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Why do puppies hump, and how to stop it?

by MeexpawsKelly 28 Feb 2024

Puppy biting behavior progresses through several stages of development. Initially, while still with their mothers and litter mates, puppies learn bite inhibition and the appropriate force to use during play. If a bite is too hard, the playmate may leave, teaching the puppy to adjust its bite strength. This stage typically ends as the puppy grows older.

Another biting stage occurs when the puppy begins losing its baby teeth. During this phase, puppies chew to help loosen their milk teeth, making chewable toys essential. Some owners find frozen washcloths helpful for teething relief. By around 6 months, the puppy should have shed its milk teeth.

Following this, a phase of jaw strength development begins as the new adult teeth emerge. The puppy may feel compelled to chew on objects to anchor these new teeth firmly. During this period, the puppy is less likely to chew on humans but may target shoes, furniture, or rugs instead. This chewing stage generally lasts until around 18 months, or longer for particularly mouthy dogs.

It's important to understand that these stages are natural parts of a puppy's development, and their behavior is not indicative of being bad or aggressive. Rather, puppies simply haven't evolved to live in an environment with an abundance of shoes and furniture.

Here are some tips and advice to help address the licking, biting, and humping behaviors:

1. Redirect the Behavior: When your puppy starts licking, biting, or attempting to hump, redirect his attention to an appropriate toy or activity. Keep a variety of toys handy and offer them whenever he starts exhibiting these behaviors.

2. Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement to reward your puppy for desired behaviors, such as playing with toys instead of biting or humping. Praise him and give him treats when he engages in appropriate play.

3. Consistency is Key: Be consistent in your response to unwanted behaviors. Use the same verbal cues and body language every time to communicate what is acceptable and what is not.

4. Timeouts: If your puppy continues to engage in unwanted behaviors despite redirection and positive reinforcement, consider implementing short timeouts. Remove him from the situation and ignore him for a brief period to help him understand that his behavior is not acceptable.

5. Socialization and Training: Once your puppy is fully vaccinated, enroll him in puppy socialization classes and basic obedience training. These classes will provide him with the opportunity to learn appropriate behavior around other dogs and people, and they will also help strengthen the bond between you and your puppy.

6. Consult a Professional: If you're still struggling to address the behaviors, consider consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist for personalized guidance and support.

Regarding the humping behavior, while it can sometimes be related to dominance or sexual behavior, it can also be a result of excitement, playfulness, or stress. It's essential to observe your puppy's body language and context to determine the underlying cause. Redirecting his attention, providing mental and physical stimulation, and reinforcing alternative behaviors can help address the humping behavior over time.

Remember to be patient and consistent in your training efforts, and don't hesitate to reach out for professional assistance if needed. With time, patience, and positive reinforcement, you'll help your puppy learn appropriate behavior and become a well-mannered companion.

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