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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, before you reply telling me I should not own a dog at all, please read what I have to say.


Me and my puppy (who is about 4.5 months) were both up on my bed about to go to sleep. I was lying underneath the covers, and he was lying on top. He was lying on top of my leg, so I decided to move it from underneath him. I pulled it away, and he looked at my leg moving from under the covers. He quickly took an interest in it and before I knew it he was standing up on the bed holding my leg and humping it. It happened so fast it took me a moment to realise what he was actually doing.

Before I continue... note that I am a VERY, VERY strict trainer when it comes to my own dogs. I would rather not own the dog than have it badly trained. I love the dog to have the most free will possible, but when I ask him to do something I expect it done immediately. For example, I allow him to walk entirely off the lead on road sides and in the woods, providing that he listens to recall and commands first time. He is now in the habit of doing this every time. I like it and he likes it.

Back to the point... So as soon as I realised he was humping me I sat up and shouted 'NO' to him. I was quite upset that he was humping my leg and in my eyes, this is a COMPLETELY unacceptable behaviour, as I've said I'm very strict. As soon as I said 'NO' I immediately hit him, very hard, on his thigh. Honestly, it was very much a reflex action. As soon as I hit him I was very remorseful and actually very shocked at what I had done. I didn't plan it, I didn't even think about it. I was just very shocked and let it out. After hitting him, he immediately stopped and looked at me, stunned. I continued to say no, about 5 more times. His gaze drifted from my eyes, from side to side, and after the last 'no' he got off the bed and sat on the floor on the other side of the room looking at me.

Of course I felt disgusted at what I had done, and still recognise that it was the wrong thing to do.

After a minute I invited him back onto the bed with a happy voice, and gave him a treat. I asked him to give me a high-five, and he did so, so I gave him another treat. Then he looked at me for a few seconds watching me from the corner of his eye and quickly fell asleep.

Basically.... WHAT DO I DO NOW????

How do I deal with the trust and respect? He obviously isn't that fearful as he did not pee, and he came back on the bed. I know that the smack was the wrong way to deal with it, but I honestly admit that it was a very reflex-type action, no thought given to it at all.

Do you think he knew it was my leg?
 

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I think what you're looking for is a magic fix, and nobody has that. You need to change your attitude towards your dog. Accidents happen, but if him messing up even slightly (and he's only a puppy! He's learning!) affects you this way you need to look at what YOU need to change about how YOU are thinking about him, or not.

I'm confident you put your dog's safety above everything. Second, probably, only to his health. But mental health is important almost more so than physical health, and although teaching a dog what you want them to do is fantastic, they ARE going to make mistakes. Reprimanding them for those mistakes doesn't help them learn-it's just an encounter to avoid because you get scary all of a sudden. If they feel comfortable around you again, the behaviour repeats itself. Do you see where the problem is? He's just a puppy and learning, and is going to push his boundaries. Accidents happen and we get frustrated, but in order to learn from our mistakes we need to look at the situation and what made *us* lash out rather than what the puppy did.

I think he knew it was your leg, and was fulfilling a need-whatever need that was, not necessarily sexual or dominance based. You need to come up with a different outlet for his energy. Redirect him to a toy when he does something you don't want. Ask for a behaviour that is incompatible-like sit-instead of humping. He can't both sit and hump you at the same time. So make it a default behaviour-every time I want to hump, I sit instead. He's not going to understand the first few-or many-times. You need to teach him in a way that helps him learn and understand, Make sitting MUCH more rewarding than humping-then why would he bother humping at all, when sitting is more likely to get him treats and he could play with a toy instead?

You might want to look up the sticky on counter-conditioning. It'll help you figure out what to do if he starts becoming nervous of your hands around him, or being touched. Essentially you listen to what HE is telling you-"I'm uncomfortable' and reward him for letting you know and back off. Then try again-eventually he'll get comfortable since he knows you'll back off (plus give him treats!) so he'll feel safer with your hand getting nearer and nearer. I doubt he's going to have this reaction, because he's young and will bounce back fairly well, and your attention is still rewarding. But it's a good method to know about and read up on if you haven't already.

I hope this helps, and that I don't offend. It's hard to admit when we're wrong but you've already taken that first step-which is great. Now we work on fixing it. Mistakes will happen, but as long as we're still learning we're doing alright, right? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much Kwenami!

I was worried somebody would lash out at me and tell me I deserved to burn in hell or something like I hear elsewhere.

Honestly, it was an accident, in a way. When I say it was a reflex action, i really mean it. I had no intention of hitting him, I was just so shocked and although humping is normal, its probably one of the behaviours I most want the dog to control. I realise I am expecting a lot, but thank you for your sensitive words and suggestions. I will see how he goes and will keep the counter conditioning in mind.

Thanks again, x
 

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I know you didn't mean it :) Redirected aggression is common to-with dogs AND people, along with a whole slew of other things that we do to our dogs which they tolerate. But I believe in you, and you can learn and do better :) The accident only happened because you got frustrated and acted before thinking, which is normal-but we can all learn :)

You might also take a look at controlling your dog with different methods for a bit, like a leash or time outs (for either of you) in separate rooms if you need it. Or look at WHY you need to control him so strongly-there ARE other ways to go about keeping a dog in training under control, and though not all of them would work for you some might.

My dog's personally tried to hump only once or twice-when she found that I didn't care and would just leave and ignore her, that helped a lot. He could just be testing to see how to best get your attention if he wants to play. Ignoring him is the worst (negative) punishment ever if he's just dying for your attention. It's how I also got her to quit jumping/mouthing me, because at 1.5 years when I got her she had NO way of letting someone know she needed attention, and had not received it ever in the past. Some empathy goes a long way-if you were scared, or wanting attention, what would you try to do to get it from your human? All dogs are different in their approach but if the root problem of his humping was attention seeking, you want to address THAT and not the consequence-the humping itself.

I'd also recommend you stick around the forum. People are pretty nice here, and understanding. There's a lot to learn just by going through the stickies in the behaviour and training section. It's really changed how I look at people and animals in general, and I'm so happy it has :)
 

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This dog is a baby. He hasn't been fully trained to do anything.

Frankly, you need to reconsider your attitude about dogs, especially puppies. You hit him because you are so determined to control him that the slightest mistake threw you into a rage. This will happen again if you don't relax a little, realize dogs, and especially puppies, make mistakes and resolve to train a little more next time.

I ask my dog to sit at street corners because he'll just walk right out into traffic otherwise. Most of the time, he does it. Sometimes, he looks at me like he's never heard sit before. I don't get angry, I ask myself what's going on here. Is this day 3 of hard rain and he hasn't been walked enough? Did that dog barking and lunging at him upset my dog or excite him? Are the 23 runners going by, the 17 strollers and the 37 dogs just too much for him at this moment?

Now I ask, what can I do? If it's just overstimulation, I wait until the end of the walk, when he's more tuckered out and then practice sits. I work out strategies for overstimulation. I remind myself that I'm hardly perfect, either, and move on with my day.

I'd also reconsider allowing a 4.5 month old puppy to walk off leash next to a road. That's asking for a dead dog. There's nothing wrong with a leashed walk.
 

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I used to be a more 'handsy' trainer and even though I was only whipping with 1 or 2 fingers... man is it a hard habit to break, especially if that is the attitude that has been 'trained' into you by coaches, dog trainers or your own initiative. Stick your hands in your pockets. Hold your breath and count to ten. Whatever you need to do.

Basically the one who needs your training here is you. You need to be aware of when it is coming, and catch yourself, and redirect-- just as you would with an animal when they have an undesired response to something. You need to be thinking ahead! Remember that every time a specific habit is carried out... its reinforced! So every time you practice your new 'habit', whatever you choose that to be, you are reinforcing a new course of behaviour. Be patient and persistent with yourself! It will come, and as you change your own behaviour you will begin to see a change in the dog as well!
 

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I am sorry to hear that this was such a traumatic event for all concerned.

I am glad that you are here and seeking some advice. You've gotten some excellent advice so far, and I just wanted to back it up.

Don't feel alone in your situation. Humans, as primates, are prone to lashing out physically and getting really loud when we're scared or angry. It helps you bleed off the stress of the event, and makes you feel safer. However, these things do not translate AT ALL to a dog. They don't view getting smacked as a biting correction, they don't view you shouting at them as you giving warning barks... they just view you as another species being very unpredictable and scary. As others have said, it's your responsibility as the more intelligent party to make sure that you aren't putting your dog through this. There are so many better ways to communicate.

Humping might be distasteful for you, but remember that it has no emotional or moral component for your dog. He is not assaulting you or disrespecting you or trying to prove anything. Dogs hump because it feels good and it lets them express their energy in a particular way. Some dogs are more prone to humping than others, especially unneutered male dogs, and female dogs who were either the only female in a male litter, or who were surrounded by male pups in utero. In these cases it's driven by chemical impulses and not any quest for social interaction.

It's likely this will happen again in some way, so make a plan now as to what you will do, and rehearse it mentally over and over. This will take some of the shock out of it for you, and the mental practice will help you choose the correct actions if you are ever put in this situation again.

Keep asking questions if you need to, we're here because we care.

Good luck!
 

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I know you feel disappointed, but the best thing to do is just pretend nothing happened.

I too once hit my dog when he bit my hand, and i felt so terrible after i started crying. He came right over and (tried) to crawl on my lap to comfort me. I gave him pets and treats and after that i acted as if nothing happened. It has not impacted our relationship, and he hasnt bitten me since.

The next time he does something undesirable, a simple no and redirect would do. Like if he were to hump your leg, say no and remove yourself from the situation. If he gets a hold of something he shouldnt have, take the object and give him a toy and a treat (but dont rip it out of his mouth, ask for him to drop it)

Reinforce bad behavior with a simple no and then praise when they do something good. If you can not redirect, like in humping, just ignore it. Say no and then leave. When you can redirect, like in jumping, say no and then ask for a sit and reward the sit.

It will take some time to control yourself, and recognize what situations you ignore and what situations you correct. But you will get it!


Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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You don't need to be strict. You just need to be consistent!

Dogs aren't robots. He's probably never going to behave exactly as you want in every situation. You need to learn to control yourself...Train yourself to stop BEFORE you react, and think. Count to 10. Do whatever you need to do to get yourself out of anger mode and into "How can I teach my dog what I want?" mode. He's not doing things to anger you on purpose, he really doesn't know any better.
 

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I have a humper, a female humper and probably because she's a girl it hasn't bothered me. For me it's always just been her way of saying PLAY WITH ME!!!! Now that she has a sister she humps her and no longer me :p

Seriously though I agree with all the others it sounds like you need to learn to control your own emotions and focus less on controlling your dog. We all want our dogs to be well behaved and great companions to us but remember that your dog is an individual and he is not ALWAYS going to listen to you and do what you want him to do. You wouldn't expect a toddler to obey your every command all of the time?

So now stop feeling bad, you made a mistake and this gives you the opportunity to review your actions and come up with a strategy that will prevent it from happening again. :)

Just be glad he didn't try and hump your head :p My head is Leesi's go to humping spot when I'm sleeping and she wants to play.

One more thing, we want to enjoy being with our dogs. A big part of that is letting their personalities show and shine, they are who they are and with positive reinforcement we can cement the parts we like and ignore the parts we don't because they WANT to make US happy. I realised early on that I'd rather have fun with my dog en enjoy the time we spend together, this meant me not getting frustrated or angry and taking the opportunities when they presented themselves to show my girls what I like and what I don't like. True I don't like Leesi being all over me every evening asking for kisses and cuddles...it gets a bit uncomfortable BUT I realise she missed me the whole day while I was at work so if she needs serious cuddles for an hour before laying down next me....it doesn't take anything away from me but gives her what she needs. :)

Chin up! Stick around and hope you enjoy the learning curve that DF will provide as well as the support.
 

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Thank you so much Kwenami!

I was worried somebody would lash out at me and tell me I deserved to burn in hell or something like I hear elsewhere.

Honestly, it was an accident, in a way. When I say it was a reflex action, i really mean it. I had no intention of hitting him, I was just so shocked and although humping is normal, its probably one of the behaviours I most want the dog to control. I realise I am expecting a lot, but thank you for your sensitive words and suggestions. I will see how he goes and will keep the counter conditioning in mind.

Thanks again, x
How do you accidentally hit a dog? I'm not berating you but what you did was an intentional act. A dog humping, even as you already stated, is a preferctly normal thing. I'm not so sure why you got so upset over something like this. You don't sound like a bad person at all but one does not "accidentally" strike someone or an animal.
 

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With my job we put up to 10-12 Labs together in a hige pen to play before starting the training day. Both a mixture of male and females. All have been neutered. You can't believe how much humping takes place between these dogs during playtime. Both the male and female seem to enjoy this at times. As long as no one becomes aggressive we typically do not stop them. Not a one of them has ever tried humping us during training or a handler once we assign them. (talking about the training site as I don't see what happens once they go home obviously)
 

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How do you accidentally hit a dog? I'm not berating you but what you did was an intentional act. A dog humping, even as you already stated, is a preferctly normal thing. I'm not so sure why you got so upset over something like this. You don't sound like a bad person at all but one does not "accidentally" strike someone or an animal.
I don't think OP was saying it was an 'accident' as such, more of a reflex. Come on, we've ALL done things we haven't intended.

OP, the fact that you are so upset by what happened will mean that you can learn from your mistake. You've come to the right place and have been given some great advice to help you out :)
 

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Humping is as normal and natural to dogs as barking.
They do it for a variety of reasons and those reasons change by the context of whatever circumstance they're in. It's one of those things that we should accept. I feel like we (in general) continually put dogs into tiny boxes and expect them to act in a socially acceptable way to humans. I feel it's grossly unfair to them. I'm waiting for the day when people start reprimanding dogs for farting! It's coming, I swear!


Dr. Karen Overall wrote an article about humping. I will try to find it and post it for you.

I stopped my intact male from humping by redirecting him (without using human words) to an appropriate stuffed animal. He quickly lost interest in it, but will occasionally hump only the designated toy. When he was very interested in humping, I would often interrupt him with a known cue. My theory was to keep interrupting the humping with "better" things, to help stop the behavior from becoming neurotic.
 
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