Dogs are commonly seen humping other dogs, soft toys, furniture, pillows and also people’s legs. It can be quite embarrassing for the dog owner when guests are present.
There are mainly 2 reasons why dogs, whether male or female, behave this way.
1) Humping is a sexual action.
Unsterilized male dogs are most likely to engage in humping because of the presence of sex hormones. That is why it is better to spay dogs before they learn of this behavior upon puberty. Sterilization will lessen the sexual pressure on the dog.
When a dog has already matured and learned how to hump, sterilization may or may not curb the humping habit of the dog. Humping will usually still persist for several months after surgery before its frequency and intensity eventually wanes.
2) Humping can also be used to signal power and rank.
Dogs hump to show dominance. This is the reason why male dogs can be seen humping another male dog and the same goes for the female dogs.
A dog will only allow being mounted by dogs it considers to be higher in rank.
Nonetheless, dogs are known to be affectionate and loving creatures toward human beings. Some would form a strong bond with the whole family while others would be devoted to a single person.
Dogs hump people because they think they are members of their pack. A dog mounting your leg is telling you that he is dominant and he occupies a higher position in the pack than you. This should never be allowed.
The pet dog should be made to understand that the human is higher in rank and also the alpha. A dog allowed to think otherwise will be stubborn and hard to control.
Thankfully, there are ways by which this unwanted behavior can be eliminated. A dog that has gone through obedience training may be deterred from doing the act by a simple “No!” from the pet owner. Alternatively, socialization would help too. The dog can also be distracted from humping by being given sit, run and fetch commands to switch his focus.