This is an uncomfortable topic for many owners, but mounting is a natural and common behavior among dogs. Canine mounting can have many different motivators and determining what is driving this action will help in understanding and possibly resolving unwanted mounting behavior.
The most obvious and often assumed motivator for mounting is sex. This is most common with intact males and females, but neutered and spayed dogs can display sexually driven mounting as well. It is often thought that this behavior will cease once the spay/ neuter surgery is done; it usually reduces the frequency but in many cases the activity does continue. Another very popular reason dog's use mounting is for dominance. The mounting dog will do this to express their status over another dog or animal. This display may not be an issue depending on the other animal's reaction but it may be a problem if the recipient is a person's leg. Mounting can also be used for self comfort. This is the case a lot of times when the dog mounts objects such as a pillow, toy, etc. It is speculated that dogs do this as a simple routine or as a stress relief activity.
The three motivators listed above are believed to be the most common behavioral reasons for canine mounting but it can also be seen in regular play activity, as a result of nervousness, excitement, as a reaction to an action, etc. To determine the motivating factor for mounting, pay attention to the details of the activity: who or what is being mounted and what is the dog's relationship to the other animal, what is the environment like and when is it taking place, is this part of a routine?
If this is an unacceptable behavior that you wish your dog to stop, the first step is to bring him or her into Eagle Animal Hospital for a comprehensive physical exam to rule out any possible medical reason for the behavior. Once medical issues are ruled out, we can discuss behavioral training which can vary depending on each case. Sometimes we will even refer to a trainer or specialist if needed.
If your dog is displaying unwanted mounting behavior please call us at Eagle Animal Hospital (610)458-8789. We serve Chester Springs, Downingtown, Exton, Glenmoore and the surrounding areas.
Written by Kaelin Mast, receptionist