why do female dogs hump?

Why Do Female Dogs Hump?

It could be pretty embarrassing for you if you’ve got friends over and your dog is mounting over that pillow in your drawing-room. Dogs pretty much hump anything that they find fluffy be it dog blankets, stuffed toys, humans or any other dog in their sight. It’s not just male dogs, but female dogs get into the action too.

Dogs and Humping

Simply put, humping is the act of canine masturbation. Both male and female dogs hump, although males tend to do this behavior more frequently than females. Plus, dogs that are not spayed or neutered are more likely to hump than those that are. However, once they get used to the action, your dog will hump, no matter what. Even puppies as young as the age of 5 weeks that have not yet crossed puberty might hump. In fact, this is very common among littermates who play with each other and eventually grow up together. Normally, dogs love humping on other dogs or even humans.

dog humping another dog

However, there are different reasons as to why they hump certain objects. There could be some really interesting reasons as to why female dogs hump. Read ahead and find it out yourself:

  • Sexual Behavior

According to dog behavioural experts, humping is linked to flirtatious body language. This normally includes a raised tail, play bows and pawing as part of their sexual behavior. In addition, this could also be a part of masturbation. Whether your canine is spayed/neutered or intact, they would still want to hump other dogs, people or objects as they are sexual predators. Note that it’s not limited to male dogs but the female can also imitate the same behavior.

  • Excitement

This is literal excitement. Your dog could be excited at the prospect of a car outing with you or maybe they love seeing one of your friends over at your place. When your dog humps, it usually means applauding for a good show or showing their approval for something. Dogs humping with excitement brings in joy and you should be happy about it too!

  • Anxiety

If your dog gets nervous about something, suppose the possibility of being left alone for long hours, they might get anxious and not know how to react. In that case, you might see them humping over something as a default behavior. In other words, when the situation gets out of their hand, dogs hump.

  • Playing

When you’re out with your pupper for a walk, if they are attempting to hump other dogs, it could just be their way of making new friends. Pay attention to their behavior. They might also be asking for ‘that’ permission. So, humping could also mean a way of saying “I like you. Can we be buddies?”

  • Comfort

Female dogs are softer in nature anyway. So, if your dog humps only before going to bed, this means that they are relieving themselves of the stress. A baby’s thumb-sucking behavior is equivalent to your dog humping your pillow before bedtime. While some of them just do this to kill time, sometimes they do it as a means of seeking comfort. We all know about the weird noise it makes but they are just trying to get ready for bed. Don’t mind them!

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  • Dominance

Female dogs love marking their territories, especially around their owners. In short, they are extremely possessive over their owners. The reason why female dogs would want to hump is that they are trying to display dominance. Therefore, all they would do is throw around typical alpha behavior to assert dominance.

  • Health Issues

Unbelievably, humping could mean something as serious as medical issues, whereby, a trip to the vet might help you to figure out if it’s actually something serious or not. The Animal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) listed quite a number of health problems in dogs who were reported with increased humping issues. Sometimes health problems could include urinary tract infections, priapism, incontinence and skin allergies too (in which case you’ll notice your dog licking the affected areas). Since humping is indeed a rare behavior in female dogs, it’s a high probability that such behavior is triggered by medical issues.

  • Boredom

Do you give enough time to your female dog? Do you take her for walks and play with her favourite toys? If your answer to these two questions is no, your dog might be humping out of boredom. Just like dogs’ bark, howl, bite, whine or rend on couch cushions when they feel that they are being neglected, some dogs hump as a reaction to boredom.

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  • It makes them feel good

Yes, it does make them feel good on a sexual level. When female dogs go in heat, this particular behavior can quickly turn out to be a “hump-palooza”, resulting in humping over someone or something. Some dog behaviorists believe that dogs do this as a practice for future sexual encounters too. In tune, humping brings about a sense of satisfaction when they are in heat.

  • Itchy Genitals

If your female dog has got vaginitis, chances are they will try to itch the affected areas every now and then. That’s when they will try to hump over pillows and other objects or constantly lick the area to relieve them from the uneasiness. Do not leave the irritation in the genital region untreated as it can lead to a serious problem for the canine physically as well as emotionally. The hump behavior to resolve the itchiness is just for a temporary purpose. The dog’s brain gets looped into believing the pleasurable feeling of humping is helpful to redirect their attention somewhere.

  • Awkward Social Interactions

If your dog grows up alone and is not well socialized with other dogs from an early stage, they will lack a lot of emotional development in them. The owners should be teaching them how to play appropriately with others and how to interact properly with another breed of dogs. Humping usually occurs among dogs who are used for breeding and ones who have not really socialized with other dogs. When your dog meets another dog, they get puzzled as to what they are supposed to do. Hence, they feel that humping is a form of showing friendship towards other dogs because they don’t know any difference.

  • Habit

All the reasons mentioned above leads to a habitual instinct. Although for male dogs it’s a natural activity, for females it could just be a bad habit they have grown used to. They learn it through frequent repetition and lack of dissuasion. So, they develop a compulsion for humping. They may do it when they are the happy, anxious, bored or worst-case scenario, whenever they are not engaged in doing anything else.

dog humping

How to Stop your Female Dog from Humping

The troublesome humping behavior among dogs can be a bit of an embarrassment, especially if they do it to you or any other human in front of you. On a much serious note, a fight could break out if they decide to hump other dogs. You’ll need to look at this problem and take measures to eliminate this habit. Here are some ways of prevention:

  • Make a loud noise: Dogs are obedient. Saying “NO” in a strong and loud voice can frighten them out of the trance. Your tone should be assertive but not angry since angry voice can increase your dog’s energy instead of reducing it, not to mention you’ll upset the poor pupper. You may also try using another source of noise, like an air horn or a whistle that can stop them from doing this type of behavior. Make sure to make that noise from a far away to prevent your canine’s ears from damaging. Make the noise when you see your dog just about to start the behavior or in the middle of it, but not afterwards.
  • Distract your dog before even starting: Observe your dog. How do they react right before they start humping? When you start to catch the signs, distract them instantly with their favorite toy or game before they can engage in doing so. Common signs your dog may show before humping includes licking, panting, whining, pawing or rubbing against something.
  • Exercise your dog: Your dog will only want to hump when they have got too much energy pent up. It’s best for you if you can drain their energy with structured exercise that will prevent them from using their energy on that behavior. As you know, walking your dog is essential, you can also let your canine run around in a park or backyard on their own. Running forces your dog to exercise, both physically and mentally.
  • Take your dog to an animal behaviourist: If you notice that your dog is being aggressive or violent when you’re trying to stop them from humping, seek help from a certified veterinary behaviourist. Don’t try to alter your dog’s aggressive behavior by yourself. Consult a dog trainer who’s experienced enough to deal with the aggression and mounting of your dog.
  • Work on your dog’s obedience training: If it’s a common behavior for your dog to hump you, it means that they are trying to exert dominance over you. In order to put this behavior to an end, you need to let your canine know that you are the boss. Normal obedience training is an effective and healthy way to establish this. Keep cool and train your dog on the basic commands like “sit”, “stay”, “heel” and “down.” The main aim of this training is to make sure that your pup listens to you no matter what command it is.

dogs humping one another

Dog Humping FAQ:

Q: Is this behaviour sexually motivated?

A: Not necessarily sexually motivated, but it depends on how old is your pup and whether your pup is a male or a female. Humping is an exploratory behavior and it might create arousal in your pup if the object touches in certain places. In essence, it’s a pleasurable activity for a hyperactive dog that can become their default response to certain situations. While some dogs might run and try to catch your feet when you return home, others might go and hump a pillow or cushion.

Q: Does that mean my dog is in heat?

A: A lot of you could assume that a female dog humping means she’s in heat. Experts say that it could the case if the dog is not spayed. However, humping is not a definite sign of heat, even though it does replicate the sexual behavior. Even if you’ve spayed your dog, sometimes the ovarian tissue could remain, as a result, the female dog retaining swollen teats and vulva, which can bring about sexual behavior. Sexual stimulation and behaviors are quite normal for both humans and dogs. Don’t get surprised if your spayed female dog continues this behavior as it has become a part of her overall behavior.

Q: Why do dogs hump when there are visitors around?

A: As we’ve mentioned earlier, it’s just their instant reaction. It’s nothing sexual. So, if your friends are around and you all are having fun, your furry friend might hump as a type of displacement behavior that transfers their feelings about an event to something else. Plus, it’s also about the reactions of the visitors; if your dog’s excitement is encouraged by the visitors, it could be a reason for them to continue with the behavior that pushed the reaction.

Q: Is my dog overly stressed that she needs to keep humping?

A: Probably yes. It’s the same feeling if you have had a terrible day at work and when you come home, all you would do is gobble down an entire bowl of cheesecake ice cream with a spoon. Does this sound familiar? If yes, then in such a case, you would need to consult a dog behaviorist, who can diagnose and treat your canine’s problem correctly. The expert is also likely to find out the root cause of your dog’s stress and check if there’s any way you can ease their stress and distract them from this habit.

Q: Is it weird that my female dog keeps humping every other random object?

A: It’s not weird but it’s just a domination thing. You’ll also notice this behaviour in puppies. Even if your female dog is spayed, she will do this once a while to assert her right in that region. It doesn’t necessarily have any sexual meaning. It’s just a feeling silly kind of a thing.

Q: Why does my dog hump my leg?

A: It all depends on their purpose of humping. They are likely to hump the darnedest things at times. If it’s for their sexual gratification, she will go after anything and everything that seems to be the right shape and height. If it’s for dominance, they will hump over you, your leg or another dog. But if she’s nervous or stressed, she might hump a blanket, her favorite toy or any other object that brings her comfort.

Q: Help! My dog humps my cat!

A: If you have got a pet cat along with a dog, the environment in your house might already be a little tense. On top of that, if your dog tries to hump the cat, the situation might get worse. While some cats are very attached to the dogs, some are not. Although dogs do not cause any harm to other animals generally, cats are not always tolerant. Cats are definitely adorable, but they might not tolerate dogs humping on them.

Q: Should I stop my dog from humping?

A: Now comes the real question. Most of the time, yes, you should stop your dog from humping. Here are a few certain reasons why:

  • If you notice your dog humping due to itchiness, it should be addressed so that any underlying issue is resolved. That’s because, if your dog is constantly rubbing against an irritated spot, chances are it will exasperate the problem.
  • Surprisingly, stopping your dog from humping can result in a much happier dog. If your dog is humping due to stress, get to the source of their anxiety and help them deal with it. If it’s due to attitudinal issues, your dog will find a way to bury this behavior once you re-train them.
  • If your female dog is humping other dogs, she should definitely be discouraged. At any moment, the other dog may express their displeasure by biting or scratching, which might break into an aggressive fight. So, it’s better to make it clear to your dog that it’s not a pleasant thing to do.

dog humping a cat

Wrapping it All Up

If your female dog becomes obsessed with humping on every other object in your house, it can indeed become a pretty embarrassing problem. Restricting this behavior through diversion, calm and respectful leadership over your canine and just a little bit of behavioral training can turn this situation into a thing of the past.

Even after adopting so many modification techniques, if the behavior persists, then it’s important for you to consult about it with your vet. The underlying cause of the humping behavior can only be detected and treated effectively by the vet.

So, were you able to figure out the reason why your female dog humps? Was this article helpful? Let us know in the comments section!


  1. Samantha Drake, Why Do Female Dogs Hump?, PetMD

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