Sunday, November 16, 2014

Why Has My Dog Started Humping Other Dogs?

Here is a question I received recently, does it sound familiar?

I first got my dog as a foster when he was already three years old. The previous owner has not had him neutered, and he is a full-breed black lab that weighs 120 pounds. So you can imagine when he jumps on other dogs, or people, to hump on them it's a pretty big deal and it's hard to get him off of them. Anyone who has had one, pretty much knows that labs are typically all "puppy" even when they are full-grown.

Once I had officially adopted him, I did get him neutered so I thought that would calm down his hormones and stop his urge to hump on other dogs. It did seem to deter him for a little while. Unfortunately, in the past few months, he's been really going after these other dogs at the dog park and finds one to focus on and then proceeds to hump on her, or him.

The gender of the dog doesn't matter, my dog just simply gets excited and decides he wants to dominate one particular dog. Now some dog owners don't make a big deal of it, because they are dogs. Other dog owners can become very upset when their dog gets dominated by another dog.

I had a conversation with a woman at the dog park last weekend and she had a large Golden-Doodle breed dog. He seemed to be the sweetest dog in the park, yet she claimed that her dog, although neutered, also does the same thing that my dog does. She shared with me that she has actually been asked to leave the dog park because of her dog's behavior. How embarrassing. I think that's the worst part, is that this kind of behavior is very embarrassing.

So why do they hump other dogs? I've searched for some answers online and talked to other dog owners and they all say the standard answer, it's just about domination. I'm not so sure. Even though my dog has been neutered, he doesn't seem aggressive enough to dominate other dogs, it seems like he just gets excited and that's his instinct, to hump on other dogs.

I've watched training videos on what to do, and for the most part they say I need to just use a very firm command to get him to stop. I would have to be very loud though because when he gets in that mode, he's so focused and he doesn't listen to me. So I typically have to grab his collar and remove him from the situation altogether.

I really love going to the dog park, but now I fear I have to go when no other dogs are there so I don't have to deal with the humping. I'm not sure if formal training is the answer for us in getting him used to being calm around other dogs or not. I would be willing to try almost anything just so that we can go to the park and have fun with other dogs without getting embarrassed about his behavior.