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Pet Peeves: Inappropriate Displays of Affection at the Dog Run

Q: When I bring my pup to the local dog park, she keeps getting humped by other dogs. It's very frustrating to me, especially because many of the owners won't do or say anything until I point out their pets' actions. I consider our trips there to be QT between the two of us, but others are too busy sitting on the sidelines, talking on their cell phones, chatting with each other, or just not paying attention. Help!

A: Wow, as tempting as it is for me to go off on disregarding pet owners, I'm going to tackle the violation issue only. Unfortunately, this can be a natural show of domination or playfulness by some dogs and, if the behavior isn't curbed early, they'll continue to do it. The problem here is that neither ignoring this behavior nor giving a strong reprimand will make a big difference . . . in fact, that can often make matters worse. The best approach is to offer a quick correction (e.g., gently pushing the dog off) followed by an immediate distraction to hold his attention after the fact. Now, because the offending dog is not yours, I wouldn't recommend touching him during this process. Try to divert your own pup's attention with a toy or treat causing her to come towards you . . . and away from the other dog. Distraction can help the other pooch too so see if you can redirect his attention as well. Varying the behavior you cue as the disruption from humping (sit, fetch, come, etc.) will keep your intervention interesting for the dogs, and avoid encouraging new obsessions as well.

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Join The Conversation
brandi797 brandi797 7 years
Oh my gosh, get OVER IT! Dogs will be dogs, you know? Humping hurts noone (as long as your pet is spayed/neutered, which of course it should be). If you disapprove of normal canine social behavior, don't go to a dog park!
colormesticky colormesticky 7 years
People need to pay attention. Some dogs don't handle being humped too well, and it can start fights. I'd rather peel that horny chihuahua off my bulldog and avoid having to break up a fight 2 minutes later when it still hasn't removed itself from my dog's back.
SugarKim4203 SugarKim4203 7 years
I think dog humping makes me more uncomfortable that it does my own dog (she's usually "the catcher") ;) I usually don't care too much if it's an occasional thing, but it's annoying when my dog can't go and have fun because she's constantly being humped by a dog that just happens to like blondes.
wakeupandora wakeupandora 7 years
they're just flirting. but seriously - if you are dog parking, make sure your pup is vaccinated and altered because you can't be responsible for everyone's dog, just yours. this is why we don't dog park, we hike the state parks instead.
ufshutterbabe ufshutterbabe 7 years
Humping at the dog park is no big deal. If the other dog is doing it to the point where yours is bothered or can't get away to play, then figure out who the other is (call out, "hey, who owns the horny yellow lab?" if you have to) and ask them to distract their dog from yours. It's not hard. Or, since it sounds like you'd rather have your dog's full attention for bonding time, just go to the park when its not as crowded.
Renees3 Renees3 7 years
I completely agree that the owners should be paying attention and if you or your dog are uncomfortable should put a stop to it. BUT I DO think that a dog park is the place for dogs to socialize and part of them socializing is developing a hierarchy and a pack mentality. That is in their nature. I don't think this issue should have anything to do with something that dogs do naturally. It has more to do with doggie parents being rude and not paying attention when they should be.
fuzzles fuzzles 7 years
I think I would avoid that particular dog park and look instead to establish regular "play dates" for your pooch with known, responsible owners who are willing to pay attention to their dog's behavior. Either that, or invest in a roll or two of industrial strength duct tape! ;)
JessNess JessNess 7 years
First off I really hope that your pup is fixed...just in case if you know what I mean Humping may be natural and normal but that is not an excuse to ignore your dogs actions. I would never allow my dogs to treat another dog like ever. The dog park is not a place to establish a doggy hierarchy. Its rude and disrespectful to the dog and its owner. I take my dogs to a doggy beach and one time witnessed a dog try to continually hump a young puppy. The owners of the molesting dog just did not notice and the owner of the puppy was completely distressed because her dog could not relax since it kept being attacked. It is a completely rude situation. Places where dogs can be off leash are a great to socialize your dog but if you are not comfortable or able to fix the situation I suggest that you stopping taking your dog there. Find another park where you two can play in peace. There is no need to continually put yourself and your puppy through that stress
oatmeal_bliss oatmeal_bliss 7 years
Oh, we had a problem like this once! We took our Greyhound to a dog park and it was only him and this huge Bullmastiff. I don't know if he liked the way Biggie smelled or what, but he kept licking him. When we left, Biggie was covered in slobber and we had to take him home and bathe him. It was so grossed and I was getting super honked off at the owner because they were doing nothing about it even though you could tell Biggie was uncomfortable and kept running from the Bullmastiff.
wren1 wren1 7 years
It makes me so nervous when we're out and other dog owners are not paying attention to their dogs. Usually we just have to leave when that happens.
Renees3 Renees3 7 years
personally I don't think this is a big deal. Dog Parks are for dogs to socialize with other dogs and get exercise. Perhaps a public place with other dogs around is not the best place for your QT with your pup. Humping is a natural thing for dogs and it establishes a type or hierarchy. Granted some dogs are over zealous, and I agree with with Pet said about distracting them. If you dog is not altered, perhaps they're getting more attention b/c it's "that time"? Anyway, dogs hump, it's natural and normal. But people not paying attention to their animal, no matter where they are, is rude and can be dangerous.
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