When your dog mounts a toy, another dog or your leg and starts humping away, it isn't necessarily sex-related. Sure, that familiar hip thrust makes it seem scandalous, but dogs actually mount to convey a variety of different things, not just that you look great today.
Of course, just like in a lot of animals, one of the clearest reasons a dog has for mounting is so he can engage in the sex act. It's just how dogs go about it. Thing is, they don't just do it to procreate. Dogs can turn to self-pleasuring, using whatever is a convenient humping size for a quick mount. Even female dogs can mount for that purpose, so don't be surprised if your little lady develops a habit.
Dog mounting isn't all about sex. In fact, a lot of the time it isn't -- dogs mount each other as a way of demonstrating their dominance. This is why puppies that aren't sexually mature will mount one another, or males will mount other males, or even neutered males will mount other dogs. By mounting another dog, your dog sends a clear message that he is the boss.
Some dogs get so excited, they just don't know what to do -- and in that situation, why not mount something? Yes, it's relatively common for a dog to just get so pumped up that he has to channel it somehow, to release all that pent-up excitement. Some dogs even mount as a response to nervous excitement or anxiety, such as he may experience when meeting new house guests.
There may come a time when you're sick of your little guy mounting and humping everything that fits between his back legs. Getting him fixed is the first step -- studies show that two-thirds of all male dogs stop mounting after they get neutered. If your lady pooch is a mounter, getting her spayed can help her, as well, since it reduces her hormone levels. If your dog is a nervous or excited mounter, simply maintain a controlled environment that prevents her excitement from reaching that fever pitch.
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images