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Humping

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Pomeranian Humping

Overview
While some may assume that only male dogs hump due to hormones, both male and female dogs may hump and some of the reasons why are a bit surprising to many. This, undoubtedly, can be a bit embarrassing when a Pomeranian humps when in front of visitors... or even worse humps your visitors!

This section will discuss:
  • What, exactly, humping is
  • Why dogs hump
  • What, if anything, you can do to stop your Pomeranian from humping
Pomeranian puppy
Chloe, 11 months old
Photo courtesy of Catrina and Dana Paul Dauzat - Fifthward Louisiana 
What Humping Is

Humping is an act of canine masturbation. This said, the reason for humping is not always related to hormonal urges to mate. And both genders may do this. The dog may mount another dog or, most commonly, an inanimate object such as pillows and toys. A Pomeranian may also hump a human, by latching onto the person’s ankle and other body parts that the dog can reach. 

Males do not necessarily hump until release; though this may very well happen. 

Both male and female Pomeranians may hump one object, stop and run to hump another! These sorts of actions can seem baffling to owners, however do know that this is very typical canine behavior. 

It should be noted that humping behavior often starts early; as young as 5 to 6 weeks old when a pup is still with his littermates. Puppies may hump each other during play even though a pup of that age is far from puberty. With males, viable sperm is often present by the 4 month mark and females enter puberty at the onset of their first heat cycle. 
Reasons Why a Pomeranian of Any Age May Hump

Sexual Behavior – In regard to male Pomeranians, the dog may hump to mate. Even dogs that are neutered may hump a female, as they can still get an erection; this is because though the testicles have been removed, the body does still produce some testosterone via the adrenal glands. 
Do note that even if a male dog ties with a female, she cannot become pregnant as long as the neutering procedure was properly performed. 

Play behavior – It is considered normal canine behavior to hump during play. In some cases, this is tied to dominance and submission; the dominant Pomeranian (or the one trying to establish that he is dominant) will hump the other to show that he is ‘leader’. 

Improper Hierarchy – If a Pomeranian is always humping his owner’s leg, this is often linked to improper understanding of hierarchy. Just about all owners assume that their dog sees them as the leader, however in some cases, the dog has other ideas. If a Pom believes that he is in charge or even thinks that he has a chance to claim that title, all sorts of behavioral issues can start to develop, humping included. 

Stress – This is such an intuitive breed and stress can really take a toll on a Pomeranian. It must be noted that stress is not always related to a ‘bad’ event; such things as moving to a new home or even a visit to the groomer’s can affect a Pom. This said, stress that leads to humping is often due to such issues as separation anxiety or too much stress in the household (children running in and out, blaring TV’s or music, yelling, arguing, etc.). 
Compulsive issues – A lot of different things can become habit for a Pomeranian and when you take an issue like humping, something that feels very good to a dog, this can quickly become a compulsive problem. The puppy or dog may become ‘stuck’ in a pattern of constant humping, unable to control his or her urges. When this occurs, humping may not even be pleasurable for the Pom any longer; he/she is simply acting on the compulsion drive and this can actually cause a dog to feel stress. 

Medical problems – Whenever a dog is paying particular attention to a certain body area, this can point to a health issue. What may appear to be humping may actually be the Pomeranian trying to scratch an itch or otherwise find relief for discomfort emanating from in or around the genital area. 
16 year old Pomeranian at the beach
Glitter, 16 years old
Photo courtesy of Chad
Such issues that can cause humping include urinary tract infections and allergies that are causing severely itchy skin. 

Should You Stop a Pomeranian from Humping?

A lot of owners ask this question. There are a few key points to keep in mind.

1. Humping can be due to a health issue (UTI, skin issues, allergies, etc.) and for this reason, humping should not be ignored. It is something to bring up to the vet during your next wellness check and if there are any other signs, do please bring your Pom to the vet right away. Signs of UTI include difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, cloudy or smelly urine and/or incontinence. Symptoms of allergies include but are not limited to chewing at the paws, dry skin, hot spots of red irritated skin, possible breathing issues such as wheezing or coughing and/or red, bloodshot eyes. 

2. Humping can be due to stress and for this reason, it should not be ignored. An assessment of the household environment should be taken and if needed, steps taken to reduce anxiety. 

3. Since this can become a compulsive habit for some dogs and not even pleasurable at that point and excessive humping can be quite distracting, taking time away from normal interaction, you may want to intervene. 

4. Humping is not always welcomed by other dogs, so if your Pomeranian tends to hump dogs that he/she comes into contact with, this may not always end well. Another dog may become disturbed and act out in defense. 

5. Finally, since a dog will often hump his human if he does not understand proper hierarchy, this as well is a reason to make some changes. 
How to Help Stop a Pomeranian From Humping

Please note that the following is done AFTER the dog has been cleared of any possible health issues.

1) Spay/ neuter – While spayed and neutered dogs technically may still hump, it is rare. The decrease in hormones that will occur after having the dog fixed often does stop humping. It is also considered an effective method to help a dog calm down in regard to trying to run away, not listening and other such behaviors. And of course, spaying and neutering can help a dog live a longer life by eliminating or reducing the chances of developing certain cancers. 
Pomeranian Teddy face
Juan, Photo couresty of Caner Muftuoglu from istanbul-Turkey 
2) Distraction – Using a distraction technique is often quite effective for a host of unwanted behaviors including chewing, tugging and barking. The key is that you must not only distract the Pomeranian, but also offer something that he/she finds more pleasurable than the humping. A dog will always choose an action that brings about the most favorable outcome. 

For this reason, you will want to A) Distract with a loud noise (a clap, a shake of coins in a can, your firm voice, etc.) and then B) Offer something of value that is NOT food related (as food signals a reward). It is best to offer a new toy. Note that this does not mean that you have to continually purchase new toys for your Pomeranian to stop him or her from humping. It is always suggested to keep 2 toy bins, so that a Pom has a ‘new’ set every few weeks, but also you can obtain 3 or 4 tempting toys that are only used when you are trying to stop humping behavior. 
3) Teach commands – A well trained dog will stop what he is doing to obey a command such as ‘Sit’ or ‘Leave it’. Therefore, if you work on instilling basic command training, once a Pomeranian truly understands the commands, a simple ‘Sit’ will bring him out of his actions. Give a reward for obeying and at this point, a dog will often move on to other things. 
4) Make sure your Pom understands hierarchy – This is a major reason for so many different unwanted behaviors and it is always a good idea to follow rules not only so that your Pom learns that you are leader, but is also reminded of that fact on a daily basis. While the full details of this is covered in the PetPom Book, the basics of this is that you will want your Pom to obey the ‘Sit’ command before any food is given (both meals and snacks), teach your basic commands and always be the first to enter or exit the household (which is the dog’s ‘den’). For more serious cases, where the Pom is really fighting for leadership position and humping you is really out of control, more serious measures may need to be taken such as setting up rules that you are the one to initiate any interaction and anything that the Pom wants (toys, etc.) must be earned. 

5) If your Pomeranian tends to mount and hump other people, such as visitors to your home, you can try the distraction method. However, if this does not work, it may warrant a firm ‘No’, followed by a short 5 to 10 minute time-out in his designated area (gated off area or canine playpen). It will be important to not yell or otherwise act as if your Pom did something truly terrible; but rather segregate him to stop the humping, allowing him to ‘re-set’ and then bringing him back to the fray for interaction. If he humps again soon afterward, you will keep repeating until he learns that humping = no fun and no attention from his human or the visitors.

6) With other dogs, sometimes play can start off just fine, but as it intensifies and escalates, it leads to humping. If your Pomeranian has a habit of mounting other dogs, be sure to always have your Pom on leash and harnesses. It will be important to use a harness and not a collar, so that injury to the neck does not occur. On harness, you will tug him away, give a firm ‘No’ and lead him away for a time out. While it does take many sessions of doing this, eventually your Pomeranian will learn that humping another dogs stops all fun. 

7) If you believe that your Pomeranian is humping due to stress, do please take every step possible to reduce stress and allow the Pom to be relaxed, confident and happy. Socialization training can be extremely helpful with this and well as taking steps to reduce separation anxiety, if applicable. 
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