Why do female dogs hump? It’s a question uttered time and time again by frustrated and sometimes amused, dog owners.
Of course, humping is a behavior that you really can’t fault your dog for; it’s biological as much as it is behavioral. The behavior still can confuse and surprise dog owners, however.
While many people will not be surprised at male dogs displaying a humping behavior, females aren’t exempt. Females will display humping even if they are spayed or are not yet sexually mature.
This behavior is most prevalent in female dogs that are in heat, as this is a common time for them to hump other male dogs.
Some won’t limit themselves to just male dogs, however, and will hump piles of clothes or other females. Some will even mount their owners, leaving us pet owners to wonder: “Why does my female dog hump me?”
New owners will be surprised to learn just how common the behavior actually is.
However, there will be instances in your dog’s life when you would rather have them avoid the behavior, whether for medical purposes or because it is causing problems for you and other humans (or dogs) in the household.
Thankfully, like any other habit, you can teach your dog to lessen humping. To do that, we will need to understand the reasoning behind it.
Why Do Female Dogs Hump?
“Why is my female dog humping?” The reasons can be split into two general categories: behavioral and medical.
Humans do it, and so do canines. Humping is a learned behavioral trait, for both male and female dogs, and they display it because they have learned that it feels good.
More specifically, humping can be due to sexual interest, which is why it is common for female dogs to hump while in heat. However, not all humping is due to sexual behavior.
First and foremost, humping is an invitation to interact, not necessarily in a sexual manner. According to studies, humping is firstly a play behavior. That is why dogs that are neutered or are otherwise sexually immature will still hump others.
Since it is a call for attention, dogs may hump due to a lack of stimulation or boredom. It can even be a reaction from stress or excitement.
Humping can be a way for your dog to release energy due to tense situations or new environments.
Dogs often display humping behaviors out of habit. Humping is generally harmless, but if it happens too often, you may want to ensure that this isn’t due to a compulsive disorder.
Compulsive disorders are defined as when they cannot help but excessively behave in one way, often in situations where it is uncalled for. Other compulsive behaviors include tail wagging, spinning, and biting.
To rule out compulsive behavior, you would need to talk to a veterinarian.
Other medical problems that lead to excessive humping include urinary problems, like urinary tract infections. You may also want to check for skin problems, like skin allergies.
Dogs that hump excessively often don’t need medical intervention. However, if you notice that your dog also licks and chews their genital area, you may need to bring them to the vet and ensure they aren’t suffering from medical issues.
How to Stop the Behavior
Humping is a natural behavior that doesn’t hurt your dog, but anything in the excess will need to be addressed.
What if your dog continually tries to hump larger or more aggressive dogs? What if you are in a situation wherein humping is uncalled for, like in a social gathering?
As a responsible pet owner, there are things you can do to lessen the behavior, or at least mitigate it.
Before anything else, make sure to rule out any medical issues that may be the cause of humping. Issues like these may lead to complications when left untreated and can mean a lot of trouble for both you and your dog.
To lessen humping, the most important thing to keep in mind is that humping is a call for attention. Your dog has learned that humping is a way for them to interact with you, whether it be a positive or negative interaction.
Just like other behaviors, the best thing you can do to discourage it would be to ignore your dog. Do not push or kick your dog away; this is also a form of attention that they may interpret as playing. Instead, walk away, and move to a different room.
If you can, leave them in a different room entirely. Over time, your dog will seek out other ways to get your attention.
Of course, make sure to give your dog plenty of attention whenever they are not displaying humping behaviors. Paired with exercise, your dog will learn to lessen the behavior in no time.
Here’s a video explaining answering more on the question “why do female dogs hump?”.
Do you have any tips for lessening humping behavior?