Dog Humping Pillow? [What’s With The Fascination?]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Well, here we are. You, me, and probably an embarrassed puppy in the middle of an awkward situation, all wrapped up in a blog that we never quite imagined we’d be reading, let alone writing, eh?

The title, “Dog Humping Pillow,” may sound like a comedy sketch, but for all of us dog parents, it’s no laughing matter.

From the confusion to the sheer embarrassment when we have guests over, it can be downright mortifying.

But guess what? Your pooch isn’t being perverse or naughty, it’s just their biology.

We’re gonna dive into the ‘ruff’ world of canine behaviors and offer a quick solution to your fluffy buddy’s not-so-sneaky pillow love.

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Why Does a Dog Hump Pillows? 7 Behavioral Reasons

Why Does a Dog Hump Pillows

Contrary to what dog parents might assume, humping a pillow or another object is not solely driven by sexual motives in dogs.

There are a variety of reasons why your pup may engage in this quirky behavior.

Let’s take a closer look here.

1. Sexual frustration or arousal

One of the common reasons why dogs hump pillows is because they are experiencing sexual frustration or arousal. 

This is especially true for puppies that have matured sexually. This occurs when they are around six months old. It is when the sex hormones start affecting them.

Humping because of arousal is more common in unneutered or unspayed dogs. It could be more intense for pets going through their heat cycle. 

An intact male dog might hump a pillow when he smells the scent of a nearby female dog in heat, as it triggers his natural mating instincts. 

2. Dominance display

Dogs may hump pillows to show their authority over other dogs or assert themselves as the “top dog” in their household. 

It’s a behavior that signals their desire for control and gains respect from other pets.

3. Playful behavior

Sometimes, dogs engage in humping pillows as part of their playful nature. It can be observed during energetic play sessions, where they have extra enthusiasm. 

Humping may serve as an outlet for their excess energy. 

Humping can be a way for dogs to engage in interactive play. It’s the same playful behavior as jumping or tugging toys.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Is my male dog affected by my period?

4. Lack of proper training or boundaries

Dogs that haven’t received proper training or clear rules may hump pillows because they haven’t been taught what’s acceptable and what’s not. 

If they’ve seen this behavior from other dogs or developed them from experience, they will continue humping until they are trained not to do it anymore.

5. Simulating mating behavior   

Dogs may engage in humping behavior as a way to simulate mating behavior. This is driven by their natural sexual instincts. 

Even if they are not sexually frustrated, humping can be an instinctual expression of their drive to reproduce. 

6. Excitement or overstimulation

Our pets may hump pillows when they are highly excited or stimulated. It is quite similar to when we can’t help but hop or bounce on our toes when we are waiting for something to happen. 

Our fluffy pals may also exhibit their excitement by humping pillows as a way to release their extra energy. 

7. Sensory stimulation from the pillow’s texture

​​The pillow’s feel, shape, or smell can be appealing to dogs and trigger their humping behavior. 

It’s similar to when we touch something soft or smooth and can’t resist playing with it because it’s enjoyable to our senses. 

Sometimes, touching these things can also be very soothing.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Common Cavapoo Behavior Problems

7 Medical Issues That Can Cause Dogs To Hump

When it comes to your pet humping things, it’s not always just a behavioral quirk.

There are a few medical conditions that can also trigger this behavior.

1. Urinary tract infection

Having a urinary tract infection can cause discomfort in your pet’s private parts. To alleviate this discomfort, they may resort to humping pillows.

2. Hormonal imbalances

Imbalances in testosterone or estrogen can work to rev up your dog’s sexual drive.

This imbalance can cause them to be extra frisky and want to hump things to satisfy their urges. 

3. Skin irritation or allergies

Our pets can get itchy and irritated in their private or anal areas due to skin allergies or irritation.

When they hump pillows, it could be their way of finding some relief from the discomfort.

This is especially true if the itchy area is somewhere that they cannot reach with their teeth or paws.

They have to resort to rubbing the area against a pillow or anything else that’s scratchy to get some relief. 

4. Prostate problems

Male dogs can have issues with their prostates, very much like us humans.

They can suffer from enlargement or inflammation of the organ. 

This problem can make them feel uncomfortable, and they might turn to humping as a way to cope with the discomfort.

5. Neurological disorders affecting the reproductive system

Our pets have complex wiring in their brains that control their behaviors.

Certain neurological disorders can mess up their brain’s normal functioning. 

As a result, their sexual behaviors can become disrupted or exaggerated. 

It’s like their brain signals for reproductive behaviors gets a bit mixed up or confused, causing them to engage in humping behaviors.

6. Pain or discomfort in the genital area

Just like when we accidentally hit a part of our body on a hard surface and our instinct is to rub it, dogs may similarly react when they experience pain in their private parts.

Injuries, infections, or other medical conditions can result in pain. Humping can be a way for them to soothe their discomfort in that area.

7. Psychological disorders

Surprisingly, our pets can have mental struggles too! 

Those poor canine companions with anxiety, compulsive behavior, or obsessive-compulsive disorder may start humping as a way to calm themselves. 

The repetitive actions can alleviate the anxiety that they feel.

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Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Why does my dog lay his head over my neck?

Should You Allow Your Dog to Hump a Pillow?

It’s best not to encourage your dog to hump a pillow.

While it may seem harmless, allowing this behavior can make it a habit and cause issues later on.

Once your pet has gotten used to humping things, the behavior could become difficult to break.

This can result in discomfort and embarrassment like when your dog is trying to lick and hump you or a similar situation.

Plus, if your dog starts humping to assert control or dominance, it can lead to conflicts with other dogs. 

When is Humping a Problem for Dogs?

Occasional humping even one as young as 12 weeks can be expected from any dog.

It can become a problem though if it is excessive and makes others feel uncomfortable.

If your furry pal humps people, other animals, or objects in inappropriate settings like social gatherings or public places, it can cause embarrassment or even safety concerns. 

Additionally, when the humping becomes aggressive, it could be a sign of aggression or territorial problems in your pet.

If the humping is accompanied by growling, snapping, or biting, your pet may cause harm to others. 

Excessive humping can also indicate compulsive behavior or a medical problem. 

When can you consider it to be excessive?

If it interferes with normal activities, social interactions, or causes physical harm, then it’s too much.

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Why is My Dog Humping Suddenly?

Dogs may start humping suddenly in response to specific situations or triggers. 

As mentioned above, the behavior could be caused by the introduction of a new pet,  heightened excitement during playtime, changes in hormone levels, or some other reason. 

Another possible reason is if there is another dog in the vicinity who is in heat. 

Dogs are highly sensitive to the pheromones released by a female dog in heat. This can trigger a strong response in male dogs, leading to humping behavior.

What to Do When Two Spayed Puppies Try Mounting?

When two spayed puppies engage in mounting behavior, gently interrupt and separate them.

Redirect their attention to appropriate activities or toys.

Don’t forget to provide them with physical stimulation as well.

Keep an eye on your pups and establish clear boundaries.

Does Neutering/Spaying Stop Dog Humping Behavior?

From my own experience with my furry friends, getting them neutered or spayed can help cut down on dog humping.

It’s particularly effective if the behavior is linked to their natural sexual instincts.

These procedures can lower the production of hormones like testosterone, which can influence mounting behavior. 

But, it might not completely put an end to humping. 

If your pet’s frisky habits stem from other reasons like asserting dominance, being playful, or enjoying sensory stimulation, you’ll need to work on training them to break the habit.

How to Stop Your Dog From Humping?

Is your pet’s humping behavior getting out of hand? Here are some helpful tips you can try to help you curb this frisky habit. 

Neuter or spay your dog

As I’ve mentioned a few times, getting your pet spayed or neutered can be an effective way to reduce humping behavior.

This procedure addresses the underlying sexual instincts that drive the behavior. It’s a common practice recommended by veterinarians to help manage and prevent certain behaviors in dogs.

Redirect their attention

When you catch your dog in the act of humping, redirect their focus to something more appropriate. 

Offer them a toy, engage them in playtime, or ask them to perform a command like sitting or lying down. By diverting their attention, you can help break the habit.

Positive reinforcement training

Whenever your dog refrains from humping and displays desirable behavior, shower them with praise, treats, and affection. 

Positive reinforcement is a great way to reinforce good behavior and discourage humping.

Provide regular exercise and mental stimulation

A tired and mentally stimulated dog is less likely to engage in humping out of boredom. 

Make sure your furry companion gets enough physical exercise and mental challenges throughout the day. Long walks, play sessions, and puzzle toys can help keep them occupied.

Set clear boundaries through obedience training

Teach your dog basic commands like “stop,” “stay,” and “leave it.” 

These commands can help establish clear boundaries and redirect their focus away from their pillow or whatever object they are humping. 

Avoid triggering situations

Take note of situations or objects that tend to trigger your dog’s humping behavior. If you notice specific toys, scents, or environments that get them worked up, try to limit their exposure to those triggers.

Seek professional guidance if needed

If your dog’s humping behavior continues despite your efforts, don’t hesitate to consult a professional doggy trainer. 

It’s also a good idea to get your pet checked up to ensure that the humping isn’t caused by underlying health issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do dogs pick who to mount?

Dogs may choose to mount other dogs or objects based on different reasons. Sometimes it’s because they want to show that they’re in charge or excited. Other times, it may be because of their natural instincts related to mating, like being attracted to certain smells or signals.

Is it okay for dogs to mount things?

While occasional mounting behavior is normal, it can become problematic when it causes discomfort or disrupts social interactions. Mounting objects may not cause harm in itself, but it can be embarrassing or disruptive in certain situations. It’s generally recommended to discourage mounting behavior through training and redirection.

Why do female dogs hump things?

It may not always be sex-related, but rather a way for them to have fun or explore their surroundings. Female dogs may hump things because they are feeling playful or curious. It could also be because they’re seeking sensory stimulation. 

Why do desexed dogs hump?

It’s important to note that desexing may not completely remove all urges or innate mating instincts.  While it can greatly decrease the occurrence of humping behavior, some desexed dogs may still exhibit humping due to other factors like excitement, boredom, playfulness, or social interactions.

In Conclusion: Dog Humping Pillows

Remember, your dog’s pillow-humping habit is completely natural, even if it’s a touch embarrassing.

Understanding the root causes can help tackle this tricky behavior, especially early on in a dog’s life, to prevent a bad habit from forming.

Got a minute? Be sure to read these dog behavior articles too:

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

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