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Why Do Female Dogs Hump?

Humping is a normal canine behavior that is not limited to male dogs. Female dogs also exhibit this behavior, which, while often embarrassing or annoying to humans, can be triggered by various factors. Understanding why female dogs hump can help pet parents address and manage this behavior effectively.

Is It Normal for Female Dogs to Hump?

Yes, it is completely normal for female dogs to hump. This behavior, while common, can be socially awkward for humans. It is essential to set expectations for your dog and learn to read their body language to effectively communicate what behaviors are acceptable. Never yell, swat, or give any attention to the behavior, as the goal is to modify it without using force or punishment.

Why Female Dogs Hump

There are several reasons why dogs, regardless of gender, might hump:

1. Hormonal Changes: Puppies experiencing juvenile hormone increases might hump frequently as they explore their environment and learn about appropriate behavior.

2. Hyperarousal: Meeting new dogs or people can cause dogs to become over-excited, leading to humping. Under-socialized dogs might hump excessively due to their inability to play appropriately with others, turning this into a learned behavior that increases with anxiety.

3. Natural Sexual Behaviors: Humping can be part of sexual behavior, accompanied by other flirtatious actions like play bows and pawing.

4. Stress and Anxiety: For some dogs, humping is a response to stress or excitement. Dogs with other coping mechanisms for stress might not hump as frequently.

5. Medical Issues: Sudden onset of humping behavior can indicate underlying medical issues, warranting a trip to the vet.

6. Learned Behavior: Dogs may hump as a way to seek attention, especially if they have received a response from their humans in the past.

Why Do Female Dogs Hump After Being Spayed?

Hormones can linger in a dog’s body for up to three months post-spay, which might explain why a spayed dog continues to hump. Additionally, if the behavior has been reinforced previously, it might continue out of habit.

Why Do Female Dogs Hump Specific Things or People?

Dogs often choose specific items to hump, such as toys, furniture, or people, either for attention or because these items provide a soft, comforting texture. The choice is sometimes random or based on what is nearby, but it is often a release of pent-up energy.

Why Do Female Dogs Hump Other Dogs or People?

A female dog might hump another dog out of excitement or stress, such as from resource guarding. They might hump their pet parents due to separation anxiety or to gain attention, especially when the owner returns home.

When Should You Worry About Female Dogs Humping?

While humping can be a normal behavior, sudden onset in adult dogs can indicate health problems. If humping becomes frequent or excessive, it might be due to boredom or stress, suggesting a need for more physical and mental enrichment. Consulting with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer can help address these issues.

Should You Try to Stop Your Female Dog From Humping?

Although humping is normal, many pet parents prefer to discourage it. Here are some steps to manage the behavior:

1. Spay Your Dog: Spaying has several health benefits and might reduce humping behavior, though it can take up to three months post-surgery for hormones to settle.

2. Distract and Redirect: Watch for signals that your dog is about to hump, such as panting, whining, or pawing. Distract her with a toy or training cue before she starts. The distraction must be more rewarding than the humping.

3. Ignore Attention-Seeking Humping: If your dog humps for attention, ignore her completely. Persistent humping might require the help of a certified professional dog trainer.

By understanding the reasons behind humping and using positive reinforcement and distraction techniques, you can effectively manage this behavior and ensure a harmonious relationship with your furry friend. For more tips and information on dog behavior and training, visit

Female dog standing
Female dog standing


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