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Humping

By: Dr. Nicholas Dodman

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Dealing With This Behavior

  • Neutering intact males that are not to be used for breeding will reduce humping in some 60 percent of dogs. Some respond rapidly to neutering while others take several months to "unlearn" the behavior. Dominant dogs may continue to hump more or less indefinitely following neutering unless other measures are taken as well.

  • Managing and retraining a dominant dog can help reducing humping, of people, at least. The essence of this retraining a 10 or 12 step leadership program for the dog's owners to employ during interactions with their dogs. The message transmitted to the dog is one of having to work for what he wants and needs. This program catapults owners into a more respected leadership role, elevating them, in the dog's eyes, to an immune-to-humping status within the family pack.

  • Theoretically, drugs like fluoxetine (Prozac®) should deter humping by reducing libido and stabilizing dominance. The more stable dominance that results should make humping redundant.

    Humping, while a nuisance for dog owners, is an interesting and biologically appropriate behavior. It is designed by nature in the interests of procreation but also signifies power and control.

    Although it may seem counterintuitive that females would be programmed to hump, no procreative behaviors are confined only to one sex only. Males are, in effect, modifications of the basic female blueprint so each sex has the potential for performing any and all of the behaviors exhibited by the other one, including sexual behaviors. Humping is one of those more-likely-to-be-seen-in-a-male types of behaviors, along with roaming, aggression to other males, and leg lifting. We should recognize the sameness and celebrate the difference!


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