What Does it Mean When a Puppy Humps?

puppy hump

You have probably looked down at your leg only to find your dog amorously attached to it.

Humping is not an inherently strange behavior for dogs, but it is worth learning about if you own one.

This behavior could indicate a number of things.

Common Reasons that Dogs Hump

It Feels Good

Perhaps the simplest explanation for this behavior is that it feels good for them. This can be viewed as masturbation for canines. Since these dogs don’t have hands like humans, they simply hump whatsoever is available. This could be anything from their toys to your leg.

It is a Ways of Releasing Stress

Another explanation for this behavior has to do with stress. Many dogs hump things in an effort to calm themselves down when they are frightened or even excited. This is a natural response that does not warrant immediate cause for concern. 

Some dogs are more prone to stress or anxiety than others. This is why one dog may hump things a lot while another hardly ever does it.

Health Issues

There is also a chance that your dog is humping because there is something wrong with it. A urinary tract infection is just one possible explanation. They may be doing this to feel better, as it can be quite painful for them.

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Some other common signs of a UTI in dogs include whining while urinating, licking their own genitals, increased thirst/urination, and sudden accidents. It is crucial that you take your dog to the veterinarian if you notice these symptoms.

Establishing Dominance

One of your dogs might hump another in an effort to assert its dominance over them. There is always an alpha in a pack. This could be their way of showing that they are the head dog in the household. You do not want to let this behavior slide, as it can cause the more submissive dog quite a bit of distress.

dog hump

He Wants Your Attention

It is not uncommon for male dogs to hump their owners as a way of getting their attention. This could be the case if you aren’t spending as much time as you should with your pet each day. Dogs will do almost anything to get their owner’s focus on them if they feel like they are being ignored.

They are Just Playing

Puppies, and sometimes even older dogs, hump each other as a form of play. This is most common in younger dogs, and it is just a way of burning all of the energy they have pent up inside them. This is a phase that many dogs end up growing out of, but not always.

Should I Try to Stop My Dog’s Humping?

The occasional humping is not that big of a deal, but you should address it if it becomes a bigger problem. If your dog is going to town on everyone who comes over, you’ll need to do what is necessary to stop this behavior for good.

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How to Stop Your Dog’s Humping

There are a few different things that you can do when it comes to putting a stop to your dog’s humping once and for all.

Get Your Dog Neutered

If you have a male dog that is humping everything in sight, you’ll want to seriously consider having it neutered. This will most likely be very effective in solving this particular problem. It will also make your dog less aggressive, which is always a bonus. You will probably notice a decrease in barking as well.

dogs humps

Don’t Give it Attention

You never want to acknowledge your dog’s humping, as it will only encourage this behavior. Instead you will want to simply get up and walk away. Do not pay any attention to them whatsoever when they do this.

If your dog is humping you because it is being neglected, you will have to spend more time playing with it on a regular basis. Just make sure that you don’t give it attention in the moment. You don’t want your dog to associate humping with anything positive.

While some people might be tempted to yell at or scold their dog when they do this, it could backfire in a big way.

Remember to Start Early

You will have the easiest time training your dog not to hump when you start as soon as you notice this behavior. The longer you wait to begin training, the more difficult it will be to make them stop.

Distract Your Dog

One of the best ways to get your dog to stop humping is to distract it with one of its favorite toys (and hope it doesn’t start humping it). This can be a very effective method to use with most dogs. Do not give your dog a treat as an incentive, as this will likely have the opposite effect.

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If you notice your dog starts to hump the toy you gave it, gently pull it off by its collar. This will let it know exactly what you want. It is important that you send your dog a clear message when training it in this way.


  • Humping is not necessarily an unusual or unhealthy behavior for dogs, but it’s also not particularly desirable.
  • Dogs often do this because it feels good (essentially masturbation).
  • There is a chance that your dog could be humping due to a medical condition, such as a urinary tract infection.
  • Some dogs start humping as a natural response to stress or excitement. It is just a release of energy.
  • It is fairly common for dogs to hump each other as a form of play, especially when they are younger.
  • If you want to stop your dog’s humping, you should start training it right away.
  • Never scold your dog for humping.
  • Distract your dog with a favorite chew toy when it begins doing this.
  • If your dog is humping your leg to get your attention, just get up and walk away.
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