There’s nothing more embarrassing (or funny, depending on your perspective) than watching your dog hump another dog, a visitor’s leg or even his favorite toy. Many a dog owner screams out in frustration when they see this fairly common dog behavior from their beloved pet.

I mean, how could he do such a thing? You training him, neutered him, reprimanded him, yet still he pumps away.

There seems to be much confusion over what the dog’s motivation could be in this situation, since many of the offending Fidos have been spayed or neutered – and they are sometimes humping dogs of the same sex. What gives? Is he confused or going through some sort of experiment period, like you did in college.

I find that most people make very wrong conclusions when it comes to mounting so I thought I would set the record straight right here as to why your dog insists pumping away and embarrassing you in front of the entire neighborhood.

It’s said that dogs typically mount for three reasons: reproduction, dominance and play. Let’s take a look at each for a moment.


This one is easy – birds, bees . . .  The way dogs do the nasty is for the male dog to mount the female from behind and get busy. I don’t think I need to say more on this, you get it right?

Now that explains only a very small percentage of the mounting we usually see out there. That doesn’t explain why same sex dogs mount, why we get mounted or why they go to town on some inanimate objects. For those explanations we have to move on to the other two reasons.


If you’ve read anything I’ve posted on dominance in the past you know that I don’t believe dogs seek out domination of anything. Many people mistakenly believe that most mounting occurs because the dog doing the humping is trying to establish dominance over the other dog, our leg or that big fluffy pillow.

Let me assure that no dog out there is interested in conquering your bedding or anything else. Dog’s don’t need to make such overt displays in order to gain the respect of the pack. Showing dominance has more to do with resource control than it does with proving a point.

Although I believe that they could mount another dog as a dominant gesture, in five years of working with dogs, I rarely see it. And I really don’t think they are attempting to make you their bitch by jack hammering on your leg.


Excitement and arousal, in my opinion, is the cause of 95% of the mounting that the domestic dogs exhibits. Dogs will mount each other in play all the time. They’ll do it to dogs of the same sex, older dogs, younger dogs, dogs with a higher rank in the pack, and they’ll even hump the air next to a couple of dogs playing.

It’s nothing more than an expression of arousal of the moment. Everyone dog shows their excitement in different ways, just different people express things in different ways. Some dogs wag their tails uncontrollably and some like hump.

Even though most mounting is nothing more than excitement it should still be discouraged because not everyone (dog, human and pillow) like it. Every dog has their own individual limit to the length of time they will tolerate being mounted. And once that limit is reached, they will do what they have to get the other dog off.

It’s like a little boy coming up to his friend and playfully hitting him in the arm. Then doing it again. And again, and again . . .  Sooner or later the boy is going to have enough of it and hit his annoying buddy. That’s pretty much how I see it with dogs. Some dog will put up with quite a bit of mounting while others will bite at the signs of the first pump.

So it’s up to us as responsible dog owners to correct these offending humpers before they push it too far and get bit. If you have one of these persistent mounters, the dog park may not be the place for you. One day he’s going to piss off a dog with a short fuse and big bite.

photo by: smerikal

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