All About Marie

My photo
Animal Files columnist of the Orange County Register; Emmy Award winning producer of Educational Television Programming; Host of "The Pet Place Radio Show" heard world-wide at www.blogtalkradio.com/petplace; click the player below to listen. Producer/Director/Editor of "The Pet Place TV Show" during the 18 years it ran on KDOC TV in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; Wife, Mother of five kids, Grandmother of one baby boy, and pet parent of three cats, two dogs, and a cockatoo.

Listen To The Pet Place Radio Show with Marie Hulett

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dog Humping Friends' Legs



Dear Marie,
I have a small mixed breed dog that has been neutered since he was 4 months old. He is now almost 2 years old. Generally, he is a very good dog but he has one obnoxious and terribly embarrassing behavior. He humps the legs of everyone who comes to visit. He is especially bad when my little nephews and nieces come over. They literally walk across my house with him attached to a leg. If they push him off, he gets right back on within a second or too. The strange thing is, he never tries this behavior on my husband or me so we can’t do any training when we are all alone together. Please help!
Amanda

Dear Amanda,
As you have probably already guessed, the behavior you describe has nothing to do with your dog’s desire to procreate your visitors. In fact, many female dogs participate in this same deed - and I agree, it can be quite embarrassing.

What is happening in your situation is a simple display of territorial dominance. Your dog understands that you and your husband are the leaders of the pack. That is why he never attempts this behavior with the two of you. However when visitors arrive, your dog wants to make it perfectly clear that their place in the pack hierarchy is lower than his.

Some dogs behave in an aggressive and or dangerous fashion to prove their dominant point. Hence, barking at the mailman or even biting strangers who come to the house. Occasionally, mounting behavior does progress to a more aggressive form of acting out dominance; consequently, nipping the “embarrassing” behavior in the bud is very important.

You pointed out that it is difficult to train this behavior out of your dog because your husband and you are never targeted. However guests, especially children seem to garner most of your dog’s unwelcome attention. Therefore, you need to make a list of the type of person with whom your dog is most likely to assert himself. For example, does your dog act out with men? Does he leave women alone? Do the variables height, weight, volume and tone of voice make a difference with whom your dog chooses?

Once you have compiled your data, match real people to those characteristics and assemble a list that contains at least a half dozen names. You’ll need to call each person and ask him or her if they would be willing to help you break your dog of his bad habit. If they have experienced his “enthusiasm” in the past, they will most likely be happy to help you teach your dog good manners.

One “assistant” should visit your home each day. Immediately upon arrival, he or she should be handed a leash. The assistant must than put the leash on your dog and take him for a brisk walk. The key here is a pace too fast to mount a leg. Further, by being the one to leash your dog and hold the leash during the entire walk, dominance over the dog is implied. Of course if children are the walkers, be sure and accompany them but remain a short distance behind.

Upon return to the home, the assistant should engage your dog in various obedience routines such as: sit, stay, down, etc. This portion of the training should span 10 to 15 minutes. The assistant should offer occasional food rewards for good behavior.

Your dog associates dominance with individuals who give him obedience commands as well as food and praise. The walk, followed by obedience training and yummy treats/praise will send the message that the visitor is a dominant individual. If at any time during the visit your dog attempts to mount the assistant, he or she must—without delay—push him away and give him a basic command. “Sit!” usually works best.   Or, releash him and take him on another brisk walk.

To completely eliminate the mounting behavior will take two to four weeks of daily visitor training. Some dogs learn more quickly, and some dogs take longer to get the idea. The more expansive your list of assistants, the better the training. A varied and large group of people who visit and participate, help your dog learn that all visitors should be respected.

No comments:

Post a Comment