearby object,
like a dog bed or a toy.
Masturbating can become a compulsive habit, especially if a dog
does it in response to stress. Compulsions like mounting and masturbating can
interfere with a dog’s normal functioning.
Dogs sometimes mount other animals and people to display social status or
control. A dog mounting for this reason may or may not display an erection, but
he’s unlikely to ejaculate.
Medical Problems to Rule Out
Various medical problems, including urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, priapism
(persistent, often painful erections) and skinallergies, can influence a dog’s mounting behavior.
These issues can be serious if not properly treated and require medical
attention rather than behavioral treatment. Dogs suffering from one of these or
other medical issues often spend a lot of time licking and chewing the genital
area. If you notice your dog excessively mounting, licking or chewing himself,
or rubbing his body against things, take him to a veterinarian to rule out