How to Stop Dog Humping? From Zero to Hero

A few months ago, a friend of mine called me and told me, “Hey, Soheir, I really wanna get a dog. Would you please help me?” After giving her the full picture of life with a dog, she told me that she is ready to do anything. So I said, “Ok, would you like your dog to be male or female?” She asked if there were differences from the physical and mental sides. I explained the differences briefly, and suddenly she said, “I want a female because I don’t want to face dog humping as it’s embarrassing” This stopped me for a few seconds to think about her words. Then I told her Ok, and we went to adopt a sweet Labrador for her.

Dog Humping
Dog Humping

3 Months passed, and I received a call a week ago, “Soheir, are you sure that this Dog is female? I think it’s a male”, “What? No way. We have chosen her together”, “Would you please come over and have a look at it?” So I went to her. Then I asked her why she thought that this was a male? And she answered with the most popular answer, “Because she humps a lot.”

And that’s when I realized most people think that only the males hump, and when I thought about this for a moment, I realized that most of the people believe that dogs hump only for mating. So, I sat with her to help her overcome this problem and started explaining:

How can you stop dog humping? To treat it, we need to be firm and consistent. A firm “NO” will be said until he backs off and stops the humping process. Once done, we immediately give him a treat and a playing session to tell him that you will listen if he doesn’t hump. There are many reasons a dog can start this unwanted behavior, and every reason has its cure, so we will go deeper into it in this article.

Reasons and Treatment for Dog Humping

I told her that, “Whenever we find a behavior problem with our dog, we don’t need to think about the solution.” For a few moments, she stared at me, and she was looking at me like I was a complete dumb. And it’s true, most people only think about solutions. I should correct this, and I will tell you why we shouldn’t think about solutions first in a second.

Why Should We Look at Reasons First?

Dog Humping

Let me give you a real-world example. Imagine that you went to the doctor and you were having a pain in your chest. The first thing he will do is to tell you, “Hey, I need you to do EKG, bla, bla.” And you will go to do the things he asked, then return with the results. He will start looking at them closely and tell you, “According to the results, we might face one of two problems here. I am not sure what’s causing the pain because two reasons have the same symptoms. We need to do a blood test to figure out the exact reason for that pain.” You do as he asked and return with the results. Then he starts writing remedies for you. Now please, let’s stop for a second. Could the doctor write down some medications for you immediately without figuring out the reason for this pain? He can’t, and if he did so, you should change that doctor as he doesn’t know what you have, and we don’t allow guessing here. And same to dogs, we should analyze the problem first and figure its reasons to fix the problem he has.

Whenever I find a problem with Kira, I sit down and grab a piece of paper, a pencil, and my mobile. I start searching for anything relevant to my Dog’s behavior. Once I find anything related, I write it down in the paper immediately until I finish a complete list. Then I look at it and look at the most relevant situation to Kira’s one. Then, I dig into it more, and I will find the solution when I discover the reason for this behavior.

So here is a quick list of reasons why dogs hump:

  • Playfulness
  • Excitement
  • Sexual Hormones
  • Anxiety/Stress
  • Medical Issues
  • Showing Dominance
  • Boredom

See? A lot of reasons! It’s not only because they want to marry. There are a lot of reasons that may cause the Dog to start humping, and we will go through each one of them and the treatment for each one of them.

How Do Dogs Associate Humping With Playfulness/Excitement

While these are two different reasons -theoretically- but they have the same treatment. Generally, Dogs may associate this behavior (the dog humping) with playing. How is that possible?

Excited Dog

Well, dogs have weird ways to associate behaviors and actions. If the Dog starts humping you, and you began to tell him with a funny voice, “Oh, hey, calm down. Let’s play” This will make him understand that, “Oh, I should do this to tell him I want to play.” And the more you listen to him, the more he will increase this behavior to have more playing sessions.

So, how to identify that the excitement or playfulness is the reason with our Dog? It’s pretty simple. If the Dog humps, then he grabs a toy, then the reason for that is playfulness. Or, if your Dog was calm and relaxed and when someone he loves entered the room, he kept playing and started to hump, then he humps because of excitement.

I fall in love with their cuteness. However, we should be firm when dealing with such a situation. To treat it, we need to be firm and consistent. A firm “NO” will be said until he backs off and stops that humping process. Once done, we immediately give him a treat and a playing session to tell him that you will listen if he doesn’t hump. Even more, if you were like me and you could predict when he would start humping, that will make it easier. Before he starts humping, tell him a firm No (not yelling) and offer him a treat and a playing session. We are trying to make him understand that humping doesn’t mean playing. And unfortunately, for my friend’s Dog, that wasn’t the reason for her humping.

Dogs Hump Due to Sexual Hormones

Yes, I think you are very familiar with this. Dogs hump because they want to marry, and it’s true. 80% of dog humping happens due to the desire for mating.

While the percentage is high, humping due to Sexual Hormones is more likely popular with Males rather than females. While some females hump during their heat, however, the percentage is tiny. Like only 1% of female dogs hump due to sex hormones. While in the case of males, the rate is high, that may exceed 85% of males hump due to sex hormones.

If you want to deal with this issue, then the best thing is to sterilize your Dog. There is no training for this, the best thing for you both is to have the Dog sterilized, and so, he will have a better life (You can let him marry. However, that will fix the problem temporarily)

And returning to my friend’s Dog, she was a female. So I excluded that option.

Anxiety/Stress Can Cause Dog Humping

I think one of the most popular reasons that people overlook is this one. As I said above, dogs are weird. They can connect unrelated events, and they are professional in developing habits fast and quickly.

Dog Anxiety

Sometimes when dogs feel stressed, or they feel they’ve done something wrong, they could start humping anything to cool themselves down. While you may see it as a weird action, they see that this an entirely normal reaction to stress.

How to know if that was the case with your Dog? Usually, when dogs start humping due to stress, you will notice other related things like whining, having a zoomy, growling while humping, etc. So there will be signs that prove that they are stressed or anxious.

Dealing with a stressed dog requires you to be more patient. Usually, you can tell the Dog “NO,” then let him have a sit and try to make his energy levels drop then give him a treat for listening to you. However, I recommend looking at the reason for Anxiety and dealing with it first. We can’t get into that here because Anxiety needs another vast post.

However, I will give a quick overview of its possible reasons (just a quick list):

  • Frightening experiences, Old School Training & being pushed into a scary place
  • Separation Anxiety (The big boss)
  • He wants to do something, and someone yells at him after doing it
  • Not socially trained from an early stage
  • Panic due to excess hitting, yelling, dog biting, or anything that can be considered as Phobia

And unfortunately, many dogs develop Anxiety through their personal experiences. A famous example is an owner who carried his dog while he was asleep and abandoned him in the street. Then the Dog was rescued by a lovely family, and after that, he never slept during the night again, slept only in the morning.

Many dogs have issues that require special treatment. There are popular and self-developed issues. You have to do deal with both.

Dealing with Anxiety is, unfortunately, not an easy process. It requires a professional hand to deal with it. I can’t go through the whole process, as I mentioned. However, I will write a quick list, too:

  • Dealing with Separation Anxiety (can be found in this article)
  • Increasing the exercises
  • Keep him away from the scary places
  • Avoid him playing with dogs if he is anxious around them
  • Try to make people give him treats on the street (to make him trust people more)
  • Never yell at him if he developed this anxious behavior due to yelling

There are many more things to do. To go through them, I recommend checking the article that I just mentioned above. It will help a lot!

Dogs Humping From Boredom

Bored Dogs

This explains itself, your Dog is bored, and he is trying to use his energy in anything, so he decided to hump you or any other thing. While boredom happens due to a variety of reasons and mainly due to lack of exercise, I recommend dealing with the boredom issue first, and dog humping issues will be corrected.

Like Anxiety, a bored dog will have many signs other than just humping. Some of these will be the destructive behavior he will have. So, it’s better to move fast and start treating his behavior.

Also, a few things you might use to help the dog get over his boredom issues:

  • Increasing physical exercises
  • Mental Exercises like cognitive training, challenging food puzzles, etc.
  • Consider buying him a Ball thrower or any dispenser games if you will not be at home for a long time
  • Make the walk more stimulating (Will post an article about this soon)

Dominance Can Cause Dog Humping

Well, another huge reason for dog humping. A great example of that would be the dog park. Let me share with you this real quick story:

“A few weeks ago, I was going out with a friend of mine. We usually leave the dogs in the park and let them play together while we grab our coffee. However, that Saturday the park was so crowded. I stepped back and told her, hey, it’s not safe. There are many dogs, and there are many males. Usually, when there are many males together, there will be a problem. She told me no, it’s fine. The more Dogs, the better they will play. I let the dogs play; however, I was sure that something would happen. She had a male husky, and we left all the dogs to play. Then, here comes the dangerous part. A dog tried to show dominance by humping on Kira, so the Husky started to feel jealous and barked at the Dog. Then eventually, all the males were bitting the Husky. The Dog was badly injured under his eye in a second. And it was the hardest thing to separate the dogs from others. I learned that I shouldn’t listen to anyone else except myself!”

Dog Dominant

That’s a real story that happened to me with my friend. Now, Dogs do hump because they want to show that they are stronger. And it occurs in both males and females (But it is more common in males). In a dog’s world, if you are up, then you are stronger. That’s why the Husky didn’t like it. He didn’t want to be weaker and started fighting immediately. That’s why I recommend never to leave males together in the presence of a female because they will fight to show who is stronger to the female.

Dealing with dominance is pretty hard. Generally, you have to train your dog well in other areas like obedience training and start correcting his dominant behavior by following a set of rules:

  • Be calm yourself: Dogs follow the footsteps of their owners. If you are calm, your dog will learn how to become calm like you.
  • Set rules: I know this will be hard for some people. If you saw your Dog started to act dominantly and violently, then we have to stop him by showing him the real rules. For me, I never told Kira not to get up on the couch or sleep on the bed or even sleep above me. She is free to do whatever she wants, and she understands that. However, whenever she shows any behavior problem, I become the complete opposite. Telling her never to touch any piece of furniture so that she knows I am not ok with what she is doing and that she needs to understand what the rules are.
  • Exercise your dog more: The more tired your dog, the less he will care about being the Dominant Dog. I always tire my dogs to stay calm the whole day.
  • Mealtime: I won’t tell you to show that you are the leader, bla, bla, bla.

    A great thing that I follow is just giving orders before eating. Like Sit and stay until the food is entirely on the ground, then the dog is free to eat! However, if the dominance situation was critical, I recommend making the Dog eat from your hands to decrease this level of distrust between you and him.

If you didn’t treat dominance, you would have a lot of accidents where your Dog is either harmed or lying on the bed after a fight. For me, dominance is one of the behaviors that I never allow for any of the dogs that I meet! And fortunately, Kira can handle dominant dogs easily

How Did I Handle the Humping Issue With My Friends Dog?

So, returning to my friend. The problem with her was the Dominance problem. The Dog wanted to say like, “Hey, I am the boss here” and started to act weird and violent.

I have set rules — no sleeping on the couch, no jumping on people, and no getting up on the bed. A Treat was given after the dog entirely made a lie-down, and I told my friend never to yell at her dog. I increased the walking period to 3 times a day each for 45 mins, so she didn’t have time to get excited.

Also, a firm No whenever she tries to hump (however, I have a good vision that I predict what the dog is going to do next). So I often said no before the action.

The issue was resolved in 2 days, and now her Dog is the most obedient dog you will see.

Medical Issues for Humping Dogs

While it isn’t popular, however, it exists. If you found that nothing from the above is suitable for your Dog’s situation, then you have to start looking for a vet to check your Dog. Usually, a urinary tract infection (that we talked about here) will be the medical issue, and the doctor will tell you how to deal with the Dog.

I hope you now realize why I didn’t write a separate headline for treating this behavior because every issue requires a different treatment, and the above headlines will make you completely ready to deal with your Dog who humps a lot.

Dog humping Treatment by Insecurity

Some people train their dogs not to hump by triggering insecurities at the Dog, and this will ultimately have the opposite effect. Let me explain how:

A lot of owners will wait for the Dog to start humping, then will kick his lower belly by their knees (just a small kick). This will make the dog insecure and won’t like to hump again. However, this training method has many disadvantages. It decreases the confidence of your Dog and the bond between you and him. That’s why I always stay away from this method.

Dog Humping Is Embarrassing

I understand how embarrassing it is for everyone to deal with dog humping, especially if your Dog starts to hump your leg in front of other people. While I see this is funny at first, I also understand that this is embarrassing. However, you shouldn’t lose your temper and yell at your Dog. This behavior will destroy the good things between you both. I once yelled at my Dog, and I regretted it. Remember, dogs don’t care if other people are standing around us. If they want to play, they will play, and if they want to show their excitement, they will do so. That’s part of the unconditional love that they offer!

Conclusion

Dogs are great lovers. They don’t think about protocols or formalities. They want to do whatever pleases you, and that’s why I fell in love with them. They hump you for a variety of reasons. You only need to keep calm and figure out the cause. Once you do so, you will find your life a lot easier. Don’t listen to people telling you, “Hey, just kick him in his lower belly with your knees” It makes absolutely no sense. Please, think wisely before harming your Dog. And if you are passionate about Positive Training like me, then this post will be the most helpful one for you!

This post was an answer to Mombay’s comment! And remember, HumbleDogs is offering a huge service for you all guys! If you have any questions about any dog’s behavior, we will help you through it by one-on-one chats or through comments or blog posts!

Make sure to check our previous article about Dog Training Books! Also, make sure to stay tuned for more marvelous posts!

Have a nice beautiful day all! 🙂

Author: Soheir Maher

Hi, I am Soheir. I have always been passionate about dogs. My first dog was Leo who was a wonderful Golden Retriever after that I got Kira another Golden Retriever who is wonderful too. My passion for dogs made me read a lot about them. Training them personally made me become an expert in everything related to them, that's why my writing is always a mix of experience and science. My writing about dogs isn't for the sake of earning a living but instead, for the sake of benefiting people around the world.