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How to Stop Your Puppy from Humping

It's rather embarrassing if you have guests over, go into the kitchen for the drinks and return to find your puppy going at it on your guest's leg. Humping is a subject that even seasoned dog owners hesitate to discuss perhaps because it can seem to be a hard habit to break. As your puppy nears his second year, it's likely that he'll start humping objects and people.

If your puppy is spayed or neutered, this is most likely not a sexual act. In the dog world, it is also used to signal power and rank and your pup is most likely trying to assert dominance. This is true for both male and female dogs. Since your puppy is trying to usurp your authority, in addition to embarrassing everyone, it is even more important to stop this behavior.

How to Get Over the Hump

  1. Neuter or Spay - If your puppy isn't neutered or spayed, consider doing so. Besides many behavioral and health benefits, it will help curb this behavior.

  2. Train, Train, Train - Increase the amount of time you are spending on obedience training. This reasserts your role as alpha.

  3. Yell - For this behavior, it really is best to yell because a dog gets into a sort of trance. As soon as he starts, yell "No!" loudly and make a very loud noise with something like an air horn. You can also squirt your pup with water but be sure to use the sound as well.

  4. Exercise - The more a dog is exercised, the less likely he is to hump.

  5. Medicate - If the humping is obsessive, your vet may recommend a medication. This calms your puppy and reduces libido.

You may find that your puppy does not limit his humping to people's legs. He may do it to table legs, your pillow, your daughter's stuffed giraffe or his bed. Dogs may also not be discriminating about who they hump so always keep an eye on your puppy when he's around children. It's likely the children will find the humping funny, thus encouraging your pup, and someone could get hurt.

Until your puppy learns not to hump, you can limit his social engagements. But, remember, in some cultures, humping is a regular feat.

Advice from Other Dog Owners 

Is my female dog trying to dominate her pillow?

"In the dog world, it is also used to signal power and rank and your pup is most likely trying to assert dominance."

So my spayed 18-month-old female is trying to assert dominance of pillows? She will make the humping motion whenever she happens to be over ANYTHING.

She doesn't try to get on people, my cats, or objects to hump them, just starts doing it when she's on them, like when something is touching "that area" it's a motion that is just instinctual or something. I don't see her trying to dominate anyone -- or inanimate objects.

~XME


Humping IS Natural

I agree with XME. Most dogs are not trying to pull rank by humping. Although some do, mostly male dogs at times, most of the time it is done for sexual relief, or maybe even to relieve a little anxiety, just because they notice something stimulating "that area."

They do not do so because it embarasses us -- that's imposing human thinking onto them. Yes, we should discourage them from humping other's legs, or from doing so to establish dominance. Other than that, unless it is compulsive behavior, it is natural and normal and nothing to panic about.

~Cammie, owner of a Yellow Lab

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