Dog humping. It’s the source of countless hilarious YouTube videos. But it can also be awkward, embarrassing and even lead to fights with other dogs who might not be so receptive to the advances of your canine Casanova.
Both male and female dogs (whether desexed or not) can display this behaviour, and contrary to popular belief, your dog isn’t necessarily trying to be amorous or dominant.
Sometimes dogs may just be a little on the socially inept side, having never learned that some find this behaviour unwelcome. Some may hump due to over-excitement - hey, it’s one way to burn off excess energy! With others, it may be anxiousness, and your dog might be thinking ‘what’s going on around me is a little stressful, so I’m just going to busy myself with some humping.’ It’s kind of similar to the way some people might inadvertently fidget or tap their feet if they’re slightly nervous or uncomfortable in a social situation.
If your frisky Fido’s humping is an issue around the house, the best way to address it is to teach an alternative behaviour. Whenever you see signs that a hump is imminent, give your dog a toy and encourage play in an appropriate way.
Out and about, the best way to avoid Sir Hump-a-lot being a nuisance at the local dog park is to teach your dog a great recall, so you can call your roving Romeo away before he has the chance to mount another dog.
Ongoing training involving lots of toys, treats, fun and love can also help keep excitement levels moderated and reduce anxiety both in the home and when out and about.
For detailed tips on how to teach a reliable recall, check out this awesome blog post by Dr Sophia Yin.
If the behaviour is concerning, enlisting the support of a qualified trainer is a great option. To find a trainer near you, check out the APDT Directory.