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Canine Behavior/problem with my dog

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Question
I have a male unneutered jack russel and I also have 4 other female neutered dogs in my house all of a sudden the jack russel is obcessed with humping my female neutered pit bull they have been together several years and this has never been like this before and he don't offer to bother the other females can you give me some advice on this matter

Answer
Humping behavior is really only sexual in nature when you have an intact male and an intact female who is in (or near) her heat cycle. Outside of that scenario, it is a social behavior. It's often poor play skills or an effort to control a situation that is overwhelming to the dog who is doing the humping.

Play behavior is made up of all the behaviors that individuals might need in order to survive. Play is essentially rehearsing life skills - for dogs this includes stalking, chasing, attacking (wrestling), tugging, catching, and mating, among others. Most dogs learn that the mating portion of that rehearsal isn't a very fun game for the recipient (they get told off) and so cut that particular rehearsal from their play repertoire.

Some dogs who become overstimulated/overwhelmed by an activity will try to control a situation to feel more secure or to calm themselves. This is often accomplished by the humping behavior. If you've ever seen two dogs wrestling/chasing hard and a third dog is in the space, that third dog will often jump in and mount one of the other dogs involved in that game. It's believed that this is an effort to calm everyone and regain some sense of control of his environment. It's not a dominance issue as he's not trying to gain priority access to food, mates, sleeping spots, etc. He's trying to settle the energy in the space because it's just too much for him.

Some dogs will use humping/mounting in an effort to solicit play or attention. I have two dogs - Chewie and Hagrid. Chewie will often be enjoying a long lasting chew toy when Hagrid decides he wants to play. Hagrid will sometimes try to engage Chewie by mounting him and humping. I find this to be a rather rude social interaction - not a very polite invitation to play - and so I tell him, "Stop humping your brother." This is sufficient for him to stop that behavior and move on to something else, whether it's a solo game, a game with me or another tactic to get Chewie to play with him.

So, there are a number of reasons why your dog is mounting your female. If you'd like, you may reply to this and provide details about a typical incident when this occurs - what is the female doing? What are other dogs in the space doing? What was your male doing just before he begins this behavior? How does he get along with her outside of this behavior? How does she react to this behavior of his? If she tells him off, how does he respond to that? With more information, I might be able to provide a more likely motivation for this behavior and what you might do to interrupt or prevent it - if it bothers you or the female.

Jody, CPDT-KA, APDT
Los Angeles Behaviorist
http://GoodDog-DogTraining.com

Canine Behavior

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Jody Epstein, CPDT- KA, APDT

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IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR DOG IS ILL OR INJURED, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS NOT THE FORUM TO ADDRESS URGENT MEDICAL ISSUES. I AM NOT A LICENSED VET AND HAVE NO DIAGNOSTIC SKILLS. ***I have been answering questions on All Experts for over 5 years now. I enjoy being able to offer assistance in this forum. I do need to be clear, though. If you’re looking for free advice about a specific behavior question, you MUST submit your question to me via All Experts. If you bypass All Experts and write to me directly through my website, I will ask you to submit via All Experts. On the flip side, if you’re local to Los Angeles and you wish to speak to me privately about an in person consultation, please go through my website. I appreciate your assistance in keeping my volunteer work on the volunteer site.*** I can answer questions about the following canine behavior issues: obedience, timid/fearful & fear-based aggression, nuisance behaviors, families that are expanding with either new human or new animal members. If you have potty training questions please first read my trio of blogs at http://CashewsCorner.wordpress.com/ If you still have questions after reading the blogs you can post your specific questions here. PLEASE be as specific as possible when asking a question. Give me a detailed example of the situation - dog's behavior, body language, circumstances surrounding the issue, what the consequences are (another dog's response, your response), etc. I can only provide insight if I can get a picture of the whole scenario. If I ask for further details, please provide them. In person I would normally observe for at least 90 minutes to assess the situation and the dynamics before offering tools and suggestions to modify it. In writing it is ever so much more difficult. Thank you for your participation in the process.

Experience

I have been professionally modifying behavior and training obedience for 7 years. I have owned dogs my entire life. I have just changed the name of my business. It is no longer Good Dog! Dog Training. The new name is Nutz About Mutz!. If you see previous questions with the Good Dog! website information, that is my response.

Organizations
I am a Certified Profession Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), #2133301 ; I am a member in good standing with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), #77763 ; I am an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator (CGC), #71253

Publications
http://NutzAboutMutz.com ; http://CashewsCorner.wordpress.com ; Multiple articles in the local pet magazine Pet Press (found across Southern California)

Education/Credentials
I have a graduate education in animal behavior and learning. (While I completed my coursework and did the requisite research, I did not defend a dissertation. I am qualified, but not certified and so technically not a doctor. This is commonly referred to as Ph.D.-ABD which means All But Dissertation.) My educational focus was with non-human primates, but my personal interest is with domestic dogs and their relationships with humans and other animals. I continue to educate myself to canine-specific behavior through extensive reading, online interactive workshops, vidoes and attending canine behavior conferences.

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