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Why do female dogs hump?

Author: Charlotte

We’ve all been there. You’ve got visitors over and all of a sudden your dog is catching everyone’s attention by manically humping a stuffed bear in the corner.

You jump up, nervously laughing about how the poor bear is used to it and at least it isn’t someone’s leg. You really mean that. At least it isn’t someone’s leg.

Ok, so maybe it’s natural. But why do female dogs hump?

Wait, female dogs hump too?

From a biological point of view, it might not seem exactly natural for female dogs to hump. But actually, humping is perfectly normal behaviour for both male and female dogs — as long as it really isn’t absolutely everything in sight.

There is, however, a time and a place for dogs to hump and it isn’t when you’re going on a new doggie play date.

So, in order to reduce those embarrassing moments, we first need to know why they do it.

Why do female dogs hump?

It really is as embarrassing as you think it is…

Right from when they’re puppies, both female and male dogs learn that humping feels good. It’s sexual behaviour which they quite often use in play with other dogs or objects.

At the beginning, it’s kind of like their sexual education which they carry on into sexual maturity. So, sometimes it is exactly what it looks like, a dog pleasuring herself on a pillow or someone’s leg.

But you’ll be pleased to know there are a few other reasons why female dogs hump and — let’s be honest — they’re the ones you’re always going to use to excuse her behaviour.  

It’s a sign of social dominance

female dog humping

Which is clear, I’m sure the stuffed bear knows exactly where he stands. Dogs are genetically pack animals which means there’s constant justling to establish dominance.

Your visitor in the dog’s home is someone new in her pack, and what better way to show her who’s boss than to hump her leg? This can also be a reason dogs hump other dogs, so they know who is top dog.

Are they nervous or anxious?

For some pups, repetitive mounting or humping can be a sign that they’re stressed. When they’re overly anxious, female dogs humping might be a sign of them getting rid of excess energy. It’s also common that when dogs are stressed, they try to do something that feels nice. Which humping does!

Are they bored?

Female dogs humping could also indicate that they’re bored. Do your dogs have enough toys and activities to do during the day? Are you exercising them enough?

Dogs learn that humping is enjoyable from a young age, so when there’s nothing else for them to do, they may keep themselves entertained by doing this.

A sign of something medical?

Your dog has been for a long walk, they aren’t nervous, you don’t think they’re asserting dominance and you refuse to believe they’re humping someone’s leg for pleasure.

So, you’re probably asking yourself ‘why does my girl dog hump me?’

It might be a sign of skin irritation, a urinary tract infection or incontinence. If you suspect any of these, you should take your pup to the vet to check.

What about if my female dog is spayed but still humps?

Actually, spaying won’t really affect your female dog if they humped before they were spayed. Many young dogs learn that it feels good and it’s kind of like a habit.

What’s more, humping isn’t actually hormonal, so spaying them is unlikely to stop them from enjoying it.

Female dogs hump for a number of reasons, some more embarrassing than others. But with strict training, it’s possible to reduce those red-face moments and keep your dogs entertained.


Have you had experience with your dogs humping? How did you manage it? Let us know in the comments.

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