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Why Do Dogs Hump or Mount? 6 Vet-Reviewed Reasons for This Behavior

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on April 25, 2024 by Dogster Team


Why Do Dogs Hump or Mount? 6 Vet-Reviewed Reasons for This Behavior


Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo


Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs do all kinds of funny, exciting, frustrating, and exasperating things, which makes living with them an interesting experience! Mounting and humping are things that a dog may do even when it doesn’t seem to be warranted. After all, humping is all about being sexual, right? The short answer is that no, humping is not always about sex. In fact, there are several reasons that a dog might engage in mounting and humping behaviors.

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The 6 Reasons Why Dogs Hump or Mount

1. Hormone Driven

Let’s get this one out of the way right off the bat. Mounting or humping can be a form of sexual behavior for intact dogs. It can also occur in cryptorchid dogs if the retained testicle isn’t removed or if the entirety of the ovaries aren’t removed.

a dog humping to the other dog outdoor
Image Credit: Liukov, Shutterstock

2. Stress

Another reason that your dog might be mounting or humping people, animals, or things is stress. A stressed-out dog may try doing many things in an attempt to relieve said stress, including humping. The repeatable action can be calming and help them feel like they are gaining a bit of control over their circumstances. They are taking charge and trying to overcome the situation that is overwhelming them.

3. Overstimulation

Some dogs tend to get overstimulated when they’re around a great deal of commotion or they get excited over seeing a person, animal, or item that they have affection for. A way they may try to relieve the overstimulation is to start mounting or humping whatever is handy and convenient in their vicinity. Overstimulation can happen both at home and in public areas, depending on the situation.

dog humping its toy
Image Credit: John Danow, Shutterstock

4. Pent-Up Energy

If a dog does not get the exercise that they require to stay mentally and physically healthy, chances are that they will look for ways to get rid of their pent-up energy. Some dogs will scratch and ruin furniture, while others will mount and/or hump people or things that happen to be near them. It could be anything from a sock lying on the ground to the leg of someone sitting on the couch.

5. Medical Issues

Anything that causes irritation or itchiness can lead to mounting or humping in dogs. Urinary tract infections, incontinence, allergies or parasites may all be behind a dog’s humping as they try to relieve their discomforts.

dog humping the teddy bear toy
Image Credit: Yanya, Shutterstock

6. Dominance

Sometimes, when a dog is mounting or humping a person, another animal, or even an object like a pillow or stuffed animal, they are doing so to gain dominance over their target. It’s a natural way for dogs to establish their pack order, meaning which dogs or humans are in charge and which are the followers. The idea is that they want to be one of the pack members in charge.

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How to Stop Your Dog From Mounting and Humping

There are a few things that you can do to curb your dog’s habit of mounting and humping things, people, and other animals. First, ensure that your pup is spayed or neutered. This will help eliminate the chance that they’ll mount and hump for sexual reasons. Also, make sure your dog gets plenty of daily exercise. This can help reduce stress and ensure they don’t develop pent-up energy that must be released.

Make sure no stress-inducing things are going on in the household. If noise levels seem to be bothering your pup, figure out how to “turn things down” for them. If they are getting lonely while everyone is at work and school during the day, consider hiring a dog sitter. If they seem to be uncomfortable or show signs of pain, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Finally, redirect your dog’s attention whenever you catch them mounting and/or humping someone or something. Get them to play a game or focus on another activity, and praise them for their redirection.

Image Credit: Tymoshenko Olga, Shutterstock

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Dogs are fun to hang out with, but they can cause some stress when it comes to their behaviors that humans are not naturally familiar with. Mounting and humping is an annoyance at the very least, and learning why these behaviors are displayed is the first step in figuring out how to stop the behavior when it’s unwanted.

Featured Image Credit: Whiskers Sleepy, Shutterstock

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