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If you’re an experienced dog owner, it’ll be no surprise to you when your dog does something that other people might call strange. Humping is one of those things!
After your dog eats, you might find them humping something like a toy, their bed, or sometimes, even yourself! You might find yourself thinking, “Why does my dog hump after eating?”
There are various reasons as to why your dog humps after eating their food. Some reasons include getting sudden energy, wanting attention, wanting more food, and simply because you’re encouraging the behavior. This behavior is usually nothing to worry about but there can be some negative reasons such as anxiety and being under-stimulated.
Humping is a normal behavior for dogs, but we might not always know why they do it. The reasons listed already are only a few so let’s take a closer look at the reasons listed along with some other reasons why your dog humps after eating.
Reason 1: Your Dog Got A Burst Of Energy
Many dogs are huge fans of food and treats! Something like a tiny piece of their food can get them excited!
Your dog might hump something right after eating because their food gave them a little burst of energy. It’s a little like giving a kid candy and they get a sugar rush!
Sometimes your dog might not know what to do with that energy except to hump something.
However, there are other signs that your dog got a surge of energy. One of them is if your dog get the “zoomies.”
Zoomies (also called Frenetic Random Activity Periods or FRAPs) are the random bursts of energy that cause your dog to do actions like running or spinning. You might also find your dog rolling on the carpet during their zoomies!
Reason 2: Your Dog Has Excess Energy
Relating to the first reason, your dog might hump after eating because they have too much left over energy from the day.
While some dogs are like bulldogs that love sleeping, they also can save up a lot of energy. Having excess energy might not seem like a bad thing, but if your pup doesn’t have an outlet to release that energy, they might do more than humping something after eating. They might destroy the furniture!
If you believe your dog is humping after eating because they have excess energy, finding ways to tire them out can help you and your pup.
One way to burn that energy is by providing your dog with toys, especially if they’re in a crate. If your dog likes to dig, take a look at this list of best toys for digging dogs. Taking your dog for longer walks or playdates can also do the trick!
Reason 3: Your Dog Is Under-Stimulated
Dogs are very similar to people in the sense that they can get bored or even stressed if they can’t do something they enjoy doing.
Your dog might hump something like their bed or toy after eating because they are under-stimulated.
This is similar to Reason 2 in the sense that our dogs need an outlet to let them be dogs. Instead of energy, dogs have very active brains that need to be used in order for your dog to be happy.
Humping might be one way that your dog tries to stimulate their brain. However, there are ways you can also help your fur baby keep their brain active such as taking them to new places every once in a while and take in the new sights, sounds, and scents.
At home, you could give your dog a snuffle mat that lets them use their nose to find treats hidden in fabric pieces. If your dog is not a fan of toys, check out this list of ways to keep your dog entertained without toys.
Reason 4: Your Dog Wants Attention
There’s a reason why dog owners often call their fur babies their children! They act a lot like kids in the sense that they love getting and having our attention!
Your dog might hump you after eating because they want to get your attention.
Just like with kids, if your dog is asking for attention, it is because they want something. Usually, they want our attention because they feel like they didn’t have enough time with you for the day.
It’s important to give our pups enough quality time, but it can be challenging when we have a busy schedule. Incorporating ways to include your dog into your daily activities can save time and give much needed attention to your dog. You could take your one or even two dogs on your daily run or jog.
How can you tell if your dog is humping to gain your attention? This behavior could be combined with the action of following you around even for big dogs like Rottweilers.
Reason 5: Your Dog Wants More Food
Attention and quality time isn’t the only thing that your dog might want. Like many other dogs, they may want more food or treats!
When your dog is asking for more food, it does not always mean that they are hungry. In fact, many dogs are food motivated, meaning that they are driven by food even when they are not hungry.
How can you tell if your dog isn’t hungry when they are basically asking for more food?
Some vets will ask the owners what kind of food they’re feeding their dog and how much. It is best to ask if you are feeding the right amount since it can differ with each brand of food. For more a more accurate answer, there are animal nutritionists who specialize in making sure your pet gets the right amount of nutrients they need.
Reason 6: Your Dog Is Anxious
There are many times we catch our dogs doing things they don’t normally do. However, we don’t always know what the reason is.
If your dog humps after eating, it may be because something is making them feel anxious.
Some things that can cause your dog to be anxious are loud noises like thunder and fireworks, unknown objects, new environments, and unfamiliar dogs and people.
If you notice that your dog is humping after eating along with one or more of these other signs, there’s a higher chance that the behavior is caused by anxiety. Finding out what caused your dog to be anxious can help comfort your dog and be less stressed.
Reason 7: Your Dog Is Aroused
When dogs hump things, many people assume it is a sexual behavior. While many times it does not indicate anything sexual for your dog, there are times when it actually does.
Your dog might hump after eating because they are feeling aroused. This may be especially for dogs that are not spayed or neutered.
Female dogs that aren’t spayed usually go through two estrous cycles. During this time, the female makes hormones that male dogs can sniff out, making them to want to mate and cause the humping action.
Your male pup might have caught the scent of a female dog going through their estrous cycle after eating something and caused them to start humping. It could also happen if you have both a female and male who are not spayed or neutered in the same house.
Reason 8: Your Dog Does It Out Of Habit
While it may not seem like they are, our dogs are so much more like us humans than we think. In fact, they can have habits too!
Your dog might hump after eating because it has become a habit for them.
How can you tell if your dog is humping after eating out of habit?
If they are doing it out of habit, you will most likely realize that they repeat the behavior around the same time every day. Like with other habits, they will do it when something triggers it like eating at a certain time.
Dogs have other habits as well. Some other ones include chasing their tail, circling or digging the bed before sleeping, and even licking you.
Reason 9: You’re Encouraging The Behavior
Without knowing it, you might have played a role in building the behavior.
Your dog might hump after eating because you’re encouraging it in ways you might not have intended.
Positive reinforcement is encouraging a behavior through rewards. Many trainers use positive reinforcement to train dogs specific commands. For example, when a dog hands you their paw after saying the word “shake,” you give them a treat. In this case, giving their paw is the behavior you wanted and the reward is the treat.
Positive reinforcement can take the shape of things other than treats. They can be toys, belly rubs, or even some laughter and attention from you.
If you find your dog continuing humping after you or someone has laughed or given them attention, your dog might have taken it as a reward. They are most likely motivated by your reaction to continue the behavior.
Removing the “reward” is a way of telling your dog that this behavior isn’t really something you would ask for.
Should I Be Worried About The Behavior?
Humping after eating is a normal thing for many dog parents and is usually nothing to worry about. It’s important to understand the context of the behavior and observing your dog’s actions to make sure they are not uncomfortable or bothered by something.
The only time humping may be concerning is if it is a sign of aggression. This might be the case if your dog is humping to show dominance along with other behaviors such as growling and biting.
If you are unsure about something, don’t be afraid to ask your vet any questions or tell them about any concerns.
How Can I Stop My Dog From Humping After Eating?
Humping is usually a harmless action, but it can become quite annoying when you’re trying to do something and your pup starts to hump you after eating.
The first step to stopping the behavior is to try to understand why your dog is humping after eating in the first place.
If you’re okay with the humping but not when it’s directed towards you, try to redirect the behavior to something else. Giving your dog praise when they hump a specific toy or their bed instead will help them redirect it away from you.
While there is usually nothing to worry about when it comes to humping after eating, it can be a little awkward when your dog does it when people are over at your house.
It’ll take a lot of time and patience you want to stop your dog from humping after eating. Training your dog is one of the best ways. Using treats and command words can stop your dog from humping when told to. You can also contact a professional trainer to get more personalized advice.
Humping can be a strange topic when talking to other people, but it is a normal topic in the dog community.
Understanding our dogs’ behaviors is one of the most crucial steps to strengthening our bonds with them. By bettering our knowledge on why our dogs do the things they do, we can help them live the long and happy lives they deserve.