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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

Why do Dogs Hump? Its Not Dominance!

Humping, often seen as an embarrassing or even humorous behavior in dogs, is frequently misunderstood. Contrary to popular belief, it's not about dominance. Instead, humping in dogs is a complex behavior with multiple underlying causes.

In this article, we'll delve into the real reasons why dogs hump and what you can do to address this behavior effectively.

Social Behavior: Humping is a natural part of canine social interaction. Dogs may engage in humping as a form of play or communication. It's their way of expressing excitement, playfulness, or even anxiety. When dogs engage in this behavior during play, it's typically not related to dominance but rather a way to initiate or maintain social interaction.

Social Behavior:One of the most common associations with humping is sexual behavior. Unneutered males may hump as a response to the presence of a female in heat. However, spaying or neutering can often reduce or eliminate this behavior if it's purely related to sexual drive. It's essential to remember that not all humping is sexually motivated.

Stress and Anxiety: Humping can be a response to stress or anxiety. When dogs feel overwhelmed or anxious, they may resort to humping as a way to self-soothe. It's similar to humans biting their nails or tapping their feet when nervous. Addressing the underlying anxiety is crucial to reducing humping caused by stress.

Excitement: Overexcitement can trigger humping in dogs. For example, when you return home after being away for some time, your dog might become overly excited and hump as a way to release that excitement. This is a temporary reaction and not associated with dominance.

Playfulness and Imitation: Dogs are highly observant creatures. They may imitate behaviors they see in other dogs. If your dog has seen humping in their environment, they might try it themselves, even without fully understanding the reason behind it.


Determine the Cause: The first step in addressing humping behavior is to understand why your dog is doing it. Observe the circumstances in which it occurs and consult with a professional dog trainer if needed.

Provide Adequate Exercise: Regular exercise can help reduce anxiety and excess energy, which can be a trigger for humping. Ensure your dog gets enough physical and mental stimulation.

Training: Teach your dog alternative behaviors like "sit" or "down" to redirect their energy. Use positive reinforcement training methods to reward desired behaviors.

Spaying/Neutering: If sexual behavior is the primary issue, consider spaying or neutering your dog. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if this is appropriate for your pet.

Consult a Professional: If humping persists or is causing problems, seek guidance from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. At Best Buddy Dog Trainer, we're here to help. You can reach out to us at or call us at 301-231-1907 for expert advice and personalized solutions. For more information about our services, including consultations and training programs, visit our Sign-Up Page. Don't hesitate to reach out; we're dedicated to improving your dog's behavior and your relationship with them.

Humping in dogs is a multifaceted behavior, understanding the underlying causes is essential for addressing this behavior effectively. By identifying the root cause and applying appropriate training techniques, you can help your dog overcome humping and lead a happier, more balanced life.

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