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Mounting and Masturbation in Dogs

(continued)

Mounting During Play, in Response to Stress or for Sexual Reasons continued...

Discouragement by itself won’t prevent mounting from reoccurring. You must also do some preventative training. You’ll need to teach your dog a behavior that he can perform instead of mounting when he’s around people-something that he can’t do while humping. Train him to sit on cue, for example. After your dog readily sits for a treat when you ask him to, you can start using that skill to discourage humping. As soon as you see your dog start to mount, say “Sit.” If he sits, praise him happily and reward him with a tasty treat. Then you can ask him to sit a few more times or perform other tricks he already knows. When your dog has performed some polite behaviors and calmed down a little, you can offer him few minutes of play with a favorite toy. This may alter your dog’s motivational state so that he’s no longer interested in humping. If the humping occurs in specific contexts, such as in response to exciting or chaotic interactions between people (hugging, greeting, arguing, etc.), ask your dog to sit and stay whenever you do the things that trigger his mounting behavior. Remember to reward your dog frequently if he behaves politely instead of mounting.

If your dog only mounts when dealing with stressful situations (greeting new people, for example), avoid those situations whenever possible. If you can’t avoid a situation or thing that makes your dog anxious, try to reduce his stress as much as you can. For instance, if your dog finds visiting the veterinary clinic stressful, take him to the clinic for frequent social visits. During these trips to the vet’s office, give your dog plenty of tasty treats and make sure that nothing unpleasant happens. After a few weeks or months of occasional “cookie trips” to the vet’s office, your dog will start to enjoy going there. That change in his feelings will make future visits to the veterinary clinic much less stressful for him. If your dog becomes anxious when he greets new people, distract him when he encounters strangers so that the experience is less overwhelming for him. Try teaching your dog to sit for delicious goodies or fetch his favorite toy when new people visit your home.

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