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A dog humping and lickings its owner

My Dog Keeps Licking Me and Trying To Hump Me?

To understand why “my dog keeps licking me and trying to hump me,” you first need to understand the two behaviors: Humping & Licking.  If the behaviors are occurring at different times you need to look at them independently. In this article, I review why do dogs hump. Then I review why do dogs lick. Finally, when cross examine the causes to both behaviors you will get your answer to why “my dog keeps licking and trying to hump me.”

Why Do Dogs Hump?

Dogs hump for two overreaching reasons. The first is chemical, where the the body’s biomechanics is causes the reaction. A dog can not control chemical reactions in their body. The second reason dogs hump is environmental based. Environment based reasons can be altered using behavioral modification techniques, Vet intervention or changing your dog’s surroundings.  

High blood pressure and the environment are the two reasons for humping.

High Blood Pressure & Heart Rate

Elevated blood pressure causes blood to flow into the genitals. This blood flow can cause the “red rocket or lipstick” in male dogs. However, blood pressure and heart rate can be affected by many factors. To stop your dog from humping, you need to determine what is causing the high blood pressure and heart rate.

Excitement is caused by overstimulation. Excitement is the most common reason for why dog’s hump. When a dog is overstimulated, its brain gets flooded with hormones. These hormones cause their heart rate and blood pressure to rise. Excitement can include:

  • Seeing their favorite person.
  • Eating a delicious treat.
  • Seeing another dog.
  • Hearing the car beep, which could mean a road trip.
  • Anything pleasurable. 

Frustration is different from excitement because of the trigger. A negative trigger causes frustration, while a positive trigger causes excitement. Frustrating triggers can include:

  • Restricting movement through a leash or harness
  • Restricting toys 
  • Restricting treats
  • Not Understanding A Command

The difference between frustration and excitement humping gets confusing. Frustration can occur directly after excitement. The most common occurrence is when you are walking your dog. Your dog sees another dog and gets excited. You do not allow your dog to meet the other dog, which builds frustration. If your dog humps you, it might be hard to determine the cause. The way to tell is the difference is what happens when your dog is allowed to see the dog. If he humps, then it is excitement. If not, it was frustration. However, frustration can be seen more clearly in training sessions. For example, you are teaching your dog a new trick. After ten minutes of training, your dog does not understand what you want. He will become frustrated that he is not getting it. So, he may start humping you to release that frustration. 

When a dog is stressed or anxious, its nervous activates the sympathetic nervous response. This system is responsible for fight or flight. The system does the following:

  • Dilates pupils
  • Accelerates heartbeat
  • Raises blood pressure
  • Contracts bladder
  • Stimulates orgasm
  • Stimulates glucose production and release

To help alleviate your dog’s anxiety, you can give him a massage. Massage activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest and digest system. 

Dogs will hump other dogs when they are playing. Play can be confused with excitement. A play session will raise the blood pressure and heart rate. This effect is due to physical activity, not overstimulation. Your dog does not have to be overstimulated to have high blood pressure. But play will always raise their blood pressure and heart rate.

You can expect humping in unaltered dogs. The vet removes the entire reproductive tract surgically. Therefore, your spayed dog no longer has ovaries, and your fixed dog no longer has testicles. Fixing a dog reduces its ability to produce estrogen, testosterone, or go into heat. Testosterone is one of the hormones that stimulate the male sex drive. Therefore, if your dog is unaltered, he is more likely to show sex drive traits. However, humping in this manner is typically only with other dogs.

LOKI THE AGILITY CHAMPION

Can You Explain Each Situation

Situation 1

My dog Loki is an agility champion. We compete across the nation and have been doing so for years. Yet every time we finish a race, Loki starts humping me. He just ran as fast as possible, which raised his heart rate. If Loki humped me every time he finished a course, you could reason that play is the cause of his humping behavior.

Situation 2

However, Loki does not hump me after running during practice, which means it is something else. When he completes the course perfectly, I jump up and down, telling him what a good boy he is. Everyone is cheering and clapping. I walk toward his leash, telling him how he will get a treat. And BOOM, Loki starts to hump my leg in front of hundreds of people. Am I embarrassed? Somewhat! Angry? No! Is Loki the only dog to do this in agility? Not even close. What was the cause, Excitement, Frustration, Anxiety, Or Play? If you guessed excitement, you guessed right. The jumping up and down created excitement. So, I have had to temper my excitement if I wanted him not to hump me.

Situation 3

Now, let us run that scenario again. We run a race, and Loki misses the weaves. So, I restart him at the beginning of the weaves, and he tries again. Unfortunately, he exits halfway through the weaves. So, I reset him, but now he entered on the wrong side. So, I started him one more time. And he starts humping me!!! This hump is currently out of frustration, not excitement. He is frustrated that he must keep doing this obstacle.

Situation 4

Now lets see if you can figure this one out. I am at the competition. I let Loki out to start his warm up and he starts humping me. Why do you think he did this.  He was not physically active so its not play. He wasn’t denied anything so its not frustration. Is he excited for the race to come? Maybe, but there is a difference explanation. I was a college track athlete. I ran the 400-meter dash. So, you would think I would have learned to control my pre-race anxieties. But I have not. I have even termed it was the Pre-run-runs—which is why I spend hours in the bathroom before agility runs. Loki is very bonded to me, so he quickly notices my emotions. I am pacing back in forth in front of his cage. I am talking one hundred miles an hour to my husband. I am feeling a lot of anxiety about the competition. I let Loki out to warm him up. Loki’s blood pressure and heart rate are elevated because of my own emotions and he wants to release the tension. The best way to release that tension is to get a good hump session. The best way to describe why Loki humped me was due to anxiety.

Environment Based

Your dog may hump you because of the environment. They may feel unsure about the environment, or something in the environment is encouraging the behavior.

Dominance is another way to say asserting status. However, asserting might be the wrong word. Instead, they are testing status. Dogs do not just go around asserting dominance for no reason. Instead, dogs hump each other to see which dogs will allow it. For example, a dog who is unsure of its status in the pack may start humping other dogs to determine his status.

Some dogs will hump their owners because their owner encourages it. They either encourage it through food, praise, or play. A dog may use humping to annoy you into getting what they want. Do you give your dog a ‘bugger off bone,’ play with them, or take them outside? All of these are an encouragement to do the behavior more often.

Your dog could have the following medical conditions

  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Persistent Erections
  • Skin Allergies

Sometimes dogs get into patterns or habits. Therefore, the current reason they hump is not rooted in raised blood pressure, status, or attention. The keyword there is current. Your dog most likely humped out of one of those reasons, which allowed it to be a habit. Once it became a habit, your dog had no reason to do it besides those routines feel good.

Three common questions asked about humping

Is Humping Gender Specific

The only reason humping would be gender-specific if it were hormonal-based. All other reasons can apply to all genders of dogs.

Do Dogs Hump Humans For Dominance

No status humping is interspecies only. Interspecies means they do not hump other species out of dominance.

Humping Innate Objects

Most object humping is caused by being in the wrong place at the wrong time or habits based. For example, if your dog is excited, frustrated, or playing, the closest object might be a victim of your dog’s humping. If your dog is excited to see that object, it might also cause humping. In addition, if your dog has gotten into the routine of humping a specific thing, they might just be patterned. It would be best to throw out that object.

Specific Situations Where Dog Humps

  • After Playing (Playing)
  • Before Bed (Excitement)
  • When He Doesn’t Want To Do Something (Frustration)
  • When He Wants Something (Frustration)
  • After Eating (Excitement)
  • The New Baby (Attention or Status)
  • Body Part (All The Above)
  • Whining & Humping (Attention or Anxiety)
  • Biting & Humping (Attention Or Frustration)
  • A Scary Dog (Frustration, Anxiety, Status)
  • A New Dog (Frustration, Anxiety, Status)
  • A Death In The Family (Anxiety)
  • Parents Fighting (Anxiety) 

Problem With Excessive Humping?

If your dog is humping you and you have a problem with it you first need to determine the cause. Only then will you be able to stop your dog from this unwanted behavior. 

Excitement

If your dog humps out of excitement, you will have issues with novel things. Novel things mean new house guests, new locations, and new dogs. The best way to treat a dog with excitement humping is to reduce the trigger. You do this by reducing it to where the dog is no longer humping. Then gradually increase the strength of the stimulus over many sessions. For example, change sides of the sidewalk when you see an oncoming dog. After a few repetitions you can move off the sidewalk instead of crossing the street.

Play

While humping is a typical play behavior, most dogs do not accept it from strangers. For example, my two Aussies will hump each other during play. They both allow and enjoy it, but they are housemates. Play humping is permitted because they know each other. However, if a random dog or human started to hump them, they would take it as aggression and respond accordingly. A dog who humps strange dogs during play is very poorly socialized. It is considered rude and will not be tolerated by secure dogs. Of course, submissive dogs might allow it, but that does not make it right. It is rare for a dog will hump a human out of play. Instead, it is usually related to excitement. If your dog is humping strange dogs, you need to identify what he does right before he performs the behavior. Then you need to intervene with either a cookie or throwing a ball. You do not want him to get in the habit of humping strange dogs. Another way is to let a dog correct him, but that is not fair to the other dog and can be dangerous. 

Habit

It may be a habit if your dog is humping for no reason. In this case, you need to remove all triggers and respond neutrally to humping. Neutral means not reacting. Over time the behavior will diminish. The behavior will not disappear in one day but will reduce in frequency over months or years.

Which Dogs Are Prone To Humping?

  • Unaltered Dogs
  • Poorly Socialized Dogs
  • Dogs Who Are Cooped Up All Day
  • Dogs Who Are Learning A New Behavior
  • Anxious Dogs
  • Rescues Entering New Homes
  • Dogs Who Have New Housemates
6 types of dogs who are more at risk for humping problems

Should I Allow My Dog To Hump?

Usually, no. But I allow Loki to hump me in agility trials out of excitement or frustration. That is because I could have been better at identifying his trigger. So, in agility, I do not jump for joy anymore. In addition, I usually look for other stressor behavior when I think he is frustrated. This can include itching his ear or nose licking when we struggle with an obstacle. I typically do not let Loki hump me out of anxiety because I use different methods to calm him down. Methods like canine massage therapy.

How To Stop Humping?

  • Introduce a new dog or baby slowly
  • Do Not Yell At Them
  • Fix Your Dog
  • Act Calm
  • Desensitize Your Dog To His Environment
  • Avoid Triggers
  • Redirect The Behavior With Toys 
  • Redirect The Behavior With Training
  • Do Not Yell At Them
  • Proper Socialization
  • Identify Precursors and Stop Play
  • Redirect The Behavior With Toys 
  • Redirect The Behavior With Training
  • Do Not Yell At Them
  • Ignore The Behavior
  • Do Not Yell At Them
  • Do Not Reward
  • Mentally Stimulate Them With Sports & Training
  • Canine Massage
  • Crate Time
  • Turn Off The Lights
  • Turn The T.V or Radio Off
  • Do Not Yell At Them
  • Be Consistent With Boundaries
  • Avoid Triggers
  • Do Not Yell At Them
  • Rule Out Medical Issues With A Vet
  • Teach Off 
  • Teach Leave It
  • Do Not Yell At Them

Why Do Dogs Lick?

If your dog is licking you excessively there are 13 main reasons for this behavior. In order to understand why your dog keeps licking and trying to hump you, you need to understand the roots of the licking behavior.

Licking for taste is the most common reason dogs will lick you. Simply put, they like the taste.  You already know that taste is primarily due to smell. Dogs have over three hundred million olfactory receptors. The quantity of receptors means they smell better and taste better.

Our hands carry thousands of flavors from the day. Our dogs enjoy the taste and can tell what we did by licking our hands during the day. Our sweat has chemicals, and hormones also indicate our mood. So, Licking and tell them a lot about our current mental state.

Dogs that lick surfaces excessively could have gastrointestinal disorders. Treatment of the underlying problem is likely to resolve the behavior.

Dogs that have dementia will lick to soothe themselves. For example, they are confused or frustrated. The act of licking releases feel-good hormones. These hormones combat the stress that dementia causes.

Licking is mentally stimulating. It is something to do. If your dog is licking your hand due to boredom, you should start entertaining your dog more.

Licking is soothing behavior. Therefore, if your dog is in pain, they may do it to release happy chemicals which dilute the pain.

Sometimes humans like to be licked by their dogs. Therefore, they allow it and pet them while they are doing it. This petting is a reinforcer that will encourage the behavior to occur more often. In addition, our dogs will lick us because they need food, water, or play. Dogs will do behaviors until they find the right one to communicate to us their needs. For example, if your dog licked you and got the water, they will continue to lick you every time they are thirsty. In other words, they trained you to do an action when they lick you. The typical action is usually done to obtain attention, but it can be done to get other basic needs.

One way dogs greet familiar dogs is by licking them. Understandably, they do not do this behavior with unfamiliar dogs. In addition, dogs will show affection by licking their owner or other housemates.

A dog will lick you when you are sad because they have learned that licking is soothing. Your dog wants to soothe you and therefore start licking you. Your dog will put their head on your hand, reach out a paw, or give you their favorite toy. All the listed things are things that soothe them.

Licking is also a submissive behavior to indicate that they mean no harm to other dogs.

Licking is a behavior dogs do to each other to tell them to leave them alone. Licking is called a calming behavior. They typically lick their nose to tell other dogs they are uncomfortable. Other dogs respect this signal because it predicts aggression. Aggression is likely to follow if they do not heed the warning.

A dog will instinctively lick their wounds. Therefore, if you have an open wound, they may lick it. There are healing capacities in their saliva, and it can help cleanse the area.

Like humping, dogs may lick because they have been patterned to do so. Dogs like routines, and it may just be ingrained in them.

Problem With Excessive Licking?

Excessive licking is usually only an issue if it bothers the human. For example, I let my dog lick my hand because it is a calming behavior for him, and it feels good.

Sings Of Stress In Dogs

  •  Pacing, circling, and other obsessive behaviors 
  •  Excessive panting 
  •  Excessive barking, howling, and different kinds of vocalizations 
  •  Destructive behaviors like excessive chewing or digging
  •  Having accidents indoors 
  • Drooling 
  • Insomnia 
6 signs of anxiety or stress in dogs

My Dog Keeps Licking Me and Trying To Hump Me?

So now that you understand why dogs hump and why dogs lick you can answer the question why “my dog keeps licking me and trying to hump me”. In order to do that you need to rule which two behaviors do not match. In this section I review which behaviors are not compatible which leaves the only possible explanation of why “my dog keeps licking me and trying to hump me”. 

humping with licking only has 6 possible causes

Possible Cause Why Your Dog Is Licking & Trying To Hump

Dogs will hump out excitement. We also found that licking is a form of greeting. A dog is usually excited when you first come home, which can cause this behavior to occur. Excitement and greeting are the most common reasons dogs lick and hump their owner.

Anxiety is the second most common reason dogs lick and hump you. Both behaviors are a release of tension built by activating the fight or flight response. I highly recommend a canine massage to alleviate anxiety. Massage gets your dog out of the sympathetic response if this is the case.

Dogs will hump out frustration but will also lick to soothe their feeling of frustration. This behavior is widespread in situations where you are not letting your dog do what he wants.

If you encourage your dog to lick or give your dog attention when humping, they may continue the behavior to get attention.

Humping is normal behavior, and licking is a way to initiate that they mean no harm. Therefore, humping could be an indication of play.

Lastly, the habit of humping and licking might be your dogs’ go-to behavior in certain situations.

Not The Cause Why Your Dog Is Licking & Trying To Hump

Since humping and licking both have medical components, you might think they match. However, both licking and humping indicate different medical issues. Therefore, it is doubtful your dog has both conditions and displays the behavior simultaneously.

It is unlikely this to be the cause because licking is submissive and humping is aggressive. Therefore, these two reasons directly oppose each other.

Hormonal is directly related to not being fixed. If your dog is neutered, the hormonal cause is not why they are humping and licking you. Even if you have fixed your dog, licking is not related to testosterone or estrogen.

While licking does provide you with this information, humping does it. The two behaviors seem unrelated.

Healing wounds only applies to licking. Therefore, the fact your dog is humping your rules this one out.

Taste only applies to licking, which means that humping is unrelated. So, while your dog may be doing both behaviors independently, it is improbable.

Licking indicates that a dog wants more space; however, humping contradicts this signal. Thus, it is doubtful your dog is humping and licking you for this reason.

Empathy only applies to licking and is not related to humping. If anything humping is an aggressive behavior.  Therefore, it is improbable to cause why your dog keeps licking you and humping you.

Dogs can lick out of boredom. And while your dog may learn to hump when he is bored, it is due to lack of attention rather than boredom.

Closing Thoughts

Answering “why my dog is licking and trying to hump me” you first need to decide is if the licking and humping are occurring at the same time. If so, then there are only a few possible reasons listed above. However, if they are occurring at different times they may be independent and you need to look at each reason. 

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