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Why Female Dogs Hump

Girl Dogs and Humping

It is true that female dogs are less likely to hump than are male dogs, but they do practice the habit from puppy-hood well into adulthood. Some people find the behavior cute; when a female dog grabs hold of Uncle Ben's leg and starts going to town. In almost every single case, the person being accosted is NOT going to find the encounter humorous or entertaining at all. It is rude, unacceptable, and an absolute doggy NO-NO!

Humping in Dogs

My top 5 reasons why female dogs hump are listed below. Being able to identify which may be afflicting your dog can help prevent doggy humping from occurring at the most inopportune times!

How to Stop Female Dog Humping Behavior - Modification Technique

Why The Top Dog Always Feeds the Pack 

When one person is being singled out for humping, the dog is directly challenging that person for a ranking pack position. To resolve this behavior, this person should be the only human to feed the dog for at least a full month. When the dog realizes that she must rely solely on this person for food, her challenge will simply end along with the dominant humping behavior toward this person.

5 Reasons Your Female Dog is Humping

There are many reasons why dogs hump. The list here presents the top 5 causes that in my experience, have female dogs in a "Wednesday"* kind of mood.
To express dominance over a person or thing
To express dominance over litter or pack mates
To feel stimulation on a sexual level
To relieve irritated genitals
Because it Has become an addiction

These 5 reasons will be discussed and a couple of behavior modification techniques will be provided to help curb the need your canine bitch has for humping.

* "hump-day" reference

Dominant Female Dogs Want it Their Way

A dominant bitch will want to have the final say in how she travels. But it is up to you to keep her safe. No doggy heads outside of car windows!

1. Female Dogs Express Dominance Over a Person or Thing

Does Humping Mean My Dog Thinks She is the Boss?

In a word, yes. The practice of canine humping gives the term "top dog" real meaning. When a female dog humps a person or thing, it can be to claim the dominant position or ranking over said person or thing. Even as humping is an inherent behavior in all dogs, the action can manifest from stress, anxiety, emotional outbursts, or as an invitation to start playing. How each encounter of humping begins depends entirely on the dog's emotional status when the event is triggered.

Dog to Human Dominance Must be Stopped!

It is important to know that should your female dog (or any dog) practice "humping for dominance" on humans, it must be resolved and discontinued promptly. The dog has to respect that ALL humans are the dominant pack member and "top dog" in every situation and at all times. This status is never to be challenged by the K9 (including children). If your dog is acting out in this manner—humping one particular member of the family—an immediate behavior modification is in order. To discover one effective way to show your dog that all humans are, in fact, the dominant pack member, read the blue highlighted area at above right titled, "How to Stop Female Dog Humping - Behavior Modification Technique".

About Disciplining a Dog

Deference: humble submission and respect.

It is never good practice to assert your pack rank in a physically or emotionally painful manner. Deference is the way of the canine, and as the ranking pack member, you must lead with this is mind.
Synonyms: respect - regard - esteem - reverence - obeisance

Female Dogs Hump to Express Dominance Over Litter or Pack Mates

Puppy Socialization and Humping

When a female puppy humps a litter mate, it can be for a couple of reasons. First, it is clear that puppies really like to play, and humping—being inherent in all dogs—is just part of that play experience.

Second, humping helps puppies to orient sexual behavior for adulthood. It teaches them the interactions, appropriate techniques, and dominant placement for later breeding.

Both of these tactics are needed for a female pup to become a well socialized bitch, and with proper occurrence and timing, is it vital in sustaining the successful reproduction of the species.

Healthy vs Unhealthy Humping Behavior in Puppies 

Even as humping has its place in the development of well-adjusted dogs, it can become an obsession if allowed to deviate from normal social behavior. If you recognize that a puppy is becoming too captivated by the behavior, you must divert her attention to something else. This is done simply by interrupting the obsession with a toy, task commands, or other attention grabber. Avoid being too harsh with your corrections, and keep it fun for the puppy. After all is said and done, you don't want to create a new negative behavior while curbing another.

Never take a female dog who is in heat to the dog park! This can cause a frenzy of miss behavior among normally obedient dogs.
Source: k9keystrokes

Female Dogs Hump to Feel Stimulation on a Sexual Level

Female Dogs Hump Because it Feels Good

This should not be too surprising; female dogs hump because they like the way it feels. This would seem more likely attributed to male dogs, because humping is considered a sexually dimorphic1 behavior, when in actuality it is regularly seen in both sexes. When female dogs come into heat, the behavior can quickly become a 'hump-palooza' throughout the pack, resulting in everyone humping someone or something.Dog parks, for our domesticated pets, can replace this pack mentality in a flash. Should a single female show up at the dog park while in heat, an almost instant change in dog dynamics is sure to take place. Caution in such situations should be taken, as fights resulting in injury can occur (to dogs as well as their humans). Also, with this frenzy of behavior "Fee-fee" may just have some explaining to do 63 days later when a few new puppy muzzles show up at the pet food dish!

1Sexual dimorphism is the difference in morphology between male and female members of the same species. Sexual dimorphism includes differences in size, coloration, or body structure between the sexes. Most noticeably seen in the fact that a male lion has a mane, whereas a female does not.

What You Think Really Does Matter!

Have you been the victim of, or a witness to, a human being humped by a dog?
Yes. It is a very rude behavior!
No. But, I have heard from people who have, and they did not like it.
My dog humps people all of the time, it is hilarious!
My dog humps and I just can't break her of the habit. Help!
Don't have a dog in my house for this reason. Not worth the risk of this kind of embarrassment!
Female Dogs Hump to Relieve Irritated Genitals

Dogs Hump Because Stuff Gets Itchy

If your girl dog is suffering from an irritation in her genital area, humping may result as a way to soothe the problem. The issue that can accompany this particular cause is, in some cases, that by conducting the soothing (humping) action, the results can end in obsessive compulsive behavior (OCD). Here's why: Should irritation in the genital region go unrecognized and untreated, it can turn into a serious problem for the dog physically and emotionally. It can become a circle of never ending bad behavior—the irritation makes things itchy, the dog humps to resolve the itch, pleasure replaces the itching, the dog's brain gets looped into relating the pleasurable feeling with the humping, and the whole thing runs full circle over-and-over again. The only way to fix this is to treat the physical ailment, and then break the OCD habit over time. A good old fashioned Water-Bottle-of-Obedience (a squirt bottle full of water) may be helpful in redirecting the dog's attention elsewhere.

OCD is not uncommon among retrieving breeds of dogs; fetching until they drop is an indicator. These same female dogs can become addicted to humping quite easily.
Source: K9keystrokes

Female Dogs Hump Because it Has Become an Addiction

My Female Dog has a Humping Addiction; Time for Rehab!

Just like any other reason a being would become addicted to something, dogs get addicted to humping because it makes their brain pump out chemicals that say, "Yowza! This is great stuff!" Spaying your dog is unlikely to stop the addiction, but it can reduce the craving because of the "reproductive" nature of the act. Less hormones screaming, "breed!" toyour female dog can certainly give you an edge in rehabilitating her.

Below you will find four behavior modifications that may help to rehabilitate your female dog's humping addiction. This takes time, so enlisting your highest degree of patience is recommended.

Modification Techniques for Female Dogs That Habitually Hump

Avoid mean spirited or harsh correction techniques. In such instances a gentle hand will bring greater success and in a shorter amount of time.
Teach your addicted dog 'task' commands; sit, stay, seek, fetch, settle, hunt for the toy—or anything else that she likes to do.
When the humping behavior rears its ugly head, use the task commands to divert her attention.
A squirt bottle filled with water can surprise a dog into discontinuing her humping. This should be done from a distance, creating an 'act of God' diversion. Your dog will associate the discomfort and startling strike of water to an unknown source, which brings a fast behavior revising result. (The bonus is that the discipline is not related to you in any way, but is considered an 'act of God' to your dog.)

Wrapping It All Up

When your female dog has become fixated on humping, it can become embarrassing to say the least. Curbing the behavior through diversion, calm respectful dominant leadership, and maybe a squirt or two of liquid Behavior-Modification can turn the situation into a thing of the past.

No matter the modification technique you employ, if the behavior continues regardless of your efforts, it is important to check in with your vet. The humping habit may contain an underlying cause that only your veterinarian can detect and treat effectively!

Calories (protein and fat energy) Found in Animal Meats For Dogs
(click column header to sort results)
FOOD SOURCES (3.5oz /100g)  
ENERGY (calories / kcals)  
PROTEIN (grams)  
FAT (grams)  
Chicken Meat
Chicken meat with skin
Duck meat
Duck meat with skin
Lean beef
Turkey without skin
Trace amounts
Calculations derived from Dr. Bruce Fogle's book on "Natural Dog Care".
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