Last Updated on August 13, 2022 by The Puppy Mag
Dogs engage in peculiar behavior on a regular basis… I’ve had many owners message us about a raunchy situation whereby their dog starts humping like there’s no tomorrow, but only after eating… weird right?
Why is this something your dog does and is there a reason it commonly happens after they’ve eaten? More importantly, is this something we need to worry about or address? Everything is answered below.
8 Reasons Your Dog Humps After Eating
1. Energy surge
After dinner, your dog has a spike in their blood sugar and is suddenly energized and ‘full of beans’. They have more energy than they’ve had all day and may struggle to know what to do with it. Humping is a fast and furious way of burning off calories and dealing with their newfound vigour.
Certain meals are worse for creating energy surges, notably those containing fast-releasing carbohydrates such as white rice, white potato and anything containing simple sugars. Stay well away from human foods such as cakes or biscuits.
Consider switching to dog food rich in slow-releasing carbs such as sweet potato, brown rice, lentils or quinoa.
2. Attention seeking
If you generally see the evening as a time to relax and unwind, your dog may be feeling a little squeezed out. Some dogs want constant attention and may dislike being ignored while you try and put your feet up for the evening.
They may have learned that humping is a behavior you won’t ignore. If their humping elicits an immediate reaction from you every time, they may see it as a useful way to catch your eye.
While it may seem counter-intuitive, even if the behavior you give your dog is negative, they may still crave this interaction. Rather than shouting at them or pushing them, it is best to ignore them and make light of the situation so they don’t see humping as a big deal.
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3. Asking for more food
After a meal, your dog may not feel fully satisfied. If they are very food driven (think Labrador or Beagle), their main goal after a meal has ended is to try and get more food in their bowl. If a polite whine or bark goes ignored, they may resort to drastic measures.
If in the past you have given your dog food as a means to stop them humping, this is something they will remember forevermore. While, in the moment, it is easy to try and calm your dog down with the offer of a chew or another bowl of food, this only reinforces that humping gets them more food.
Going forward, ensure you never give your dog more food after humping. Ensure they are being fed the required amount of calories each day and consider switching to a ‘satiety’ food to keep them fuller for longer if needed.
While it may seem strange to link humping with anxiety, these two behaviors go hand in hand. Humping is a good release of nervous energy and dogs often hump their owners or other things when very nervous.
Other signs of canine anxiety include:
– Hiding away
– Furniture chewing
If you think your dog is showing signs of anxiety, discuss this with their vet. They may advise you see a canine behaviorist and anxiolytic medicine might be prescribed. For most dogs, a tailored behavioral program can make the world of difference.
Young dogs in particular are notorious for becoming under-stimulated. If it gets to the end of the day and they find themselves at a loose end and bored, they may seek stimulation from a source that is frowned upon.
Without the right mental enrichment during the day, such as food puzzles and mini training sessions, your dog is likely to go on the hunt for something to keep them occupied.
You can combat this behavior by dedicating time to their mental development throughout the day. Provide them with a rich variety of things to do; keeping them on their toes.
All dogs have a need to exercise, though some require a lot more than others. A young Siberian Husky, Border Collie or German Shepherd needs a minimum of two hours of exercise every day without fail. If we fail to provide this, they are going to burn their energy off elsewhere.
Even going one day without providing enough exercise can lead to behavioral issues such as digging, barking or humping. If this happens repeatedly, the behaviors can become habits and can start to occur even when a dog has all of their needs met.
Remember that exercise is not simply a matter of a dog getting from A to B. A repetitive walk on the same route your dog goes every day may not be enough for them. Bring your pet on varied routes and encourage fetching, scenting and herding when possible.
Just like any other mammal, dogs can become aroused and feel the need to hump. While this is more common in intact males who have been near females in season, it can happen to any dog.
There are some medical issues that cause a dog to become hypersexual. If your dog is acting out of character, be sure to mention this to your vet. They will assess your dog for conditions such as an enlarged prostate gland or a urinary tract infection.
For some males, neutering may help to prevent their humping habit. However, this cannot be guaranteed and castration will not always have much of an impact.
8. Pre-sleep habit
It is not unheard of for dogs to develop ‘sleep routines’ and they may develop a habit of humping a pillow or their bed before they doze off to sleep. To them, this is a way of winding down and they don’t see anything wrong with it.
This behavior tends to occur more commonly in those who are stressed or anxious. They see humping as something that is comforting, similar to a child who thumb-sucks or cuddles with a much-loved blanket.
It isn’t ideal for them to rely on humping as a stress reliever and we need to be asking the question: What is the source of stress in their life? It is important we work with them to ensure they feel calm and settled.
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The Bottom Line
Your dog may hump their bed after eating for a wide variety of reasons. This may be something they do infrequently, or it could become a night-time habit. While humping is not always something we need to stop, excessive humping is indicative of an underlying issue.
It is important we get to the bottom of what is driving our dog to hump, as there may be a medical or behavioral problem that needs to be addressed. If struggling to understand your dog, consult with a veterinarian or canine behaviorist who will be able to assist you.
Will neutering my dog stop them from humping?
Most assume that neutering is the solution to humping but this is not always the case. While castration will generally reduce arousal and can lead to less sexual activity, it won’t have much effect on humping caused by behavioral issues or anxiety.
Is humping dangerous for my dog?
Humping rarely poses a threat to your dog, though it is possible for them to suffer injuries and they may develop paraphimosis, whereby the glans penis gets stuck outside its storage position.
Should I stop my dog when they’re humping?
If you try to stop your dog mid hump, they may act out of character and become aggressive. However, you can try to distract them by offering a treat or asking them a command such as ‘Sit’. Try not to make a big deal of it and be sure to offer your dog plenty of other things to do.