Puppy Humping at 12 Weeks: Too Early?

Humping or mounting is a behavior seen in dogs of all ages, but what if you see your puppy humping at 12 weeks? Isn’t that a bit too young?

And at the same time, it can be very confusing for owners because this action isn’t just seen with male dogs; females can also hump!

In fact, some owners will say that their female dog “mounts” them to show that she needs to go outside or wants attention—and this is true.

Humping is a way for dogs to express their emotions without actually using words, so understanding this behavior can be useful in caring for your dog.

Learn more about all of them in this post!

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how to stop your puppy from humping

Why Do Male and Female Dogs Hump?

Humping is a natural behavior in dogs that can be difficult to understand.

For an older dog, it’s often seen as dominance and aggression, but for a puppy reaching puberty, it’s typically just part of growing up.

Many people think that humping means the dog is trying to have sex with another dog or person, but this isn’t always the case!

Humping can occasionally be a sign of a medical problem. For example, it can indicate infection, irritation, or, in male dogs, such as prostate problems.

It is also true that humping can be a sexual, pleasure-seeking behavior in some cases and is more likely to occur in younger dogs who have not been spayed/neutered.

Here are a few of the most common reasons why dogs hump.

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Seeking Pleasure

Some dogs hump just for the fun of it. Masturbation occurs when intact (unneutered) males are prevented from approaching a female in heat, perhaps to satisfy their hormonal urges or simply out of frustration.

Even dogs who have been spayed or neutered will hump for fun. In fact, neutered dogs can still become sexually stimulated.

Developed Compulsive Behavior

Dogs who hump frequently may be suffering from a compulsive disorder.

Compulsive behaviors are repetitive actions that occur in the absence of reward, or when an animal is prevented from carrying them out.

These behaviors are often seen in dogs with obsessive-compulsive disorders or separation anxiety.

In these cases, it is best to seek help from a professional trainer or behaviorist who can work with you on conditioning your dog’s behavior.

Interacting with other dogs

Humping can be caused by increased excitement during play, for example, meeting other dogs at the dog park can be such a joy that your dog’s form of release may be mounting or air humping.

In fact, during play, some dogs will take turns mounting each other, and everyone is fine with it.

There is no need to intervene because each dog respects and follows the rules of play.

Underlying Medical Problems

A dog’s humping behavior can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

For example, excessive humping may be caused by a urinary tract infection if your dog begins to hump frequently and seems in pain when doing so.

If this is the case, please consult with your veterinarian for further testing and treatment options.

Relieving Stress

Stress can be another cause of humping. If your dog is stressed, he or she may initiate sexual behaviors like mounting as a coping mechanism.

This can be caused by factors like boredom, separation anxiety, or even just the stress of being in an unfamiliar environment.

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When Do Male Puppies Go Through Puberty?

Puberty is a natural process that both male and female dogs go through.

Male puppies will begin puberty at around 6-9 months of age, while female puppies will start this phase at around 9-12 months, but this all varies from breed to breed.

Puberty means that your pet has become sexually mature and during this time, your male dog will begin to produce sperm, while for the ladies, they start to go into heat.

All these means that they are ready to mate and reproduce, and of course, all these hormonal changes will bring about big differences in their behavior!

If you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior or physical appearance around this time, it’s likely he or she is going through puberty!

Doggy says, read this too: Potty Training Regression After Spaying/Neutering [Now What?]

What Age Should My Puppy Be Humping?

There is no fixed age when your dog starts to exhibit this behavior.

Instead, you should be aware that when dogs reach sexual maturity, they usually begin humping.

This could be as young as six months old for a small breed.

Sexual maturity in a larger breed may not occur until after one year of age.

This behavior can also be observed before sexual maturity.

If your puppy exhibits this behavior, they are most likely attempting to test their dominance, strength, and playfulness and this is not likely to be hormonally motivated at this point.

When Is Humping a Problem?

Humping between dogs can be a normal part of their lives.

For example, while running and playing, dogs may mount each other in a harmless display of excitement.

However, some dogs dislike being mounted, or in some cases, other dog parents might get offended.

So in order to avoid any potential conflict, it’s worth putting in some effort to avoid even this mild form of mounting.

Humping will also be easier to stop if you catch it early on, rather than waiting until the behavior has become ingrained.

While you may want to laugh the first time you see your dog hump, it’s best to intervene and redirect the behavior right away.

How to Stop Your Puppy From Humping?

What Age Should My Puppy Be Humping?

I think that firstly, you want to make sure that you never punish your pup for humping.

Although it does look wrong and can be embarrassing at times, it is not exactly the wrong action it is performing.

The reason why punishing your puppy doesn’t work is because it only makes him think that something bad will happen if he humps again (which isn’t true).

It could lead to further stress issues down the road, just like how some stud dogs keep missing, which makes breeding very difficult.

Instead, use the following steps to stop your puppy from humping.

Use The Redirection Technique

Redirect is simply another way of saying “do this, not that”.

The key to redirection is to use it early in the process rather than waiting until the deed is finished.

Before your dog gets into the action, redirect it. There is little point in redirecting if it has already occurred.

What you can do is call out your dog’s name in a happy voice (very important!) and distract it with a squeaky ball or another toy.

Create a Barrier

If you have a young puppy, you can create a barrier by placing yourself between your dog and its target.

This is not always practical if the humping occurs in the middle of your living room or kitchen but it does work for outdoor playtime.

In this case, you might want to keep your dog on a leash for a while until the urge passes through and it calms down.

Teach a Command

If your dog is humping, use a command like “leave it” or “off” to stop it.

This can be difficult if you’re not there and someone else has to do it, but it’s important to remember that dogs respond best when they know what they’re being asked to do!

Give it obedience lessons and teach it commands that will help you to control your dog’s behavior in the future and make sure that it doesn’t hump someone else again!

Neutering or Spaying

Another way to prevent your dog from humping is to get it sterilized or desexed.

This may sound like an extreme solution, but it’s actually a very common procedure among dog owners.

A neutered or spayed dog will still be able to hump, but it won’t have the same drive to do so.

It’s also not as likely to hump other dogs, which means that its behavior will be easier for you to manage.

Most owners choose this operation mainly because they do not intend to breed their dogs and to avoid unwanted pregnancies, so if you are already considering all these, neutering or spaying could be a good solution.

Will Neutering My Puppy Calm Him Down?

It’s not a magic solution, but it can help.

Neutering will relieve your puppy of his need to hump, and it will also reduce aggressive and territorial behavior.

The hormone testosterone can make male dogs more aggressive and territorial, so neutering is a great way to prevent this behavior from occurring.

Neutering will not only help calm down your puppy’s humping habits, but it also reduces the chances of marking in inappropriate places (such as on furniture) as well as escaping outside during vet visits or walks.

Your dog’s personality will still remain, but you should also expect that there will be some impact on its mood and behavior.

Understand the best age to neuter a male dog here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is It Normal for My 12-week-old Puppy to Hump?

The fact that your 3-month-old puppy is a puppy doesn’t mean he’s not capable of humping. Dogs can begin engaging in this behavior as early as 12 weeks old, but it usually doesn’t get serious until they reach sexual maturity. Puppies may hump just for fun or to relieve stress, but more often than not these behaviors are harmless and just part of being a dog.

Should I Let My Puppy Hump a Pillow?

It is fine to let them do it once in a while and not let it become a bad habit. There are many other ways to help it relieve stress, boredom, and satisfy its curiosity.

Why is My Puppy Humping and Biting Me?

There are several possible reasons such as trying to get your attention, asserting dominance over you and other dogs, being too excited, bored, or overly sexualized. All these can be overcome by training, but if you suspect there is a medical issue at hand, contact your vet immediately.

Do Male Dogs Change After Being Neutered?

Neutering is a surgical procedure that removes either all or part of a male dog’s testicles. There are health benefits associated such as reduced risk of prostate cancer and testicular cancer but can also have an impact on its self-confidence. You must make sure to give it plenty of love and help it recover smoothly.

Is Mounting a Sign of Dominance?

Mounting is a common behavior in male dogs. It’s often considered a sign of dominance, but not always. Your dog may mount other dogs or people if he feels excited, anxious, or overly affectionate. He also might do it if he has sexual urges but no one around to mate with him. If your male dog mounts another male dog, it usually means that he wants to establish himself as the alpha dog.

In Conclusion: Puppy Humping at 12 Weeks

Whether your puppy is trying to get it on at 12 weeks or 16 weeks or anytime before it reaches sexual maturity, the behavior is often harmless and should be thought of as fun and play for them.

That said, you do not want to let it become a regular habit, so stepping in to correct its behavior early is the right thing to do.

It can be a mystery sometimes when trying to understand dog behavior, which is why we have written lots of articles to cover the topic such as why dogs sleep with their bums facing you, how far can dogs see, or why your puppy lunges at your face.

Be sure to browse around, and consider joining our newsletter where we can stay in touch and send you updated and relevant articles to help you become the best dog parent!

Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hi, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a certified vet tech for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn or check out my about page!.

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