Dogs are always doing things that make us scratch our head and wonder “why are they doing that?”. They smell each other’s butts. They hide treats in the couch. Some dogs also hump their bed. It can leave you feeling bewildered and more than a little embarrassed, but it’s well within the realm of normal dog behavior. 

Why does my dog hump his bed?

Dog’s have their own preferences. Some dogs barely hump at all. Others seem to hump everything. Still, others choose a treasured object and hump that. For some dogs, the bed is the object of their affection. There are a few reasons your dog might choose its bed to hump. It belongs to them, and it’s there when they need it, so it could simply be convenience. Beds are soft and the right height to hump, so it likely feels pleasant to them as well. But why is your dog humping anything at all? 

Sexual Desire

The most obvious reason is sexual desire. Dogs that aren’t spayed or neutered are more likely to hump out of sexual desire. However, even fixed dogs can hump out of sexual arousal. This is more common in young dogs, but it can occur in older dogs as well. You might be surprised to learn that sexual desire is often not the reason dog’s hump. 

Dominance

Dogs are pack animals, which means they have a social hierarchy. Dogs can assert dominance in a number of ways, including humping. Older dogs are more likely to hump to assert dominance than younger dogs. It can be a dominant behavior when one dog humps another dog, but what about when it’s humping the bed? It can still be a form of dominance. It’s your dog’s way of saying “This is my spot, and I’m the king here”. 

Playfulness

Humping can simply be a sign of playfulness. When dogs play, humping is often part of their play, along with chasing each other. It’s a natural instinct that begins when they are puppies, and for some dogs, continues into adulthood. A dog may hump its bed because it’s in a playful mood. It could also do it as a way to signal that they want to play. 

Hormonal changes

Just like humans, dogs experience hormonal changes that can affect their behavior. Male dogs experience puberty. The increase in testosterone can cause them to be more aggressive, dominant, or sexually aroused. Female dogs have heat cycles, which also increase hormones related to sexual arousal. These changes occur between 7 months and 2 years of age. If your adolescent dog begins humping its bed, this could be the reason. 

Medical Issues

Some medical issues can cause your dog to hump. Urinary tract infections, skin allergies, prostate problems, and painful erections can also cause your dog discomfort in their nether areas. They may hump their bed in an attempt to relieve this discomfort. 

Why does my dog hump his bed after dinner?

Your dog seems well behaved throughout the day, but just can’t resist some bed love after dinner. There are a few reasons why your dog might be humping its bed with a full belly. 

Excitement

Dinner time can be stimulating and exciting for your dog. Some dogs hump when they get excited. Excitement is a form of arousal, and it’s closely tied to sexual arousal. Horror movies and theme parks are great places to take a date, because these activities are exciting. And excitement tends to lead to sexual excitement. Dogs need a way to show their excitement, and humping their bed might be their preferred method. 

Comfort

Having a full belly brings a feeling of comfort. We might curl up on the couch with a blanket, but some dogs prefer to hump their bed instead. It can be a way to express happiness and pleasure with their situation. 

Habit

If your dog just happens to hump its bed after dinner a few times, it continues doing so out of habit.. Dogs are ritualistic. They have many rituals that you may or may not notice. Burying a bone, digging after pooping, or sniffing another dog are all ritualized behaviors that dogs do out of instinct. However, anything your dog does repeatedly can become ritualized, which makes the habit difficult to break. 

Why does my dog hump his bed at night?

You find your dog getting busy with its bed after the lights are out. Does your dog get romantic notions at night? Does it wait until nighttime to hide its behavior? Why does your dog hump its bed at night? 

Anxiety

If your dog has separation anxiety, it might hump its bed as a form of comfort. If separation anxiety is the culprit, you’ll notice your dog is distressed when you leave the home or when you return. Dogs that have clingy personalities are more likely to have issues with separation anxiety. 

Privacy

Some dogs prefer privacy for their humping. This isn’t because they have some sense of moral shame. It’s usually so they don’t get scolded. If you scold your dog for humping, it may hump its bed at night so it doesn’t get caught. 

Boredom

If your dog gets bored at night, he may hump his bed. Just like people, dogs need physical and mental stimulation. If they don’t get enough stimulation during the day, they may hump their bed at night as a way to break the monotony or release pent-up energy. 

Why does my dog hump his bed after a walk?

 A nice walk should be just what your dog needs to relax and feel content. So why does it hump its bed after a walk? 

Overly Stimulated

If your dog is easily stimulated, it may get overstimulated on walks. This usually occurs with dogs who have a nervous or excitable temperament. Vehicles, new smells, and other people can all provide your dog with stimulation. Stimulation is important for your dog’s physical and mental health, but it can get too much of a good thing. 

In this case, your dog will hump its bed after a walk as a way to relax and relieve anxiety. It’s comforting for them. 

Anxious

Some dogs get overstimulated on walks, while others get anxious. These dogs are typically high-strung and easily startled. The loud noises of vehicles going by is often what causes this anxiety. If walking makes your dog anxious, they may turn to their bed for relief. The activity feels nice and can help them relax. The physical stimulation can help them calm their mind. 

Happiness

If your dog seems happy after a walk, humping their bed might be their way of expressing it. Just like wagging their tail, humping can simply be a sign that they are happy. It’s their way of showing joy and excitement. 

Not Ready for Walk to End

If your dog didn’t get enough exercise during the walk, they may hump their bed as a way to release more energy. If your dog still seems excited and ready for action at the end of the walk, this might be the case. 

Is it okay to let your dog hump?

This depends on personal preference in most situations. You probably don’t want your dog humping his bed in the living room when you have company over. You don’t want your dog taking a ride on your leg either.

Is it ok to let your dog hump his bed or other object considered his? Yes, as long as you are comfortable with it. Dogs are intelligent enough to understand basic boundaries. With a little training, you can teach them you can hump your bed, but not the cat. 

Pros of Letting Your Dog Hump

It’s natural and instinctive. Your dog could be humping for a number of reasons, some of them psychological. Not allowing them to hump could be taking away their comfort mechanism. Young dogs are likely humping due to hormones and sexual excitement. If that’s the case, it will pass, or at least slow down, in time. No matter what age your dog is, it’s usually ok to let them hump as long as it isn’t causing any issues. 

Cons of Letting Your Dog Hump

There is a possibility they may hump at an inopportune time, particularly if they’ve recently started the behavior. Dogs hold no taboos about humping, so you’ll have to let your dog know where and when it’s ok. Like with any type of training, accidents can happen. 

The other concern is that male dogs in particular can get irritation from frequent humping. Too much friction can cause an uncomfortable situation. In most cases, this simply curbs the dog’s humping temporarily. In rare cases, the penis can’t retract, which requires veterinary treatment. This is usually not a concern unless your dog is obsessed and humping its bed very frequently. 

What should I do about my dog humping his bed?

Assuming that you want your dog to stop humping his bed, there are several things you can do to stop the behavior. How long your dog has been humping his bed will play a large role in determining how much time and effort it takes to get them to stop. With any unwanted behavior, the sooner you take action, the better. 

Check for Physical Issues

The first thing you should do is rule out any physical causes. If you notice changes in bathroom habits, fatigue, changes in appetite, or pain, take your dog to the vet for a checkup. If your dog is frequently licking their private parts, this can be an indication of a medical issue as well. 

Are Your Dog’s Needs Being Met?

Is your dog getting enough exercise and mental stimulation? If your dog is humping out of boredom or excess energy, more exercise is a good starting point. Puzzle toys are an excellent way to provide mental stimulation. You’ll also need to ensure your dog is getting enough attention. 

Anxiousness or Stress

Does your dog seem anxious, stressed, or overstimulated? If your dog humps as a way to relieve stress or anxiety, scolding them can make the situation worse. Be firm but gentle when they hump, and redirect their behavior. If you notice signs they are getting nervous, help them calm down before they begin humping. In severe cases, your vet can prescribe medication for anxiety.

If you can pinpoint the cause of anxiety, you can work to eliminate it or desensitize your dog. Does it encounter too much stimulation on walks? Is there a new pet or family member? Is your dog bothered by the noise or activity in the house? 

Behavioral Training

Behavioral training can help you stop your dog’s humping. The best way to do this is to use a command to get them to stop humping when you catch them in the act. “Stop” or “Leave it” are good choices that can be used in any situation when you want your dog to stop what it’s doing. 

When you catch your dog humping, use the command. When they stop and turn their attention to you, give them a treat. This only works if you are consistent and do your best to catch your dog anytime they are humping. 

Don’t Give Them the Opportunity to Hump

If your dog humps its bed at a certain time like after a walk, then you’ll just need to keep them occupied during that time. Give them some pets or a toy and don’t let them near the bed when it’s their usual humping time. If it occurs because of excitement, keep the environment calm. If they aren’t ready to settle down, play with them for a bit. 

Remove the Bed

If the bed is the sole object of your dog’s affection, removing it can stop the humping. You can try replacing the bed with a new one. Your dog may not be interested in humping the new bed. However, if the dog is humping because they are stressed or anxious, this could worsen the situation, because the bed is a source of comfort for them. Think of it like a child with a favorite blanket as a comfort object. 

Get them Spayed or Neutered

If your dog hasn’t been spayed or neutered, it can cut down on humping significantly. Studies have shown this can reduce humping by about 50%. If your dog hasn’t ritualized the behavior, it can stop it completely. If they have, it may still cut down on the frequency. 

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.