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Hump

Is it Normal for Puppies to Hump? 

Overview

We received a question from a Chihuahua owner of a male Chi. The owner was concerned regarding the issue their puppy humping and wondered if it was normal for puppies to hump. We have place the Q & A here, hoping that it will be of help to other owners.

Question:

I have a 5 week old puppy and his behavior is worrying me. He humps everything in sight and he is so young. He is still with his litter so he most often humps the other pups, both males and females! 

I know that older male dogs will do this but is it normal for a pup so young to be doing this? And to both genders? 
Answer:

It is true that many people assume that older male dogs may show serious humping behavior, particularly if they are not neutered. However, it is not uncommon for a young puppy to hump.

Puppies begin to learn to walk between the ages of 2 and 3 weeks old. Even at this newborn age, some will begin humping as well. When new owners bring home an 8 week old, that puppy may already have a habit of doing this.

As the pup grows, at an early age- usually by 4 or 5 months old for toy breeds - the dog will enter into puberty. At this time the sperm is viable and humping urges can be much stronger. Once a dog is of breeding age, he will have a strong sense of any females in heat.

In regard to what your own puppy is doing and the specific reasons for doing so, it is suggested by many animal behavior experts that this is an action that the pup takes to show dominance. 

All dogs think of themselves as being in a pack. When they are little, their pack is their littermates. When they are older, their pack is normally their human family and any other animals that are in the household.

So, even at this young age, your puppy is most likely trying to show dominance over his siblings in an attempt to show that he is the leader of the pack. This is not an act of mating or trying to "tie"...

It is his way of trying to take his place as the Alpha dog. For this reason, it is normal for him to be doing this to both genders. 
Cute puppy on his back
Most puppies in a litter will work out their place in the pack by themselves, and that is natural.

When he is just a bit older, around 8 weeks old, you can begin to teach him commands such as "sit" and "stop" and implement those to command him to curb his behavior.

Also, he may stop on his own, as soon he will learn that you, the human, are the true Alpha and the leader over the Chi's. 

If this pup or any other show reluctance to accept that, you can instill this in them by always entering and exiting the home before the dog, by teaching commands and by not placing down the dinner bowl or giving out a snack until he has obeyed the "sit" command.
puppy making funny face
If his behavior is out of control you can send a strong message by gently placing him on his back and gently yet firmly placing your hand on his tummy to hold him still... 

In that position he is very vulnerable and is very aware of it. The puppy will struggle and then when he realizes that it is futile, he will stay very still. It is that moment that is the signal that means that he has submitted to you and essentially are saying, "okay! YOU are the leader!". 

As we mentioned above, sperm will be viable as young as 4 months old. For this reason, you will want to consider having your male neutered if he will be in close contact with females. 

It only takes a moment for a tie to occur and that can produce a litter that you will be responsible for. 
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