Why Is My Puppy Humping at 10 Weeks & How to Stop it

Puppy Humping at 10 Weeks

Many new dog owners complain that their little puppy will not stop humping anyone and anything in sight. While this behavior is perfectly natural and nothing to be alarmed by, it can still be a nuisance, especially if you have small children, other pets, or even guests.

To help you learn why puppies display this humping behavior around 10 weeks, we have prepared this thorough and complete guide to everything you need to know about puppy humping. More importantly, this guide will tell you how you can put a stop to this behavior!

Table of Contents

Why Do Puppies Hump Around 10 Weeks of Age?

For the most part, a puppy will not reach puberty until they reach 7 to 10 months. If they are humping before this, it is simply non-sexual behavior, as the dog has not reached sexual maturity.

So, this might leave you wondering, why would a puppy hump at 10 weeks of age? The truth is, there can be many reasons why a dog might hump before full sexual maturity. 

The following are some of the most common reasons why young puppies hump:

The Puppy Is Playing and Expressing a Desire to Socialize

Under ideal circumstances, puppies grow and develop with their siblings. These early interactions are where they learn how to socialize and behave with others. What may seem like violent or, in the case of humping, sexual behavior, is simply a form of play.

During these formative years, dogs will nibble and bite each other, pile on top of one another, and, you guessed it, hump each other. During these periods of socialization, puppies learn the nuances of what is and is not acceptable with other dogs.

The Puppy Is Playing

Most dogs are taken home when they are roughly 8 to 10 weeks old, so many puppies will display this playful behavior around humans. They may hump your leg, pieces of furniture, their favorite toy, or just about anything inanimate object they can get their little paws on. It is the same reason young puppies will gnaw on furniture, nibble fingers, and yelp at anyone that enters the room. They are just trying to play and explore their new environment.

Since the young dog no longer has the company of their siblings, humans, other pets, and anything else around them must fulfill the role.

The Puppy Is Humping Because They Crave Attention

Puppy humping can be a form of attention-seeking behavior. If your young dog feels neglected or a little bit lonely, it can display a wide range of seemingly unusual behaviors.

One of these behaviors can be humping. You may also notice that the puppy’s humping is accompanied by other undesirable behaviors, like barking, crying, biting, and excessive licking of their own fur.

Remember, dogs are very social animals, especially in their early puppy years. Humping your legs could be just one of the attention-seeking efforts they are displaying. What may seem like irritating behavior could simply be your puppy’s confused efforts to get more of your time and affection.

Do not simply write your young pup off as a “bad dog” if they are continuously humping and displaying other undesirable behaviors. Instead, try to offer your puppy more of your time. Play games with your puppy so they get the mental stimulation they desire and so they do not feel neglected. 

The Puppy Is Humping to Express Stress and Anxiety

Black dog in Stress and Anxiety

In certain situations, a puppy could be humping and displaying other repetitive behaviors as a coping mechanism to deal with their stress and anxiety. 

When you think about the life of a puppy, it is no wonder that they often feel scared, stressed, and anxious. They are removed from their mothers and siblings at a young age and thrown into a strange environment with new people and animals.

Humping, chewing, biting, and yelping could simply be your puppy’s way of expressing stress. Many puppies get overwhelmed at around 10 weeks of age, as this is the approximate age they are separated from their mothers. Again, this is why it is not a good idea to get angry with your puppy because they are humping; instead, simply try to get to the root of the problem in a calm and understanding way.

The Puppy Could Be Humping Because It Is an Instinctual Behavior

Although dogs do not reach sexual maturity at 10 weeks, they still hit puberty surprisingly early in their lives. If your puppy is humping before they have hit puberty, it could simply be a premature hormonal urge. In other words, it could be instinctual practice for the real thing.

That does not mean that your puppy is experiencing sexual attraction towards you and other inanimate objects around the house, it is just that their bodies are hardwired to perform the humping motion.

How to Stop Your Puppy from Humping

Although it is often harmless behavior, humping can still be awkward and somewhat embarrassing if you have company over.

If you are looking to put a stop to your 10-week-old puppy’s humping habit, the following training and conditioning methods:

Redirect the Puppy’s Attention When They Hump

As any puppy owner will tell you, puppies have very short attention spans. If you need to stop your puppy’s humping immediately, redirect their attention to something else.

Toys, balls, and just about anything that makes noise will quickly divert your young pup’s attention. While this will not permanently correct their humping, this redirection technique almost always puts a quick stop to the unwanted behavior, which can be useful in certain situations.

Calm Your Dog Down

As we discussed above, humping can often signal anxiety, playfulness, or even just over-excitement. It is important to calm your puppy down assertively; however, you do not need to be intimidating to get your point across.

In most cases, an enforced ‘time out’ will do the trick. Give a command, like “stop”, then pick the puppy up and carry them to a designated time-out area. This can just be a quiet corner that has no toys. If the puppy has stopped its attempts to hump and mount after a few minutes, you can offer positive feedback in the form of praise or a treat, then return them to the area where their toys and blankets are.

By practicing this routine, you are conditioning your puppy to know that the humping behavior is wrong.

Stop the Behavior Before They Display It

For the most part, puppies are very easy to read. They almost always display obvious and distinct behavioral cues before they do anything. Whether pausing and looking upwards before they pool or lightly whimpering before they fall asleep, you should be able to get a read on your young pooch within just a few weeks of ownership.

The same is true for humping and mounting. Pay attention to how your puppy behaves before they mount a person or object. Some puppies will wag their little tails, others may sniff the person or object they are about to mount while some may lick themselves. Once you can spot the cue, you can stop the puppy before they begin humping.

If you can stop your puppy before they start humping, eventually they will stop. Dogs, especially when they are puppies, are creatures of habit. The more often they perform a behavior, the more likely they are to continue doing it.

You do not need to use force or intimidation to stop your puppy from humping. In most cases, lightly pushing the puppy away from its intended target is enough to stop the behavior before it is displayed. If the puppy does not hump, you can offer praise. Remember, positive reinforcement is one of the most effective training strategies for dogs of all ages and breeds!

For More Information About Puppy Behavior

If you have more questions about introducing a new puppy into your home, check out some of our other Puppy Posts: How to Socialize Your New Puppy and A Complete Guide to Caring for Your Puppy.

Also, this Behavioral Guide for New Puppies from the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center is an outstanding resource.

You can also review this Guide to Common Dog Behavior Issues from the ASPCA. This thorough guide covers just about every issue new puppy owners come across, including barking, destructive chewing, food guarding, and, of course, mounting and humping.

Finally, this Guide to Puppy Behavior from the American Kennel Club (AKC) explains some of the most common puppy behaviors and what each means. It is another valuable resource for anyone that has recently welcomed a new puppy into their home!