Humping – What is it Really All About?

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Of course humping, or mounting is about making baby dogs, but it’s not only about procreation. It happens at all sorts of times in all sorts of places and for all sorts of reasons. Bitches hump, and humped items can be almost any object, person or animal. It can sometimes be due to a medical problem.

One of the various reasons dogs may hump, suggests Marc Bekoff in Psychology Today, could be ‘a displacement behavior, meaning that it’s a byproduct of conflicted emotions. For some dogs a new visitor to the house could elicit a mixture of excitement and stress that could make for a humping dog’.

Melvin Pena in Dogster.com says, ‘Like any behavior in female and male dogs, humping is learned, either through frequent repetition, external encouragement, or lack of dissuasion. If you have a puppy and his humping behaviors are met with laughter or simply not discouraged, dogs will not learn that humping is a disruptive behavior or an unwanted one’. He says there are probably as many reasons that dogs hump as reasons we bite our nails.

Julie Hecht addresses the inevitable dominance question – is humping dominance driven? For some owners, she says, mounting equates to dominance and control, words that suggest you might not want your four-legged friend engaging in this behavior. But what is dominance, and where does mounting fit in?

To quote Hecht: According to Carlos Drews, PhD, dominance is not a characteristic, but rather, relates to describing interactions between two individuals. “Dominance is an attribute of the pattern of repeated, agonistic interactions between two individuals.… Dominance is a relative measure and not an absolute property of individuals.”

I do like Marc Bekoff’s ‘byproduct of conflicted emotions’ explanation.

Here is the story of a very stressed humping dog I went to – who well illustrates the ‘conflicting emotions’ theory.

Here is my main website www.dogidog.co.uk

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About Theo Stewart

I am a dog Behaviourist (INTODogs-ABTC - AAB) and trainer covering Beds, Herts, Cambs and Bucks, a 'Victoria Stilwell' Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT) and a member of the IMDT. Graduate ISCP, International School for Canine Practitioners. My main site: www.dogidog.co.uk
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