Time to talk about humping!

A dog’s humping behavior can be an awkward discussion topic.

However, “mounting” is a normal behavior for dogs just like rolling in poop, growling and peeing on things are all normal dog behaviors.

But should we allow our dogs to hump other dogs?

I’d love to hear what you think.

Let’s use the dog park scenario for this post because that’s where we often see dogs just being dogs, right? It’s like a free-for-all at times.

There are certain behaviors I try to limit from my dog at the dog park:

These are

  • Humping
  • Kicking up grass/dirt excessively
  • Excessive sniffing/licking of another dog’s rear end
  • Excessive barking
  • Excessive chasing/rough playing

All these behaviors are normal things dogs do. It’s not that a dog is “bad” if he (or she) does these behaviors.

It’s just that all these behaviors are related to energy, and too much energy in the wrong situation can lead to a fight, especially when the dogs are unfamiliar with one another.

For example, if my dog is allowed to obsessively bark at another dog (usually over a toy), pretty soon three or four other dogs will come over to investigate. Their tails and heads will be up. Sometimes there is tension. Their arousal levels are high.

Dogs are always responding to one another’s energy, and it’s our job to keep that energy at a certain level. Maintenance control.

So if my dog is beginning to bark excessively, I intervene before it reaches a certain point. We each have to make our own decisions on how much energy to tolerate, depending on the situation.

So what about humping?

When my dog gets humped

If I see a dog getting extra “friendly” with my dog at the park or beach, I try to intervene before that dog has a chance to throw his paws over my dog’s back. Sometimes this involves calling Ace to me. Sometimes I step between the two dogs or give a firm “hey!”

If I do not intervene, and my dog gets humped, I know he will eventually respond with a growl. If the other dog doesn’t get the message, Ace will turn around and let out a ferocious snarl. He means no harm. He’s basically saying, “Get the F— off me!”

It’s my job to intervene before it reaches that point.

Yes, dogs will usually work it out on their own just fine, but I would rather avoid those types of confrontations.

When my dog is the “humper”

My dog Ace is a mellow, laid-back guy with low to medium energy, so it’s extremely rare for him to hump another dog. (Update: Ace has passed away.) When he does, it’s always because that dog is insecure, nervous or scared. And the dog is usually very young. (Yeah, he goes for the under-aged dogs.)

I don’t know what my dog is thinking, but I can only assume he’s simply reacting to the other dog’s energy.

You may have noticed how all the dogs tend to crowd around a very nervous dog at the dog park. This often leads to a lot of vocalizations from the scared dog, especially if the dog is on a leash and can’t get away. Then of course, some of the other dogs begin barking and the energy continues to build from there.

I try to keep my dog out of these situations.

If I notice Ace is starting to get a little too “frisky,” I call him away.

Actually, if there is a lot of energy building for any reason, we calmly move away. I try to teach my dog that we don’t associate with that kind of energy at the park or the beach. We certainly won’t be the ones to start it.

But that’s just my opinion. Plus, a lot depends on the situation and how well the dogs know each other. What’s considered rude between two strange dogs may only be a playful gesture between good friends. Not all that different than humans, really.

What do you think? Do you allow your dog to hump other dogs?