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Why Do Dogs Hump?

Learn why dogs hump even after being spayed or neutered and how you can stop dog humping.


A dog humping a person's leg

There’s no beating around the bush—dogs like to hump. Sometimes it’s our leg, sometimes it’s that cute doggie at the dog park. Despite our embarrassment, it’s important to know that dog humping is a perfectly normal activity. Neutering (for male dogs) or spaying (for female dogs) is known to prevent frisky episodes, but it may not be enough to halt your dog’s urges all together. Dogs mount for different reasons and not all of it is sexual. Check out the science behind dog humping and why neutering isn’t always a deterrent.

As a puppy grows into puberty, he or she is flooded with a surge of hormones. These hormonal changes occur around the eighteenth month and create a number of personality changes. Dogs not neutered or spayed at this time will become bolder and feistier as high levels of testosterone flood the brain. Male dogs experiencing puberty will hump more than usual at this time.

Why Do Fixed Dogs Hump?

Many of us believe that once the family dog is neutered, humping or mounting behaviors cease to exist. While in most cases this is true, neutering alone may not stop dog humping. Vets warn it can take up to six weeks after surgery for excess testosterone levels to leave a dog’s body. Even with the lack of sex hormones, your dog may still want to hump things.

Learned Behavior

Once a dog enters adulthood, humping has become a learned behavior. Breaking this habit will prove to be more difficult as your dog ages whether he’s neutered or not. It’s important to put the laughs aside and correct your dog if he or she exhibits frequent or unacceptable humping behavior as a puppy to nip their habit in the bud.


Sometimes dog humping isn’t a mating behavior. Stress, anxiety and pure excitement are enough to trigger mounting. Know that this is simply a normal part of being a dog and look for ways to de-stress or calm down an over-excited pooch as a form of prevention. For example, if your dog likes to hump your guests’ legs, put her in her crate or a separate room with her favorite toys until she calms down. If you let her out and she refrains from humping, give her a reward! [Source:]


On the opposite end of the spectrum, sometimes dogs will hump because they’re bored or have too much energy. Make sure they have plenty of interesting toys to play with and keep up a regular routine that involves exercise. Long games of fetch, hitting the dog park and taking walks are perfect ways to burn excess energy. [Source:]

Play Behavior

It’s not uncommon for playful dogs to take turns humping one another as they goof around, more out of excitement than sexual urges (especially if both dogs are fixed). However, mounting is also a way for dogs to assert dominance, and if the other party isn’t a fan, this behavior could start a fight. It’s best to redirect your dog from this behavior, especially with new playmates, or remove him from the situation to decompress. [Source:]

Use Treats for a Little Positive Reinforcement

Rewarding your dog for good behavior is a great way to help break bad habits, especially if you start training him young. If you notice your dog humping a playmate or toy, redirect his attention with another command like “sit” or “lie down” and reward him with a treat when he obeys. When you open up his favorite bag of goodies from Nutrish, he’s sure to be on his best behavior in no time!