You were on the floor playing with your dog.
When suddenly, they grabbed your arm using their front legs and started humping you.
Surprised and confused, you thought to yourself,
“Why is my dog doing that? Should I do something about it?”
In this article you’ll find out:
- 15 weird reasons why your dog humps your arm.
- 11 stress signs that could make your dog act this way.
- 3 reasons for skin allergies that can lead to humping.
- And much much more…
Why does my dog hump my arm?
Your dog is humping your arm because they’re either excited, anxious, stressed, bored, seeking attention, or playful. Other reasons are they have UTI, feel itchy, are newly spayed/neutered or have intact genitals, OC, have prostate issues, aren’t socially trained, or you’re allowing it.
15 reasons why your dog humps your arm
#1: It’s their stress-reliever
“Oh Mom, where have you been all day? I’ve missed you.”
Your pooch must have been under intense stress while you were gone. This is why they couldn’t wait to release it after seeing you.
Note: Your arm isn’t their only target. Next time it can be your leg or inanimate objects like pillows, dog beds, or plush toys.
Stress is a feeling of pressure or strain that’s quite ordinary among dogs.
Other dogs may bark, howl, or whine when they’ve been ignored by their fur parents for a while.
Like us, humans, there are different reasons why your dog becomes stressed.
It’s when you bring a new dog home, seeing that their family member is sick, or hearing neighborhood noises.
According to VCA Hospital, here are 11 signs that your dog is stressed:
Sign #1: Pacing
Walking back and forth as if they’re restless.
Sign #2: Panting
When they feel hot, stressed, or excited.
Sign #3: Shaking
Their “shake it off” behavior is seen when they’ve taken a bath or once they touch the ground after being on the vet’s table.
Sign #4: Shedding
Like how humans lose their hair when stressed, dogs shed their fur too.
It is when you bring your dog to the vet. Or how show dogs become nervous when it’s almost their time to perform their trick.
Sign #5: Whining or barking
Also known as vocalization. Though typical, this behavior becomes intense once your furry friend is under stress. This is also an attention-seeking technique.
Sign #6: Changes in body posture
From the usual weight placed on their 4 legs, a stressed dog puts their weight on their rear legs. Scared dogs also tuck their tails and look stiff.
Sign #7: Hiding or escape behavior
It’s an extension of avoidance behavior. Dogs hide behind their fur parents to cover themselves. Or they escape the sight of their stressors.
Sign #8: Changes in eyes and ears
Shown by the dilated pupils (like us, humans) and blinking quickly while their ears are upright.
Sign #9: Changes in body functions
Dogs are prone to urinating (by marking their territory) when they see a friend. Other changes in body functions include refusal of food or being constipated.
Sign #10: Yawning, drooling, or licking
Your pooch also yawns when they’re bored, or even when stressed, or tired. But a stressful yawn is quite longer compared with a tired yawn.
They also lick or drool excessively when stressed.
Sign #11: Avoidance or displacement behavior
When feeling awkward, or when in a negative situation, your dog often avoids it by turning away, licking their genitals, or sniffing around.
#2: It gives them pleasure
Though humping has always been linked with sexual behavior, in reality, there are several reasons for humping.
Pups as young as 6 weeks old until 2 years old, that weren’t spayed or neutered, are more likely to engage in this sexual behavior.
To them, mounting is like a playful sexual education. Sometimes, it’s even paired with a ‘flirtatious’ body language like a lifted tail or pawing.
But older dogs, despite being spayed or neutered may still derive pleasure from humping.
Your furry friend’s humping is a source of sexual stimulation, just like licking or chewing their genitals.
#3: They’re excited
Occasional humping of your arm is only normal for your furry friend.
Same when they’re stressed, your dog will mount your arm as a response if they’re excited.
They will also aim for the stuffed animals or pillows as the objects of their affection.
It’s normal for your pooch to get excited when someone visits your home. But sometimes it embarrasses you and your dog.
Here’s a video of a dog humping when greeting and some tips to calmly stop them:
#4: They have UTI
Whatever goes overboard is already a cause for concern.
If you see your pooch often humping anything it can get its genitals into, is a cause for concern.
Since your dog is doing it to mask the physical pain that is either caused by urinating problems or urinary tract infection (UTI).
Somehow, humping soothes them and relieves their pain.
Below are the signs that your dog has a UTI:
- Dribbling urine.
- Accidents in the house.
- Bloody and/ cloudy urine.
- Licking around urinary organs.
- Straining or whimpering while urinating.
- Wanting to go out more frequently to urinate.
Note: If you notice your pooch with any of the abovementioned signs, schedule a visit to your vet soon.
Research reveals that bacterial UTI is the most common cause of infection. It affects 14% of dogs in their lifetime.
What causes UTIs in dogs?
Though common, older dogs are more prone to UTI as they reach 7 years old and up.
The dog breeds who usually catch this disease include:
- Shih Tzus.
- Bichon Frises.
- Yorkshire Terriers.
#5: They feel itchy
“Mum, I feel my (toot!) feels so itchy even if I washed it 10 times already!”
Your dog humps your arm to remove their itch from their genital area.
Note: Humping soothes the irritation it can lead to obsessive-compulsive behavior (OCD) if left untreated. If this happens, you’ll now be treating two ailments instead of one.
Another cause of itchiness in your fur baby may come from skin allergies, also called allergic dermatitis.
Here are the 3 main sources of skin allergies in dogs:
Cause #1: Food allergies
Your pooch can acquire food allergies and sensitivities which leads to itchiness. They will show redness or itchiness in their paws and ears along with some gastrointestinal problems.
Cause #2: Flea allergy dermatitis
Dogs also get allergic reactions to flea bites. Since some dogs are allergic to flea saliva, it can be totally itchy. Their skin and tail become red, inflamed, and scabbed.
Cause #3: Environmental allergens
Your furry friend is prone to developing atopic dermatitis. This is due to environmental allergens like pollen, dust, or mold. These are mostly seasonal and can affect their paws and ears.
You might be wondering, “How will I know if it’s just a simple itch or an allergy?”
Below are the signs that your dog is having an allergic reaction:
- Itchy ears.
- Constant licking.
- Itchy, runny eyes.
- Red, inflamed skin.
- Chronic ear infections.
- Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps.
#6: Out of habit (OCD)
Continuing with the above note on soothing irritation leading to OCD…
Your dog feels relieved of the irritation they feel through humping. Pleasure will replace the itch and they’ll associate this pleasure with humping.
This can lead to an endless cycle of itch-hump-joy.
Another cause of OCD leading to a compulsive habit is if they respond due to stress.
#7: Prostate problems in male dogs
For male dogs, humping is a sign of a more serious health concern.
Male dogs are prone to developing prostate problems as they age.
These are the 4 prostate problems that can affect male dogs:
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
- Starts to be noticed at 5 years old.
- The most common prostate problem among unneutered (intact) male dogs.
- Blood in the semen.
- Blood dripping from the penis isn’t associated with urination, pain, or breeding.
Can be managed by: hormonal therapy.
- Quite common in unneutered dogs.
- Sick dogs have fever, lethargy, and won’t eat.
- May lead to death if the infection spreads to the abdomen.
Can be managed by: both antibiotic and hormonal therapy.
- Carcinoma spreads to the bladder.
- Occurs in neutered (not intact) male dogs.
- Detected by: ultrasound-guided biopsy of the prostate.
Can be managed by:
- Medicines but only for a short time
- Surgery will not be helpful.
- Rare but dramatic.
- Cysts form outside of the prostate.
- Detected by: ultrasound or x-ray.
Can be managed by: surgical correction and when the dog is neutered.
Like in #1, dogs hump your arm if they’re bored.
Think about this…
Did you leave some toys for them before you head out?
They can be bored if there’s no physical and mental stimulation for them.
They must’ve felt relieved and energetic again after doing that thing.
Just as you need your daily dose of exercise, so does your pooch.
#9: It’s their kind of play
Dogs have different traits and they have various playful behaviors.
Some hunting behaviors of dogs show their play by chasing, stalking, or pouncing.
Others who are used to fighting display mouthing and wrestling.
Still, there are those who exhibit sexual behavior by humping.
Puppies develop by demonstrating these behaviors and trying out these types of play.
Playful actions such as biting and humping and pretty normal for them.
#10: Poor socialization
Did you adopt your pooch from a shelter?
Chances are, they came from a lonely home where they were neglected.
That’s why they lack proper socialization skills.
Your pooch is still adjusting on how to properly respond to you when you call them.
No worries! Though you can’t make up for the past, you can still teach them the proper and loving way of greeting you.
#11: They’re adjusting as newly-spayed or neutered dogs
Did your fur baby just go under the knife with their genitals?
They’re just playing due to their newly-found freedom.
This is common in puppies after several months of being spayed or neutered.
Spaying or ‘ovariohysterectomy’ is the act of removing the female reproductive organs like the ovaries, fallopian tube, and uterus.
While neutering or ‘orchiectomy’ is the removal of testes among male dogs.
Both surgeries remove the capacity of female and male pooches to breed and propagate.
#12: They seek attention
“Mum/Dad, hello…. I’m here!
“Care for some play?”
Puppies are often guilty of this behavior.
They’ll do everything to get your attention. Even if it means holding your arm with their front feet to get a good grip.
Note: Be assertive to not allow this. If you give in to this trick, it will reinforce their behavior. Then they’ll end up always humping your arm just to demand attention.
Your pooch may be anxious, that’s why they’re resorting to humping.
Experts call this the displacement behavior – a by-product of conflicted emotions.
Imagine inviting your friend for dinner at home. Your dog can have a mixture of emotions.
They can be stressed from seeing a new face and at the same time, excited for dinner. These conflicted emotions then lead to humping either your leg or arm.
#14: You’re allowing it
Your dog humps your arm because you may have unknowingly reinforced their behavior.
Seeing how they playfully hold your arm while humping may have surprised you. This caused you to laugh or even giggle.
End of story.
Your dog won.
And you are still unaware.
#15: Intact genitals
In contrast with #11, dogs hump your arm since they haven’t been spayed or neutered.
You may have thought why do I have to spay or neuter my dog?
When you spay your fur baby, you’re actually doing them (and you) a favor. Since you remove their risk of getting cancer in the females’ mammary and in the males’ testicular.
In a 2013 Pet Health Report by the Banfield Pet Hospital which involved 2.2 million dogs, it was found that spayed dogs live 23% longer compared with unspayed ones.