Humping – a behavior that makes plenty of dog owners cringe. The mutts are at it. The pedigrees do it. But, humping the air doesn’t always mean what we think it does. Dogs hump the air for a number of reasons. Although it could indicate sexual behavior, it could also mean attention-seeking, excitement, compulsive behavior, among other things. Here, you can take a closer look at all the reasons why dogs hump the air.
Thrusting and mounting are all common and normal behaviors exhibited in the majority of canine pets. A dog can hump in a number of ways. They thrust or mount against objects, people, or animals. It’s not uncommon to see a dog thrusting against its favorite toy, blanket, or sleeping pillow. Licking the genitals can also be seen as some form of humping.
Most people see humping as a "male" behavior. Since it is accompanied by flirtatious body movement and courtship, it makes sense for it to be done more by male dogs. However, humping behavior isn't limited to a single-gender. For both intact and spayed dogs, humping is normal behavior. Females and males mount objects, people, and other dogs.
Puppies can start to hump at just a few weeks of age. Puppies don’t enter puberty until they are late into their first year of life. So, humping for puppies is a playful behavior. It’s one of those games where the puppy discovers their social standing and personal strength. If a puppy starts humping the air, they are most likely pleased to see you.
Humping is typically sexual in nature. The male dog can switch on and off the moment he spots a female in heat. Dogs typically hump the air out of built-up tension or excitement.
Not neutered dogs tend to do it more often due to their rising testosterone levels. For neutered dogs and females, dog humping is like a rush of emotions. In many dogs, this canine behavior could also be the result of a number of different factors. Take a look at the most well-known triggers for air humping.
The excitement in dogs doesn’t have to be sexual. For a dog that lacks social interactions, they can get very excited and mount other dogs. They may not have a clue how to play well with their peers, which is why they tend to overreact.
In response to excitement, plenty of dogs can start mounting. For example, the moment they meet a person or another dog. Excitement can also build up when they are near a certain object or toy. A hyperactive dog will start humping to release that energy.
One of the most typical reasons dogs hump is stress and anxiety. Their humping could merely be a sign of a much bigger issue. Anxiety triggers arousal. And since that energy has to go somewhere, dogs hump. Your canine friend has limited options when it comes to releasing that stress.
When dogs become anxious, they sniff, hump, or scratch. Humping provides them with a practical way to cope with that internal conflict. It is a way of releasing emotions, often seen in abused or neglected dogs.
Certain dogs are the ultimate attention-seekers. They are eager to see you and spend time with you. But, if you ignore them only to binge-watch your favorite series, then they will do whatever it takes to grab that attention.
After a while of trying different things to get you to play, the dog can start air humping. Now, all eyes are on him, and you give them a remark or two. This means that the dog has succeeded in capturing your attention. When that happens, they repeat and strengthen their humping behavior.
When left unmanaged, humping can become a compulsive behavior. So much so that it can quickly get out of hand. If a dog does it everywhere with every dog or toy they can find, it is normal to cause a few arguments or fights.
Air humping in dogs could also be the result of a medical problem. That includes a urinary tract infection, allergies, local irritations, bladder problems, and inflammation. In cases such as these, the air humping is here to take some of that itchiness away and provide comfort.
If a dog infrequently humps without irritating other dogs, causing injuries or embarrassment, then it is OK to let them continue. But, when a dog humps uncontrollably, you should try to manage it. Spaying or neutering the dog can lessen the behavior but not eliminate it to 100%.
The best way to start is to figure out what’s causing it. If it’s a medical condition, then talk to a vet or a personal dog trainer. Assess their living environment. If there are too many stressors that could get the dog to feel anxious or frustrated, you can manage that.
For example, a quiet dog can feel overwhelmed when a ton of visitors come to the house. They can react inappropriately due to all the noises. Distracting the dog can be a great and effective tactic at controlling the humping behavior. Give them a treat or something to chew on.
When they redirect that excess energy, they are less likely to start humping. Obedience training can set you on the right track. For a more tailored approach, consult with a qualified behaviorist.
Your dog isn't just acting weird; there can be a physical and psychological explanation for their humping behavior. It could be their reproductive hormones going into overdrive or just a sheer surge of excitement. Now that you know the right ways to manage it, you can keep the air humping under control.
Here are some other common questions about dogs that may also be helpful:Why Does My Dog Scratch My Bed Sheets? Why Does My Dog Bury His Head in Me? Why Does My Dog Lay His Head on Me? Why Does My Dog Sleep Between My Legs? Why Does My Dog Lick My Pillow? Why Does My Dog Stand Over Me? Why Does My Dog Stretch So Much? Why Does My Dog Put His Butt on Me? Why Does My Dog Sleep With His Tongue Out? Why Does My Dog Lay On My Clothes? Why Does My Dog Nibble My Ear? Why Does My Dog Lick Other Dogs Pee? Why Does My Dog Push Against Me? Why Does My Dog Lick My Legs? Why Does My Dog Lick My Eyes? Do Dogs Get Tired Of Barking? and if you are after our pet portraits, you can see themhere.