Puppy Humping
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Thread: Puppy Humping

  1. #1
    Senior Member Chelsea and Oskar's Avatar
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    Puppy Humping

    My puppy is 3 months old and has been fixed. (We've had him for 2~3 weeks, well adjusted).

    When we first got him he tried humping us A LOT, I guess to try and be dominant?

    Now he doesn't do it to my boyfriend at all and he does it to me sometimes. I can sit down with him on the floor, but if I lay down or sit on my boyfriend he tries to mount me right away. He'll also try right after he sniffs me or my shoes.

    Anytime he tries to hump we push him off, tower over him and use a stern voice.

    I don't know who is the pack leader, me or my boyfriend. My boyfriend does more walking and scolding and I do more feeding, playing and training. Hes more rough with him, more affectionate with me.

    My question is, is he still trying to be dominate over us (especially me)? Is he just doing puppy humping?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Dakota Spirit's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy Humping

    Yep, dominance.

    Your pup probably stopped trying to mount your BF because he recognizes him as a leader or alpha in your household. Since he does most of the scolding, he comes off as a more formidable 'pack member'. With you, that may not be as apparent to the puppy. Women are often more soft spoken (their voices aren't as deep), smaller, etc.

    I think you are going down the right path, just be sure that when you are disciplining him you don't cause the puppy to become too fearful (ie. cowering, submissive urination) and you should be ok...



    Dakota - 12 year old female Rat Terrier l Tristan - 2 year old male Border Collie/McNab

  4. #3
    Super Moderator Curbside Prophet's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy Humping

    These displacement behaviors are all a part of play. Many times the behavior is done to elicit or amp up play. If it were true dominance there would be a bunch of posturing before the behavior, but puppies are too immature to understand all those rules. So they do it to seek attention, or to get an inanimate human animate. So I wouldn't call it true dominance in a the case of a puppy. He's just doing what he's learned from his littermates.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Dakota Spirit's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy Humping

    Quote Originally Posted by Curbside Prophet View Post
    These displacement behaviors are all a part of play. Many times the behavior is done to elicit or amp up play. If it were true dominance there would be a bunch of posturing before the behavior, but puppies are too immature to understand all those rules. So they do it to seek attention, or to get an inanimate human animate. So I wouldn't call it true dominance in a the case of a puppy. He's just doing what he's learned from his littermates.
    I understand what you're getting at - but puppies deal in dominance too. There is a hierarchy that gets established among litter mates. I guess I shouldn't say what the OP's puppy is displaying is without a doubt, dominance behavior - but from what I've learned, that is usually a common cause.



    Dakota - 12 year old female Rat Terrier l Tristan - 2 year old male Border Collie/McNab

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    Super Moderator Curbside Prophet's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy Humping

    Quote Originally Posted by Dakota Spirit View Post
    I understand what you're getting at - but puppies deal in dominance too. There is a hierarchy that gets established among litter mates. I guess I shouldn't say what the OP's puppy is displaying is without a doubt, dominance behavior - but from what I've learned, that is usually a common cause.
    It's a behavior used within a dyad as a show of dominance, perhaps.

    When the dog does a behavior like humping his owner (out of context behavior) it is a displacement behavior, and that's all we really know. There is no scientific proof that rigid hierarchies exist among dogs, especially among puppies (other than Dunbar's bone test in the 70's which disproves the rigidity of linear hierarchies).

    So to call it dominance, really, is just a construct, and serves no purpose. It would better serve the OP to understand the antecedent of the behavior than guess what's going on the dog's mind. If you can control the antecedent, you can control the behavior, and that's all that's really important IMO.

    Let me give you an example of a similar problem a friend of mine had. My friend has an in home business, and she chooses to work in the evening. She spends the day with her Yorkie, and her husband puts the dog to bed every night. She had complained about her dog's "odd" humping behavior in the evening. Curious, I went to observe. I learned of their routine, where the husband crates the dog at night. So as I'm watching, her husband enter the room, and the dog starts humping my friend. Coincidence? I asked the husband to leave the room and to try again while I distracted the dog from humping her with a squeaky toy, then let the dog play with the toy on her own. Husband returns and guess what? She goes back to hump my friend.

    Selective dominance? I suppose you could fabricate a story that when the DH entered the room she felt threatened by the DH, thus claimed my friend as her own. You could tell these people they need to discipline their dog, and show her who really is "Alpha". Or you could do what I suggested to them...instead of DH crating the dog at night, my friend could end the humping behavior if she crated the dog herself. No more problem.

    In the OP's case, it's very likely the dog sees lying or sitting on the BF as an opportunity to play, and humping during play is common in dogs. Who knows, but the OP seems to know what environmental cues cause the behavior, so if you can control those environmental cues, you can control the behavior. Either by giving the dog something else to do before sittin or lying on the BF, managing the dog, or sit on the BF at another time.
    Last edited by Curbside Prophet; 02-26-2008 at 07:39 PM. Reason: added example

  7. #6
    Senior Member Dakota Spirit's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy Humping

    Quote Originally Posted by Curbside Prophet View Post
    It's a behavior used within a dyad as a show of dominance, perhaps.

    When the dog does a behavior like humping his owner (out of context behavior) it is a displacement behavior, and that's all we really know. There is no scientific proof that rigid hierarchies exist among dogs, especially among puppies (other than Dunbar's bone test in the 70's which disproves the rigidity of linear hierarchies).

    So to call it dominance, really, is just a construct, and serves no purpose. It would better serve the OP to understand the antecedent of the behavior than guess what's going on the dog's mind. If you can control the antecedent, you can control the behavior, and that's all that's really important IMO.

    Let me give you an example of a similar problem a friend of mine had. My friend has an in home business, and she chooses to work in the evening. She spends the day with her Yorkie, and her husband puts the dog to bed every night. She had complained about her dog's "odd" humping behavior in the evening. Curious, I went to observe. I learned of their routine, where the husband crates the dog at night. So as I'm watching, her husband enter the room, and the dog starts humping my friend. Coincidence? I asked the husband to leave the room and to try again while I distracted the dog from humping her with a squeaky toy, then let the dog play with the toy on her own. Husband returns and guess what? She goes back to hump my friend.

    Selective dominance? I suppose you could fabricate a story that when the DH entered the room she felt threatened by the DH, thus claimed my friend as her own. You could tell these people they need to discipline their dog, and show her who really is "Alpha". Or you could do what I suggested to them...instead of DH crating the dog at night, my friend could end the humping behavior if she crated the dog herself. No more problem.

    In the OP's case, it's very likely the dog sees lying or sitting on the BF as an opportunity to play, and humping during play is common in dogs. Who knows, but the OP seems to know what environmental cues cause the behavior, so if you can control those environmental cues, you can control the behavior. Either by giving the dog something else to do before sittin or lying on the BF, managing the dog, or sit on the BF at another time.
    Ah, I see. That makes sense, thanks for explaining



    Dakota - 12 year old female Rat Terrier l Tristan - 2 year old male Border Collie/McNab

  8. #7
    Senior Member Chelsea and Oskar's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy Humping

    This seems so complex, haha.
    But thank you so much, I think I can better understand my dog and his behavior.

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