Is It Normal For A Puppy To Hump?

As a new puppy parent, your pup will have certain traits, habits, and characteristics that you might not be accustomed to seeing. 

For example, when their anal glands need to be expressed, you’ll notice they scoot around on their butt on the floor. Also, many puppies have the (admittedly gross but normal) habit of eating their poop.

In other words, expect your pup to display certain weird, different, or unusual (at least to you) habits from time to time. Most are relatively normal, although some you might need to curtail for one reason or another. 

This concern was seared into my brain the other day as I watched my neighbor’s dog “get busy” with another dog in their backyard. (Natural and normal? Yes. Slightly disturbing and surprising? Also, yes.)

As I walked away, I thought of a question that I hear from time to time,  especially from new pet parents who haven’t experienced it before; is it normal for a puppy to hump?

The answer is that humping, aka mounting or thrusting, is 100% normal, and most puppies do it. When puppies are with their littermates, for example, they will often hump each other. (Also 100% natural.) 

Puppies will also hump other animals (if given the opportunity), people, and even stuffed animals and other toys. As they get older, this habit continues and, in most cases, becomes more frequent. 

After being neutered or spayed, many people believe that puppies and dogs will discontinue their humping habits, but that’s not always the case. Both males and females will often continue the behavior, especially once they’ve learned it feels good. 

Now that you know it’s normal for a puppy to hump, I’m betting you have other questions about this behavior. For example, at what age does humping usually start, and what to do when puppies hump?

If you do, I urge you to keep reading as I have the answers to those questions, and several more, coming up. If you’re a new puppy parent, it’s essential information that will help you understand your furry friend a little bit better.

What Age does Humping Usually Start with Puppies? 

Although many humans equate the habit with sexual behavior, the fact is that humping is a way for puppies to learn about their world. Humping is often a behavior they exhibit when playing, but it can also be seen when a puppy is trying to determine its own strength or dominance.

As for what age puppies start humping, that depends on the pup, their breed, size, and other factors. A smaller dog breed, for example, might start at 4 or 5 months, whereas a larger breed might not start for quite a bit longer.

Again, keep in mind that, at least in puppies, humping is usually not related to sex but done for some other reason. In the vast majority of cases, it’s nothing to be concerned about. 

Should I Let my Puppy Hump Things?

For some people, seeing a puppy hump something can be embarrassing, which is why many will do their best to stop their pup from doing it. However, letting your puppy hump things, including toys and other objects, is not only okay but also healthy.

The fact is some puppies enjoy a good hump, even when it isn’t sexual. For some, it’s a response to stress or anxiety. For example, some dogs bark a lot, run around or jump frantically up and down when they’re stressed out. Other puppies hump to deal with the stress.

The only reason to prevent your puppy from humping things is if it gets them into trouble. For example, if they try to hump another, larger, more aggressive dog, they could get in a fight and get hurt.

In my opinion, giving your puppy a toy specifically for humping is not a bad thing. At the very least, it will keep your pup from humping other things, people, and animals (and keep them out of the possible trouble it can cause).

What Do you Do When Puppies Hump?

You can do several things when your puppy starts to hump something, most of which are dependent on your feelings about the habit. For example, if they’re humping a toy you’ve given them to do so, you can let them keep going until they’ve had enough.

On the other hand, if you feel that their humping behavior is getting out of hand, there are several things you can do to get them to stop. You can give them a new toy to play with or occupy them with some of the new tricks or commands you’ve taught them.

If your puppy is mounting and humping things when they’re stressed out, the best thing to do is avoid situations that cause them stress. Distraction is usually the best solution in these cases. 

For example, if your pup gets stressed out when someone comes to visit, give them a new toy or treat when they do. That will change your pup’s focus, lower their stress and, in most cases, stop their desire to hump something.

Over the years, I’ve seen dog experts and vets recommend taking your dog to a qualified professional if their humping behavior becomes compulsive or interferes with their normal daily routine.

Frankly, my dog or puppy would have to be humping everything in sight on a non-stop basis for me to consider going to a certified applied animal behaviorist (CAAB). 

Some recommend taking a pup who loves to hump to a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT), which might be helpful but, again, would be my choice of last resort.

When Should I Worry About my Puppy Humping Things?

Several medical conditions can influence a dog or puppy’s desire to mount and hump something. For example, if they have a urinary tract infection, the pain and desire to reduce it may cause them to start humping.

Some male dogs suffer from a condition called priapism, which is a persistent and sometimes painful erection. As you might imagine, priapism can cause them to hump things. Skin allergies can also be a reason your puppy is humping things excessively.

Another reason to be concerned about your puppy humping things is when they do it with everything, everyone, and all situations. At this point, it might have become an obsession and will likely need some type of intervention, treatment, or training. 

As I mentioned earlier, some puppies and dogs will hump things due to stress or anxiety. If your dog is constantly humping things due to either one, determining what’s causing their stress and treating them for it, extra training or eradicating the cause might be necessary.

Final Thoughts 

Although it might be shocking and surprising to see, it’s 100% normal for a puppy to hump things, including other puppies, toys, and people. In the vast majority of cases, this natural behavior is not a problem and, with time, will subside.

Training, treatment, or removing the stressor might be necessary if your puppy is humping things due to a medical condition, anxiety, stress, or addictive behavior.

Did you find the answers you were looking for in today’s blog? I certainly hope you did, and all your concerns about puppies and their humping habits have been addressed. 

Please see my other blogs if you have more or would like to learn more about raising your puppy. I do my best to pack them full of interesting, valuable, real-world information to help you be a great puppy parent. Until next time, best of luck raising your new furry friend!