Having your dog hump you, especially in front of guests, can be more than a bit embarrassing and a little bit concerning too. The fact they only do it to you might seem odd as well but, I assure you, it’s probably not for any of the reasons you think it is.
Common misconceptions related to dog humping include:
- Only male dogs humping people.
- Dogs mainly humping for sexual gratification.
- Dogs using humping as a method to dominate you.
While typically, it is more often male dogs that will hump objects or people, both male and female dogs are known to do it for a variety of reasons, least of all being sexual or dominating.
A dog humping you is actually indicative of how your dog is feeling or what they might need from you. The predominant reason they’re likely doing it to you (and only you) is that they’re trying to tell you, their owner and friend, something they think is important and might need help with.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons your dog might be humping you.
Why Does My Dog Hump Me And Only Me? Your dog is excited!
This is likely one of the most common reasons your dog might be humping you.
Naturally, you are your dog’s favorite person in the entire world. No one else evokes emotional stimulation or excitement for them in the same way you do and they miss you when you’re not around.
Humping you might just be your dog trying to show you they’re excited that you’re home or with them!
While it may be sweet that they missed you, it’s still not ideal for your dog to be humping you. To put a stop to it, simply begin to use negative reinforcement to stop them from humping you when you enter the room or come home again.
Instead of greeting them and showing your own excitement, push them off and ignore them until they stop. If you’re strict with this method, you should see a notable difference in no time.
They’re suffering from anxiety
Dogs that are stressed out and anxious have a lot of pent-up energy that they need to release. They may be humping to blow off steam and relieve these negative feelings in one of the only ways they know-how.
Consider the environment your dogs in and whether there are any new stress indicators. Is there a new pet or person in the house? Has something changed in their daily routine? Is something scaring them such as a loud noise? Are they being left home alone too often?
There are countless factors that may add to your dog’s anxiety so it’s important to consider all of them and rule each of them out. If you believe your dog has anxiety but you can’t pinpoint the reason why. Speak to your vet or a dog behaviorist and they’ll be able to give you the proper advice.
Humping in dogs is a form of compulsive behavior
Linked with anxiety, a dog may begin to compulsively hump you because they’re nervous. Often dogs are seen to excessively lick or bark when it comes to compulsive behavior but it can come in other forms too. This can be pacing, freezing, chewing, or, obviously, humping.
If a dog is behaving compulsively, it’s safe to assume that it’s likely anxiety-related and you should consider all options as previously listed.
Your Dog is trying to show dominance
Humping in dogs is often thought to be dominance-related. While they might be trying to show dominance, they are unlikely to be trying to show dominance over you.
Dogs don’t tend to feel the need to dominate their owners as it’s a specific dog-dog thing to show the order of the pack.
If you have other dogs, they might be humping you to assert dominance over them. While they won’t try to dominant you, as they know you’re in charge, they might use you as an example and as a way to let the other members of their pack’ know they’re in charge of them.
They want attention from you
Humping you might simply just be a way of your dog asking for attention. If your dog is feeling neglected and in need of attention, they’ll try to get it in as simple a way as they know-how.
If this is the case with your dog’s humping problem, consider whether you’re spending enough time with your pet and whether they’re getting everything they need.
Are they being walked and played with enough? Are you spending too much time away from home or not coming to check on them frequently enough during the day?
Dogs are incredibly sociable creatures and don’t cope too well with being by themselves for extended periods of time. As pack animals, they’re used to having a playmate around constantly.
They want to play
A dog eager to play might hump you to show that they’ve got bursting energy to blow off and that they’re in an excitable mood.
Naturally, dogs hump each other as a form of play too. It’s not really obvious why but they do carry out the act with other dogs in non-sexual scenarios.
If your dog is humping you, they might already be trying to play with you like they would have done with other dogs when they were a puppy.
Try not to feed into the behavior by instantly giving in and playing with them. Register that they’d like to be played with more but adopt the same negative reinforcement policy as mentioned before to stop the unwanted humping.
They need more exercise
At the end of the day, dogs are wild animals that require a lot of exercises to mimic what they would get when exploring and living in the wild.
If your dog begins to excessively hump you, they may be indicating that they’re suffering from a serious lack of exercise and have too much energy.
With all of this pent-up energy, they try to release it in the only way they know how to if they’re stuck in the house all day.
Unable to run around and blow off steam or play with other dogs, they’re stuck with the option of humping you.
While you’re not at home they are humping a toy or a pillow before directing it at you when you get home.
Make sure you’re giving your dog plenty of exercise and walks. Dogs typically benefit from 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise a day so make sure your dog is getting a long walk or several shorter ones.
If you’re stuck for time, hire a dog walker to ensure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise.
Your humping you out of sexual arousal
While this is not often the reason a dog might be consistently humping you, especially if it’s only you, it can be. A young dog that hasn’t been neutered yet will be, for better words, extremely horny all the time and looking for a way to relieve that feeling.
Monitor the circumstance and context of your dog humping you to decipher whether the humping is sexual or not.
Is your dog young and unneutered? Are they doing it excessively or unprompted when they’re in an otherwise calm room and you’ve been in the same room with them for a while?
To stop your dog from humping you out of arousal, try to distract them by throwing a toy. As sexual arousal is a natural instinct for all animals, it is important not to tell your dog off as they’re not able to suppress the urge and therefore the reprimand may confuse them.
Instead, constantly give them something else to focus their attention on and praise them for it.
They’re humping you because it is part of their natural behavior
As previously stated, dogs are wild animals. They have no idea about the stigmatization around humping or why it’s not the sort of thing you to do to anyone whenever you feel like it.
For a dog, humping is a perfectly natural thing to do and stems from a range of different reasons. Be it excitement, anxiety, arousal, a need to play, or whatever else – your dog is doing what they know to be normal.
Try positive or negative reinforcement, distractions, and gently nudging away your dog to stop the humping. If this doesn’t work, you can take more extreme actions such as neutering your dog or taking them to a dog behavioral specialist, a certified trainer, or a vet.
A lack of socialization
Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized may seek it out in odd ways.
Humping you might be a level of interaction for them that they’re missing out on getting from spending time around other dogs.
As dogs are naturally packed animals, they’re ingrained to be around others of their species so it’s not really natural for them to never spend time with any.
Take your pet to a dog park or set up a doggy play date with a friend’s pet so they can be around other dogs from time to time too.
It’s not unlikely for a bored dog to hump you to either tell you they’re bored or as a form of entertainment. Dogs shouldn’t be cooped up inside or by themselves all day long so, if your dog is, it’s no wonder they’re bored. Luckily, if this is the case for their excessive humping, it’s an easy fix.
Instead of telling your dog off for the humping, give them something to entertain themselves. Try to entertain your dog with an enriching toy or treat, let them run around outside for a while, or let them spend some time with another dog. If they’re still not stopping the behavior, take them to a vet as there may be an underlying problem.
There might be something wrong with them or their genitals
Humping you might be a way for your dog to show you that they’re in pain down in their nether regions. When a dog is in pain, it’s next to impossible for them to communicate it to us properly meaning it often goes unnoticed for a while.
Your dog could also just have itchy genitals rather than being in pain. The easiest way for them to fix the itch is by rubbing up against something so what you are identifying as humping might not be that at all.
Humping, in male dogs especially, may also indicate prostate issues so it’s important to consider the circumstance around your dog’s unusual behavior.
If you’re not 100% sure on why they’re doing it, it’s a good idea to take them to the vets in case of something serious.
It has become a bad habit
Whatever the reason – excitement, anxiety, boredom – your dog might have just developed a bad habit of humping that they need to be trained out of. If the bad habit was never corrected, they’ll proceed to do it until trained not to.
Depending on why your dog is humping you, there are a number of methods you can try to attempt to train your dog out of it.
- Offer distractions such as toys to shift their attention.
- Give your dog more exercise to burn off energy.
Offer stress relievers. If your dog has anxiety, they may even benefit from anxiety medication or herbal remedies.
- Try positive reinforcement for stopping bad behavior.
- Try negative reinforcement for continuing the bad behavior.
If you struggle to train your dog out of humping, consult a professional to see how they suggest you proceed with the problem.
What are your next steps?
If you’re going to take anything away from this article, let it be that your dog is almost definitely humping you to tell you something rather than to get sexual gratification like most people can’t think.
Each dog is entirely different and you know your pet more than anyone. Consider the context behind your dog’s behavior to see whether it’s like to be any of these reasons and, if you’re still not sure, talk to a vet, dog trainer, or behaviorist to see how they think you should proceed.