Does Your Dog Consider Every Day Hump Day?
Does your dog have a bad habit of mounting other dogs, people or toys? This can be very embarrassing for pet owners, and it’s important to find the true cause behind it to work on ending the behavior.
Although it would seem logical that this behavior is sexually based, it is most often a reaction to stress, anxiety or excitement. In some cases, there can be a medical reason for the mounting. Urinary tract infections or allergies may cause itching and the mounting helps stop the itch, so to speak.
As with any behavior problem, the longer your dog’s been doing it, the harder it will be to break the habit. Have your dog checked out by his veterinarian to ensure there isn’t a medical problem, and if everything checks out ok, it’s time for some training.
The younger your dog is, the easier this will be to correct. Time-outs are an effective way to deal with this misbehavior since it will teach your dog that when he starts mounting another dog, fun/play time will stop. A short piece of leash (4-6 inches) or a 4-6 foot piece of nylon cord attached to your dog’s collar will work to separate dogs easily and safely.
To begin the process, schedule a play date for your dog with another dog that is tolerant. Find a neutral outdoor fenced area for the play date. If there isn’t one conveniently located, have the play session in the other dog’s yard, not your own.
Let the dogs out to play, and allow play to continue unless you notice signs of your dog heading toward the mounting behavior. If you notice signs, try body blocking your dog every time he tries approaching the other dog.
If body blocking doesn’t work, grasp the leash or cord mentioned above, say “oops!” and announce time out while leading your dog to a quiet corner of the yard to calm down. When your dog calms down, allow him to return to play with his friend. Make sure your friend’s dog doesn’t come over to see your dog while he’s in time-out.
Continue watching the play session and intervene as early as possible when you notice any signs of the behavior beginning. Stay calm, making sure not to yell at your dog as you lead him to time-out. After enough time-outs, your dog should put it together and stop the mounting behavior.
This behavior should be handled very similar to the time-out routine discussed above. If possible, ask a friend that understands the situation and is willing to help come to visit.
When you or your guest notices the beginning of the inappropriate behavior, instruct them to get up and move away. Don’t bother trying to reason with or yell at the dog, it will not help and may stress out your dog. You can also use the makeshift leash to move your dog away to a time-out area.
If the behavior becomes too much of a distraction, tether your dog in a corner of the room where you and the guests are socializing. This will allow your dog to still be a part of things, but not be accosting guests.
If your dog becomes growly or too aggressive when corrected for the behavior, put him in his crate when guests visit.
This situation isn’t as troublesome as the two discussed above, as long as the object of your toys “affection” is an appropriate dog toy, rather than your expensive sofa pillow. If you notice this, remove the object or use the time-out approach to modify the behavior.
Since stress is a common cause of mounting behavior, one way to reduce your dog’s stress level is ensure there is structure in your dog’s daily routine. Train him to work for “good stuff” such as treats or play time by working for it. Teach him to sit before his reward. This is comparable to saying please and shows your dog you’re in control of “good stuff” and he must be polite in order to enjoy it!
Source: Whole Dog Journal, March 2015