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Why is my neutered dog suddenly humping his pillow, and should I stop it?

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Why is my neutered dog suddenly humping his pillow, and should I stop it?
  • I've had my dog Jasper for six months and haven't seen any humping behavior until the past couple days. He's around 6-7 years old and the shelter neutered him when I got him.  Anyway he started doing it with his doggy bed pillow, I haven't seen him do it with anything else. He bites it and will shake it, then hump it (aroused), then he'll lick the pillow and start humping it again.  Meanwhile he has a goofy expression on his face. Is he just playing?? It's a little gross but I don't know if I should take the pillow away or make him stop? Or if it's like a natural urge he needs to do?  Thanks for advice!

     this is the humper in question btw :-P :


  • Simple answer ...it feels good.  More complicated answer He is establishing his life role, Humping is not always about procreation it is often about feeling secure, feeling dominate, feeling  like a guy.....

    I do correct my altered dogs when they play humpty games. I do not correct my intact males.  Why??? Simple IF I want a male to ever be able to do the deed in the future he can't have the history of Mom scolding him everytime he starts the game. IF I correct an altered male I do so with a bit of laughter in my voice, I distract and tell them Nope Kiddo we aren't playing this game....

     Do I get frazzled if it takes them a bit to adjust ? No , But I do the following should it take longer than a couple of weeks to adjust.  I double check his privates to make sure he does not have any discharge, swelling or redness?  I make sure he does not have any parasites,  If need be I have the vet run a fecal making sure he does not end up with worms etc that could make him Itchy. 

    In the long run I prefer distraction if everything else is healthy and fine.

    Bonita of Bwana

    Paws for Peace


  • Just wanted to say that humping aside - Jasper is a CUTIE PIE !!!


    Deb W.

  • I do correct my altered dogs when they play humpty games.

    why do you correct them for playing?  dogs play-fight, play-hunt, and play-have-sex, all perfectly normal behaviors;  humpees who don't want to play are perfectly capable of stopping the game themselves; so why do people so often feel the need to stop play-sex? perfectly normal, ordinary dog behavior. Humping a human leg, fine, correct that.

  • I agree with Mud...let dogs be dogs.  Just because we may be "embarrassed" by the behavior (not saying OP is) is no reason to stop something natural to the dog.  May be confusing to deter.  Of course, if the dog is doing something to You that is not acceptable, by all means redirect or correct.

    btw...considering the original post...I had to chuckle at the pic (which is very cute).  It reminded me of a police mug shot....the criminal in question.  Sorry, I just couldn't resist.  It is a very cute pic.

  • What a cute dog!

    It sounds to me like he's just playing. I don't correct my dogs for doing it to each other. (B'asia and Mia both do it and they're both females.) So while it MAY be about playing sex, especially since he's excited, I think it's more of a way to say, "I am the boss of you"! LOL If Jasper had another dog to play with, he might do it to them, but it sounds like his pillow is sort of like a playmate.

    If my dogs did it to OTHER people's dogs, I would stop them by redirection, simply out of respect of the other people.   

  • No advice but I just wanted to say what a cutie pie you have!

  • mudpuppy

    I do correct my altered dogs when they play humpty games.

    why do you correct them for playing?  dogs play-fight, play-hunt, and play-have-sex, all perfectly normal behaviors;  humpees who don't want to play are perfectly capable of stopping the game themselves; so why do people so often feel the need to stop play-sex? perfectly normal, ordinary dog behavior. Humping a human leg, fine, correct that.

    This is a great question, in a multi dog house there is a social ladder.  (Please understand I am not trying to be condenscending just clear), I am worried I may not explain this well but let me give it a shot.  This is based on 50 years in dogs and just barely shy 30 in my breed.

    With a Breeding Kennel, even if you only breed rarely... the intact dog  is of  a higher social value in the pack.  This is NOT simply a human and dollar thing. The dogs themselves organize to acknowledge who will continue the pack, who will protect it and who is simply a  member.

    When I have a litter the girls set up a structure that is amazing to watch. IE the last litter Mtzee , youngest girl in my kennel jumped up in importance to the pack. Jasmine the foundation dam ( and G'ma) became her mentor and constant companion.  There were many accepted investigations from G'ma to Mtzee, sniffing and literally watching Jazz check the belly , the progress in the teats, the status of her "rear" ( I am never sure which words I can use and which will get me censored)  Miranda , an altered older sister remains a companion but her closeness changes in that she now gives a wider area,  sacrificing the better , more comfy spots, setting herself up as a guard at doorways and in the hallways. She will investigate the whelping box as it is set up but as the date gets closer there is a line she will no longer cross.  All of the RRs altered or intact towards the due date and after went from Frisco our nanny dog and rescue lab's best friend to making sure she was never allowed close to any puppy under 4 months old. Frisco had bitten a 3 month old years before and from that point on , while loved and an important part of our pack was NEVER allowed near a very young puppy. Jasmine drove her away from Mtzee's last litter with great roars even though Frisco had only poked her old head around the corner of the hall over 30 feet away. The Boys have different roles as a litter happens also. An intact dog becomes a total protector.  Even if it is not his litter he takes on the role of "Daddy" dog. The altered dogs become support dogs, They follow the lead of the head man, If he reacts strongly to a door bell or an odd noise on TV they back him up as if a lion had come on the property. All are controllable by the two leggers, all respond and listen, calling off when told to but the atmosphere changes 100%.

    So with that as a basis for my example what we have also found in the nearly 30 years of this breed is an altered animal allowed to continue Breeding Play or the Humpty game tends to think they have a different position on the social ladder. They act as if they have more leeway,  (think late cut or proud gelding in a horse).  More arrogance , higher challenge response.  They take less crud off of a younger intact dog, sometimes acting as if they need to put that younger dog in a reduced place to maintain thier own status in the pack.  Since the intact dog is not "corrected" but  distracted to make sure IF it is used in a breeding program in the future it does not have the baggage of " Hey I am not allowed to do this" to get in the way.  An Altered dog is "corrected", an by that I mean first by  distraction and second " Hey Clyde Knock it off, No No."  They understand this is not a behavior they are allowed.  They will never be allowed to use this "skill"  (for want of a better word).

    I know many, many multi dog kennels who follow the same theory and like my kennel the incidence of dog fights between the pack is minimal  I have had 2 dog fights fight in 30 years of RRS. Not one fight lasted longer than 1 minute and each involved one intact and one altered animal. ( Of course 1 also involved evacuation from a hurricane and the other during a severe thunderstorm).

    We find that setting specfic role skills and behaviors reinforces the pack ladder. Everyone is taught  manners, CGC and ATTS training, Herding , Conformation, Coursing, They get dressed up in play clothes , they are walked , and given play times to work off energy and promote pack skills.

    I hope that at least explains why we do what we do. I do not expect everyone to agree, but then not everyone has 9 dogs equalling about  600 pounds of prey driven canine as family members.

    Bonita of Bwana

    Paws For Peace

  •  Thanks everyone, I've just been letting him do it..he hasn't been doing it as much the past couple days but still doing it a bit.. I just try to not watch and give him his privacy, lol :/  I guess it's not a big deal as long as he sticks with the pillow and doesn't start doing it to other things. Thanks for the compliments, that's funny about looking like a mug shot! I kind of thought it looked like a school yearbook picture, haha.

  • My dog is neutered since 4 months and the only thing he humps is his pillow also!  I don't have a problem with it since it is not involving any other dogs or us.  We just let him be.  He only does it for a seconds or two and then moves along to another toy or something.  On the other hand, he WILL NOT tolerate anyone humping him at the dog park.  It has happened far to often and he freaks out.  I will stop it and redirect the dogs quickly because he is a sweet natured boy who doesn't bother a soul until another dog gets on his back end....he gets very upset and shows teeth and snaps at the air.  He never makes contact with another dog but does show them his total displeasure and makes it clear he will not allow it.  Thank goodness at our dog park humping is stopped and owners are watching their dogs.  Many are leached in a time out for that kind of play if they don't stop.  Last weekend this great dane named Cowboy of all things was just obsessed with humping Dublin.  The lady felt so badly and did leach him, but every time she unleached it started again.  Following him etc.  She left.  She felt it wasn't right and since it was upsetting my dog and also having a large dane on his hips isn't cool at all since he is still growing. 

  • If it annoys me, I stop it.  Period.  Humping annoys me.  So does obsessive licking (the sound is like fingernails on chalkboard to me).  So does super rough play, and digging.  It's not that I'm a prude (hello, I'm a farmer).  It's a reality that these dogs face in return for sharing the house with me.  All of them have arbitrary rules they enforce with each other and it doesn't bother anyone to comply.  Ben doesn't like dogs to watch him eat and he likes almost no puppies, and oh, no one but him is allowed to play with the girls in the house.  Cord gets annoyed when someone pees over His Spot.  Zhi doesn't put up with anyone initiating play with her.  Maggie doesn't like anyone touching her when they walk by.  Gus is pretty laid back.  Ted's too young to stake a claim on any resource and so is Lynn.

    There's no real reason to stop it if it doesn't bother you.  But if it's annoying, you don't have to cow-tow to them because you have to "let a dog be a dog."  Natural behavior for a dog would also be to kill and eat anything they want, drive out pack members they don't like, eliminate anywhere they want, including the house, replace the gardens and lawn with nice cool holes to lay in, and chew up anything that catches their fancy. 

    We fulfill their needs and offer them companionship, and in return they have to comply with our seemingly arbitrary expectations.  I don't think they mind.

    Probably this dog is just expressing the fact that he's finally settled in completely to his new home.   If a simple correction doesn't stop the behavior, I'd call him away from the pillow, then ask him to go back to it ("Go to bed!") and, uh, use it as you intended him to use it, and give him a nice bone or filled kong when he lies down there.  Tell him good boy, "Go to bed!  Good boy!"  Rinse, repeat.

  • Our dog is an 8 year old Shih-Lhasa neutered male..he has just recently started humping his toys and new blanket.  He likes it...and I say he wants a girlfriend!  Just checking in to see if this is ok...thank you all for your posts!!!!