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.
Who doesn’t know that dogs are very expressive animals?
They often communicate with us through their body language and movements, but sometimes it can be difficult to understand what they’re trying to say.
If your dog suddenly starts licking or humping you out of the blue, don’t worry!
There could be several possible reasons why this is happening—and understanding them can help make things less awkward for everyone involved.
- Is Your Dog Humping a Problem?
- Why Does My Dog Keep Licking Me and Trying to Hump Me? 10 Reasons
- How to Stop Your Dog From Humping You or Others?
- When To Hire A Trainer
- When To See A Vet
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- In Conclusion: Why Does My Dog Lick and Hump Me?
Is Your Dog Humping a Problem?
If you have a dog, you’ve probably had to deal with humping at some point.
It’s not something that’s unique to only one breed or gender of dog—it happens in all kinds of dogs!
Humping is one of those behaviors that’s not inherently bad or harmful, but if it becomes excessive or is accompanied by other problematic behaviors, it may indicate that something is wrong with your dog.
You should also check for underlying medical causes that stem from infection or irritation for humping behavior.
In my opinion, if your dog is showing this behavior in the confines of your home and it is not excessive, there’s really no need to correct or stop it.
Outside of your home is a different story though, especially when it comes to other dogs.
Their owners may not like it and sometimes, this can lead to conflict between dogs and between humans too.
Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Dog humping pillow
Why Does My Dog Keep Licking Me and Trying to Hump Me? 10 Reasons
Dogs lick for many reasons, from grooming themselves to trying to bond with their humans.
Seeing this behavior when it is trying to hump is perfectly normal, and what should be of more concern is the humping action itself.
Understanding why they do it can help you determine if there is a problem that needs to be fixed.
1. Genetically programmed
No surprises here, but humping is an entirely natural behavior that is actually genetically programmed into your dog’s brain.
In fact, this is normal for both female and male dogs, so don’t get too shocked if you see your girl doing this too.
2. Compulsive disorder
Compulsive disorders are characterized by repetitive behaviors that the animal can’t control.
These behaviors can range from excessive barking to pacing and tail-chasing.
If your dog has a compulsive disorder, it’s important to get help right away—these disorders are often associated with anxiety and depression, which can be dangerous for both you and your pet.
Your vet will be able to diagnose the problem based on your dog’s behavior and history, so talk to them first!
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3. Show of dominance
Dogs are more likely to hump when they feel like they’re in charge, and they want another dog to know that, just like alpha puppies in a litter.
This kind of behavior is very common among dogs (intraspecific), but the reasons for doing so on a human are often very much different.
Unless the owner has no control over their dog, humping behavior, which dogs employ to assert power or dominance, is less common in owner-dog relationships.
4. Seeking attention
Dogs are pack animals and they crave social interaction.
If your dog is licking or humping you, it could be because he wants to bond with you and feels that this is the best way to do it.
For example, if your dog does this when you’re eating or watching TV, it could be because he’s trying to get your attention and show his affection for you.
Your dog might also be doing these things as a form of greeting or because he wants something from you (like food).
It’s important to pay attention to the context of the behavior so that you can figure out what message your pet is trying to send.
5. Stress and boredom
When dogs are stressed, they often lick themselves or other animals to relieve their anxiety.
Similarly, when dogs are bored, they may resort to licking as a way to alleviate their loneliness.
Dogs have no other ways of releasing built-up energy if they are not given enough exercise, walks, and playtime.
Those that become bored will therefore seek alternative means of stress relief, such as humping legs, other dogs, or stuffed animals.
6. Sexual stimulation
It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that when dogs are sexually excited, they may begin humping the air because humping does mimic the male sex act.
When non-neutered male dogs are nearby a female dog in heat but are unable to approach her, they frequently exhibit this behavior.
Their hormones may go into overdrive as a result, which can be extremely frustrating and set off undesirable behavior such as accidentally peeing in the house too.
Best way to get that tension off? Start humping something or even just the air!
7. A sign of a medical condition
A dog’s tendency to mount can be influenced by a number of medical conditions, such as skin allergies, urinary tract infections, urine incontinence, and priapism (repeated, frequently painful erections).
If left untreated, these problems can become serious and call for medical care rather than behavioral therapy.
Dogs with one of these conditions or others frequently spend a lot of time licking and chewing their genitalia.
Take your dog to the vet to rule out any medical issues if you find him excessively mounting, licking, chewing, or rubbing his body against objects.
8. Problem with socialization
Dogs who are not properly socialized can exhibit a wide range of behaviors that are inappropriate for humans, including licking and humping.
When it exhibits behavior such as humping, it could be that it is craving contact and is using your leg or a pillow as a form of interaction.
It’s important to note that dogs who have been abused can also exhibit these behaviors as they try to deal with the trauma they’ve experienced.
9. It feels good
Another theory is that they enjoy doing it because of the pleasurable sensation they get from the act.
Dogs have erections much like humans do when they are aroused, and if your dog is humping you, it’s likely because they’re enjoying being rubbed against something.
This is all the more common in intact dogs, but neutered ones can do it too.
They do crave physical stimulation too.
10. Your dog is overstimulated
Overstimulation in dogs is readily caused by a new, busy environment, too many unfamiliar people, and loud noises.
Depending on the dog and the cause of the overstimulation, this might lead to either sign of excessive excitement or stress.
Dogs may behave strangely and unexpectedly as a result, often licking themselves excessively and humming.
This usually does not last for long and your dog will calm down a few minutes later.
Doggy says, consider reading this next: Why does my dog lick my armpit?
How to Stop Your Dog From Humping You or Others?
Figure out the reason
Since there are so many different causes of humping, you might need a bit of good old observation and trial and error to figure out what to do.
Consider the reasons discussed above and determine which applies to your dog most.
Stop it in its tracks
The most immediate thing you can do is to catch your dog in the act.
When it starts displaying this behavior, use a command such as “stop” to get it to stop and gently remove the person or object from your dog.
I prefer not to use the word “no” as it is too commonly used and can easily confuse your dog.
If it is a toy, take it away and replace it with another one that does not have any special meaning for your dog.
If you are being humped by your dog, gently push them away.
Anytime you see humping, divert them to anything else.
Redirect them to something else they like doing rather than punishing or reprimanding them.
Punishment will only make the problem worse!
Bring it elsewhere
If the behavior is happening in front of guests and family, you can take your dog to another area of the house, possibly another room where it will not receive any attention.
Give it some time to calm down before engaging with him or her again.
Plenty of exercise and fun
As you might know, dogs need lots of attention and activities, otherwise, they will start to display undesirable behavior such as humping or trying to destroy things.
You need to provide your dog with a regular dose of exercise every day to keep it engaged and energized.
The more you play with your dog, the less likely it is that it will resort to negative behaviors as a way of entertaining itself.
Doggy says, consider reading this too: How to stop your dog from licking other dogs privates
Reward the good behavior
Last but not least, when you command your dog to stop humping by saying “stop” or “off,” give him a treat, a toy, or your affection, depending on what he enjoys the most.
Praise your dog verbally while they are playing with you or having fun without humping.
Your dog will learn the behaviors you want to see in them if you concentrate on the positive!
Consider neutering or spaying
Your dog should be neutered or spayed if you do not plan on breeding them.
This will help with their behavior and reduce the chances of them humping others out of sexual frustration.
Take note though, that this is not a guaranteed way to change your dog’s behavior and should be taken very seriously.
Consulting with your vet would be the best course of action.
Doggy says, consider reading this too: Male dog won’t leave a spayed female alone
When To Hire A Trainer
If your dog is humping you, it’s okay to laugh. But you should also know when to get help.
Dogs are animals and they can’t talk, so they don’t always know how to communicate with us.
Sometimes they can’t express what they’re feeling in ways that we understand; other times they may not even realize that something is bothering them!
That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re paying attention to the signs your dog gives you—so that if there’s something going on, you’ll be aware of it.
So when should you hire a trainer?
If your dog starts humping everything in sight, including people and furniture, then yes: definitely hire a trainer!
But before doing so, be sure that your dog is getting enough exercise every day.
If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise, its energy level will be too high for them to be able to cope with its emotions effectively on its own.
Doggy says, consider reading this next: My Dog Keeps Acting Like Something Is Biting Her [Solutions]
When To See A Vet
In most cases, there is no need to escalate the issue to your vet, but if you notice any signs of distress in your dog, a trip might be a wise choice.
Watch out for other signs such as aggressiveness, whining when touched, lethargy, or excessive chewing or biting itself.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why does my dog hump my arm?
A dog does not pick out a specific body part to hump when it is doing it to a human, as it is most likely just playing. Humping your arm could be because you were sitting on the floor or on a couch.
Why does my dog keep whining and trying to hump me?
This is an obvious sign that your dog is trying to get your attention from you. Dogs hump for a number of reasons, but when accompanied by whining, it is most likely just wanting you to play with it.
Why does my dog hump me before bed?
The majority of the time, this is a result of a dog not having enough exercise during the day. He is attempting to hump you in order to gain your attention since he is too energetic to go to sleep. Never forget to give your dog a sufficient amount of daily exercise.
Why does my dog try to hump my baby?
Humping actions are frequently an indication of excitement in your dog, and in this situation, a new member of the family. Your dog is excited to meet a new family member, but this behavior must be stopped quickly to prevent any harm done.
In Conclusion: Why Does My Dog Lick and Hump Me?
As you can see, there’s no one reason why your dog humps you.
A lot of things can cause this behavior, but the most important thing is to remember that it’s normal behavior for dogs and not to worry unless it becomes excessive or out of control.
The few simple tips I shared earlier will be sufficient to help you stop this behavior should you need to.
Check out other dog behavior articles on our blog too, such as:
- Why is my puppy pooping 2 hours after eating?
- Why is my puppy humping at 12 weeks?
- Potty training regression after spaying
You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.