Behavior
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Why Do Female Dogs Hump?

Humping is common behavior among male and female dogs, who grind on toys, legs, and other dogs for a variety of reasons.

 |  Aug 15th 2014  |   5 Contributions


"Why do female dogs hump?" It is a question that people have asked forever, or at least since antiquated ideas of gender hierarchy took hold of humanity's fevered imaginations. However, the question is not a lascivious or dirty one, since the answers are varied. So, why do female dogs hump? First of all, rest assured that humping is a perfectly natural and common activity in both male and female dogs.

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Humping is a common, learned behavior in both male and female dogs, fixed or intact. two dogs standing and hugging each other by Shutterstock.

Female dogs also hump the same spectrum of things as male dogs; everything from people's legs to pillows, and from dog beds to other female dogs. Humping, also called mounting, is a learned activity, often taking root well before dogs reach sexual maturity. Humping, pelvic thrusting, or licking at the genital area may indicate playfulness, desire, and stress, as well as hint at medical or behavioral issues that you'll need to address together.

Let's talk about sex

As strange as one may find it, female dogs do, in fact, hump. Puppies as young as six weeks old, both male and female, have been observed to engage in humping or mounting activities. Until they reach the age of sexual maturity -- anywhere from a year to two years of age -- mounting behaviors seem to relate primarily to playful sexual education. As a sexual activity, mounting can be mitigated through a combination of consistent, positive training as well as having your puppies spayed or neutered.

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Sometimes, female dogs hump because they learned as puppies that the sensation brings pleasure. Cute dog border collie and dachshund dreaming in the sunlight at home by Shutterstock.

For the vast majority of adult dogs who have been spayed or neutered, humping behaviors may still serve what we would consider to be a sexual purpose, that of autoerotic pleasure. Yes, that's right, dogs, both male and female, can and do masturbate. Humping is a learned behavior, and, along with licking or chewing at their genital areas, one that they derive pleasure from. Being fixed may prevent a dog from successfully reproducing, but it does not eliminate the joy or relief they experience in the course of genital stimulation.

Boredom and stress relief

Do you leave your female dog alone for extended periods of time? Does she have sufficient toys and other distractions to get her through the day? If not, another reason your female dog humps might be boredom or stress relief. Just as some dogs may bark, bite, whine, howl, rend couch cushions or shoes when they are neglected, so too do other dogs hump as a reaction to ennui or intense stress.

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Loneliness, boredom, or anxiety may cause your female dog to hump toys, furniture, or other dogs. Two playful dogs chilling in the yard. by Shutterstock.

If your dog, female or male, is a habitual humper, you may want to consider establishing a stricter and more regular schedule of walking, running, or interactive play. Engaging with your dog and providing her with a routine can help to eliminate boredom or anxiety as a reason for her to hump objects, people, and other dogs.

Medical or behavioral issues

If your female dog is humping everything in sight, especially if it begins abruptly and is not an occasional or habitual activity, it may be a symptom of a larger and more pressing concern requiring veterinary attention. Physical pain caused by trouble urinating, or a urinary tract infection, may be relieved or soothed by humping anything ready to hand. The same problems may be indicated if your dog begins excessively licking or chewing at her genital area.

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Female dogs may hump other dogs or people as a result of improper socialization or as a symptom of a urinary tract condition. Pomeranian dogs mating by Shutterstock.

Do you have a dog who was a long-term shelter resident or possibly from an abusive or neglectful home? Female dogs may also hump as a response to poor socialization or other stressful conditions. Female dogs that routinely hump in social situations -- at the dog park, for instance, or whenever a new person visits your home -- might have behavioral issues that will need to be addressed through training.

Force of habit

The habitual, and incorrect, assumption about humping is that it is a male-centric activity, and one oriented toward establishing dominance. In adult and older dogs, especially in multi-dog households, or in the wild, humping may serve social purposes or reinforce hierarchies. For every other dog, the reasons for humping are as varied as the reasons why people chew on their fingernails. If it is not constant, repetitive, or disruptive, humping is a natural dog activity.

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If your female dog starts humping, you should attempt to train her not to so that it doesn't become a disruptive habit.Boxer Dog an Labrador Dog in love by Shutterstock.

Like any behavior in female and male dogs, humping is learned, either through frequent repetition, external encouragement, or lack of dissuasion. If you have a puppy and his humping behaviors are met with laughter or simply not discouraged, dogs will not learn that humping is a disruptive behavior or an unwanted one.

Have you owned dogs, male or female, who got into the habit of humping? How did, or do, you deal with it? Share your experiences with your fellow readers!

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