Dog humping person’s leg

Key takeaway

In some cases, it’s completely normal for a dog to hump. However, you may have a problem if your dog is humping frequently, or if they’re displaying symptoms of another medical problem. Humping can be a result of boredom, anxiety, and more. Discouraging your dog from humping can help put a stop to this behavior, but you should talk to your vet first.

Keeping your dog’s behavior in check is important, and if your pup has a tendency to hump people, you might consider talking to your vet. Your vet can offer lots of basic tips for taking care of your dog, including how to curb this annoying behavior.

If your dog is humping people, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll explore why dogs mount people and other dogs below and provide tips on how to stop the behavior. 

Why Do Dogs Hump People?

Dogs hump people for lots of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with mating. If your dog won’t stop humping people, here are some of the potential causes of inappropriate mounting1:

Reasons dogs hump people

  • Hormonal reasons: In some cases, a dog might hump people for hormonal reasons. This behavior is more common in dogs who are intact, i.e. haven’t been spayed or neutered. This can even happen to dogs who have one testicle that remains in the abdomen, as well as female dogs who maintain their ovaries after being spayed.
  • Stress or excitement: Sometimes dogs hump people because they get a little too excited, or because there’s so much going on that it stresses them out.2 In addition to inappropriate humping, you may also notice signs of dog anxiety if your dog is responding this way to stress or excitement.
  • Play: Humping can be completely normal behavior for dogs in some cases. Your dog might be humping to try to get you or another dog to play. In this case, inappropriate humping shouldn’t be a huge concern.
  • Sexual behavior: Unsurprisingly, dogs may also hump for sexual purposes, including arousal and mating. This may be more common with dogs who aren’t spayed or neutered, but it can happen with spayed and neutered dogs as well.
  • Dominance: While it’s rare, dogs will sometimes hump as a way to assert their dominance. Your vet can tell you more about this behavior.
  • Compulsive behavior: Humping can also be an obsessive behavior, although it’s rare. Some dogs exhibit excessive behaviors, whether that’s excessive chewing, pacing, or licking the air. This excessive behavior can cause your dog to hump people.

Can You Stop a Dog From Humping?

If you notice your dog humping a toy, another dog, or a person, you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do to put a stop to that behavior. While humping isn’t quite as serious as dog seizures or other major medical conditions, excessive humping can make it difficult to take your dog to the park or have guests over to your home.

The good news is, there are steps you can take as a dog owner to change your dog’s behavior and reduce inappropriate mounting. That being said, you should talk to your vet about your dog’s behavior before you decide to do anything about it because your dog could have medical or behavior issues that are causing them to hump. If your dog’s behavior is a result of a medical issue they’re having, treating that medical problem should be your primary focus.

Dog at vet

It’s also important to talk to your vet about whether or not your dog’s behavior is problematic. While you might not like when your dog humps your leg or humps a toy, you also shouldn’t be alarmed if your dog humps from time to time.

Ultimately, it’s best to take your dog to the vet if you’re concerned about their behavior. Your vet can also give you tips for taking care of your dog, including tips for preventing dehydration in dogs and making sure your dog is getting the nutrition they need.

When Is Humping a Problem?

Before you take your dog to the vet for leg humping or humping other dogs, you should consider whether your dog’s humping is really a problem. It’s not uncommon for dogs to hump on occasion, but frequent humping could be a sign of overexcitement or stress. 

The first thing you should consider is how often your dog is humping. If you catch your dog humping toys, dogs, or other people several times per day, that’s something you should probably worry about. Occasional humping is more likely to be a result of boredom or wanting to play, while frequent humping can be more indicative of obsessive behavior or a medical problem.

You should also keep an eye out for signs of a larger health issue. If your dog’s skin appears to be irritated and you notice them scratching incessantly, you should talk to your vet about using allergy medication or switching to another dog food brand. If you notice your dog urinating inside or showing other signs of a urinary problem, your vet may recommend antibiotics and other treatment.

As long as your dog isn’t humping too often or showing any other signs of a medical issue, you probably don’t have too much to worry about.

How Can You Stop Your Dog From Humping?

If you’ve talked to your vet about your dog’s behavior and they agree that you need to do something, there are a couple of ways to stop your dog from humping. If your dog is humping as a result of a medical condition, they should stop humping when you get them the treatment they need. 

For dogs who are humping as a result of boredom or some other behavioral reason, the key is to discourage your dog from humping things. If you notice your dog humping a toy or starting to mount somebody’s leg, don’t praise that behavior.

You should also focus on finding ways to keep your dog stimulated, that way they’re not as tempted to hump. Try taking your dog for a walk at least once a day, and make sure you’re giving them plenty of attention throughout the day. If your dog isn’t bored, they might not get the urge to hump people or objects.

There are some things you should specifically avoid when it comes to stopping your dog from humping. First off, you should never reward your dog’s behavior, so don’t laugh and praise them when they begin humping somebody. You should also never hit your dog to discourage them from humping, as physical punishment can make your dog more aggressive and lead to further issues.

Reducing Mounting Opportunities

One of the best ways to reduce inappropriate mounting is to reduce the number of mounting opportunities your dog gets. The more often your dog has a chance to hump something or someone, the more likely they are to do it.

Prevent inappropriate mounting by reducing mounting opportunities

If your dog is attempting to mount you, try to change positions in a way that they can no longer mount. You can stop your dog from humping by turning to the side, leaving the room, or sitting down somewhere that prevents them from humping. You can also redirect your dog’s behavior by offering a treat or toy. Moreover, teaching your dog to leave it can stop your dog from mouthing you. 

It’s important to note whenever your dog attempts to mount you. Doing so can help you keep track of their behavior and identify common triggers.

Final Notes

A puppy humping can be normal, but you might want to put a stop to your dog’s humping if they’re doing it too frequently. Humping can be a sign that your dog is overly excited, stressed, bored, or struggling with their hormones.

If your dog is humping obsessively, the best thing you can do is talk to your vet. Dutch can connect you with a vet who can help you decide if your dog’s humping is a problem and determine the best treatment. A vet can also provide guidance on how to curb boredom or other behavior issues that may be causing your dog to mount. Thanks to telemedicine for pets, Dutch makes it easier to take care of your dog.

References

  1. Gardiner, John. “Inappropriate Mounting.” Animal Health Topics / School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, 24 Nov. 2021, https://healthtopics.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/health-topics/canine/inappropriate-mounting.

  2. “Dog Body Language Basics.” University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, https://www.vet.upenn.edu/docs/default-source/ryan/ryan-behavior-medicine/dogbodylanguagebasics-(pdf).pdf?sfvrsn=335e17ba_2.