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Stopping humping ...

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by the melster, Apr 13, 2011.


  1. the melster

    the melster PetForums Senior

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    Having a boy dog for the first time is stressful :blink:

    Ok. Bo is 1 and a half and a bitch and Badger is 6 months and a dog. Bo is spayed, Badger is un-neutered and we have had him from 8 weeks. Both dogs hump each other occasionally but Badger seems to be doing a bit more in the last week. I know that humping is not always sexual and can be dogs sorting out who's the boss.

    I intend to neuter Badger when he is a little older and also don't want to have my dogs humping each other all over the place but at this point don't want to interupt any natural development behaviour.

    My question is am I still ok to wait to neuter Badger or should I do it now to stop the humping. Also if I do want to stop the humping with training which is the best technique to use? Or should I just leave alone for now.
     
  2. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

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    Personally speaking, I don't like to have a dog neutered until he is full grown unless there is a good reason for it. I also try to prevent humping, as I am afraid that it could cause spinal damage, especially if one dog is much bigger than the other.

    Joshua doesn't hump so much, but he does jump on Ferdie when he gets excited, like when he knows he's going out or when I come home. He could be trying to hump, but Ferdie is bigger than him so it is a long way up! What I do is get between them and body block him. This is easy for me as I know the occasions it is likely to happen, but do you have that advantage? If not, I would put a short lead on the humper so you have something to grab. You could probably grab his collar and just pull him off, saying nothing, or when he lands on the floor say "off" and give him some praise. I tend to say nothing. Collar grabbing sometimes causes them to snap, but you know your dogs and if that is likely to happen.

    This is my personal choice, as I have very heavy dogs and am always afraid some damage could be caused.
     
  3. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    Humping is one of those behaviours that is always misunderstood to be 'dominance'. It has nothing to do with dominance or climbing the social ladder, even if there is a social ladder. Dogs hump for a number of reasons, such as in play, when they are over-aroused and need to calm down and control their stress levels, and also to practise some of their genetically predisposed survival behaviours called Fixed Action Patterns. It can be used to control a resource, but this is born from an insecurity with someone/another dog being around the resource, which is essentially a stress-related behaviour. In actuality, it's humans that have a problem with humping, not the dogs!

    Neutering may help but it can increase the behaviour too. I would teach an 'Off' command or if Badger has a good 'SIT', reinforce this at these times. If they do it only to each other, then there is nothing to worry about. However, if they do it to other dogs, it could provoke an adverse reaction from some dogs. Don't punish/scold the dog for humping as it is more likely to just not do it when you are around.
     
  4. the melster

    the melster PetForums Senior

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    Thanks for the replies and good advice. I can make them stop whatever they are doing with the 'enough' command which I use when they are playing to boisterously and want them to stop, I just wasn't sure whether I should stop it. This house is now a humping free zone :nono:
     
  5. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

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    I think it is an individual choice whether you stop it or not. It may not look pleasant to us, but that is, in my view, no reason to stop it, except as Rottiefan says, you don't want them doing it to other dogs.

    I stop it simply because I don't want anyone to get hurt.
     
  6. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Humping is a social behaviour so as such may be seen in relation to sexual behaviour, social behaviour and very likely in over arousing situations.

    Humping is often seen in play situations as part of conflict behaviour, becayse arousal is too high and they don't know how to calm the interaction down.

    Keep play sessions shorter.

    Divert the humper by teaching a incompatibel interupting behaviour such as sit, down or freeze. Or even teach a positive interupter for a game of tug which is a great calmer (when played properly).

    Reward the humpee so that they learn that this is pleasant (ie means yummies are about to be delivered) so that they learn to tolerate it.

    Teach self calming and self control behaviours to humpers and practice, especially, in the presence of other dogs and exciting situations.

    In a group of dogs situation I would recommend stopping humping as it can cause escalation.
    Where there are two and the humpee is a more mature female I will often allow her to correct the humper providing she is a skilled communicater. But more often than not I will divert the humper, allow them to calm and reward that by rejoining the fun.
     
  7. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Sometimes you get Male dogs, who are very tense, get tall and strut stiffly and then move in trying to get to rear and mount. It looks rather like a territorial guarding behaviour, when a dog's behind a fence & gate. It tends to be the younger not full grown males who attract the attention. It is very hard for people not to see it, as a "I'm bigger than you" style conflict. How would you interpret that type of mounting behaviour?

    Some dogs do object to the humping and do have a problem with it, and object! A bitch for example, may object by showing teeth and snarling, and then hopefully the male dog gets the message and respects the bitches space. Dog bitches living in groups, can reject dogs even when in season but permit others.
     
  8. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Humping, as a social behaviour, may in certain situations be associated with social relationships.

    I would think that stiff and stilted positioning before mounting is not really part of most guarding sequences. This stilited stuff is seen in situations that are tense and where everything is going slow as the parties are unsure, as you rightly point out conflicted.
     
  9. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    I see dogs like this as uneasy/uncertain and, therefore, coming across as a 'bully' or social menace in a way. I think humping can be used to control a situation and resource in some instances (which is different to a dominance relationship). Dogs who show the stiff behaviour and 'strutting' are showing stress in these situations and I think, by picking the younger dogs, they are choosing carefully who they confront. Middle-ranking dogs are obviously in the unique position of being menaces to those below- hitting on the young pups- but would very rarely do the same to an older dog. I read somewhere of a study (it could have been Dr Dunbar's) of a dog that was such a bully in a group that one day it disappeared, suspected murdered by the other dogs! Obviously this is different to meeting strange or even known dogs in the park, but may have some relation to the behaviour some dogs exhibit.

    I see how people can read this behaviour as 'My dog thinks he's the boss, wants to fight with everything' but, at the end of the day, I see it as another stress related behaviour, derived from lack of positive associations/socialisation during adolescence etc., or maybe even part of their individual character.
     
  10. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    That's interesting explanations. Makes sense, the confident have nothing to prove, they just "are", whereas the less sure try and score points.

    Reason why I asked, is because when in a park, dog owners describe that as dominance and aerier-faerie university tower explanations get short shrift. And of course, many older references sources will describe it in similar terms.
     
  11. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    Yep, definitely. As Dr Dunbar often says, hostile interactions are the hallmark of middle-ranking males. It really puts into perspective how many meanings and situations 'dominance' has been wrongly applied to! It's quite interesting to me as a linguist though- the processes that have gone on to widen its meaning!
     
  12. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    We need to be very clear here - if ranking occurs it does so in relatively stable groups over long periods, all individuals are familiar with eachother via one on one relationships, and that ranking is contextual.

    This does not really cover dogs meeting up in the park, sniffing etc. and then going on their merry way.

    Dr D's social behaviour stuff was based on long term interaction and observation of a settled, consistent group. There has been more work done since by others too.
     
  13. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    It can do here at times, because some dogs are in groups that spend the day together, and form a settled group for a regular walk. I am perfectly happy to avoid "ranking" considerations though, as less confident does appear to me more appropriate.

    I'm going to have to work, on avoiding mounting (was: incorrectly humping) of neutered Chocolate Lab dogs, it does seem to be a play/calming based action, but for first time I had an issue verbally stopping it today. The dog involved attracted the attention a few minutes before of Freddie's best pal (3/4 GR x 1/4 Collie) to similarly, so I guess the smell or greeting behaviour is stimulating this.

    Both dogs are well socialised and experienced play-ers with ability to calm during play, and in Freddie's case interrupt the play when I decide they've stopped self calming and it may escalate.
     
    #13 RobD-BCactive, Apr 15, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011
  14. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    But then they are a consistent familiar group :) and ranking may well apply.

    But we can avoid ranking in this context. Dogs are intelligent, sentient animals with the potential for complex social relationships. They are capable of recognising eachother and as such, with prior exposure, they will have different rules of interaction with different individuals.
    This is observable and as such we can avoid getting weighed down in dominance talk ;)
     
  15. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    Yep, as I said (but it wasn't clear!) ranking doesn't have much bearing on dogs meeting unfamiliar dogs, if at all. Dr Dunbar's group study was over a 10 year period I think.

    I even think with dogs meeting in the park, although they may play together, they are not together at other times around important resources like food bowls, resting places etc., so ranking may still not really apply. I'm not too sure, to be honest.
     
  16. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    I think working on effective communication matters, that's really why I asked the question to see if RF came over as a "quiche eater" in his answer.

    Today, I was able to explain calming signals and doggie correction to another dog walker, who was interested. She was one of the "No!" sayers but got a glimpse of the subtle communication going on. What was really cool, was a young dog was impolite later and Freddie did a "correction" very subtley, just after I predicted it.

    Hopefully it would have stirred the interest, she certainly seemed to enjoy observing the doggie behaviour. Dog walks are so much more fun, if you tune in! :)
     
  17. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    And that's another important point social relationships are contextual. So the 'rules' will change in different situations such as those you mention.
     
  18. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    Do you have/know of any other articles detailing the research conducted after Dr Dunbar's, Tripod?
     
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