Stop your chihuahua humping or mounting things

Stop your chihuahua humping or mounting things

Photo courtesy Tomas Castelazo creative commons

My chihuahua keeps humping or mounting things

A lot of owners get frustrated by humping or mounting behaviour, it’s embarrassing when your dog starts to hump or mount another dog in the park or attaches themselves to a visitor’s leg.

Dogs humping or mounting is often interpreted as a sexual behaviour and causes confusion to owners whose dogs have been neutered, spayed or is female. However, it is normal and even dogs that have been neutered will hump from time to time. They find it comforting, and while it is a form of canine masturbation, humping and mounting is not all about sex.

Domination, not necessarily

There has been some suggestion that dogs will mount another to show that it has a higher status or rank. That they will mount another dog when there are other dogs around to witness it. But this might not be the case.

For a dog to be considered higher up the pack, the dog that is being mounted would need to show submissive behaviour. Although you do get some dogs that object to another dog mounting them, often the other dog being mounted just carries on doing his own dog stuff and doesn’t seem to mind.


So, if this mounting or humping behaviour is not an aggressive behaviour what is it?

Behaviourist say it could have more to do with social awkwardness and your dog not quite getting the meet and greet right. Or it can be a way of the dogs asking the other dog to be friends.

Displacement behaviour

Humping could also be your chihuahua trying to channel a flood of different emotions. This could be excitement because a visitor comes to the house, happiness at going out for a walk. It can also be a way of alleviating stress, anxiety or loneliness. This is when you may see them hump a favourite toy or the leg of a visitor.

Part of play

Both male and female puppies will hump each other while at play and it’s considered a normal part of their social interaction. Play is very important to a puppy’s development and helps them learn dog manners and a host of important life skills like play biting softly.

Illness

It can also be the sign of a urinary tract infection or itchy skin, so if it’s a new behaviour for your dog then get it checked out by a vet.

If dog humping or mounting behaviour is normal, should you try to stop it?

If your chihuahua is mounting the legs of visitors, then stopping the behaviour is a good idea. No one is going to enjoy having a chihuahua enthusiastically hump their legs when they visit. If they do, you probably don’t want them around either!

If your chi chi is continually mounting soft toys and cushions, then context is important. Is he getting enough exercise, play and stimulation? If an honest appraisal shows you dog is spending too much time alone or crated, then you need to address this. Consider day care, leave him with a family member or arrange a dog walker.

Mounting other dogs in the home

It is entirely normal behaviour, and as long as your other dogs don’t mind then really, it’s nothing to worry about, but if it’s a habit that extends to other dogs outside the house you may run into difficulty with other dog owners so, finding a way to redirect the behaviour may be a good idea.


How to stop dog humping or mounting.

The good news is it’s reasonably easy to stop your dog from humping or mounting. There are a couple of ways you can do this, depending on how ‘seasoned’ your dog is.

#1 Distraction

If you’re out and you can see your dog is about to mount another, interrupt with a distraction. Throw a ball, call him to you, make him sit for a treat. Then when the moment has passed and he is interacting with the other dog nicely, praise his good behaviour.

#2 Paws on the floor

When your dog mounts another dog, gently but firmly nudge him off so his paws are on the floor with a very firm ‘No’ or whatever noise you make to signal disapproval. The moment he has all four paws on the floor praise him enthusiastically.

#3 Time out

If you are indoors and your dog mounts a visitor’s leg, try #2 first. If this doesn’t cure it then calmly remove your dog from the room for a few moments. If you do this a few times it won’t take long for your dog to realise that humping equals time away.

I was working with a client who had a very large and very enthusiastic Staffordshire bull terrier, who would grab hold of your leg so tightly that you would be black and blue. It was pure excitement at seeing a visitor. Using time-out, we cured it over a cup of tea. When he behaved nicely with visitors, he had a massive fuss made of him, when he mounted your leg he was removed from the room for a few moments.

If you are out, then time-out is slightly harder. You can work with a friend who has a patient dog. Every time your dog tries to mount the other dog them calmly walk him away for a few moments. But it’s super important, that when your dog gets it right that you praise him and make a huge fuss of him. This is how you communicate to your dog what you want him to do.

Can neutering and spaying stop humping or mounting?

It is true that male dogs who have been neutered will be less likely to hump. But it is also true not all dogs who are complete (have their testicles) will hump other dogs. And it is also true that dogs that have been neutered will also hump. So yes and no.

While I recognise that neutering and spaying must be done in certain situations. I don’t advocate rushing to get your male dog neutered. Neutering can cause other behaviour and health issues for your chihuahua, especially around becoming fear aggressive. You can read more about neutering here.

You should never neuter your dog as a way of altering behaviour. Training positively is always the way forward.


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