It’s common for pet owners to ask, why does my dog hump his bed?
Even though it might seem like an embarrassing behavior that your pets may exhibit, there are plenty of fundamental reasons as to why they may do it.
You’re likely to see dogs hump other dogs, their favorite toys, their furniture, or even someone’s leg, and although it’s awkward, it’s quite harmless.
If you’re trying to figure out why your dog humps their bed and how you can curb their behavior, there are plenty of options open to you.
Why Does My Dog Hump His Bed?
Most often, when your dogs are mounting or humping items in the home, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are exhibiting sexual behavior.
When you should be the most concerned is when the humping transitions from the furniture to other people or other dogs in your household.
At this point, you should be training your dogs to curb their excessive humping.
There are a few common reasons as to why dogs may mount or hump, including:
1. Hormonal Changes
Dogs that aren’t neutered or spayed will have hormones quite similar to humans, which can cause sexual attraction.
Typically, when this occurs, they are in “heat,” and during this time, it is when pets usually mate.
With that said, while in heat, dogs are far more prone to humping than any other time, especially if there are other dogs in the home.
How to Address Hormonal Changes
As this is a natural event and is very likely to occur if your dog is still intact, the only way to curb the behavior is to have them spayed or neutered.
Fortunately, this is a general procedure among most pet parents, especially if they aren’t interested in breeding their pets or need to curb serious behavioral issues, especially in male dogs.
With a quick trip to your veterinarian, you will have the ability to opt to have your pets undergo the procedure.
2. Sexual Excitement
When the hormones in your dog’s system are rushing, they are likely to start mounting for sexual gratification.
If you start to notice that your pet has transitioned to mounting other animals or people, there’s a high probability that it’s a way for your pets to masturbate.
Similar to hormonal changes, the only way to assess this behavior is to opt for spaying and neutering.
It’s important to note that if your dog has developed a habit of humping before having any procedure, there’s a high probability they will continue to hump after the surgery is completed.
In these instances, it’s best to opt for training to assist with any urges that may follow the procedure.
3. Playful Behavior
Like humans, dogs have moments of intense playfulness and excitement, which they get out of their system, similar to play fighting.
As long as one of the two dogs involved in the exchange doesn’t get overwhelmed or upset, this is typically an acceptable and prevalent behavior.
However, did you know that another way for dogs to play is for one to mount the other?
Some dogs may enjoy playful biting while others enjoy running and chasing; a select few may prefer humping.
While keeping an eye on your dog, if you find that the other dog is feeling uncomfortable or getting upset, it is best if you break the connection between the two.
Otherwise, the situation could become much worse, with the other dog trying to overpower your pet and assert their dominance.
How to Address Playfulness
One of the things you are bound to love the most about your dog is the fact that they are playful.
It’s what gives them the energy, happiness, and vitality that result in the personality that you love so dearly.
However, without proper restraint, being too playful can make it difficult for them to be around other dogs.
This point is particularly crucial if you have smaller or younger dogs in the same household, as playing too rough could potentially be fatal without intervention.
Your best option for addressing their playfulness being expressed by humping is to implement a thorough training process.
One of the top recommendations is to train your dog to come to you when they are called, as this allows you to break up the playtime without having to remove your dog physically.
Alternatively, you can teach them different ways to play with other dogs to help reduce the frequency of their humping.
Similar to being overly playful, there will be times when your pets are too excited that they seemingly don’t know what to do with themselves.
You might find that in these situations, your dog is more prone to mounting objects or people to help them relax or to get rid of their excess energy.
Many pet parents have also noted that an increase in humping has been a direct result of their dog being understimulated.
With a highly intelligent dog or a dog who is prone to boredom without frequent stimulation, they may also get rid of any pent up frustration and energy by humping.
It’s always vital that you take the time to properly exercise your pets to ensure they are adequately exhausted by the end of the day.
How to Address Overexcitement
Most of the behaviors that can lead your pet to hump are quickly addressed with a training regimen, which is fortunate and can be relatively easy as long as you allocate enough time to the process.
Teaching your dog healthier and less embarrassing outlets for getting rid of their excess excitement is a fantastic way to reduce the frequency of their humping.
Not to mention, this type of training will also be essential when you start introducing your pet to others.
Consider distracting them with their favorite toy when a new visitor comes over or giving them more attention during the day.
Another fantastic idea is to set up an outside area where your pet can run around and play by themselves or with family members to help get rid of the ample amount of energy they have.
Mental and physical stimulation are highly important things to consider when you bring a pet into your home.
5. Asserting Dominance
There’s a reason as to why dogs under a year of age are most likely to hump more than older dogs, as they are learning about asserting their dominance.
By mounting another dog, they are mostly teaching the other party that they are the alpha, which is a quite common pack mentality.
Unfortunately, other dogs may not be accepting of this behavior, which is when humping can turn into a more serious situation that will need to be addressed.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Even though the majority of dogs are going to start humping because of hormones, sexual gratification, or too much energy and playfulness, there could be an underlying medical cause, as well.
If you aren’t able to connect their behaviors to any specific cause, it’s best if you seek guidance from your veterinarian, as they will undoubtedly be able to help.
There are a few different medical issues that dogs may encounter that can cause them to hump regularly, including persistent erections (priapism), skin allergies, or urinary tract infections.
Unlike humans, dogs aren’t able to express physical discomfort in any other way than acting out behaviors about the specific area that is affected.
Often, skin allergies and UTIs can be itchy and uncomfortable, which could be one of the main reasons as to why they are constantly rubbing against other objects and furniture.
Fortunately, vets will be able to rule out any medical issues with a couple of tests.
Tips and Tricks for Stopping Humping
For a pet parent with a dog who likes to mount things frequently, you’ll be glad to know one of the sure-fire ways to stop the behavior is to have adequate training.
This point is particularly true if your pets are easy to train and continuously want to impress their owner.
With that said, these tips and tricks are sure to get you started when it comes to training so that you can lessen the embarrassment you feel when you know they’re about to start mounting something or someone.
1. Catching the Behavior
Dogs aren’t likely to stop doing anything unless the person they consider to be their alpha catches them in the act.
You will want to keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior to catch them while mounting so that you can verbally call them off.
By using short and concise commands like “No” or “Off”, your dogs will know that this behavior is not appropriate and should be stopped.
It’s best if you think about the commands you typically use in training, as you won’t want to use words that will confuse your pets.
Instead, opt for the keywords that will show them that you are disappointed.
2. Rewarding with Treats
Similar to any other command you teach your dog, if they perform it successfully, you will want to make sure you reward them.
This point is especially true when it comes to mounting, as once they form a relationship between listening to your “No” command to receiving a treat, they’ll be less likely to do it.
Depending on the willingness of your pet, you may have to reinforce this type of training multiple times until they start to reduce the frequency of their behavior.
In situations where you can successfully take your dog away from a position with a verbal command, you can give them a substantial treat.
Ideally, you’ll want to choose a reward that they are going to find incredibly appealing, such as their favorite toy or a treat that you know they love.
3. Physical Removal
Sometimes, pets aren’t willing to listen, and in these situations, it may be best to remove them from the situation and gently isolate them physically.
For example, if you have guests over and your dog is continuously mounting their legs without listening, you can remove them from the room, similar to giving your children a time-out.
It’s important to remember the comfort level of others, as you won’t want anyone else to feel like their personal space is being invaded.
Until you can sufficiently train your pet to listen to your verbal commands, they should not receive any positive reinforcement or treats.
4. Getting Professional Help
There are plenty of pets that work best with professional trainers, and this may be the case for your dog, as well.
Finding a professional trainer can be a fantastic option, especially if you find that your own training isn’t making as much of an impact as you had hoped.
Although it will be far more expensive, it will be well worth the investment, as you won’t have to worry about your dog exhibiting intrusive behaviors.
It’s also important to remember that you shouldn’t be embarrassed seeking the counsel of a professional trainer for consistent humping, as it’s more common than you think.
After all, they have likely worked with plenty of dogs with the same issue as the one your pets have.
You’re not alone if you’re wondering, why does my dog hump his bed?
It’s an incredibly common behavior with most dogs, especially if they haven’t been spayed or neutered.
With the help of this guide and professional advice from your veterinarian, you can work to curb the behavior to avoid embarrassment and to keep your dog out of potential danger.