You thought it was going to be an innocent moment with your dog…
When suddenly, they get a hold of your arm and start humping.
As a dog parent, you know humping is a normal dog behavior…
But what could’ve sparked it?
Continue to discover:
- 13 reasons why your dog humps your arm.
- If you should let your canine arm-hump you.
- 7 tips to stop your dog from humping your arm.
- And many more…
Table of contents
- Why does my dog hump my arm?
- 13 reasons why your dog humps your arm
- #1: They’re excited
- #2: They might have UTI
- #3: A show of playfulness
- #4: Stress-relief behavior
- #5: Vaginitis or balanitis/balanoposthitis
- #6: They’re sexually frustrated
- #7: They seek your attention
- #8: They’re bored
- #9: Compulsive behavior
- #10: Priapism and paraphimosis
- #11: They’re socially awkward
- #12: They do it for pleasure
- #13: Overall, it’s a natural habit
- Should I let my dog hump my arm?
- How do I stop my dog from humping my arm? 7 tips
Why does my dog hump my arm?
Your dog humps your arm because they’re excited, playful, stressed, or sexually frustrated. It can also be a way to relieve themselves from pain due to vaginitis or balanitis, UTI, or priapism. It could also be due to CCD, awkwardness, or pleasure. Other times they’re bored and seeking attention.
13 reasons why your dog humps your arm
#1: They’re excited
Let’s imagine for a few seconds:
After a great weekend out-of-town, it’s time to pick up your dog.
You left them with someone trustworthy, and willing to do it.
As you pull up in the driveway, you may or may not hear your dog barking loudly.
The moment that you enter the door, you level with Fido.
There, you just let your canine greet you.
After a few seconds…here comes the humping!
Oh, excuse FIdo for their behavior. They’re just so excited to see you again.
But that’s not all. So you should prepare yourself.
It’s because Fido is bursting with excitement, they might even pee on you.
This explanation is not limited to the scenario we’d just imagined.
Fido could also display excited behaviors when:
- They meet a new canine.
- They’re introduced to an equally excited human.
#2: They might have UTI
Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a painful experience for your pooch.
That’s why they try to relieve the pain by humping.
Your arm will not be the only one that’s unsafe from this. Anything they can hump, they would.
You’d also start to notice these signs of UTI:
- Weight loss.
- Struggling to sit.
- Straining of their pee.
- Bloody or cloudy urine.
- More frequent urination.
- Urine has a strong odor.
- Excessive drinking of water.
- Constant licking of their genitals.
- Whining while urinating due to discomfort.
So, what causes UTIs in dogs?
Bacteria is to blame.
The pathogens reproduce in your pooch’s bladder. There, they contaminate the urine.
“How did they get there?”
Your pup’s genitals may have been dirty one day. Then, the bacteria traveled using the urethra.
Warning: A study says that the responsible bacteria for this infection are evolving. It’s alarming because they’re continuously growing resistant to antibiotics.
That’s why the vet will need a thorough analysis of your dog’s urine. But, I’ll get into that further in the article…
#3: A show of playfulness
Just like humans, dogs are complex beings. They differ from one dog to another.
Some dogs love hugs, and others just tolerate them. On the side, there’s one that completely hates it.
Dogs show different playful behaviors as well.
And for your pup, they choose to hump your arm.
They get near you and start humping.
You see it to be a little bothersome.
Your dog, on the other hand, just aims to ask you to play with them.
There are other ways dogs could show playfulness.
Sometimes they can’t hide it. That’s why when they’re playful, they exhibit these behaviors:
- Gazing at you.
- Running around.
- Grabbing your arm.
- Bouncy movements.
- Leaning against you.
- Barking directly at you.
- Intense wagging of their tail.
- Nudging their nose to you (like they’re head-butting you).
Did you know? Dogs don’t always want to play.
Yes, a study’s results suggest so.
According to 59.6% of the participants, their dogs like to play – however, not all the time.
Only 32.9% of the sample said that their dogs always like to play.
Then, 1.9% of the subjects stated that their dogs don’t like to play at all.
#4: Stress-relief behavior
When dogs are stressed, they’re bound to develop a behavior for release.
They’re like a kettle.
The heat (stressor) you put into it gets the water (stress) boiled.
Then, once it hits the right boiling temperature (their limit), the kettle will sing.
It’ll sing and sing until you turn off the heat.
In this scenario, humping your arm is equivalent to that singing.
They do this to release their pent-up feelings.
What causes a dog to be stressed?
- Loud noises.
- Visual stimuli.
- Crowded places.
- Sudden changes.
- Inconsistency in their routine.
- Unfamiliar people or environment.
Now, your pooch has pent-up tension due to repetitive stress.
They’re bound to look for a release. That’s when they’ll start showing behaviors like humping your arm.
VCA Hospital says these are signs that your dog is stressed:
- Constant barking.
- Shedding due to chronic stress.
- Yawning in the presence of their stressor.
- Running away or escaping from a stressful situation.
- Hiding behind you or any object when their stressor is present.
Check out next: Why Is My Dog Suddenly Afraid Of Strangers? 7 Real Reasons
#5: Vaginitis or balanitis/balanoposthitis
Just like in reason #2, your dog aims to relieve the pain in this case.
Your dog may be humping your arm because their genitals are swollen.
This rare condition is the inflammation of a dog’s vagina.
It can appear on any female dog. Regardless of their age, breed, or even if they’re spayed or not.
According to vets, here are the causes of vaginitis:
- Vaginal trauma.
- Foreign bodies.
- Vaginal tumors.
- Anatomical abnormalities.
- Viral or bacterial infection.
- Sexually immature vagina.
- Left out urine or feces around the vulva.
On the other hand, the symptoms of this condition are:
- Smelling like fish.
- Constant urination.
- Persistent licking of the vaginal area.
- Abnormal discharge in the vagina (mucus, pus, or blood).
Note: The discharge from this condition can arouse male dogs. Researchers say it’s independent of the female dog’s heat cycle.
Balanitis or balanoposthitis
It’s normal for a dog’s penis to be swollen during arousal. It usually stops swelling after an hour or so.
That’s why it’s unusual if it continues swelling for a long time.
If that’s the case, your dog could have balanitis or balanoposthitis.
There’s a difference between the two:
If it’s their penis that’s swelling, it’s balanitis.
If the foreskin or prepuce is swelling, it’s balanoposthitis.
For the cause of these conditions, vets say that the two have the same:
- Skin disease.
- Abnormal discharge.
- Trauma in the penis or prepuce.
- Paraphimosis (see reason #11 ).
- Bacterial overgrowth in the prepuce.
- Foreign bodies around the preputial cavity.
- Neoplasia, which is the abnormal growth of cells or tissues.
Signs of both conditions are:
- Difficulty urinating.
- Having a fishy smell.
- Whining due to discomfort.
- Evident lesions on the penis.
- Pus- or blood-tinged discharge.
- Persistent licking of their genitals.
#6: They’re sexually frustrated
This might be the most expected reason for this behavior.
Some dog parents initially assume this reason.
That’s because humping is associated with sexual behavior.
For unspayed and unneutered dogs, you could expect sexual frustration.
“How can a dog get sexually frustrated?”
Dogs have an innate drive to reproduce. It’s wired into them to find another canine to mate with.
To dive further, let’s look at it from both a female and male dog perspective.
Puberty usually comes between 9 to 10 months of age for female dogs.
At that time, your female pup will start having heat periods.
A female dog’s season is called an estrous cycle. It consists of 3 phases:
|Proestrus||The average length of this period is 7 to 10 days. The dog’s vulva is swelling in this phase. They’ll also release a blood-tinged discharge. Here, mating isn’t allowed by the canine, yet.|
|Estrus||This is the real heat period. That’s because, in this phase, the dog allows mating. It can last anywhere from 9 to 20 days. However, in some dogs, it can be longer.|
|Anestrus||Here, the cycle is finished. The dog’s vagina excretes dark-colored discharge. This usually lasts for at least 4 to 5 months.|
Your female dog will more likely hump your arm during the estrus phase.
Also, in that same phase, your dog will start to invite male dogs.
They’ll do so by mounting and humping to the other canine. Those behaviors are an act of submission to their ‘suitor.’
According to PetMD, other flirtatious behaviors in female dogs are:
- Upright tail.
- Play bowing.
Did you know? A female dog in season will hump another female dog in heat, too.
When a dog gets close to a female dog in heat, they get aroused.
“How can they tell a female dog’s in heat?”
Fido can tell through the distinct smelling pheromones.
Female dogs excrete a natural odor whenever they’re in heat.
When Fido takes a whiff, he’d get attracted.
If you prevent your pooch from getting a chance, that’s where the behavior will start.
Fido might hump nearby objects.
Oh, they have a lot of choices. They could hump their bed, your pillows in the living room, or your kid’s stuffed animal.
But, no. This time, it’s your arm that they hump on.
Continue reading: Can Dogs Get Sexually Attracted To Humans? The Truth
#7: They seek your attention
Here, they’re doing it on purpose.
They want your attention.
Your pooch has learned a way to get you to notice them.
And they found out that humping your arm is one way to do it.
“But I tell them ‘no’ when they do!”
That’s the crucial part.
For dogs, negative and positive attention doesn’t make a difference. As well as intentional and unintentional validation.
All that matters is that you paid attention to them.
Warning: Reacting negatively to your dog’s attention-seeking behavior is tricky. Like said, it can still reinforce the behavior they show you.
Moreover, yelling or pushing them away can damage the relationship you have.
“Why do dogs crave our attention so much?”
That’s because dogs are highly social beings.
Experts tell us that dogs will try and get our attention in any way possible.
If Fido can’t get your attention with this behavior, they might move to the next.
Here are other attention-seeking behaviors to watch out for:
- Pawing you.
- Jumping on you.
- Nudging you with their nose.
- Biting and pulling your clothes.
- Constant whining in front of you.
- Snatching things from you to initiate a chase.
#8: They’re bored
Like said in the previous reason, dogs are highly social beings.
And because of that, they have a lot of energy to spare.
They also have a lot of time in their hands.
Dogs don’t have to do chores, go to school or work.
And so the equation that we have is:
High energy levels + a lot of time in their paws = a frequent tendency to get bored
And when your dog gets bored, they make their own amusement.
This time, it’s humping your arm.
Other behaviors due to boredom:
- Digging in the backyard.
- Going through the trash.
- Pawing you or other animals around the house.
- Destructive behaviors, like nibbling your shoes.
AKC tells us the possible causes of doggy boredom. They are:
- Social deprivation.
- Insufficient training.
- Not enough physical exercise.
- Minimal amount of stimulation.
Note: Research tells us that animals have the ability to care. That’s also why they can get bored.
After all, the research defined animal boredom as:
The deprivation of objects and activities that they care for.
Repetitive deprivation could cause constant boredom. The latter can manifest into a….
#9: Compulsive behavior
Compulsiveness is usually described with these words:
Repetitive, unusual, and uncontrollable.
Humping could be a compulsive behavior for your dog.
If it isn’t your arm, it can be other nearby objects.
According to this Vet Manual, these are the possible causes of compulsive behavior:
- Chronic anxiety.
- Sexual frustration.
- Recurring conflicts.
- Alterations in their environment.
- Inability to predict daily happenings.
- Varying consequences for the same misbehavior.
The term for this condition is canine compulsive disorder (CCD).
The behavior that your dog will develop may show out of context.
It will also show frequently.
Lastly, the crucial part, it’s uncontrollable.
It’s because your dog is conditioned to feel that they should do it.
Therefore, making it hard to suppress and terminate.
To further help you, here are other behaviors that can manifest from CCD:
- Eating dirt.
- Sniffing the air.
- Running around.
- Constant pacing.
- Licking their toys.
- Staring into space.
- Licking their paws.
- Excessive drinking of water.
- Ceaseless and rhythmic barking.
#10: Priapism and paraphimosis
When Fido is aroused, it’s normal for his lipstick to show.
For some dog parents, such occurrences are a little embarrassing.
Then, there are times that Fido’s penis is constantly out. And it happens out of context.
If this is the case, it’s even more embarrassing for some parents.
When this happens, cut Fido some slack.
It’s because he might not be doing it on purpose.
“What do you mean?”
Fido might not be able to put it back, contrary to your request.
“Is that even possible?”
Yes. It’s a rare condition called priapism.
Research defines it as the persistent erection of a dog’s penis. That hardness isn’t caused by sexual stimulation at all. Plus, it lasts for more than 4 hours.
Causes of priapism according to the MSD Vet Manual:
- Penile masses.
- Injury on the penis.
- Vascular abnormalities.
- Myelopathy, which is an injury in the spine.
- Other times, vets admit that the cause could be unknown.
And so, they hump your arm or the air to alleviate the pain from their genitals.
Warning: Priapism can progress to partial paraphimosis.
In this condition, there’s an inability to return the penis into the foreskin.
It’s less likely to happen after coitus. Most times, it could be caused by manual semination.
Other causes of paraphimosis as stated in the MSD Vet Manual:
- Penile trauma.
- Foreign bodies around the penis.
- Opening of the prepuce getting blocked by hair.
In movies, some characters act awkwardly. When they do, you might cringe a little bit.
However, understand that being awkward is natural for some people. And sometimes, that won’t be the case forever.
Getting to the point…
Well, your dog can be an awkward canine, too.
That’s because in some cases, humping your arm is the best interaction for your doggo.
“How did that happen?”
If your dog is from the shelter, that can be it. The time they’ve spent isolated in the shelter has scarred the way they socialize.
It might have stemmed from a lack of proper training during their puppyhood, too.
Take it from this study:
Dogs enrolled in a puppy class (PC) showed amusing results. The PC subjects reacted positively to strangers.
Moreover, PC attendees are also less likely to develop behavioral problems.
To reiterate, early training is essential for a dog’s obedience.
In this investigation, 1016 dogs are studied.
Dogs who didn’t attend any puppy training sessions were dominant. To be exact, 52% lack early training.
Then, about 19% of that sample exhibited mounting and humping behavior.
#12: They do it for pleasure
Dogs are also capable of masturbation.
This time, your dog is humping your arm because it feels good for them.
It’s understandable to be bothered in this case.
However, if your pooch exhibits this behavior on other things, you can let them be for a while.
As long as it’s not troublesome as humping on your arm.
How can you be sure of this case?
You’d notice this case if your dog’s being flirtatious. I mentioned the behaviors regarding that in reason #6.
But here’s to save you from scrolling again:
- Upright tail.
- Play bowing.
“But my dog is neutered/spayed…”
Experts say masturbation is normal behavior, even for neutered and spayed dogs.
That’s because they can still feel the physical sensation of the action.
#13: Overall, it’s a natural habit
Since humping is the way dogs reproduce, their humping behavior is only natural.
It’s as natural as their desire to reproduce (as I mentioned in reason #6).
Dogs are genetically programmed to hump.
It’s also a behavior that’s harmless. And for most of the time, not bothersome.
Male or female dogs are all bound to perform this behavior.
For further reading: Why Does My Dog Only Hump Me? 15 Surprising Reasons
Should I let my dog hump my arm?
You shouldn’t let your dog hump your arm. In some cases, the behavior’s innocent. While in others, it’s not.
That’s because humping could be a symptom of an underlying medical issue.
However, humping is also normal behavior for dogs to get your attention. They also use it to relieve their stress.
Not only that, but humping is also a bad practice for dogs who lack early training.
With that, you should not encourage your dog to hump your arm. Doing so might lessen the occurrence of this behavior.
How do I stop my dog from humping my arm? 7 tips
#1: Treat the underlying medical reason
Despite the behavior being natural, there are also medical reasons for it.
With that, it’s best to have your dog assessed by a veterinarian.
In this section, I’ll be specific on treatments to expect.
Remember what I said in reason #2? The vet will need a thorough analysis of your dog’s urine sample.
That’s because UTI is not the same for every case. The bacteria that caused the infection may differ from one case.
According to the same research under reason #2, the most common bacteria are:
- E. coli (52.5%).
- Enterococcus (13.6%).
- Staphylococcus (13.9%).
Then the remaining 20.9% of the bacteria varies. Those are found in uncommon cases.
Overall, the study concludes that UTIs are complicated. Examples are recurrent cases.
With that, the vet will need to identify the right bacteria to blame.
Not only that, but they’d also need to know how many your dog’s against.
Infections could be monomicrobial (1 bacteria) or polymicrobial (2 or more bacteria).
Once vets can identify those, your dog will be prescribed with the right antibiotics.
The treatment will depend on your pooch’s specific condition.
To identify the case, your pooch will have to undergo:
- Sensitivity test.
Then, the possible treatments to expect are:
- Vaginal douches.
However, some cases won’t need treatment at all.
Balanitis or balanoposthitis
The vet might suggest the following:
- Flushing the prepuce with a mild antiseptic.
- Cutting hair in the prepuce to avoid blockage and recurrence.
- In the case of an infection, the vet will prescribe antibiotic treatment.
Fortunately, you can try to deal with this at home.
You’ll need a lubricant to apply in your dog’s foreskin.
Once applied, you have to gently massage or push their penis back in.
If it doesn’t work, seek a veterinarian’s help.
The vet will also try the method mentioned in the priapism section.
However, if it persists, the vets might:
- Apply cold compress with pressure.
- Flush the prepuce with a hypertonic solution (sugar).
Then, in severe cases, your dog will undergo:
- Recurrent or prolonged cases will require partial or total amputation of the penis.
- Opening the prepuce even further to inspect. If there are any foreign bodies, the vets will remove them.
#2: Ignore them
As I said in reason #8, dogs only care if they get your attention. It doesn’t matter how you react – may it be bad or rewarding.
With that, if you want to stop the behavior, you must ignore it.
So if your pup humps your arm, look the other way.
Yes…you have to endure it…
Wait for them to stop. Once they do, that’s where you look back at them.
Let them settle beside you. Then, praise them for finally behaving.
Doing this discourages misbehavior and rewards them for acting correctly.
Warning: By ignoring, I mean totally ignore them. Don’t try to push your pooch away. It will only make them think you’re finally playful.
Aside from this, here are ways to deal with attention-seeking behaviors:
- Remain consistent in ignoring the behaviors.
- Reward behaviors that you desire. Example: When you see Fido playing with his toys gently, praise and pet them. It will encourage them to stay, behave and settle.
- Establish a schedule for your attention. Yes, even that. The SFSPCA suggests interacting with your dog at least twice a day. In that interaction, you must totally focus on your dog and the activity you’re doing with them.
#3: Keep their mind stimulated
One way to keep a dog’s mind stimulated is to play games with them. Plus, engaging with Fido in such activities can strengthen your bond with them.
Here are activities you can play with your dog:
This one’s an indoor game. Hide treats around the room, backyard, or whole house for your pup to hunt.
Your pup will tend to follow you a little. That’s why guiding them a little won’t hurt. Especially if you’ve hidden treats in the whole house!
Chase the prey
Tie a stick or anything that interests your pooch into a rope.
Wave it around their face. Once they’re all riled up, run while you drag the rope.
This activity triggers your pup’s prey instinct.
Stop dragging it once in a while. When your pup thinks they’re close to getting it, run again!
A human-dog favorite!
A game of fetch initializes your dog’s prey instincts, too.
Toss their favorite ball or frisbee away. Then, Fido will proceed to follow the toy.
It’s an excellent exercise for them. That’s why it’s perfect for high-energy dogs.
Make sure to vary the distance and directions that you throw the thing.
Bonus! Interactive toys will do the trick, too.
A lot of interactive toys are proven to be effective in stimulating a dog.
Did you know? 15 minutes of mental stimulation can be equal to 30 minutes of physical activity.
With that, here’s a list of recommendations for your doggo:
- Wobble Wag Giggle Ball – It makes noises whenever your pup plays with it. The noise will keep them curious.
- Nina Ottosson Challenge Slider – It’s a sliding puzzle that your dog needs to solve. If they do, treats await to be munched!
- Dog Brick interactive puzzle – This one will keep your dog extra focused. Fido will have to flip, slide, and remove the obstacles.
- Dog Tornado puzzle toy – An engaging toy that reveals treats in a twist! It’s an intermediate dog toy that has a combination of obstacles.
#4: Exercise them regularly
Aside from keeping your dog’s mind sharp, you also have to keep their physical health at a prime.
The amount of exercise a dog needs depends on their:
Despite that, here’s a guideline. It aims to specifically help you provide the right amount of exercise for your dog:
|Puppies||They have more energy than adult dogs. However, exercise should be in short bursts only. A long walk could be detrimental to your pup’s developing body. |
– Conduct short play sessions throughout the day.
– Cut several walk sessions but make them more frequent.
|Adult||Now, the amount of exercise will depend on their breed.|
If your dog is a high-energy breed, a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise is preferred.
If your dog is a toy breed, provide them with exercise. Contrary to beliefs, toy breeds don’t get enough exercise just walking around the house.
|Senior||Despite having medical conditions, exercise is still best for old Fido.|
Provide them with at least 30 minutes of gentle exercise.
To be sure, consult their vets and ask for advice.
Remember: A tired god is a good dog.
Once you get home after getting Fido enough exercise, they won’t have a high energy level anymore.
Fido can immediately take a nap. That will leave you time for yourself.
#5: Calm them down
The best way to calm your dog down is…
To calm yourself down as well!
If you’re trying to calm them down, do so with a serene and patient voice.
That’s because yelling can send the wrong message to your pooch. They might mistake it as excitement on your side.
And with that, they’re more eccentric than they are before.
Plus, if you’re a calm dog parent, the higher the possibility that your dog’s going to be a quiet canine.
Take it from this research:
It’s the first study that proves dogs do mirror their humans.
Researchers were able to find out by assessing similarities in these fields:
Moreover, tip #4 can help with calming your dog, too. Tiring them out will keep them calm.
Lastly, tip #3 can help with this, too! Games and toys are an outlet for your dog’s excited behavior.
Don’t forget to check out: 17 Hyperactive Dog Symptoms + 11 Tips To Calm Down Your Dog
#6: Consult an animal behaviorist
If you can’t tackle this issue alone, it may be time to consult an animal behaviorist.
These professionals, first of all, will help you understand your dog’s behavior. They’ll do so by identifying the cause and getting more familiar with it.
Once they’re done with that, it’s time to create a customized treatment plan. That system will be specifically made for your pooch’s needs.
They will also teach you how to perform behavioral methods for your dog successfully.
Overall, consulting a professional behaviorist can do 3 things about your dog’s behavior:
#7: Think about spaying or neutering them
Is the nature of the behavior mostly sexual? Plus, is it starting to get to you as it’s bothersome…
Then it might be time to consider spaying or neutering your dog.
Once a dog is sexually mature, they can undergo this process.
Moreover, a study:
It shows that castration can help lessen or eradicate the humping behavior.
Not only that, it can also help alter these practices:
- Urine marking.
Castration is part of responsible dog parenting
That’s because this process can decrease the number of unplanned puppies. It will also reduce the number of euthanasia in dogs.
Take it from this data:
1 out of 5 dogs in the shelter gets euthanized per year.
That’s from the staggering 3.3 million dogs that enter the shelter each year.