What to do if your dog keeps humping | TeamDogs
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What to do if your dog keeps humping

Advice on how you can keep your dog's humping habits under control

Charlotte Regen

Posted 50d ago

Is your puppy showing you a bit too much love? 

And by that we don’t mean showering you with licks from head to toe, we’re talking about humping. 

You might find it funny if your dog humps you but it can be embarrassing if they do it to guests. 

Humping is normal, natural behaviour and it’s not always for sexual reasons. 

Nutrition & Behaviour expert and host of A Dog’s Life podcast, Anna Webb told TeamDogs: “Humping legs has nothing to do with anything sexual, but everything to do with attention-seeking. Puppies will learn that humping your leg is a sure way of getting your attention when you’re on the phone or on a Zoom call. 

“It’s a common issue that is often unwittingly rewarded by reprimanding the puppy and in the dog’s eyes, joining in the game. The best way to stop this behaviour is to ignore and distract. Training your puppy to settle in his bed or a crate with a chew or a stuffed interactive toy pays dividends. It teaches independence, chewing releases happy hormones too! 

“It’s key to punctuate your dogs’ day with proactive play sessions and work your routine around your puppy’s needs. And to ensure a pup doesn’t get ‘overtired’, which can induce attention-seeking behaviours.”

Advice on the PDSA website states that humping can be a sign of a number of different things, which could be: 

  • Sexual behaviour - unneutered dogs tend to hump more due to their hormones. Some dogs also will even hump their toys and blankets etc.
  • Play - mounting is common when dogs get over excited during play.
  • To calm themselves - Some dogs mount or hump to relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Excitement - if a dog is over excited, or very energetic, mounting and humping can help get rid of excess energy.
  • Medical problems - a dog may mount and rub against an object if they have itchy skin. Mounting can also sometimes be associated with bladder and urine problems.

According to the PDSA, you should contact your vet if your dog is excessively mounting and humping. 

You should also seek advice if your dog becomes aggressive when you try to stop them.

Your vet will check your dog for health problems, and discuss the best next steps to reduce the behaviour. 

They may also recommend that your dog is seen by an accredited behaviourist.

But remember it’s important not to punish your dog for humping because it’s normal and natural behaviour for them. 

If it doesn’t happen very often and doesn’t bother you, it may not need addressing. However, if it’s happening regularly, or becoming a problem, fortunately, with the right training, time, and patience, it’s a behaviour that can often be reduced.

Here are some tips from the animal charity, which may stop your dog from humping. 


  • Neutering - castrating a male dog will help if their humping behaviour is solely hormone-related.
  • Socialisation - socialising your dog with others from a young age will help teach them to play and interact nicely.
  • Exercise - make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and healthy play. Having fun and being tired will help reduce the behaviour.
  • Removing triggers - if your dog humps to relieve stress, removing the situation or object that makes them stressed, and reducing their anxiety through behavioural therapy should help decrease their need to mount/hump. For further advice, speak to your vet/an accredited behaviourist.
  • Teaching calmness - if your dog humps when they get over excited, help keep them calm by controlling how excited they get, and teach them to settle (with treats).
  • Distraction and alternative behaviours - if your dog humps to get you or other dogs to play, it’s important to teach them that the fun stops when they start to hump. When they start to mount, stop them playing (by distracting them with a treat), ask them to sit down and give them the treat. You will need to repeat this every time it happens and it might take some time for them to stop the behaviour completely.

PDSA Vet Lynne James said: “It’s important not to punish or shout at your dog when they display unwanted behaviour like this – this increases their stress and will likely make the problem worse. Mounting or ‘humping’ is actually a normal and natural behaviour for dogs, but it can be a little annoying and embarrassing for us humans! So you may want to take steps to reduce it, but be aware this may take time.

“There can be many reasons for dogs to display ‘humping’ behaviour, so it’s important to understand the triggers for your dog before trying to address this. Make sure you rule out medical causes first by speaking to your vet, and if your dog isn’t neutered then I’d recommend getting this done as this type of behaviour can often be hormonal.

"If your dog still humps then try to understand the trigger – is it excitement, stress or just a learnt behaviour? The cause will determine the best approach to tackle this – for instance if it’s related to excitement, then making sure your dog is getting enough daily exercise and playtime may solve the problem. If stress is a factor, then removing whatever items or situations that make them stressed can help.

“You can also try distraction – when your dog starts to mount, distract them by showing them a treat, but ask them to sit and only give them the treat once they are calm and still. This will need to be repeated every time it happens, but over time they will learn that the fun stops when they start this behaviour. If the behaviour persists then you may want to get help from a pet behaviourist; look for membership of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, who will all use positive reinforcement techniques.”

For more advice, you should contact your vet who will advise you on all the appropriate options to suit your pet. 

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