The most recent incident occurred when I attended a Dog Lover’s Days event. I had Henry and Reese on short leashes while attempting to speak with one of the vendors. The moment I heard the giggles, I knew exactly what was going on behind my back. I excuse myself from the conversation long enough to lift a humping Henry off Reese’s back. SO EMBARASSING!!!
Sometimes I will take the time to explain to onlookers that this act can be a notion of insecurity. Henry often feels the need to prove his authority. He is the dominant dog. Or, in situations where there is a lot happening and large groups of people and dogs (Dog Lover’s Days), Henry becomes excited! The event triggered a transfer of anxious energy. I hope they believe me when I say that Henry isn’t a horny, exhibitionist of a dog (showoff, yes). Other times I just step between both dogs and walk away as quickly as possible. Only separate dogs if you know they won’t become aggressive towards you for interfering.
When Henry was a puppy, he had a ‘special friend’ we called Mr. Otter. Henry humped the hell out of that Otter. It was a sad day when we had to say goodbye to Henry’s favorite (sex) toy. Henry and I had attended Puppy Training class earlier that evening and during the class, we were told to switch dogs and their toys with someone else in the class. I will never forget the look on the woman’s face when I handed over the leash, and that ‘well-loved’ Otter. It was time for a new toy.
Henry didn’t connect that same way with any of the new toys we bought him.I guess you never get over your first love.
We thought perhaps the issue had stopped when, at seven months he was neutered. We had been advised to wait a while longer (seven months) so Henry would not experience ‘SmallDog Syndrome.’ We were also advised by a trainer to ensure we took measures to demonstrate authority.
-walking through a door first
-eating before serving the dog their meal
-request a ‘sit,’ or ‘wait,’ or another command before rewarding the dog.
We taught the dogs to ‘wait’ at the back door until we release them, and they can run and explore. We also have them ‘wait’ on their bed in the kitchen until their food bowls are on the ground, and they make eye contact with (acknowledge) us before we release them to eat. These are just a few examples of how you can establish your authority – as well as teach good manners to your dog.
Small Dog Syndrome or SDS is the demonstration of aggressive behavior by small dogs in an attempt to show dominance. The syndrome is usually due to a lack of socialization. Definitely not true in Henry’s case.
Perhaps, the demonstration IS for show and Henry feels the need to prove his manhood. Reese wears the boots and is the dominatrix at home. Somehow it seems almost comical to see a small, spayed female attempt to hump a larger dog. A sign of SDS. People tend to think that acts of aggression or dominance, towards the owner, other person or dog may not seem threatening when coming from a small dog. I know a woman, whose small dog will growl at her every time she picks him up. NOT cute and if behavior such as this is left uncorrected, it can escalate. Another dog at our agility club will quite openly ‘Paw himself’ while waiting his turn to run the course. Why? Because it feels good and he can!
The long and short of it is this; Dogs hump for many different reasons:
-Basic Sexual Desire
-During Play (or in an attempt to initiate play)
-As a response to Stress/Anxiety, or Excitement (this can become habitual behaviour)
-Medical issues, such as skin irritations/allergies or urinary tract infections. Other medical issues might also cause this behavior. If you notice excessive mounting, licking, scratching or chewing, visit your veterinarian.
Henry has several of those mentioned above notched into his bedpost.
If nothing else, this display of assumed affection gives me the opportunity to share the information I’ve researched with others.
‘Share the love’ so to speak.