Humping is a common dog’s behavior, the first thing that comes to the owner’s mind when their adorable dog is humping a pillow, a stuffed toy, another dog, or in many cases the owner’s leg is that this is a “sexual” related behavior, but the truth is that humping isn’t often sexual.
Then… why do dogs hump?
The easy answer: dominance, overexcitement, medical issues, sexual/hormonal.
Now, if we go deeper:
-You found your dog humping a stuffed animal: it doesn’t mean your dog “targeted it.” It probably means that the dog is over-stimulated and that’s a way for the dog to burn off energy. Along the same lines, some dogs hump as an attention-seeking behavior or because they are bored.
-Extreme cases: you probably didn’t know that a medical problem could be the reason but don’t freak out yet if you see that training doesn’t work to stop your dog’s humping ,ruling out medical causes would be a good idea. Urinary tract infections, skin allergies, and priapism in males(persistent erection) may elicit humping.
-When humping is sexual…Even though humping isn’t sexual in most cases, an intact dog (not spayed or neutered) can hump another dog due to hormones and mating instinct. Sometimes, the dog develops the habit of humping before getting spayed/neutered and although spaying/neutering can help to correct the behavior, some dogs continue it afterward, and owners don’t understand why. Once the dog is fixed humping has nothing to do with mating, it’s just a bad habit that hasn’t been corrected.
-Doing my research about humping (lol) I’ve found a reason that I’d never heard before and it is: ” playfulness” according to this article, “playing hump” is completely normal between two dogs as long as it doesn’t upset one of the dogs, which I’ve never seen, every time I see a dog humping another dog, the dog being humped is annoyed, the article also mentions that some dogs play hump each other back and forth, and everyone is fine with it.
How to correct this behavior?
I would say an early correction is the best you can do, once puppies learned a bad behavior the longer you wait, the hardest it is to correct. If it’s too late for an early correction, try to catch your dog in the act, call your dog’s name and use the word “Stop” or “off” or any command that you use regularly to correct your pup. Another great idea is to minimize humping opportunities, make sure your dog has access to chewy toys and other activities that keep them busy and stimulate their minds.
If none of these work, it’s time to seek professional help, some dogs just won’t give up that easily, so a professional dog trainer or behaviorist will be the right person to guide you.