If your new canine companion is turning out to be quite a lusty puppy, you're going to have to find a constructive way to deal with the little leg humper in your life.
I Didn't Expect This
When preparing to bring home a new puppy, most people think about how they're going to handle housebreaking their new pet. What they don't always realize, however, is that teaching their dog about proper bathroom behavior isn't the only habit that they'll need to work on. In addition to having potty accidents in the house, many puppies have a bad habit of humping their owners' legs, as well as the legs of anyone else who gets near them.
The fact that your dog seems to like humping human legs is actually perfectly normal canine behavior. However, it certainly isn't socially acceptable behavior. Unless you plan to avoid taking your dog for walks in public and you never plan to have guests in your home again, you probably want to find a way to curb your puppy's humping habits.
How to Deal With a Lusty Puppy
Many pet owners inadvertently provide positive reinforcement for undesired canine behavior by paying too much attention to their pets when they are behaving badly. If leg humping leads to continual scolding, petting, holding, etc., the dog will learn to start humping any time he craves attention.
When your puppy starts exhibiting leg humping behavior, it's important to sternly command him to stop. If he doesn't stop immediately, the next step is to isolate him from everyone else. Put him outside or in another room. With time, this will teach your puppy that acting on his humping urges will cause him to be completely cut off from the attention he craves.
By physically removing the dog from the company of the other members of the household when he starts leg humping, you're sending the message that such behavior leads to no attention, which he won't like. This type of behavior modification training can be very effective over time, because most canines will learn to avoid behavior that causes them to be isolated. If you are careful to avoid accidentally reinforcing this behavior in your pet, it's likely that the behavior will go away on its own over time.
It won't take long for you to learn to recognize the signs that your lusty puppy is about to strike. When you notice that your dog seems ready to start romancing your leg, or the leg of someone else, it's a good idea to try to distract him before the humping begins.
If you catch the behavior before it starts, you might not have to resort to isolation. Instead, you may be able to prevent the behavior by engaging your pet in another, more constructive and acceptable, activity. Some dogs can be distracted by a game of catch the tennis ball. For other dogs, this is a good time to practice sit and stay obedience training commands. This can even be a good time to take your dog for a long walk or run to help him to burn off any excess energy.
Signs that your lusty puppy might be getting ready to pounce on the closest leg include:
- Approaching with a vacant stare
- Pawing at one of your legs
- Starting to make humping motions
- Displaying an erection
What About Spaying/Neutering?
In some cases, spaying/neutering can be the best way to put a stop to lusty puppy behavior. However, many puppies exhibit leg humping behavior long before they reach an age where altering is appropriate. It's important to follow your veterinarian's advice regarding when to have your dog spayed/neutered. Of course, if you are planning to breed your dog, the last thing you want to do is have him or her fixed. It's also important to realize that altering your dog isn't guaranteed to put an end to leg humping behavior. With some animals, this type of behavior reflects sexual urges that stop once they are fixed. With others, however, the behavior is triggered by psychological factors, and can continue following castration. If neutering is going to put an end to your lusty puppy's behavior, you'll be able to tell within 90 days following the procedure.
Living With a Lusty Puppy
Dealing with a lusty puppy is a natural part of pet ownership. While all dogs don't exhibit this particular behavioral problem, it is certainly among the most common issues faced by new pet owners. Many dogs outgrow the behavior naturally. However, you shouldn't assume this will happen. It's in your best interest, as well as that of your pet, to utilize constructive behavior modification techniques to curb his socially unacceptable and annoying humping urges.