Your dog's humping behavior may lead to an embarrassed chuckle at the dog park, but the dog being humped may not be enjoying it at all. If your dog humps anything that moves, you may be looking for a solution before your dogs messes with the wrong type of dog.
Determine the exact cause of the mounting behavior. If Scruffy is an intact male and is trying to mount a female dog in heat, you very likely know it's sexual behavior and you must intervene because that's how puppies are made. However, mounting in many cases is not strictly sexual, so don't assume your neutered and spayed dogs are halo-wearing saints immune to this behavior. Dogs may hump dogs and other animals also out of arousal, anxiety or pure play, according to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
Address the underlying issue. To reduce dog mounting you obviously don't stop it by telling the dogs to "get a room" for doing their dirty things. Therefore, if your dog is mounting because of being overexcited and aroused, you may consider implementing a better exercise regimen so to calm him down. If your dog is humping due to anxiety, you may want to find out what is triggering it and address it accordingly. If your intact dog is humping due to sexual behavior, consider having him neutering if you have no plans on making him a stud dog.
Train your dog alternate behaviors to the humping behavior. In order to work well, alternate behaviors need to be incompatible with the mounting behavior. For instance, if your dog is thinking about mounting and you ask him a sit, he obviously cannot mount and sit at the same time. Good alternate behaviors for mounting behaviors are the sit, down and come command.
Manage your dog. The more he rehearses the mounting behavior, the more it will reinforce and risks becoming a bad habit. This means that you must actively supervise your dog during his interactions with other dogs and stop him from engaging in the mounting behavior before it happens. Watch your dog's body language closely and recognize the early warning signs that the behavior is about to occur. The moment he is about to mount, immediately ask for the alternate behavior and reward lavishly with high-value treats.
Supervise your dog's interactions at all times. While some dogs may not mind being mounted, others may clearly object to it. This means, your dog can get bit as not all dogs are willing to accept mounting. If your dog tends to mount, it is best to limit his exposure to dogs he knows well and that you know how they react in the eventuality he may mount. However, by addressing the underlying cause for the mounting behavior, training an alternate behavior and closely monitoring your dog, the chances for mounting should reduce and the behavior may eventually extinguish overtime.
- As with other behavioral problems, it is best to seek a veterinarian to rule out a medical cause.
- Often, it is best to have a dog behavior professional assess your dog's mounting behavior to determine exactly what triggers this behavior.
- Nip the mounting behavior in the bud to prevent it from putting roots and becoming more difficult to eradicate.
- Inappropriate mounting is eliminated in 70 percent of neutered dogs, according to veterinarian Wendy Brooks.
- Keeping a journal to document when the behavior occurs and recording the behavior on tape may be helpful.
- Don't leave your dog unsupervised with other dogs at any time.
- Avoid punishing your dog for mounting as this can cause more serious problems.
- Avoid reinforcing the mounting behavior by giving any type of positive feedback such as laughing, praising or rewarding.
- Mounting behaviors can persist several months after a dog is neutered.
- Mounting is often considered a dominance issue but in reality this is rarely the cause, according to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Her articles have appeared in "USA Today," "The APDT Chronicle of the Dog" and "Every Dog Magazine." She also contributed a chapter in the book " Puppy Socialization - An Insider's Guide to Dog Behavioral Fitness" by Caryl Wolff.