ôô

Does Size Matter? Humping a Much Smaller Dog

Dogs often hump each other. But what if a 25-pound dog is humping a 6-pound dog? Learn when it’s okay to let dogs hump, and when you should step in.

By
Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA,
Episode #193

Does Size Matter? Humping a Much Smaller Dog

This week, a listener question. Lee writes about a “HUGE disagreement” with her fiancé, Jim. Jim’s 3-year-old Boston Terrier, Ralph, weighs 25 pounds and he’s always humping Lee’s 8-month-old, 6-pound Maltese, Fred. Fred tries to escape, Ralph persists, and of course Lee can’t always be around to bail Fred out. Lee and Jim consulted a dog trainer who told them not to intervene even though Lee doesn’t like seeing Fred get constantly humped. As Lee sees it, everybody who says that has a big dog, and she doesn’t think it’s fair to let a bigger dog treat a small dog “like a rag doll.”

Let me cut to the chase here: Lee is right. Here’s why, and what she and Jim can do to improve the situation.

.

 

I’ve discussed the common advice to “let dogs work it out” before, in the context of housemate dogs fighting. Some of the factors I mentioned then apply in Lee’s situation too: Do the dogs generally get along well? Do they respect each other’s warnings? And is there a size disparity between them?

Persistent humping when the other dog keeps trying to get away is not appropriate. And it may lead to a dangerous fight.

Why You Shouldn’t “Let the Dogs Work it Out” by Humping

The fact that Ralph persistently humps Fred tells me right off the bat that no, the dogs don’t generally get along well. Humping isn’t necessarily abnormal or aggressive, by any means. Dogs may hump because they’re excited (not necessarily sexually) or stressed, and some dogs seem to masturbate with a cushion or other object. Two of my dogs, Izzy and Muggsy, were great pals and sometimes one of them would hump the other during play. But when a dog fixates on one single behavior and repeats it over and over and over again, something’s wrong (just like with humans). That’s true whether he does the behavior by himself or focuses it on another animal.

Pages

About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
The Quick and Dirty Tips Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.