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There are several different kinds of “humpers” in the dog world. Some dogs hump other dogs, and some hump furniture, toys, or their blankets.
It also does not have to make sense in the traditional biological sense, male dogs sometimes hump other male dogs, and female dogs often hump other dogs of either sex.
While humping dogs can be comical, it is not as funny when your dog is humping you. Dog often hump their owners because of pent-up energy stemming from excitement, boredom, over-stimulation, or anxiety.
But why does my dog hump me specifically when I am on my period?
While many dogs hump their owners because of pent-up energy, a woman’s scent and pheromones change when she is on her period and that can make the behavior worse. Women are (usually) not fertile when on their periods, nonetheless a dog’s sensitive nose can detect the hormonal changes, which can lead them to hump you.
So let’s look at some of the common reason dogs might hump you, why it can be worse when a woman is on her period, and what you can do to prevent your dog from humping you when you are on your period.
Common Reasons A Dog Might Hump You
Some dogs are more prone to humping than others. Dog humping can depend on personality, age, environmental triggers, and whether or not they are spayed or neutered. The humping behavior might be especially bad if you are a woman on your period.
Humping is an instinctual behavior in dogs and does not always have to do with sexual arousal but rather serves as a relief for pent-up energy caused by stress, boredom, overstimulation, and excitement.
Let’s quickly explore some of the reasons a dog might hump you before jumping into what it is about being on your period that might make the behavior worse.
Since humping is instinctual and can feel good for dogs, your dog might hump you when they are stressed. It can serve as a stress reliever. And if you are stressed, moody, or not feeling well from having your period, our sensitive dogs can pick up and mirror that stress!
Excessive humping, along with other symptoms like pacing, whining, chewing, drooling, and accidents in the house could mean your dog has separation anxiety. A certified trainer or veterinarian can help diagnose and point you toward the right training plan or medication to help treat separation anxiety.
A bored dog might act out by chewing things up, getting the zoomies, or suddenly getting into the trash. Without mental stimulation or exercise, even the lowest-energy dogs will need an outlet for their energy.
In this video, Stella’s pent-up energy turns into zoomies!
Sometimes that outlet is humping, especially if dogs learn that it gets you to pay attention to them. Negative attention is attention for a bored dog!
An overly tired dog or puppy that has not learned how to relax might start humping you. Think of it like a crabby toddler who desperately needs a nap but refuses to go to sleep.
Starting impulse control training and relaxation protocol as soon as you bring your new dog or puppy home will help them learn a more appropriate behavior than humping.
The overwhelming joy dogs experience being with their owners, along with the factors above (stress, boredom, and over-stimulation) can cause your dog to hump you out of excitement. Since humping is an instinctual behavior to release pent-up energy, it is not surprising they might choose to hump you.
Smells can also make a dog extra excited. Have you ever pet a strange dog only to come home to your dog excessively smelling you? Well, not only can dogs smell the strange dog you were petting, but they can detect subtle hormonal changes like a woman being on her period.
The change in their olfactory environment combined with any other factors of excitement, stress, boredom, and over-stimulation, might trigger your dog to hump you when you are on your period.
But Why Is Humping Worse When I Am On My Period?
While some dogs might not discriminate when humping their male and female owners, (or other dogs, furniture, etc) some women who own dogs might notice that their dog humps them more when they are on their period.
So, why is the humping worse when women are on their periods?
Turns out, the answer lies in our dogs’ amazing sense of smell and hormones!
Reason 1: Dogs Like The Smell
It is common knowledge that dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell. Dogs’ sense of smell is up to 10,000 times better than humans, and they have over 100 million receptors in their noses. They can detect the slightest change in scent. This is why dogs are so good at scent games and make a great working dogs for jobs like drug detection.
Furthermore, your dog’s excellent sense of smell means they can tell when you are on your period. And some dogs really like the smell of period blood, which might cause them to hump you when you are on your period.
The Jacobsen’s Organ, the special scent receptor organ dogs have is directly linked to the part of the brain that deals with mating. The subtle differences in pheromones not only help dogs tell the genders of other dogs, but they can tell the gender of humans as well.
Since female dogs and humans share the same sex-specific hormones, they might be humping you when you are on your period because they like the smell.
Reason 2: Your Period Reminds Them Of A Dog In Heat
While women are (usually) not fertile when on their periods, the smell of period blood can remind dogs of female dogs in heat. About twice a year, unaltered female dogs go through an estrus cycle and are fertile during this time.
When a female dog is going into heat, the smell of her pheromones and hormones lets unaltered male dogs know they are fertile. Female dogs also bleed when they are fertile, just like women bleed when they are on their period.
This smell might make your dog more snuggling like the dogs in this snuggle video compilation, but they also might try to hump you!
Dogs tend to like the smell of blood, and the detection of hormone fluctuations might cause your dog to be more attracted to you when you are on your period.
The smell of hormones that female dogs and women share (like estrogen and progesterone) as well as the similar smell of blood might make your dog hump you when you are on your period.
Reason 3. Your Puppy Is Sexually Maturing
Puppies are notorious for going through the “rebellious teenage phase” where they might suddenly start misbehaving. This includes not listening to learned commands, getting into things, and sudden stubbornness.
You might notice that your formerly perfect puppy starts humping you during your period as they start to get older. This is because puppies are often sexually maturing during this rebellious teenage phase, usually between the ages of 6-9 months, according to the AKC.
If your puppy is not getting enough exercise or mental stimulation, you might notice dramatic changes in their behavior. This includes humping, and while they start out humping their bed, they eventually might try to hump you, especially if you are on your period.
During this time, your puppy is extra sensitive to hormonal changes in their environment, and the smell of their owner being on their period can cause dogs to hump them. Female and male puppies are hormonal-driven creatures, so it is not surprising that when they are sexually maturing they might push boundaries, including humping you.
If your puppy is sexually maturing and learning how to hump, they might start with flirtatious behavior such as play-bowing, alert posture, chasing, and licking.
So if your puppy is in the correct age range and they start exhibiting these behaviors before trying to hump you when you are on your period, you will want to be consistent with training and work on redirecting their behavior.
How To Change The Behavior
I think it is safe to say there is no merit in letting your dog hump you, especially when you are on your period. You do not want the behavior to become a habit and the frustration it can cause could damage your bond with your dog.
Here are some tips to help you create firm boundaries to keep your dog from humping you when you are on your period.
In the dog-training world, teaching your dog to choose a more appropriate behavior is called redirection. If your dog likes to hump you when you are on your period, try to catch them before they try to mount you and engage them in a different behavior.
Here are some great options for new behaviors for your dog to learn:
- Go to their crate
- Chew on a toy
- Play fetch
- Play tug
Mat training or “go to your bed” is another great redirection tool that also helps teach your dog to relax on their own. Kikopup has a great video to get you started!
2. More Mental Stimulation and Exercise
If your dog is bored and the smell of you being on your period is making them more excited, they might try humping you to release some of that pent-up energy. More walks, games of fetch, training, or toys might help redirect that pent-up energy.
And do not worry, if your dog does not like toys, here we talk about the six ways to mentally and physically wear out your dog!
As a woman myself, I certainly understand that physical activity can be difficult during your period, and sometimes exercising your dog feels impossible. If your dog has the right personality for it, doggy daycare or a dog walker might be able to help out and tire out your dog. And a tired dog is less likely to hump you when you are on your period.
3. Spay or Neuter Your Dog
While spayed and neutered dogs might still hump you when you are on your period, unaltered dogs are going to be a lot more sensitive to the smell of your hormones. So by spaying or neutering your dog, you will likely notice a significant decrease in humping you when you are on your period, especially if you have a male dog.
Testosterone drives male dogs to seek out mating opportunities, and they might confuse you being on your period with a female dog in heat. Neutering will change their hormone levels, making them less intent on finding a mate.
Lastly, even if they might still hump you when you are on your period, spaying and neutering is the only sure way to prevent unwanted litters!
It is embarrassing and uncomfortable for us when our dogs hump us, especially when we are on our period. Their powerful noses can smell the period blood and our hormone fluctuations and those odors might encourage them to hump us.
The smells paired with other factors such as over-stimulation, boredom, stress, and excitement can make the behavior worse!
Once you figure out what triggers the behavior, you can start redirecting your dog’s pent-up energy to a more appropriate outlet. Instead of having to stop your dog from humping you when you are on your period, let’s figure out how to get them to snuggle you instead!