Is Your Dog a Frequent Humping Victim?

If you are afraid to take your dog to the dog park because he is routinely singled out for mounting practice, read on!

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You may have noticed that occasionally a dog comes along who seems to have a “hump me” sign on his back. Particularly obvious at dog parks, where multiple dogs are free to engage unrestrained in assorted behaviors at will, this poor dog is approached time and again by various dogs who are intent on a round of mounting fun. You might also see it in dog training classes where supervised free-play is allowed, and at poorly run doggie daycare centers. What is it about these victim dogs that attracts other dogs to them? And if you happen to own one, what do you do to protect your dog from the unwelcome advances of other dogs?

There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of solid scientific information about why certain dogs are particularly selected as mountees, so we are left with a couple of theories. Perhaps there is something about a victim dog’s behavior that arouses other dogs and encourages mounting.

Is your victim dog particularly appeasing toward and docile in response to the social advances of other dogs? If so, you might try confidence-building exercises with your dog to teach him new body-language skills around other dogs. (See “Building Your Dog’s Confidence,” WDJ September 2011.) Teach your dog operant behaviors that mimic more assertive body language (lift your head up, stand tall) and cue those behaviors when a dog approaches him with mounting intent.

Is it possible that your dog gives off a scent that is arousing to other dogs? Next time he’s bathed, try a different kind of shampoo and see if that reduces the frequency of these encounters. Or try giving him a bath before your next off-leash dog encounter and see if that makes a difference.

Know Your Dog; Protect Your Dog

Regardless of the cause, your job is to always protect your dog. If he stands calmly and stoically while other dogs are inappropriate with him, you might just let him handle it. If, however, you see any signs that he is disturbed by the other dogs’ attentions, you must take action. You can ask other dog owners to remove their dogs (and suggest they read the accompanying article!), but ultimately it’s incumbent upon you to remove your dog from harm’s way – and sooner rather than later, before your dog decides to aggressively protect himself or becomes traumatized by being singled out for this unwanted attention.

Remember, your dog doesn’t have to go to the dog park and he doesn’t have to participate in class play. If he does have to go to daycare, be sure he attends one that will look out for him and match him with appropriate playmates. You can also invite friends with compatible dogs (those who don’t mount other dogs) over to your own backyard for playdates.

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WDJ's Training Editor Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, grew up in a family that was blessed with lots of animal companions: dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goats, and more, and has maintained that model ever since. She spent the first 20 years of her professional life working at the Marin Humane Society in Marin County, California, for most of that time as a humane officer and director of operations. She continually studied the art and science of dog training and behavior during that time, and in 1996, left MHS to start her own training and behavior business, Peaceable Paws. Pat has earned a number of titles from various training organizations, including Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA). She also founded Peaceable Paws Academies for teaching and credentialing dog training and behavior professionals, who can earn "Pat Miller Certified Trainer" certifications. She and her husband Paul and an ever-changing number of dogs, horses, and other animal companions live on their 80-acre farm in Fairplay, Maryland.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I’m so glad I found this site! I have a spayed female chihuahua with her first home being a very bad abusive one. She’s very friendly and loveable to almost everyone, including some animals. I’ve noticed my sister’s little boy dogs really take advantage of her and my sister even went as far as saying she likes it and lets them hump her. I’ve taken her away from that situation, but how can I handle that and is it actually something that they enjoy or is it truly abusive even if they submit like she would tend to have in her nature anyways? My female dogs have always been the alpha, this is the first I’ve had that would have this happen to her.

  2. We changed Millie’s shampoo and now all the boys are interested in her at the park. .. But, she’s a dog and she just turns their advances into play. They are animals, after all, let them work out — they always do. The worst thing about all this is how the owners handle it.

    • Really? Let them work it out… You may not have seen this behaviour between male dogs escalate into a full blown dog fight Im guessing – ?

      • Or worse, I “let them work it out” when my dog was getting humped at the park and he got “finished” on.
        So yeah no. I don’t advise “letting them work it out”. Bad advice for you and your dog.

  3. So my dog was the humper.
    Little dogs and big dogs he didnt care.
    Tried everything at the dog park to get him to quit. Some owners became real nasty. Just took him out. Do not miss the drama at the dog park with my dog.

    • As someone who has a dog who gets frequently humped, I can say it majorly depends on the attitude of the human who’s dog is doing the humping.
      Are you up on your feet and making sure to nip it in the bud when your dog starts humping? Great.
      Are you standing there laughing? Not paying attention? Bad.
      My dog gets humped pretty often and I have to stay alert – doing my part to keep dogs off him, but as a dog owner who’s dog likes to hump, you should do your part as well.
      Also you should train your dog. It’s not a behavior that should be just looked past. That’s bad on you if you don’t train/work with your dog to stop.

  4. I adopted a 1.5 yr old fixed, starved, human abused boxer dog. He continued to fear humans, but was so kind and sweet with me and all other dogs. He did not seem to mind it but for his entire life dogs would be attracted to him ; smell and lick his penis then hump him. I hated it as I had to stop them as they would just line up and it was never ending. Sad. It wasn’t fun as he couldn’t play they would just want to jump him. Aweful

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