Why Do Female Dogs Hump? Reasons for Female Dog Humping

Why do female dogs hump? Female dog humping is a common behavior. Male or female dogs might grind on toys, legs and other dogs for a few different reasons.
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“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 dirty one, since the reasons for female dog humping 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.

Female dogs also hump the same spectrum of things as male dogs, including people’s legs, pillows, dog beds and 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. They may also hint at medical or behavioral issues that you’ll need to address together.

Why Do Female Dogs Hump? First, Let’s Talk About Sex

why do boy dogs hump other boy dogs
Why do female dogs hump? Photography by Smit / Shutterstock.

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.

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.

Female Dog Humping May Stem From Boredom and Stress Relief

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

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 eliminate boredom or anxiety as a reason for her to hump objects, people, and other dogs.

Female Dog Humping May Stem From 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 concern. In these cases, you’ll want to seek veterinary attention. Physical pain caused by trouble urinating, or a urinary tract infection, may be relieved or soothed by humping anything ready to hand. Excessive licking or chewing at the genital area may also indicate urination issues or UTIs.

Do you have a dog who was a long-term shelter resident or possibly from an abusive or neglectful home? Female dog humping may also be 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 a trainer can address.

Female Dog Humping May Stem From 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 answers to, “Why do females dog hump?” 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.

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.

Tell us: 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!

Plus, is your dog a frequent VICTIM of another dog’s humping? Find out what to do here >>

This piece was originally published in 2014.

Thumbnail: Photography by Jenn_C / Shutterstock. 

About the author

Melvin Peña is a writer, editor, and social media manager who spends most of his time in Durham, North Carolina. His interests include his dog, Baby (of course!), art, hiking, urban farming and karaoke.

Read more about dog behaviors on Dogster.com:

41 thoughts on “Why Do Female Dogs Hump? Reasons for Female Dog Humping”

  1. My Familiar just died after being struck by a Tractor trailer, but she and I had a great friendship. I raised her from a hand sized pup to a mucular 50 pound Siberian Husky/ Red Tick Hound in 2 years. Her intelligence was through the roof. One of her MINOR traits were, I could inform her that her hands were dirty and she would go wash them in the pool and ask me to dry them for her. I didn’t teach her this either. In either case, the subject on hand is humping. When KeyLea found out her privates gave her pleasure when she licked it, she incorporated that “good feeling” with the “loving feeling” she felt towards me, and would shyly rub against me in a seductive posture if I was on the recliner. (I am handicapped and need to use the recliner for a traction position) She would jump up on the recliner and hump her privates against my leg while licking my face until she orgasmed. The first time that happened I thought she was having a stroke! I just took it to mean that she loved me or our relationship as sh NEVER tried dominating me. It didn’t happen all the time and if I told her not to do it, she would stop. No problem, like I said before, we got along great. Now I am alone again…

  2. My billy goat gave a Jehovah witness female a welcoming she’ll never forget,as he was hunching away on her leg on the front porch,she said he’s a ornery little devil,needless to say she never returned.

  3. We have two females that are not spayed. One is 2 and a couple months and the other is almost 1. The older female we believe has had two heats and the younger is yet to have a heat that we know of?! Today I noticed my older female mounting my younger female. And not just a couple of times but quite a few times. I kenneled them both but am wondering why she wouid be doing this?

  4. Our lab/border collie mix just turned 3 yrs old and I don’t know what has gotten into her lately but she is starting to try to hump our 9 moth old son and my leg and I’m not for sure why after over a year of being around me why she’s starting it now she knows better but I don’t know how to break her of it and she is the only dog in the household.

  5. My 8-month-old puppy has been humping pillows and soft blankets since she was 3 months old. She isn’t spayed yet but she will be soon. She is hyper and easily excitable. She has plenty of toys and bones to chew on because she is spoiled, yet she still humps my bed pillows. She also suffers from separation anxiety and chews on plastic or shreds tissue, cardboard, or paper. She was an only pup and born in a drug house, I rescued her and she is a handful.

  6. Our 8 month old spayed female has begun humping our 7 yr old neutered male frequently last week.
    Today I stopped her from licking his manhood. He rarely does that himself!
    She looked like a colt or calf at mama’s teat. I was stunned. Time for a training collar for correction on tone? What to do? We’ve had multiple dogs in our home for 47 yrs and this is a first.

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  8. I have 3 females… 1 humps My leg, 1 humps her bed at night before getting in it and the little one humps the bigger dog. Idk why, they are all spayed..
    Pug/chihuahua, boxer/lab mix , and a Yorkie terrier mix

  9. Pingback: Why Do Female Dogs Hump? Reasons for Female Dog Humping – dogcaz.com

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  11. Is there any way to stop my chihuahua from humping my munchkin cat? Both are spayed and my dog is so aggressive with my cat. I just don’t know what I can do. Any suggestions? I feel like I’m going to have to rehome my cat and that’s not something I want to do.

  12. I have two 9 year old mini pins females (not from the same family), Tiffany was given to me by a family who could not keep her any longer. They both have had there womb taken away. Titch is a full Mini Pin and we got her from a breeder as a pup, and Tiffany came from Spain and I believe she is a cross. Titch who we had from a pup, humps my foot when I cross my legs. I tell her no and put my legs up for a while until she goes away. It hurts as she really holds on tight and her claws hurt. Tiffany never humps, even before she had the operation.

  13. I have a rescue female spayed yellow lab/pit mix dog who is 3-5 years old. She had at least one kitter of puppies befire we got her. When we’re playing at night on my bed she sometimes starts humping me or the bed covers. I figured it was because she was excited.

  14. My 2yr old pit is spay and has never humped anything until we rescued a Male cat and she will mount him and hump the cat it’s very odd

  15. My mother has a pomeranian about 2 years old and just recently she’s been humping anything she can get her paws on and it’s constant. She usually chases her squeaky toys all day without tiring but she’s almost stopped playing with her toys.

  16. We got our puppy from a breeder who we got our first puppy from, however, our new pup has been fixed since she was 6 months old. My first dog was a shiz/poodle and my newest is a York’s, poodle mix. The pup I am talking about now is 26 months old. Was 4.5 months old when we got her. She was 1st cousins to our first dog. First one died st 16 yrs. so the two never met. Now in the past 8-9 months our dog humps stuffed animals, our 1 yr old grandsons and other small dogs. Since she was in a kennel for the first 4 months I worry she may not have had the proper socialization such as one on one play time. She was at a kennel when she was 10 months old. She got into the large dog play area and was thrown around like a rag doll and large bite marks all over her head, neck, ears, and shoulders. We immediately flew home because they had no idea if she would make it. She was taken to a 24 ER Vet where they were able to save her. She’s not been the same since then. I don’t know what to do about her constant humping. I do correct her behavior by removing her from the situation. I don’t do any type of punishment because not sure what if anything can be done to corrrct this behavior. This is the only thing she does that I cannot stand. Any ideas? I am at home all day everyday and very rarely is she alone. She has a ton of toys to keep her from being bored. When she does this I usually bring out her fav. toy a small ball that she chases endlessly. She will be going to the vet next month so I will make sure it’s not physical but I really doubt it is. She does hide to go potty w/o making me aware she needs to go. Help

    1. Hi Kathryn,

      Thanks for reaching out! You might find this other article helpful on dog humping:

      Let’s Talk Dog Humping — Why Do Male Dogs Hump Other Male Dogs?

      Here is another article that provides more information on stopping this behavior:

      Does Your Dog Hump Other Dogs? People? Toys? Here’s How You Can Stop the Behavior

      It is the right idea to take your dog to the vet to make sure it is nothing physical. We suggest asking questions and telling your vet these concerns.

  17. My 15 month old dog just started jumping right after I got her spayed. She has never done this before.

  18. Frustrated Hump Mom

    My 1+yr old, spayed Lab (since 7 most) is excessively humping other dogs. She goes on regular walks, twice daily and is active with our family, so I don’t think it’s boredom. Frustrating beyond since I really want her to be able to play well with other dogs. I cannot leave herwith a dog sitter because all she does is hump & bother the other dogs. What should I do? Can Humping be trained out of a dog? If anyone knows how to help with this behaoi please lmk. Thanks very much.

  19. My 3 year old female only humps pillows and she will pee if we let her go on for too long! She not rubbing her genitals on anything she’s just grabbing and humping a pillow then pees. What the hell is that about!? Having to wash my bedding late at night is quite infuriating.

  20. well my 15 week old female yorkie just started doing this today and I will put a stop to it, that is why I like female dogs as I do not like to see the humping. she has a raccoon that she started with I will just take it away if it continues. She loves this toy but read this is what you have to do for them to stop.

  21. My 2 yr old fixed female beagle / coonhound doesn’t hump anything. I made her a bed outta a sweater and stuffing threw her blankies and toys on it she tore it apart and started humping the bed so I stoped her and within a course of 1 week I put the bed in a bag and put it away. She didn’t hump anything. 8 months later I take it out again thinking she won’t remeber well that night she tore apart her bed and started humping the the bed I made her. I find it really strange. I try to discourage her because I have little kids but it seems to be a stress reliver

  22. I have a 4yo female (fixed since she was old enough) Doxel, Beagle/Dachshund, that has just started to hump just my arm. We have had a recent upset for the whole family becoming homeless, and I lost a lot of my belongings due to the fact that they we locked up in my apartment and I wasn’t allowed in to get them. Reading this article I realized that I didn’t have any of her “lovies” or toys. It is still such an odd behavior for her because it’s like a ritual for her. She will lick/clean my whole arm, then mount it, and if I try to move my arm, even if she is not actively humping it, she will grab it and pull it back to her. She has to have it near her, like she owns it. So weird, I haven’t discouraged it yet because I was just to curious to see what she was trying to accomplish with this mounting…

  23. I have a shepoo mix and after we have a game of soccer she will run to a special pillow I have and hump it and I have one male friend and the first time she saw him she ran to the pillow and humped it. Funny because she never gets the pillow in the right spot to touch her privates anyway.

  24. I’ve had dogs all my life and never saw humping among them until my current six yr old fixed female Boxer. I also have a five yr old intact male Pug who is a complete gentleman. The Boxer humps the Pug now and again. My vet said she is showing dominance. She is so much bigger than he is so it is odd to see. She stops when we see it and tell her “No”.

  25. Pingback: Why Do Female Dogs Hump? Reasons for Female Dog Humping – Today’s Pet Products

  26. My 4 year old Shipoo only humps my leg every once in awhile its breif and doesn’t bother me. I’d be more concerned if she did it allot but she doesn’t.

    1. My female is 21/2 yrs adopted from shelter. She was in a ver abusive situation before going to shelter. She only jumps my leg and has a liquid discharge that she licks off my foot. I always let her do it because I dont see any harm? My question is could she have something wrong?

  27. I have only had one female beagle who humped. It was very strange to me since I’d not had a female that did. She was, however, very selective and there was only one person to her liking. He was a Mormon missionary who would visit with his companion. Over several years we had various missionaries, but he was the only one. Who knows what actually makes a beagle tick? That’s why I continue the pack.

    1. I have two female dogs. A mother and her daughter. Her daughter has been muture. And I just found out recently that she tries to hump her daughter. Why and how can I stop her from doing that?

    2. Somewhat a similar situation. My Bearded Doodle, now 17 months old, is very selective in who she chooses to hump – it’s only me! She has done this since about 3 months old. She latches tightly on my leg and can pump for up to 60 seconds if I ignore her. When I scold her she pumps more aggressively. Not sure what to do.

  28. My 6 year old yorkie/Chihuahua mix came from the shelter. We adopted her at 6 months and she was an owner surrender. Based on some of her behaviors, she was not properly socialized or treated well. She only humps three “things:” 1. raccoon stuffed animal her size, 2. round pillow, and 3. my feet when its in a certain position. With my feet, its more of her genital area. My foot just happens to be the right height. When she does hump the raccoon or the pillow, it is full on, hip shaking and leaves her out of breath. We don’t discourage her because, well its funny. She only does it in front of us (2), and it seems to be a stress relief after playing with her dad. Its not hurting anybody, and its not bothering us or visitors. I just have to ask the vet if I have to be concerned with hip problems when she’s older.

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