Why Do Female Dogs Hump?

Posted: January 22, 2018 in Uncategorized

“Why do female dogs hump?” It is a question that people have asked forever, or at least since antiquated ideas of gender hierarchy took hold of humanity’s fevered imaginations. However, the question is not a lascivious or dirty one, since the reasons for female dog humping are varied. So, why do female dogs hump? First of all, rest assured that humping is a perfectly natural and common activity in both male and female dogs.

Female dogs also hump the same spectrum of things as male dogs; everything from people’s legs to pillows, and from dog beds to other female dogs. Humping, also called mounting, is a learned activity, often taking root well before dogs reach sexual maturity. Humping, pelvic thrusting, or licking at the genital area may indicate playfulness, desire, and stress, as well as hint at medical or behavioral issues that you’ll need to address together.

Why Do Female Dogs Hump? First, Let’s Talk About Sex

why do boy dogs hump other boy dogs

Why do female dogs hump? Photography by Smit / Shutterstock.

As strange as one may find it, female dogs do, in fact, hump. Puppies as young as six weeks old, both male and female, have been observed to engage in humping or mounting activities. Until they reach the age of sexual maturity — anywhere from a year to two years of age — mounting behaviors seem to relate primarily to playful sexual education. As a sexual activity, mounting can be mitigated through a combination of consistent, positive training as well as having your puppies spayed or neutered.

For the vast majority of adult dogs who have been spayed or neutered, humping behaviors may still serve what we would consider to be a sexual purpose, that of autoerotic pleasure. Yes, that’s right, dogs, both male and female, can and do masturbate. Humping is a learned behavior, and, along with licking or chewing at their genital areas, one that they derive pleasure from. Being fixed may prevent a dog from successfully reproducing, but it does not eliminate the joy or relief they experience in the course of genital stimulation.

Female Dog Humping May Stem From Boredom and Stress Relief

Do you leave your female dog alone for extended periods of time? Does she have sufficient toys and other distractions to get her through the day? If not, another reason for your female dog’s humping might be boredom or stress relief. Just as some dogs may bark, bite, whine, howl, rend couch cushions or shoes when they are neglected, so too do other dogs hump as a reaction to ennui or intense stress.

If your dog, female or male, is a habitual humper, you may want to consider establishing a stricter and more regular schedule of walking, running, or interactive play. Engaging with your dog and providing her with a routine can help to eliminate boredom or anxiety as a reason for her to hump objects, people, and other dogs.

Female Dog Humping May Stem From Medical or Behavioral Issues

If your female dog is humping everything in sight, especially if it begins abruptly and is not an occasional or habitual activity, it may be a symptom of a larger and more pressing concern requiring veterinary attention. Physical pain caused by trouble urinating, or a urinary tract infection, may be relieved or soothed by humping anything ready to hand. The same problems may be indicated if your dog begins excessively licking or chewing at her genital area.

Do you have a dog who was a long-term shelter resident or possibly from an abusive or neglectful home? Female dog humping may also be a response to poor socialization or other stressful conditions. Female dogs that routinely hump in social situations — at the dog park, for instance, or whenever a new person visits your home — might have behavioral issues that will need to be addressed through training.

Female Dog Humping May Stem From Force of Habit

The habitual, and incorrect, assumption about humping is that it is a male-centric activity, and one oriented toward establishing dominance. In adult and older dogs, especially in multi-dog households, or in the wild, humping may serve social purposes or reinforce hierarchies. For every other dog, the reasons for humping are as varied as the reasons why people chew on their fingernails. If it is not constant, repetitive, or disruptive, humping is a natural dog activity.

Like any behavior in female and male dogs, humping is learned, either through frequent repetition, external encouragement, or lack of dissuasion. If you have a puppy and his humping behaviors are met with laughter or simply not discouraged, dogs will not learn that humping is a disruptive behavior or an unwanted one.

Tell us: Have you owned dogs, male or female, who got into the habit of humping? How did, or do, you deal with it? Share your experiences with your fellow readers!

Thumbnail: Photography by Jenn_C / Shutterstock. 

Read more about dog behaviors on Dogster.com: 

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While some dogs prefer play to pats, almost all dogs love the occasional kiss or cuddle. But today we’re focusing on some of the most affectionate dog breeds. Their motto? Bring on the sports, but also prioritize smooches!

1. Toy Poodle

Toy Poodle.

The Toy Poodle is one of the most affectionate dog breeds. Photography courtesy Sandy Mainardi.

Que je vous dise sur moi! France claims me and, of course, the French are celebrated for romance and kisses. But on to some history: we Toy Poodles are beloved by the French, but the early ancestors of the Standard Poodle were bred for water retrieving in Germany. Keep in mind that my three varieties (the Standard, Miniature and Toy Poodle) were only grouped together in the mid-20th century. We social and energetic Toy Poodles have provided companionship and warmth to families for centuries. Natural learners, we rock out in obedience work. Just don’t underestimate our enthusiasm for snuggle-time. Most of us (if allowed) will cuddle you all night long.

2. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever.

Golden Retrievers are, unsurprisingly, an affectionate dog breed. Photography courtesy Geri Yaccino.

We’re renowned family dogs these days, but we were developed in Scotland as exceptional gundogs for fowl retrieval. Lord Tweedmouth bred us for water work, strength and yellow shades of coat. I often carry my tail merrily, evidencing my bright outlook on life. Our soft mouths, developed for retrieving, offer tender and delightful kisses. While we save our greatest affection for family, we also typically bestow love on newcomers, too. Come for kisses! I’ll leave that barky guard dog behavior to another breed.

3. Basset Hound

Basset Hound.

Basset Hounds lavish their humans with affection. Photography courtesy Jennie Hibbert, Maple Street Bassets.

Laid-back, congenial and approachable, I give and gather smooches readily. I hold mankind dear to my heart. But don’t let my sweet disposition fool you. I’m distinguished for my sensitive hunting nose. Developed in France for hunting, we trailed small game slowly so we wouldn’t leave hunters in the dust. I thrive on exercise (May I suggest tracking rather than obedience?), but I welcome closeness once we’re home. Along with my slurpy kisses, be prepared for my barks, bays and howls: They’re all basic to the Basset!

4. Vizsla


Vizslas are one of the most affectionate dog breeds out there. Photography courtesy Mandy Heintz.

We’re passionate about both sports and people. Developed to hunt and retrieve in forest, field and water, we’re extraordinary athletes. One of the oldest sporting breeds, my forefathers hunted with Magyar tribes. The Hungarian aristocracy fine-tuned our hunting abilities and cherished us as companions. Our warm natures were cultivated by families who kept us in the households, rather than putting us out to kennels. Today, I’m as eager to give you a smackeroo as to run with you. At only about 50 pounds, I’ll also try to fit on your lap for an extra dose of affection.

5. Bulldog

Bulldog. Photography courtesy Shelby Stewart.

Bulldogs are a very loving dog breed. Photography courtesy Shelby Stewart.Photography courtesy Shelby Stewart.

Although originally bred for hard work, I’ll confess that we’re more tender than tough. In particular, we crave interaction and affection. My ancestors were bred in England to drive cattle and work on farms. In modern times, we’re committed to the sport of companionship. We still boast our beloved under-bite, as well as a trace of lovable stubbornness. But we’re calm and kindhearted with the family, often especially with little children. Together with smooches, we offer snorts, snuffles and occasionally slobber to those we love.

Tell us: Do you have one of the most affectionate dog breeds? Is your dog a snuggler but not on our list?

Thumbnail: Photography courtesy Shelby Stewart.

Why read breed profiles?

Dog breed profiles help everyone, whether you have a mixed breed or purebred dog, to better understand and improve the quality of your dog’s life. If you have a mixed breed dog, read up on all of the breed profiles that make up your dog. Not sure what breed your dog is? There are a number of easy DNA tests out there to help your find out.

Read more about dog breeds on Dogster.com: 

The post What Are the Most Affectionate Dog Breeds? Let’s Meet 5 Cuddly Dogs appeared first on Dogster.

Enamel Dog Pins and Buttons from Lili Chin

Need more flair? Of course you do! Get your flair fix with these ridiculously amazing enamel dog pins and buttons from Lili Chin of Doggie Drawings (one of our favorite-ever illustrators). From goldens to border collies to greyhounds, there’s a pin for every dog lover! Check out all the options available in the Doggie Drawings’ Etsy shop.

Enamel Dog Pins and Buttons from Lili Chin

Enamel Dog Pins and Buttons from Lili Chin

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Dog grooming is a huge business, and many dog owners are excited that their puppy pals should look and smell their best when they go out in public. Of course, not every dog is going to strike a pose on the show stage, and it can be fun to craft your own homemade dog shampoo for DIY dog grooming. These are recipes you can make in the comfort of your home with your partners, friends, kids or other dog owners. There is a homemade dog shampoo recipe to fit any need, any budget, and whatever time you have available.

The ingredients are easy to acquire, most being ready-at-hand in the home, and most recipes are for single use, meaning there’s no need for storage containers. You can try a new one each time you wash your dog. Exactly how to wash a dog is a different matter. As anyone who has tried can tell you, convincing your dog to submit to a bath can be a challenging proposition. Thankfully, making homemade dog shampoo is only as complicated as you want it to be.

How to make homemade dog shampoo: Common ingredients

Jack Russell Terrier getting a bath by Shutterstock.

Making a DIY dog shampoo is easy. Photography by Steve Bruckmann / Shutterstock.

Things as simple as vinegar and baking soda show up as components in many a homemade dog shampoo recipe. Others that can be picked up in grocery stores or drug stores include castile soap, which is olive-oil based, and glycerine, a sugar-based alcohol compound. In many cases, your standard baby shampoo or nontoxic dish soap is often incorporated into a DIY dog shampoo recipe to bind ingredients together. The recipes we’ll focus on here are very simple, and require minimal preparation.

Homemade flea shampoo for dogs

There are several recipes out there for homemade dog shampoo for fleas, one of which is not only very simple to concoct, but is also ideal if you dog has sensitive skin!

This homemade flea shampoo for dogs requires:

  • 1 quart of water
  • 1 cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of baby shampoo or nontoxic dish soap (many sites recommend Dawn by name)

For a lower-volume homemade flea shampoo or for a smaller dog or puppy, try:

  • ½ cup of water
  • ¼ cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup of baby shampoo or nontoxic dish soap

Apply either solution with a spray bottle or a thoroughly cleaned-out condiment bottle to minimize waste. Work the homemade dog shampoo into your dog’s fur, particularly along hard-to-reach areas down the spine, the base of the tail, the chest, and under the forearms, and let it soak in for at least five minutes before rinsing. Comb or brush your dog during that time to remove dead fleas.

Homemade dry shampoo for dogs

If you bathe a dog too frequently, more than once a month or so, you run the risk of drying your dog’s skin. Between baths, a dog’s natural hair and skin chemistry reassert themselves, and you should give them time to do so. One potential solution between traditional baths is a homemade dry shampoo for dogs. These DIY dry dog shampoos tend to involve baking soda, another item found in most homes and easy enough to get at any grocery store. Massaging a dry shampoo into your dog’s skin will give the dog the sensation of being petted and caressed without the resistance you might face in the traditional wet bath scenarios.

Several homemade dry shampoos for dogs also include baking soda. These tend to involve:

  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup of corn starch
  • A few drops of an essential oil –- lemon and lavender seem to be the most popular.

Sprinkle the mixture on your dog and massage it into the dog’s skin with your hands or with a comb or brush. It is best not to use too much baking soda at a time — a cup for a mid-sized dog, half a cup for a very small dog or puppy — and not to apply this method too frequently, since the residue from the powder can accumulate, no matter how much a dog shakes himself afterward. A dry shampoo for dogs is a good stopgap, but nothing beats the fun of having your dog shake water all over you or your bathroom from time to time.

A DIY dog shampoo if your dog has dry skin

A dog in a bath with bubbles on his head.

You can easily make a DIY dog shampoo for dogs with dry skin, too. Photography © MargaritaKeller | Thinkstock.

If you bathe your dog more frequently, or if your dog tends to have sensitive, itchy or dry skin, you might want to try a homemade dog shampoo that will bring some degree of relief. Adding ingredients such as aloe vera gel or glycerine can help relieve itchy and dry skin. Glycerine is a sugar-based, water-soluble alcohol compound, much less frequently found around the house than vinegar or baking soda, but can easily be found in drug stores, pharmacies and online.

A typical recipe for homemade dog shampoos for dogs with sensitive skin involves:

  • 1 quart of water
  • 1 cup of baby shampoo or nontoxic dish soap
  • 1 cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of glycerine
  • 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel

This DIY dog shampoo recipe’s addition of glycerine and aloe vera provide soothing elements for dogs with sensitive or dry skin.

What are your favorite homemade dog shampoo recipes?

Have you ever created your own homemade dog shampoo? Are you a do-it-yourself aficionado? Do you prefer more sophisticated recipes? Do you enjoy the process of creating homemade dog shampoo as much as the results?

If you like putting things to boil, enjoy using specialty ingredients for fragrance and shine, or find that some methods work better for particular breeds of dog, let us know! Please, share your favorite DIY dog shampoo recipe in the comments!

Thumbnail: Photography by toons17 / Shutterstock.

Read more on shampooing and bathing your dog right here: 

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Do you think of your dogs when looking for a new job? More companies are starting to consider the needs of dog parents when designing office spaces and recruiting top talent. Amazon’s Seattle headquarters opened a 1,000-square-foot, 24-hour off-leash dog park last spring for its employees as well as the general public. But if you and your pup are interested in working for Amazon, you might not have to move to Seattle. Amazon just announced 20 finalist cities for the location of its second headquarters, which it’s calling HQ2.

Will Amazon’s Second Headquarters Include a Dog Park?

Amazon's Seattle headquarters include a dog park.

Amazon’s Seattle headquarters include a dog park. Photography courtesy Amazon.

More than 238 cities in the United States, Mexico and Canada applied to be considered for the new Amazon headquarters, which, when built, will bring an expected 50,000 jobs to the chosen area. Many of the finalists on the list are already dog friendly. Austin made the Dogster list of top five dog-friendly cities around the United States. Other dog-friendly cities in the running for Amazon’s HQ2 include Denver, Chicago and New York. Will the new headquarters have an on-site dog park? If the dog park in Seattle is any indication, we sure hope so!

What Is the Amazon Dog Park in Seattle Like?

The dog park is located next to Amazon’s Seattle campus — a great perk for dog parents working at Amazon, which is a dog-friendly office inside, too. In fact, Amazon dogs even have their own employee “about” pageAbout 2,000 dogs join their parents at work at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters and their new dog park has water fountains, platforms for dogs to jump on, and even a treat truck by the local The Seattle Barkery, which makes cakes, donuts and other gourmet treats for hard-working pups!

What Other Companies Offer On-Site Dog Parks?

Dog chasing a Frisbee outside in the summer.

Will Amazon’s HQ2 include a dog park like the company’s Seattle offices? Photography by Ksenia Raykova / Shutterstock.

Amazon isn’t alone in building an on-site dog park for its office pups. Google’s campus in Austin has Pine Patio, a private dog park for employees’ dogs that join them at work on the 29th floor of the company’s office building.

Are Dog Parks, and Dog Perks, the Future of Forward-Thinking Companies?

With more and more businesses recognizing that dogs are important members of employees’ families, and dogs now being welcomed at workplaces across America and the world, businesses are looking for even more dog- and pet-friendly perks. Some companies offer free pet food, discounts on dog daycare and pet insurance, sick time for pet parents to care for an ill four-legged family member, and bereavement time to mourn the passing of a beloved pet.

Businesses must consider dogs to remain competitive in the current job market. It’s no wonder that top companies like Amazon and Google are investing in infrastructure to build amenities like dog parks to keep employees and their dogs comfortable at work. Hopefully more companies will jump on the trend!

Tell us: When looking for a job, do you look for dog-friendly companies? Would an on-site dog park attract you? What dog-friendly amenities would you love to have at your place of work?

Thumbnail: Photography by GoodPhoto/Thinkstock. 

Sassafras Lowrey is an award-winning author. Her novels have been honored by organizations ranging from the Lambda Literary Foundation to the American Library Association. Sassafras is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor, and assists with dog agility classes. Sassafras lives and writes in Brooklyn with her partner, a senior Chihuahua mix, a rescued Shepherd mix and a Newfoundland puppy, along with two bossy cats and a semi-feral kitten. Learn more at sassafraslowrey.com.

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If your dog walked over to a wall, pressed his head up against it and just stood there without moving, you might pass it off as a random oddity or your dog just being silly. However, head pressing in dogs is an unusual compulsive behavior that signals that something is physically wrong with your pup.

Why does head pressing in dogs happen?

A dog pressing his head up against a fence.

A dog pressing his head up against a fence. Photography © MagMos | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

“It’s usually a sign of disease in the front part of the brain, but can also be seen with metabolic diseases,” says Michelle Murray, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM (Neurology), CCRT, owner of NEST Veterinary Neurology in San Clemente, California. “For example, severe liver disease can cause toxin buildup in the body, which causes the brain cells to not function properly.”

Common conditions associated with compulsive head pressing in dogs include brain tumors, poisoning, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), stroke, nervous system infections (such as rabies or bacterial, fungal or viral infections) or an injury to the brain (for instance, if your dog hit or fell on his head).

“I have seen head pressing in dogs most often associated with brain tumors, however, I have also seen it with many other diseases, including immune-mediated brain diseases, infectious diseases, congenital brain diseases and vascular diseases,” Dr. Murray explains. “It’s more a function of where in the brain the problem is, rather than the specific disease itself.”

Head pressing might be accompanied by other symptoms

Head pressing in dogs is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as pacing (especially pacing in circles), changes in behavior, suddenly having accidents in the house, getting “stuck” in corners (seemingly can’t find his way out of a corner of the room), seizures and vision problems.

Are dogs who are head pressing in pain?

Although we know what physical issues to suspect when dogs are head pressing, no one really knows the exact reasons why they express this behavior. “It’s hard to know if the dogs are experiencing pain,” Dr. Murray explains. “Many people with brain diseases complain of headaches. In my opinion, these dogs do not seem obviously [in pain], but could they have a dull headache? It’s certainly possible.”

Do you think your dog is head pressing? See a vet ASAP

If you see or even think your dog is head pressing, do not delay seeking veterinary treatment. Your vet will do a complete physical exam to try to determine what might be causing this behavior. During the exam, the vet will check your dog’s blood pressure and inspect his eyes.

“After evaluating your dog, the veterinarian will probably recommend doing some baseline testing to rule out metabolic diseases, including lab work (blood and urine) and x-rays,” Dr. Murray says. “If your vet does these things and still suspects a brain problem, he may recommend a referral to a veterinary neurologist for imaging of the brain (MRI) and possibly even taking a sample of spinal fluid to look for infections or abnormal cells.”

The prognosis for head pressing in dogs is highly dependent upon the exact cause and how severe the problem is. Because we’re talking about the brain, it’s definitely a serious situation. The sooner you seek veterinary help, the better off your dog will be. “In general, this is a very serious symptom that should be addressed as soon as possible,” Dr. Murray advises.

Tell us: Have you ever witnessed head pressing in your dogs? What was the culprit?

Thumbnail: Photography © freemixer | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Read more about dog health on Dogster.com:

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Brindle is not technically a color, but rather a pattern. Some species other than dogs (such as cattle and guinea pigs) may be brindle. A brindle coat somewhat resembles a tiger coat, although the effect is much more subtle. Typically, black stripes blend into a tan or brown base. Love brindle dogs? These five breeds feature dogs with these colorful coats:

Brindle Bull Terriers

Brindle Bull Terrier.

Bull Terriers can have brindle coats. Photography courtesy Mary Remer and Careen Sutch. M. Nicole Fischer photography. Bull Terrier Club of America.

For those of us in the colored variety (some of us are white), brindle is a much-appreciated color. Everyone knows me for my egg-shaped head, but I’m equally celebrated for my fun-loving, good-humored nature. My English ancestors were Bulldog and Terrier mixes (thus my literal name), developed first for toughness but in time mainly for companionship. We were originally white, but at the turn of the 20th century we were back crossed with brindle Staffordshires for a colored variety. Appearance aside, my versatility is only surpassed by my enthusiasm.  I’m slightly stubborn (or so you say…) with standard obedience, but I’m up for any vigorous adventure you devise.

Brindle Dutch Shepherds

Brindle Dutch Shepherd (short hair).

Dutch Shepherds (short hair) can be brindled dogs. Photography courtesy Moniek de Jager, American Dutch Shepherd Association.

We Dutch Shepherds may have short, long or rough coats, but we are all stunning brindle-colored dogs. Developed in Holland as sheepdogs and all-around farm dogs, we’re faithful, reliable and active. We’ll excel in herding, but we also shine in search and rescue, obedience, protection sports, rally and agility. Perhaps you’ve seen some of my cousins from the Royal Dutch Police Dog Program (Koninklijke Nederlandse Politiehond Vereniging)? Many of these skilled police dogs are a mix of shepherd dog genes (Belgian Malinois, for example). These hard-working crossbred dogs may have different temperaments and physical appearances than us, but we share an admirable work ethic.

Brindle Boxers

Brindle Boxer.

Boxers may sport brindle colors, too. Photography courtesy Robyn Ginther.

My coat is either fawn or brindle colored. When I’m brindle, the stripes may be light or dark and the density of the striping ranges from narrow to thick. Initially a hunting dog, I was also used by farmers and shop owners in my home country of Germany. My work ethic is famous: in the world wars, we worked as messengers and pack-carriers. But don’t over-focus on my athleticism, work drive or courage; I have a frisky, cheery disposition and I’m apt to play the clown now and then as well.

Brindle Great Danes

Brindled Great Dane rescued from a puppy mill.

This brindled Great Dane was rescued from a puppy mill. Photography courtesy Great Danes and Friends Rescue Community and Great Babies Rescue.

We Great Danes can be fawn, steel blue, black, harlequin or brindle-colored dogs. Of course, most humans talk more about our size than our repertoire of colors. Our females weigh 120 (or more) pounds, and our males weigh some 150 pounds. With ties to ancient mastiffs, we Deutsche Doggen were developed in late 18th and 19th century Germany to hunt boar and guard estates. While our big bark competes with our big size, we’re usually rather pleased to greet newcomers (well, unless they’re poaching on our estate I suppose!). Name aside, we weren’t developed in Denmark. Our English name derives from a French naturalist seeing us in Denmark.

Brindle Akitas

Brindle Akita.

Akitas are one of the brindle dog breeds. Photography courtesy Melissa Fischer. Randy Roberts, Roberts Photos. Akita Club of America.

You likely recognize one of my trademarks: my plush tail that curls over my back. Our coats can be many rich and brilliant colors, including white, brindle and pinto. Fearless, loyal and strong-minded, we were developed in Japan as a versatile, courageous hunting and guard dog. I consider myself the strong but silent type; we aren’t typically barky although we certainly keep watch over our families. Did you know we’re a natural treasure in Japan? Maybe in our families’ households here, too!

Tell us: Do you own any brindle dogs? What breed is your brindle dog?

Thumbnail: Brindle Dutch Shepherd (long hair). Photography courtesy Tracy Kaecker, American Dutch Shepherd Association.

Why read breed profiles?

Dog breed profiles help everyone, whether you have a mixed breed or purebred dog, to better understand and improve the quality of your dog’s life. If you have a mixed breed dog, read up on all of the breed profiles that make up your dog. Not sure what breed your dog is? There are a number of easy DNA tests out there to help your find out.

Read more about dog breeds on Dogster.com:

The post Brindle Dogs: Meet 5 Breeds with Brindle-Colored Coats appeared first on Dogster.