Humping a visitor

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Chris

Boxer Pal
Hello again,
Oscar has taken to humping one of my friends legs whenever he visits, he never does it with anyone or anything else only one person. Can anyone explain why this is happening, my friend is starting to get very worried that he is giving out some signal asking dogs to hump him.
Oscar is 5 1/2 months now
Regards Chris

[This message has been edited by Chris (edited 08-06-2000).]
 

Tanyia

Boxer Buddy
Chris-
This is a sign of dominance. For some reason your pup sees your friend as a pushover, someone he can be above in the pack structure. Have your friend GENTLY put him on his back and hold him there until he stops struggling each time he does it. I would imagine that Oscar will get tired of doing it if this happens each time.
 

Ona

Boxer Booster
Also, have your friend walk in to him (so Oscar has to walk backwards) when he does this. It will show that he his not going to take that anymore!

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Ona
Derek-rainbow bridge at 14 and 1/2
Tyler-rainbow bridge at 10 months
Currently dogless
 
C

ChrisM

Guest
I agree with it being a dominance thing and I also agree that putting him on his back will probably work. My sister has an English Bulldog who was a holy terror when he was younger. He would try to hump my kids, would knock them down and in general be a real pain in the rear. My sister would say "no, no Gus" in a sweet voice and of course he looked at her and kept right on truckin'. SHe even told me one day to send my kids upstairs to play because they were getting the dog "nervous". I told her to train her dog! ANyway, the next time Gus tried to mount one of the kids, I rolled him on his back, held him gently but firmly down by his neck and used a loud but VERY deep voice to scold him. Let me tell you he NEVER bothered ANY of my kids again and he listens to me the first time, every time! And, get this, he really likes me too so I blew my sister's theory that discipline makes them hate you, out of the water!

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Mom to:
LADY - White female, natural ears. Rainbow Bridge February 2000

TESS - Flashy Fawn female, born Dec, 1999, natural ears

ZELDA - Semi-flashy Female, natural ears, born May 31, 2000
 

Krikkit

Boxer Insane
Chris, this was a reply by Jean Donaldson (author of 'Culture Clash') to a similar question, from this website htp://www.lasardogs.com

The suggestions for stopping this behaviour are all good, no matter what Ocsar has decided is the object of his affections
smile.gif
This is very common in teenage dogs.

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I understand your squeamishness about mounting. It's a behavior that most people are uncomfortable witnessing, with the exception of breeders! I also take your point that it compromises your recall. There a few things that may help you in your predicament.

Firstly, recognize that, in the context you describe, there may not be any social significance to her mounting other dogs. In other words, there isn't always a "big" reason to motor patterns performed out of context. It is unlikely that she is trying to have sex with or express dominance towards these other dogs (as armchair ethologists in the park have probably suggested). She is excited, having a good time and out pops the behavior. No harbinger of bad news vis-a-vis her temperament, hormones or social skills necessarily.

This also makes it easier game for modification, which is what you're after. You have a few choices, modification-wise. You can try any combination of :

redirection (counter-commanding),
punishment,
shaping the absence, or
putting it on cue.


Redirection is getting her to "switch gears" to a mutually exclusive behavior when she gets in the mood. By now you probably have an idea of the precursors: a certain time interval spent wrestling, perhaps a certain style to the wrestling, perhaps certain dogs, anything that tips you off that mounting is imminent. Before she mounts, obtain and reward another behavior, the gear-switcher. Try calling her and doing a two or three trick sequence for a really coveted, rarely given reward. Then send her back to play, always vigilant to interrupt again if she seems to be winding up again. When the mounting behavior gets rusty from disuse, you can relax your supervision.

Punishment would be supplying a consequence after she starts. I don't recommend aversives but would entertain reward removal: "you're history, rude dog!" and escort her from the dog area for a couple of minutes' penalty as soon as she starts. You could have a "three strikes and you're out" rule, i.e. march her home on the third penalty she receives on any given day. Dogs are very good at learning these kinds of contingencies. This is a beefier consequence than the one you've already tried (verbal reprimand).

Shaping the absence is an under-used and powerful technique. It is simply noticing and rewarding Maggie when she doesn't mount, given opportunity. We are all guilty of ignoring some of the best behavior in our dogs. What's tricky about shaping the absence is the psychological hurdle for the trainer: that the dog won't immediately "know" what the reward is for. In fact, it is not necessary for any subject to "know" what reinforcement is for in order for conditioning to take place.

In this case, sometimes it will look like you are rewarding her for playing with a dog (without mounting), sometimes it will look like you are rewarding her for disengaging in playing with a dog (without mounting), sometimes it will look like you are rewarding her for switching to playing with another dog (without mounting), sometimes it will look like you are rewarding her for ignoring a dog (without mounting), for checking in with you (without mounting), for telling off a dog (without mounting) etc. There is one common denominator (without mounting). The power of trend. No instant pudding but huge dents in behavior over time. Put it this way: you're going to the park anyway; may as well reward non-instances for the heck of it.

Mounting is one of those behaviors which goes nicely onto a cue. If you can classically condition her mounting to a verbal command and follow up the commanded mounts with extrinsic rewards (and follow up the non-commanded mounts with nothing or even reward removal if you are combining techniques), you are on to something. Control. What dog trainers love best. It's almost as though the new cue (your command) takes over as trigger from the old cue (intense wrestling).

This is like meeting the dog half-way. "Okay, I recognize you enjoy mounting, but please do it only when I tell you to" is a deal dogs find easier to live with than "never do this enjoyable behavior." This kind of deal-cutting or channelling also works well with compulsive predatory behavior (El Diablo attacks the vacuum only when told and after a period of quietly waiting, poised - she gets a delayed attack command consequence for premature attacks) and pulling on leash ("walk nicely for X distance and I'll then tell you to "mush" for a bit").

To condition, instead of redirecting when you notice precursors, give your command and then, when she mounts, praise (or click) and reward. Or, if this seems a little bizarre for the park crowd to witness, try to get her to mount your leg or some consenting dog in another context so you have opportunities to supply your cue and reward. You need plenty of pairings to make the association (>40). Then you can start oscillating commanded/rewarded mounts with uncommanded/unrewarded ones and watch the uncommanded ones die a slow death. Plus you get a neat, if twisted, trick (my command for El Diablo to hump my leg is "darling, we're not doing that now...").

If it is highly resistant to a well-executed assault with these kinds of techniques and becomes more frequent and intense, the next step would be to have her hormones checked out.
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