I’ve been writing about dog humping for years.

Jon Stewart mentioned my first piece, “H*mping: Why Do They Do It?” on air. Fine, it could have had something to do with the dog-friendly workplace at "The Daily Show" being featured in that issue of The Bark magazine, but for some reason, my humping article grabbed Stewart's attention. Wonder why.

Like Jon Stewart, dog humping and mounting probably attract your attention, and not simply in an off-hand, whatever, way. “Oh look,” said no one ever, “there’s a humping dog. What’s for breakfast.” Instead, the more typical response is, “WHAT THE EXPLETIVE ARE YOU DOING!?!” Fair enough.

Think about it: live with a dog, and you probably brought her into your home to be a companion. You chose her name, showed her the ropes, watched her grow, and you love her to pieces. Then one day you and your beloved go to the park, and she starts air humping as two dogs play tug. Or she latches herself to the leg of each and every visitor. Maybe she befriends blankets or pillows. Even the cat’s head is at risk.

When dogs hump, sometimes we freak out. Big time.


Not everyone has a visceral reaction to a humping dog. Animal professionals — notably veterinary behaviorists, ethologists and science-based trainers — view humping and mounting in a very different light. These practitioners know to pay attention to the contexts in which humping is performed, as well as the dog’s underlying emotional state at the time. Which is to say, animal behavior professionals don’t freak out. They know there is not a singular reason why dogs hump, and they attend to its nuances as they would any other behavior. And like other dog behaviors, it can decrease or increase in frequency, particularly if understood.

Animal behavior practitioners have tried to get the message out -- here, here, here, here, here, here, and here -- that there are many reasons why dogs hump and that owners should get to know humping as it pertains to their dog (here’s how you can do that). But many dog owners still see a humping dog and go straight to, “STOP IT! SO WEIRD!! DOMINANCE! AHAHAHHAH!”

“Oh please,” I imagine the dog thinking. “Get with the times.”

And we did.

I give you a new, colorful gif-blast-in-the-face on why dogs hump. The post, “Lessons from the Schoolyard: Why Do Dogs Hump?”, has been described as “weird, but interesting,” “So bizarre and amusing,” and “O.M.G. This TOTALLY just made my day.”

This new approach to why dogs hump is courtesy of Buzz Hoot Roar (Twitter, Facebook), a graphics-driven blog that explains scientific concepts in 300 words or less. Business Insider included Buzz Hoot Roar in the piece, “These 40 Science Experts Will Completely Revamp Your Social Media” (yours truly is in there, too), and these science mavens have taken on squirrel warbles, the evils of ladybugs, and the incredibly popular, “A Spider Did Not Bite You."

“Lessons from the Schoolyard: Why Do Dogs Hump?” includes my five major reasons why dogs get their hump on, and designer Jamie Wolfe (Twitter) created the animated gifs. The feedback (much of it from a share on the DINOS: Dogs in Need of Space Facebook page on December 4, 2014) is more than a humping dog could ever hope for:

Good information and amusing illustrations!

This article is backed up by a serious bibliography of studies and scholarly articles...unlike many of these popular interest pet articles.

These humping animations are too awesomely weird not to share.

(Now there's a sentence I've never written before)

Cute little informative post I thought I'd pass along

Just look at the pictures

just imagine being the artist commissioned to do these illustrations


Informative AND hilarious!

Find out why do dogs hump?? Even if you don't read about it, you need to see the pictures!

I frequently get asked about humping and this is one of the best truths!

This is the best humping article EVAR.

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Thanks to the extraordinary members of Buzz Hoot Roar -- Eleanor Spicer Rice, Robin Sutton, and Sarah Blackmon -- as well as designer Jamie Wolfe for bringing the science of dog humping to a new (and improved) level. May “Lessons from the Schoolyard: Why Do Dogs Hump?” have a long and prosperous Internet life.