why does my dog hump his bed
You knew that your dog was excited about his new toy, but you didnБt know he was that excited. The first time you walk in on your pooch masturbating can be a bit of a shock, especially if heБs your first dog and youБre not used to the behavior. You might feel grossed out, confused about whatБs going on, worried that something is wrong, and perhaps even a little bit amused. Whatever your reaction, there are some things that you should know about dog mounting and masturbation so that you donБt overreact (or underreact) to your humping dog. Why it happens First off, humping, mounting, and masturbation are completely normal behaviors in both male and female dogs. ItБs something thatБs in their DNA, and they do it for all kinds of reasons. Sexual This is the obvious one, right? Dogs masturbate and hump as a sexual behavior. But what most people donБt realize is that this is true of all dogs. It doesnБt matter if your dog is male or female, or even if theyБve been spayed or neutered. The part that usually tends to surprise dog parents is that neutered male dogs can still get erections and even ejaculate. Social Another way to put this is that mounting and humping are a way of exerting power and control. ItБs your dogБs way of saying that sheБs higher in the social hierarchy than whomever sheБs humping. Play Sometimes dogs that become overexcited during play will mount and thrust as a response to this feeling. If this happens every once in a while, itБs perfectly normal, but dogs that do it every time theyБre playing with other pups may be displaying a sign of under-socialization. In other words, plan some more doggy playdates so they can get used to the way theyБre supposed to play. Over-emotional Dogs that are prone to excitement or stress may attempt to mount or masturbate when their feelings get out of control.
When this happens, the focus of their attentions could be you, another dog, a toy, or even a dog bed. Compulsion If your dog becomes too used to humping as a way to relieve stress or excitement, the action can become a compulsive habit. When this goes too far, it can even start to harm their ability to function normally. Potential medical implications As mentioned above, most of the time dog humping is a perfectly normal behavior. However, there are medical issues to watch out for. If your pooch seems to be masturbating excessively, constantly rubbing against other objects, or licking and chewing parts of his body more frequently than normal, your best bet is to take him to the vet. Possible medical problems associated with this kind of behavior include:
Priapism (persistent, painful erections) When and how to correct the behavior WeБve talked about how БnormalБ this behavior is, but what does that really mean? In specific terms, a dog that humps once or twice a day is displaying normal behavior that you donБt need to worry about correcting Б at least not for her sake. But if the action bothers or embarrasses you, or if you just want to know how to stop your dog from engaging in it during certain situations to avoid getting themselves into trouble, there are several things you should know. Distraction works Dogs display specific behaviors before mounting (pawing, rubbing, licking, panting). If you notice your dog doing this and anticipate humping, ask him to perform a trick or toss a toy for him to play with. Spay and neuter While itБs true that all dogs masturbate Б regardless of whether or not theyБre intact Б spaying and neutering can reduce sexual motivation and minimize humping.
Give her a time out If your pup humps people (potentially including you), start by pushing her off and saying no. Still not working? Close her off in a room all by herself (and without any fun toys). Leave her there for a minute or two, then release her and act like nothing happened. If the humping begins again, repeat the process. Use his training Chances are good that youБve taught your dog a few minor tricks such as БLeave itБ or БSit. Б If you worry that he may try to mount someone or something, ask him to do a trick that will make this difficult. БSitБ is a great one because itБs very simple, but incredibly effective. If you try these methods and still have trouble getting your dogБs humping under control, talk to your vet about other things that you can do to help. Were you ever embarrassed by your dog's humping? Tell us what happened in the comments. Lots of dogs hump. P For people who live with those dogs, it can be embarrassing and upsetting. P We humans arent comfortable talking about things related to sex, especially when our beloved dogs are being indiscreet in front of guests. P For many of us, dogs are cute innocent babies. P I guess now is a good time to remember theyre also animals, and animals routinely practice behavior related to their own survival. P That includes sexual behavior: humping. What baffles a lot of people is that dogs hump in situations that have nothing to do with reproduction. P I have a client whose 4 month old female puppy humped a stuffed animal. P We caught humping his bed. P Dogs hump human legs. P deal with humping dogs all day, males and females, neutered and spayed. P There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. P Whats going on here?
I asked trainer educator and author ( The Culture Clash, Train Your Dog like a Pro ). P She zeroed in on Modal Action Patterns. P Those are the behaviors all dogs share related to fighting, fleeing, feeding and reproducing. P She said, All of the Modal Action Pattern categories are present in play. P Thats what play is. P Social animals, including dogs, routinely play fight and play chase. They even pretend to stalk and hunt, so we shouldnt ignore the idea that humping might be play sex. P However, that may not be the whole story of humping. While humping is common in play groups and day care settings, it also occurs in other contexts. P Some dogs hump people and inanimate objects. P Dr. Lore Haug says most of the time humping is merely a nonspecific sign of arousal. P Trainers and day care counselors agree. P Dogs get wound up or nervous and they hump. P Pamela Johnson is a Certified Professional. P Her dog used to hump her leg during training sessions. P She the behavior and noted that the humping was caused by excitement over training and frustration when the lesson got difficult. PStill, identifying what sets off the behavior doesnt fully answer the question: Why humping and why not some other behavior? We should keep in mind that anything our dog does regularly is reinforced behavior. P The dog is getting something out of it. P For example, dogs who wrestle or chase during play are reinforced by other dogs who enjoy wrestling and chasing. P Similarly, dogs might enjoy the attention they get for humping. P Humping may also relieve a dogs anxiety in an uncertain social situation. P It may just be pleasurable. P That pleasure, says Dr. Haug, obviously would come under the sexual category. P So, were back to that uncomfortable subject.
P Regardless, all of this information leads us to some good ideas about stopping humping. Make humping no fun and not a big deal. P PThis really means we need to control our own behavior and not react when we see our dog humping. P Dont accidentally reinforce the behavior by freaking out. P In the case of the clients dog who was humping the stuffed toy and in the case of our own dog humping his bed, we simply removed the objects of their affection. P People who work at doggie day care facilities calmly and gently remove a humping dog from its playmate. P In all cases, the dog cant practice the unwanted behavior anymore. Teach the dog a better behavior. P For the clients dog and Stewie we replaced humping objects with more appropriate enrichment toys (Kong Toys and other treat puzzles). P In daycare, counselors might direct a humping dog to a less disturbing play behavior. PTrainer Pamela Johnson greatly decreased her dogs humping by interrupting it and taking a short break from training. P She held and petted her dog until he calmed down, then she returned to training less-frustrating tasks. PIn all cases, the handler is teaching the dog to do something other than hump. Thats the bottom line really. P Stay calm. P Interrupt the humping. P Encourage the dog to do something else, anything else. P I might choose some of those other Modal Action Pattern behaviors, like a game of tug, or fetch, or even some nice quiet time with a chew toy. P The humping one not many of us really want to see our innocent little dogs doing that. P Sure, its normal animal behavior. P But dont forget, were only human. Michael Baugh CPDT-KA, CDBC is the director of training and behavior at. P Originally published in, October 2011. Watch on Fox 26 Morning News on Humping.
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