My friend has a rescued Lurcher bitch, Daisy, aged about 18 months old. Daisy has been spayed and has lived with Wendy and her family for about six months. Within the last two weeks Wendy's father has come to stay and brought with him Mr Tibbs, an elderly entire male Yorkshire Terrier. Daisy and Mr Tibbs get on pretty well - apart from the odd squabble over food.
In the last few days, Daisy has started humping Wendy's leg! She's quite a large dog so its no joke - and Wendy's worried her young grandsons could be knocked over by this exuberance. Daisy has never exhibited this behaviour before. Mr Tibbs isn't interested in playing with her - although she tries her best to encourage him, and he certainly isn't interested in her in a sexual way either!
Has anyone had experience of this? Is this humping linked to the arrival of a male dog in the home - or is it just coincidence? Why has Daisy suddenly started humping Wendy? Any ideas on how to stop it please?
Rosie Peace, by email
Sometimes dogs can start humping out of excitement or stress, so I would imagine that with the change in routine and general family disruption (even though it is enjoyable having family to stay) then Daisy could be reacting to this.
It is common for bitches to hump, spayed or unspayed, so I’d say that whilst hormones do play a complex part in their behaviour, it may not simply be that it is because there’s a male dog in the house. The only sure way to test it might be to bring another female in, or castrated male, but this is just testing theory and does not really help the current situation.
In particular Daisy needs to be controlled and prevented from practicing on people as children will not be able to control her if she is large. By all means, provide her with a large cuddly toy she can hump as this might help her maintain some enjoyment. As for the human side of the equation, treat her humping behaviour in the same way as you would deal with any other unwanted behaviour from a dog. Put a lead or houseline on her collar so that you can move her gently and calmly away from the situation, teach her an ‘off’ command and reward her well for moving away, or if you cannot supervise her place her in a quieter room with something tasty to occupy her. Try not to pay her too much attention when she does it, and concentrate your efforts on settling her more readily so that she does not reach the same excitement levels. You might want to get an ADAPTIL plug in which is a pheromone therapy that can help create a calming atmosphere as well as putting the above into practice.