When you have a male dog, it's just part of the territory to find him humping something — frequently. Other dogs, the kids' stuffed animals, your leg... air. It's all fair territory.
But when you have a female dog and she starts doing the same thing, things get a little, well, awkward.
Why is she doing that? Isn't that a boy thing?
According to Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM, it's actually completely normal. "Humping in any dog is a sign of great health, vitality and longevity, not to mention lots of vigor," she said. "Humping in female dogs is a very normal sexual behavior."
She added that female dogs may hump for a variety of reasons, most commonly social order, play, habit or sexual satisfaction. It may also be a learned behavior, especially if your dog spends time with other canines.
Many would assume that a female dog who has been seen humping is in heat, and Osborne says that may very likely be the case if the dog is not spayed. It's not a definitive sign of heat, though, since dogs not in heat may still display these actions.
"Sometimes, even when a female dog is spayed, ovarian tissue could remain, which will result in a female dog having swollen teats and vulva, which can also bring about added sexual behavior," she added.
Spaying is also not a guaranteed way to end your dog's humping activities.
"It is quite normal for both humans and dogs to have sexual stimulation and behaviors," said Osborne. "It is part of natural human and canine behaviors. If your dog is humping and you have her spayed, she very well may continue to do so after the fact, as it is part of her behavior."
Let's face it, seeing your female dog hump everything in sight can sometimes be uncomfortable to watch. So is there a way to put an end to it?
Osborne says the best way to stop your female dog's humping is to reinforce a positive behavior instead.
However, Osborne added that it's a behavior that actually should not be discouraged.
"It is a sign of great health, wellness, vigor and longevity — something that every pet owner should be quite happy about," she said. "If anything, it should be a sign of concern if your pet normally enjoys this activity and then stops, as it would be a considered a change in their 'normal' behavior."
In other words, if you walk in the room and see your pup having a good time, it's probably best to just turn around and give her some privacy if it makes you uncomfortable. You didn't really need to be in that room right this second anyway, right?
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