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Why Do Dogs Hump?
Dog Behavior

Why Do Dogs Hump?

Are you looking for ways to curb your dog’s humping because it is getting out of control and turning you red in the face? Why do dogs hump in general? The article delves deep into understanding the different reasons for dog humping behavior to help you prevent it.

As per veterinarians, dog humping means mounting behavior, where dogs place their front legs around another dog, an object, or people and thrust their pelvis in a humping motion. 

The dog’s humping can be embarrassing to witness when you have company, but it is necessary to identify the causes for this behavior that can help manage them on time. 

Reasons Why Dogs Hump

Humping or mounting is a normal behavior in dogs; both male and female dogs may mount each other. Humping usually occurs during play as early as 3-6 weeks of age. Hormonal reasons may also cause mounting in dogs. However, they do not always trigger this behavior. 

Sometimes, mounting can be a signal of an underlying medical issue, such as infection or prostate problems in male dogs. Also, humping is not always sexually driven; dogs may mount other dogs, people, or things for various reasons. 

Part of the Play

You may have seen your dog chasing, mouthing, pouncing, and humping all in one go when they are playing with other dogs. It is because dogs exhibit varied behaviors when they get excited or want to initiate play, and so humping is a part of their play. 

Power Dynamics

Dogs also hump another dog to assert power or dominance. They use their body for control and showcase their strength during fights between dogs, which shows that humping is often a tactical element in dog communication. 

Elevated Energy 

Your dog may be humping people or other dogs because of elated energy levels or overstimulation, especially during play. However, they usually avert humping to cushions or their toys when the excitement subsides. 

Uncovering Emotional Triggers

Dogs also hump when they are frustrated or bored. You may catch your dog humping when they are stressed or anxious, which is known as displacement behavior, according to an article by Psychology Today. The dog engages in this behavior to release restless energy like a person tapping their foot. If your dog is humping because they are stressed, you must provide sufficient mental and physical stimulation. 


More often, when a dog humps your legs, they seek attention from you. This is their way of communication because it is hard to overlook a dog when they are mounting your leg. But you must respond to their humping appropriately. 

Desexed Dogs and Females

Humping is a natural behavior in unneutered dogs due to testosterone, which typically occurs in the presence of an unspayed female dog or a female dog in heat. However, desexed or neutered dogs and females may also hump, which shows that dog humping is not just for mating. Female dogs hump just like desexed male dogs when playing, releasing energy, or seeking attention. 

Should You Let Dogs Hump Things?

Dogs normally hump pillows, their favorite toys, or blankets. They may hump everywhere, whether you are present or not. Some dogs mount because of displacement behavior, usually when they are anxious. 

If your dog is humping once or twice a day, is not bothering you, other dogs, or people, and is not causing any injuries, then you can let them hump. It may help your furry friend to release their anxious energy and soothe them. 

What's important is recognizing when this behavior becomes aggravating because it can pose health issues. Here, you need to prevent humping and engage them in another behavior, which you can do by keeping things your dog usually hump out of their reach, such as pillows and blankets. 

When Is Humping a Problem in Dogs?

Humping between dogs for short periods is normal and maybe a part of the play. However, it can be a problem if your dog indulges in humping most of the time. And if you have tried and failed to redirect them, then this may be an addictive behavior to keep a check on.

It is crucial to understand that excessive mounting or humping can cause serious medical issues, such as dermatitis in males over their foreskins. More often, when male dogs hump objects repeatedly, it forms lesions on the tip of their penis, which can be painful and can cause urinary blockage.   

Moreover, some dogs hate to be mounted, so it is better to prevent the mounting behavior to avoid likely conflict between dogs.


Humping is a typical and instinctive behavior in dogs, especially when they are playing or get excited. However, you must monitor your dog's mounting behavior as it can be due to underlying issues. Understanding your dog's needs and providing them with proper mental and physical stimulation are crucial in keeping them healthy and creating a pleasant relationship between you two. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do female dogs hump?

Female dogs may hump to exhibit dominance, release anxious energy, or due to a medical condition or discomfort in their reproductive organ.

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