Friday, October 10, 2008


Dog Humping Problems

Dogs are my favorite type of pets because they are so playful and mellow when you want them to be. I have two of my own, a Lhasa Apso of 5 years and a Bloodhound of 6 months. The Lhasa Apso, Gizmo, has been making me wonder about what happens when you neuter a dog. He was neutered before he was a year old because we didn’t want to have baby Gizmos running around. We also wanted to make sure we had a mellow dog, because we had researched that Lhasa Apsos can be quite aggressive when they are bothered, but otherwise are great dogs. Apparently neutering him didn’t help so much.

Neutering a dog changes their hormones and makes them sterile so they don’t reproduce. Along with making the dog sterile, when a dog is neutered, they are usually better pets. Dogs don’t mark their territory as much, roam from home, feel dominant over family members, and are more relaxed after being neutered.

Gizmo is quite the opposite, let me tell you! He is very aggressive, he thinks he is more dominant than any of my family members, and he still…humps. I don’t understand any of this. Being neutered as a puppy, I would think that he had less of a chance to act like this. I also know that it could be his breed, but neutering still should have shown some difference, so I thought. When I try to lock him up in his kennel, like we always do before we leave the house, he growls and shows his teeth. It isn’t like he doesn’t like his kennel either. He also humps my leg, which I don’t understand in the least. He gets mad when the family sits down at the table to eat, and he tries to eat the “people food.” I know we treat him like royalty, but we still train him to be behaved, and he knows better than not to eat “people food.”

I would really like to know what is going on with Gizmo because he really shouldn’t be behaving in these ways. Gizmo should be mellow, relaxed, and not humping my leg after he had gotten neutered. I know that Gizmo’s breed can sometimes be aggressive; I hadn’t seen a difference since his neutering. Could this be his hormones or could it be that his behaviors are really that closely based to his breed?

Posted by Alyson Paige (4)

11 Comments:

At 9:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sexual behavior has a genetic component as well as a hormonal component. Many male animals will continue to show sexual behavior even after neutering, such as the humping behavior you described. If his breed is normally aggressive, than that is probably something that has nothing to do with his gender or hormones, and simply what is written in his DNA.

-Corinne Delisle (4)

 
At 12:18 AM, Anonymous Allison Cornell said...

Well, I have a few theories. You said you neutered him when he was under a year old. Did he hump before you neutered him? Usually, if dogs develop behaviors, such as humping before neutering, the procedure will not make it disappear. Another possibility is genetics. Personality, as we have learned is highly heritable. My best guess however, is that your dog thinks he is the alpha - the head of your family (pack). You said you treat him like royalty, and that is probably the cause. Humping is not only a sexual behavior, but also one of dominance. By humping your leg, he is showing that he is further up on the hierarchy than you. Also, when you are putting him in his kennel, he is confused, because it would seem that you are trying to express dominance over him. Since that is unacceptable to the alpha, he is growling to tell you that that is not your place to do that. My suggestion is to stop giving him mixed signals and step up to being the alpha yourself.

Allison Cornell (4)

 
At 10:13 AM, Blogger PWH said...

Thankfully you are not the only person with behavioral problems with their dog! Allison's comment I think almost completely explains what your problem is. I would also agree that his humping behavior is to show dominance over you. Gizmo does not see you as the dominant figure in your family. Regardless of the fact that he's 5 years old it's not too late to fix his behavior problems. I have worked a lot with my own dog and working at my job at an animal clinic. Knowing basic obedience skills like sit, down, and stay is important to establishing your position. A method called "clicker training" is an excellent way to teach obedience. A program called "nothing in life is free" would apply well to him. He gets nothing (treats, breakfast, or dinner) unless he does something for you first, like sitting. If you are letting him up on places such as the couch and your bed, stop! These are prime resting places and he's feeling entitled to be there. He can go on these places evetually but not until he recognizes his place. When he eventually does realize his role he shouldn't be allowed up until you tell him it's okay and after he sits. Also no more food from the table he should be in his crate when you eat or in another room, not begging from the table. Growling and baring his teeth at you is completely unacceptable and a sharp "NO" should be used as a correction. If this problem only occurs when putting him in his crate then make going into the crate a more happy experience by praising and treating him for going in when you ask. Also during times when you aren't actually leaving just to practice. Hopefully you can change your familys and your position in his eyes and stop his bad behaviors. Good luck!

Posted by: Lindsay Goodyear (4)

 
At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a 4 year old beagle who is fixed and is also very aggressive. While beagles are normally very friendly, mine hates strangers and other dogs. It may just be your dog's nature and something that neutering can't fix.

Amy Kawazoe

 
At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is another prime example of animals behaving in unexpected ways. Since we talked about mating behavior as a form of play, maybe your dog's humping is more about establishing playful relationships than mating. I agree with the other commenters about your dog viewing himself as the alpha male, that seems the likely source of his aggression. I used to have a cat that was "fixed" as a kitten, and he was always very aggressive and would often attack me for no reason at all! It just goes to show that animals' personalities are a lot harder to control than we may think.

-Jane de Verges(4)

 
At 7:39 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Perhaps his behavior is more a result of not being around other dogs. He is able to maintain the alpha position in his own household but in a different setting he may adjust better to a social hierarchy.

-Benjamin Spozio

 
At 8:09 PM, Blogger PWH said...

The behavior of the dog can be affected by the way he is treated. Also it depends on the status of the dog. Your dog may believe it is the alpha dog of the family. Is it possible your dog is mad it is getting left alone and is seeking attention, or has it not been getting enough exercise?

Rob Lubenow

 
At 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be interested to know because I too have a very agressive, hyper neutered dog. Good work!

Ericka Adey

 
At 2:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could always get him checked out by the doctor or get some estrogen in him, but I think it's more of a nueronal behavioral thing than a hormonal problem. Does he show agression any other times and does he still mark territory?

Ada Marie Flores (4)

 
At 12:50 AM, Blogger PWH said...

I think that a lot of sexual behavior is programed into the neural networks of a lot of animals. The genetics of a dog may instinctively make the dog do the humping behavior even if there are little to no hormones effecting it's behavior. I know my dog does the same thing and was neutered very early in his life. Additionally you might want to observe which dog is the alpha dog of the two because behaviors can vary greatly between two dogs with different statuses.

Patrick Salome

 
At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you all for posting; they were great posts! I had never thought about a lot of these ideas and suggestions. First of all,I agree with the alpha in the family. Before we got our second puppy, he wasn't as bad as he is now. He doesn't mark his territory (which people had brought up as an idea). I do see your points when you say that he is trying to be dominant when we put him away. I do think he is confused because he gets to lounge around and go wherever he wants all day long, but when we leave, he has to be put away. Good points there, and thank you Allison!

As for teaching him to obey commands like sitting before meals, I had just tried since you said something, and it seems to be working a bit. Of course this will take some time, but I am sure it will work. Telling him "No" sharply is better for the family as well because sometimes my family gets a little bit carried away (including myself) and tell him "No, you know better than that" and such. Doing this will not help because he does not understand what we are saying. Thank you so much for these tidbits of advice, Lindsay!

As you all have different ideas, maybe it could be a mix. As pointed out earlier, Gizmo could just be humping for play, but this doesn't explain his aggressive behavior when we put him away in his kennel, (but this could be the mix with the alpha idea). As far as estrogen goes, I researched estrogen in males, and it seems as though estrogen wouldn't have an impact on anything pertaining to Gizmo's humping or aggression. Maybe there is something I am not aware of when it comes to dogs. Finally, exercise would not be an issue because Gizmo gets plenty of exercise, and I just can't tie in how this would have any reason as to why Gizmo humps my leg or is aggressive.

Alyson Paige (response to comments)

 

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