Many dogs have the annoying habit of humping. Some dogs are discrete and only like to hump in private. Others are very public about their humping obsession. Why do dogs hump legs?
Leg Humping Starts in Adolescence
Most dogs start to hump legs between six and twenty four months. This depends on breed. When reproductive hormones start to flair the need to hump turns on. Small breeds that live longer are late humping bloomers.
It is not male and female specific. Getting your dog fixed will not completely eliminate the need to hump. Males tend to hump more, and that is because they have a steady stream of testosterone flowing where female dogs release hormones in cycles. The hormones themselves do not cause humping but are just a catalyst.
A dog hopped up on hormones is far more likely to hump than a dog not. That is why most people suggest fixing your dogs as a way to prevent the habit form forming. But to stop humping for good, you need to know why do dogs hump legs.
Why Do Dogs Hump Legs?
It is all about dominance. Male dogs tend to be the gender humping, but it is not because of their gentiles. It is all about showing who is the boss. Dogs fight for dominance even before humping enters their minds.
My youngest puppy, Eevee, would jump on her siblings to get attention. She was bigger than the rest and dominant. A female, who is super submissive in general. But in order to get attention in her litter, she had to be assertive.
Eevee was the only among her labradoodle litter who did not look like a gorgeous lab or poodle. Her siblings looked like one or the other. Flawless labradoodle or perfect lab. Eevee was a scruffy lab. Long and floppy tongue, and a long body with huge paws.
In order to get attention of families coming to adopt, she needed to push her self to the front of the pack. She put her huge paws on top of her siblings and pushed them down. This is the reasons dogs hump, dominance.
Some Dogs Need to Be Dominant
It can be out of necessity, or out of desire. But some dogs need to be in charge. Dogs that hump get on top of who or what they are humping. When a dog forces submission, they are towering above those submitting.
Humping is a natural go to. Dogs cant force a couch to submit or a human. A dog can hump a leg or a couch. The smaller and less dominant a dog is, the more they tend to hump. If your dog is unsure of his place in the pack, or thinks he is on the bottom, he is more likely to hump.
You see this when dogs are young and in a litter with siblings often. Humping or pushing others down to take a higher peg in the pack. The problem is when these habits spill over.
The same insecure puppy who was a runt will continue to try and force dominance when in a family with humans.
How to Stop a Dog From Humping Legs
First and foremost is to train the habit out of your dog. Grabbing a dog by the scruff and saying no often enough will teach even the most stubborn dog that humping is not acceptable. Dogs are like children and will forget from time to time, but if you do not train them to not hump you are fighting a losing battle.
The next step is to watch the warning signs. A dog who is jousting for a higher position doesn’t just wake up one day and decide to hump. It starts subtly. With a paw on the head of another dog, to forcing submission. Most dogs you can tell that they can be humpers by how they play.
Well socialized dogs can be dominant or submissive while playing and be fine with it. Other dogs only play by being dominant. That is a sign that the dog can’t even recognize that play is not pecking order. It isn’t play to the aggressive dog, it is establishing his or her authority.
Think of the dog at the park who snaps at other dogs. Always chasing, never running away. Only licks another dog when they show submission. That is the kind of dog I expect to hump.
Establish The Pack Order
The real solution is to let dogs be dogs. Every dog has a personality. Some are insecure and need to be in charge. Dogs will teach each other boundaries. If your dog does not want to be humped, your dog will snip or show teeth to the humping party.
Humans do not quite react the same way. If your dog starts to hump, kids will often run away. Some may think it is funny. It is not and you need to take a page out of the dog book. If a dog teaches another dog to not hump them by forcing them to stop, what do you do?
You force them to stop. This establishes you are in charge and the head of the pack. Just like all humans should be superior to your puppy. Just like a dog will give warning signs before humping, you need to show your dog warning signs that you dislike that behavior.
When your dog tries to push you down or establish dominance, you force him or her down. When your dog tries to knock a child down, you force the dog to give the child his or her belly. Counter act enough of the leading steps, and you will never have a humping problem to deal with.
Why do dogs hump legs? Because we let dogs test for dominance. Show your dog whose the boss and the habit will stop. My puppy may be my baby, but I am still her mother.