No behaviour causes more squeals of amusement and horror than the hump. But the real reason behind it probably isn’t what you expect...
You know you shouldn’t laugh. But it’s hard not to at least smile when a pup seems insistent on thrusting himself into the park limelight. Quite literally. But for years so many of us have assumed that humping was either a sexual thing (if they weren’t desexed) or was driven by a desire to be ‘dominant’. Case closed right? Well, not quite.
Get this. If your dog is just a pup or has indeed been spayed or castrated then it’s almost certain that humping has NOTHING to do with dominance.
Instead, almost all humping can be traced back to 3 main reasons. And they’re all beauties.
1. Pure excitement. Ever watched a group of (human) friends get a little carried away and ‘enthusiastic’ in a pub. They’ll hug, high-five and wrestle when that social buzz (and sure, alcohol) causes their energy to overflow. Well, a group of dogs (and especially puppies) are the same. That extreme excited state all too easily overflows into hairy hugging, wrestling and humping. It just doesn’t quite have the same social stigma in dogs.
2. Anxiety. At those times when their world seems like it’s all too stressful, doggos go to certain behaviours as a way of distracting and soothing themselves. Some dig, some chew, some lick. And you guessed it, some resort to humping. It doesn’t have to feel good for them to make this their go-to stress relief.
3. Attention seeking. When, as a puppy you discover a behaviour that’s impossible to ignore, you stick to it. And because the hump always gets a surprised squeal, it’s a guaranteed attention grabber. Which is why, in social situations (and often the most embarrassing moments), the hump is their ticket to the focus being back on them.
So what can you do?
Well, for starters, realise it is considered essentially normal dog behaviour. It’s just a rather embarrassing outlet for that energy.
Try not to accidentally encourage it by giving them that extra attention. If you see the humping begin, don’t say their name but instead turn away and distract them with a squeaky toy or the throw of their ball. Without that buzz of you engaging with them, it’s a quirky behaviour they should just grow out of.
Oh and desexing your little mate will make sure there are no sexual undertones. Because things could have been awkward 😂