Does your dog keep mounting your leg no matter what you do to stop them?
If so, this guide will shed some light on the problem, as well give you a few effective strategies you can use to change your dog’s behavior if it’s becoming a real nuisance.
By the time you’ve finished reading, you should have a good idea about why your dog behaves this way and what you can do to prevent this from happening, so let’s begin.
Why Does My Dog Hump My Leg?
There are many different reasons why your dog may engage in this behavior, and even though it’s somewhat natural for all dogs to do this from time to time, it can become frustrating or embarrassing for us humans when our dogs continually behavior such as mounting visitor’s legs or your own.
Of course, when your dog is very persistent and keeps repeating the behavior then it may be time to address it directly.
Some people believe that breeding your dog so that they can ‘get the behavior out of their system’ is the answer, but this tends to be a myth, and it can sometimes lead to excessive sexual behavior instead. So why does your dog behave in this way?
The most obvious reason is due to the natural, hardwired sexual behavior of your dog, and even if your dog has been spayed or neutered, it’s possible that they’ll still engage in the humping and mounting behavior on occasion.
For some dogs, humping or mounting a leg can be an excellent way to gain attention (even if it’s negative), and it generally works very well in this regard, because most owners quickly take notice. Your dog may also be trying to alleviate boredom, especially if the behavior is becoming somewhat compulsive.
Stress & Anxiety
Another potential reason for this behavior boils down to stress, anxiety, or overexcitement. When their level of exuberance reaches a high level, they may turn to the humping behavior as a way to release some of their energy, particularly when meeting another dog or when a certain visitor comes to your home.
In some cases, your dog may turn to the humping behavior as a form of social dominance, and they will use the behavior to show their higher social status within the hierarchy, especially when one dog is humping another.
It’s possible for a dog to engage in humping due to medical reasons, such as urinary tract infections, allergies, and general discomfort in their sensitive areas. If you suspect this to be the case, then it’s important to visit your vet for a professional diagnosis and further advice.
Why Does My Female Dog Hump?
After reading the previous list of humping causes you’ll see that only one of them is sexual in nature, whereas many of the reasons come down to socializing in various forms, which is often the reason why your female dog may still engage in the humping and leg mounting behavior.
Why Does My Dog Hump After Being Neutered?
While neutering your dog will reduce the levels of testosterone they have, it doesn’t always guarantee that the mounting behavior will subside if the habit isn’t being fueled by a sexual instinct.
If it’s something your dog has been doing for a long time, then it can take some patience and careful retraining to discourage them, particularly if it’s being caused by an excess of energy, boredom, or stress.
First Things First
Whatever you let your puppy do when they’re young, they will think it’s natural and allowable behavior when they’re older, so it’s important to do something about this behavior as soon as possible for best results.
If you let your puppy mount your leg, it may be more difficult to change the behavior when they’ve grown older. However, this certainly doesn’t mean it’ll be impossible.
A Step-By-Step Training Solution
So what techniques or training methods can you use to reduce the likelihood of your dog mounting your leg? Let’s take a look at the ‘time out & redirect‘ method.
- When your dog tries to mount your leg, say ‘no’, and isolate them for around 30 seconds to a minute. Alternatively, you could stand up and leave the room temporarily. This mini timeout takes away the attention they receive and gives them time to calm down.
- When the time is up, let your dog back into the room with you, but continue to ignore them for a few minutes if they’re still full of energy or likely to repeat the unwanted humping behavior.
- If your dog is still full of energy, then redirect them toward a toy they can play with or play a game of fetch to redirect their energy onto a different activity. You can also give them an alternative command, such as ‘sit’, if they’re already well-trained to do so and likely to respond.
Making sure your dog receives plenty of exercise can have positive effects when it comes to reducing many unwanted behaviors, and leg mounting is certainly no exception.
Some dogs may be more likely to mount your leg when they have excess energy, but once they’re tired out from playing or a long walk they will be less inclined to engage in the behavior, so it’s worth keeping them active if possible.
If you’re out for long periods in the day, you may want to consider hiring a dog walker who can give your dog an extra walk in the day.
When your dog isn’t allowed to mount their owner or other people, then there’s always a chance that they’ll turn to mounting objects instead.
The best thing to do in this situation is to distract the behavior with a loud noise, such as a stern ‘leave it’ command or a loud clap of the hands to get their attention.
Next, you can use the timeout & redirect method as previously described.
Mounting Visitor’s Legs
When your dog mounts a visitor’s leg, it’s often due to a sense of missing out on the attention they want to receive, or due to the overexcitement and exuberance they’re currently feeling. Even if it wins them negative attention it’s still better than nothing, so many dogs will continue to engage in the behavior regardless of how it’s received.
Additionally, your dog may have learned that they aren’t allowed to mount your leg, but they don’t necessarily know the same rule applies to your guests, too. So what can you do?
In general, you can apply the same timeout & redirect tactics as described earlier in the guide. If your guest is willing to help you out, you can make some excellent progress in training your dog to no longer engage in this unwanted mounting behavior.
It can also be very useful to keep your dog on a leash because it makes it much easier to pull them away from your guest if the mounting behavior starts.
Redirecting Your Dog’s Energy
Ultimately, giving your dog a better outlet for the excess energy they’re feeling is a great way to reduce the chances of this behavior occurring. If your dog is bored, then having some fun toys to play with can be a great idea, and these toys also give you something to distract your dog with after you’ve removed them from your leg!