Blog Pi-Bo

The Doggo Tries to Hump Me. Is it About Dominance?

The desire to hump a leg or other body parts of their beloved master is an absolutely normal thing when it comes to our furry Susans, this kind of behavior is not something outrageous, it is, in fact, quite common. The thing is there is no such thing as morality in the doggo world. We, humans, may understand that peeing in the middle of the bus  is not appropriate as well as making love to your lawfully wedded spouse in the town’s central square. For Susan it’s quite hard to understand why it’s not appropriate to ride her mum’s leg.  

What should one bear in mind in this situation?

It’s not about sex

When furry Edmund starts to hug your leg a bit too lovingly, it definitely doesn’t mean he is trying to romance you, because for dogs sexual and non-sexual arousal go hand in hand (or more likely - leg in leg). 

When Edmund experiences powerful emotions, say, he sees his mum leaving the bathroom, he hasn’t seen her for 3 long minutes (oh, how he suffered!) - he needs to release tension in some way. So, he starts trying to ride you, or his stuffed animal, or his younger brother. This process is called ‘mounting’.  

Almost all dogs do it regardless of their gender, age, breed or the presence of reproductive organs. Strong emotions arise not only out of desire to have sex, but also on many other occasions: during games, walks, greeting guests and many other activities. Everybody gets excited for different reasons. 

This is not dominance.

Dogs cannot dominate over people. Just like they can’t dominate over cats, chickens, horses or kangaroos. In fact, in nature there is no such thing as interspecific dominance. The owner will always be a parent for the dog, and it will not contest this role. 

This misconception that dogs can act dominant over people originated in the 70s as a result of David Mech’s theory. The scientist for a long time watched wolves in captivity and noticed that they  are trying to build rigid hierarchy among themselves. However this theory was soon refuted by Mech himself after he watched wolves in nature. It turned out that in the wild wolves have totally different communication patterns more resembling a partnership within a family. 

Besides, wolves and dogs are not the same species. The theory that dogs descended from wolves has become obsolete. Now scientists believe that dogs have never been wolves and they make a separate species. So, applying dominance theory to dogs makes no sense whatsoever. It’s like drawing direct parallels between us and chimpanzees. 

What to do? 

Since any agitation, even if it was caused by a positive stimulus, is basically stress, it’s better to stop it. To do so, we should first calm ourselves down. If you keep getting nervous and raising your voice, your doggo will find it hard to relax. It’s like if you entered the mall and security people started yelling at you: ‘Stay where you are, don’t move! STAY CALM!’ Most likely, you won’t. So, first, take a couple of slow breaths, calm down, and then you can begin to softly and calmly move the overexcited doggie away from your limb(s). Don’t push it away, no sudden movements. Imagine yourself a superhero defusing a bomb. Slowly move the doggo aside and don’t let it resume the dubious activity. 

Since the pup is stressed and you’ve taken away this particular way to release stress, you absolutely have to offer it an alternative. Otherwise it will just go and use other available relaxation techniques: screaming at neighbors, peeing on your antique Persian rug or eating the sofa. It’s better to give Susan a relaxing massage or a pupsicle (pup’s frozen treat). This will make her humping drive go away in a heartbeat.