Too Much Lovin’

Gwynn’s milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.  He get-get-get’s them love-drunk off his hump.  But they don’t buy him things, or treat him very nicely.

Elvis, Elvis, let me be, Keep that pelvis far from me

Gwynn wasn’t very old when he met Sadie.  She was (and is) the older woman in his life, a whopping 2 years older than him.  He was smitten from their first meeting.  After a few preliminary dates involving lots of running around and sniffing things, he felt that lovin’ feelin’.  As casual as the stretch-and-drape-arm-around-girl, he leaned his head on her shoulder.  As awkward as the nose-bump of a first kiss, he went for the gold.  He wasn’t sure why he wanted to do it, but he knew he did.

Sadie shot him down so fast, he didn’t stand a chance.  She cut him down to size, and made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that if he wanted to run with her, he’d better keep his paws to himself and his Elvis-impersonator-hips out of the equation altogether.  It was a very impressive and lasting lesson in doggy etiquette.  Once in a while, Gwynn tries again on another dog.  If the other dog doesn’t shoot him down as efficiently as Sadie did, and if he doesn’t get over the urge quickly and move on, I put my own end to his lover-boy routine.

how irritating would it be if this dog's owner just stood by and made jokes about that?

It’s a dog thing, I get it.  It’s called ‘doggy style’ for a reason.  It means they’re trying to dominate, or play or be aggressive, or… whatever the reasoning of the week is.  A lot of dogs aren’t a big fan of having it done to them, but not all of them are good at disengaging from the situation.  So, if Gwynn seems determined to harass one particular dog (regardless of if he’s bringing his hump, his hump his hump his hump! into the situation, or simply worrying at their heels and trying to force play), I disengage him from it.  If he has joined other dogs in ganging up on one particular dog, I disengage him from it.  He gets a break, sitting next to me, or a full departure from the park if the obsession continues after the break.  His actions are my responsibility.

Dogs play ROUGH!  But if one of them lets out a yelp, both of them stop.  They go from 100% movement, gung-ho to keep at it… to stopped and watching each other for a few moments.  This, to me, reads as a “Time out!” called by one of the participants.

Some of Gwynn’s admirers really don’t get it, though.  They get it in their heads that this must happen.  They hear “Time Out”, or “Stop!”, and choose to keep going.  It ruins play-time, since Gwynn can’t go off and play with another dog without being hounded by his fanatical fan.  He wants to disengage, he’s giving the ‘time out’ signs, he’s saying “bugger off!”… the other dog isn’t allowing it.  I blame the owners.  They stand there laughing about it (if they’re even paying attention to what their amorous pooch is getting up to), as Casanodog gets completely obsessed with the game of forced-humping-time.

I’m not saying that people ought to immediately haul their dog away if it starts trying to ‘get on top’… but if they’re being obnoxious, it’s time to take charge, and teach their dog a bit of etiquette.  The issue at hand isn’t one dog’s action – it’s the other dog’s reaction.

What’s your take on this?

ok, so this... this is adorable. As long as he backs off when the creepy orange inflatible gets tired of it.



  1. We only had an issue with a doggie BED. It was the strangest thing. We’d buy one of those beds (we went through 2) from Petsmart and our 1 year old dog would fold it up and hump it. He wouldn’t stop. Eventually, we got rid of both beds and just let him lay on the floor!

    One day, I’m going through the kids toys to remove old stuff and make room for new. I came across a bean bag that was disengrating, the inside didn’t have much foam, so noone wanted to sit on it any longer.
    That became the dogs bed. There’s enough foam and enough give to manuever a nice pit to sink into and he loves it! The best part, he doesn’t try to have an affair with it…

    So Strange.

    Lake Forest, CA USA

    • Gwynn tried that once with his pillow. After a moment, he gave me this horribly embarassed look and walked away from it, like “Oh… i um… thought it might… um… and it … didn’t… so… bye?” Apparently it wasn’t love at first hump, so now he just lies on it. He also briefly tried it with one of his tiny squeaky toys, but it really wasn’t practical. Dogs are strange. Strange and funny, but mostly strange.

  2. Regardless of whether it is out of “dominance,” aggression, sex, or play, it’s a matter of not being socialized enough: The dog doesn’t know how to appropriately initiate play, doesn’t know how to share his guardian with other friendly dogs who want to say hi to the 2-legged counterpart, or otherwise hits over-arousal/over-excitement and acts out of that.

    I do think that it can be managed by the guardian and I think it certainly should — time outs are an efficient way to handle it and I applaud you on that — but what I see happening most of the time is either A) people pulling their dogs off the other dog (or otherwise intervening) which can lead to dangerous drawbacks for the guardian and/or dog or, B) people continually intervene over the course of the dog’s life and don’t seem to think that it can be fixed by teaching the dog to remain under-threshold (in a calm-thinking state) when in the presence of things that cause him to go over-threshold and act embarrassingly over-loving.

    • My issue is definitely with the people who don’t seem bothered by the fact that their dog has formed a limpet-like attachment on Gwynn’s derriere. Regardless of what the solution, they ought to be, in some way, calming their dog down and redirecting the energy they’ve focused on harassing another dog. It stops being play, and starts being this deeply obsessed drive. I like the term over-arousal – that’s exactly what it is – the dog loses control of what might have started off as a brief attempt at… whatever… and can’t calm down and stop on his own, if the situation remains as-is.

      Unfortunately, putting Gwynn in a time-out when he’s getting harassed only leads to the Mr. Friendly dog trying to get at Gwynn when he is with me (and ought to be able to feel safe). I find that people react poorly to being asked to get their dog to back off, almost like it’s their dog’s right to act however he wants while in an off-leash dog area.

      Do you have suggestions for ways to teach a dog to remain in an under-threshold state? Gwynn isn’t exactly Sir Humpsalot (more like, ‘sir gets-humped-alot’), but I might be able to use that with Gwynn’s obsession with squirrels!

      thanks for stopping by!

      • I’m totally on your side about this — people who do not pay attention or do not care to pay attention annoy the hell out of me especially when their dog is the “assaulter.” You’re definitely doing the right thing — it’s just them that clearly aren’t. I don’t know if I was clear about that lol.

        A lot of it relies on the fact that people who have dogs at parks generally don’t understand dog social behavior or actually think it to be something that it is clearly not. So they let the humping run its course and “let the dogs figure it out”. I feel awful for the dogs who are like humping-magnets, which is what Gwynn sounds like to me. Poor dude.

        Ah, squirrel chasing. You can teach Gwynn to remain under-threshold by:
        a) Teaching an alternate behavior that he performs when in the presence of squirrels — a duration Look At Me will suffice. Teach it without squirrels present at first.

        When you’re ready to introduce the squirrels, use very high value treats (that he ONLY gets when squirrels are around) at a very high rate (think: every 1 second) to keep his attention in the beginning.

        b) Starting at a distance. If you see a squirrel at 60 feet, start at 60 feet. When he’s 80-90% successful here (ex. can maintain eye contact for 10 seconds or until you’ve released him from it), move to 50 feet. Gradually decrease the distance between you and squirrel. If at ANY time he does not respond three times in a row to the cue you’ve just practiced at 60 feet, increase the distance again to 55 feet. If he is still unsuccessful here, increase it again.

        Each time that he is released from the eye contact, he should get either a jackpot of those awesome treats (a handful tossed on the ground) or something else that he *really* enjoys.

        Now, it’s a totally different thing to teach a recall off of a squirrel (ie, he trees a squirrel, is barking is fool head off, and you cannot get him to leave the squirrel alone). If that’s the issue, I can help you further if you’d like via email.

        • He is definitely, and unfortunately, a hump-magnet. And, unfortunately, you don’t want to be grabbing someone elses’ dog off your dog, since that dog could react in any way to a stranger trying to pull them anywhere.

          Your tips are great, I’ll have to try to work on that – the squirrels and cats he sees while on leash are definitely the main issue – he needs to calm down about them, because no cat will ever approach a dog whose energy is that high! I might come back to you about the recall, but for now I’ll focus on the extended-look command.

      • Hey, from what this Ximena person is saying, that might work for cats as well? Would certainly help when visiting our extended Hogswatch family?
        Also, really hate it when people let their dogs do the face-bitey stuff… The kind that u usually pull Gwynn back from doing to Charlie? The kind of action that makes the dog seem like he’s trying to say “I SHALL TAKE THE FUR FROM THINE FACE!”

        • It depends on how they’re doign the face-bitey – Gwynn loves a few versions of that game, but when it turns from ‘game’ to something else, yeah, it gets a bit rough.

  3. I’ve heard all the reasonings as to why dogs do this and they all seem to make sense at different points in time. That being said, I really don’t know what motivates dogs to do that with certain dogs, but I usually try and let the dogs work it out for themselves.

    Unless of course there are a bunch of them ganging up on one dog, then I will intervene.

    We have one dog that we walk with that sometimes tries it with Delilah, I let them work it out, she is my scrapper and I know when she has had enough she has no problem putting another dog in their place.

  4. Storm tries to hump Thunder all of the time. It is dominance in her case. We reprimand her because lord knows my sweet male Chessie won’t do it. 🙂 Other dogs try to hump Storm on occasion, say while we are training. Stupid owners have them off lead. She let’s them know right away that is off limits. Doggie communication is interesting.

    • I wonder if it’s just female dogs are better at telling other dogs off about the humping issue. Sadie rarely gets bothered more than once by a humping dog, and it sounds like Storm is the same way, but Gwynn just keeps running away and keeps getting chased. Or we both just happen to have too-sweet-for-their-own-good male dogs

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