The sight of your little puppy humping the pillow on your living room sofa might puzzle you -- he seems much too young for that. Mounting behaviors, however, are totally par for the course in puppies, whether they're the result of burgeoning sexuality or even feelings of playful excitement. Your pup is in no way an anomaly.
Puppies become sexually mature in what seems like an instant to many owners, often at a mere 6 months. If you see your puppy mounting random objects throughout your home, it might just be a normal reaction to his "teenage" hormones coming to the surface. Hormonal dogs mount many different things, from pillows to table legs. They sometimes even attempt to mount peoples' arms and legs, which can be particularly cringe-inducing when you have company. Humping behaviors appear in dogs of both sexes.
A lot of humping in the doggie world is related to feelings of exhilaration. If you catch your pooch humping a pillow, it could mean simply that he's overwhelmed by excitement and enthusiasm at the moment. Mounting often occurs during canine play sessions. If your puppy can barely handle the thrill of playtime, he might react by running around and humping other dogs in the room. He might react by humping the chew toy in front of him. He might react by humping the pillow on your easy chair. This type of playtime humping behavior is especially common in dogs who haven't been socialized adequately.
Humping in dogs, particularly in fixed, older ones, also sometimes signifies frustration, fear and nervousness. If your best pal's cat stops by at your home for a brief visit, your perplexed pup might react with uneasy apprehension -- leading to an episode of humping your pillow or anything else he might see in the vicinity. Being around strangers can often encourage humping in canines. It's also extremely common for puppies to hump objects as a means of getting others to look at and acknowledge them, whether in play or in meetings with brand new faces.
If you want to eliminate your puppy's humping behavior, getting him fixed might do the trick. Talk to your veterinarian to make sure your puppy is old enough for the procedure. Veterinarians frequently neuter and spay puppies as early as 8 weeks old, according to the ASPCA. If you wait until your puppy has been sexually mature for a while and is used to humping objects, the surgery might not completely get rid of the behavior. If experience teaches a puppy that he enjoys mounting objects, it won't necessarily stop the behavior after neutering or spaying, but it does tend to reduce it if the behavior's not anxiety-based. Meanwhile, humping in dogs can sometimes point to health issues such as urinary incontinence, urinary tract infection and allergies. Make sure your pup's hump-happy ways aren't due to an illness: Take him to the vet for a prompt checkup.
- The Good Behavior Book for Dogs; Colleen Paige
- Good Dogs, Bad Habits; Jeanne Carlson
- ASPCA: Mounting and Masturbation
- UC Davis Veterinary Medicine: Inappropriate Mounting
- Keystone Veterinary Behavior Services: Canine Mounting - An Overview
- Your Labrador Retriever Puppy Month by Month; Terry Albert and Debra Eldredge
- ASPCA: Spay-Neuter
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images