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Post No.: 0504humping

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Last time in Post No.: 0450, we examined some problem behaviours in cats. So let’s look at some problem behaviours in dogs.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Terrific idea. Let me finish scratching on my scratching post first… Okay I’m ready.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Canines have been bred to want to be with humans – to work with, play with and be part of human families. Yet owners must learn to understand that we have our own individual doggy needs too. For example, off-lead exercise is important for our mental and physical health.

 

For being part of human families, dogs need to feel like they have a safe and secure resting place within the home. And since companionship is fundamental, leaving dogs alone in the home for long periods of time can be extremely stressful for them. They may express this via howling for their owners (even if other humans are around), pacing, urinating, defecating and/or destructive behaviours.

 

So if a dog has been ‘naughty’ in wrecking the furniture when the owner has been away then understand that this was ultimately the owner’s fault for leaving their dog alone for too long.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Well the owner (or some other human(s)) will always be at fault for problem behaviours in pets because a human decided to have a pet, she/he chose the breed, and socialised and trained (or neglected to properly socialise and train) the individual animal. People may have unrealistic expectations for us to cope with situations that are unnatural for us, and have an intolerance of behaviours that are actually normal for our species. Humans may have intentionally developed a particular breed to have particular characteristics in the first place too. And so on.

 

Pet owners must recognise that any ‘ill behaviour’ is an attempt to communicate a deeper problem, and so must proactively take compassionate steps to prevent and treat these problems as soon as they occur.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Yes!

 

Ask the owner of a dog before petting one, and even if the owner says it’s fine – approach the dog with little direct eye contact and keep your side to him/her to show that you’re not confrontational, and let the dog come to you on his/her terms.

 

The dog breeds with the strongest bites may not actually be the most aggressive yet have an unfair reputation, such as pit bull terriers (although do understand that they were bred to bait bulls and then fight). Smaller dog breeds actually tend to be statistically more aggressive because their aggressiveness is more tolerated – this is still the fault of humans though for increasingly breeding these small ‘toy breeds’ because they fit into handbags and then for not heeding the warning signs of fear and aggression before they escalate into biting.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Warnings from large dogs are heeded more but humans often go ‘oh look at this little dog yapping at me, trying to look all big. I’m going to pet it some more because its sooo cute’. While the dog is going ‘why is this human still harassing me despite being told to go away with my vocalisations? Maybe only biting will work’.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

That’s right. If the growls are being constantly ignored then the hound will think ‘I’ve got to go straight to snapping or biting now because I’ve learnt that warning with a grrrowl is a total waste of time’.

 

Humans, or other dog breeds, may also misconstrue different breeds that have been intentionally bred for particular behaviours or features, by thinking that they’re displaying aggressive behaviours when they interact with them. Corgis nip more because they were bred to nip the heels of cattle to herd them, and to also catch rats. Dogs with short and permanently wrinkly snouts can look aggressive to other dogs because wrinkling the nose is used to signal aggression. So selective breeding can make some dogs unable to express their feelings properly, and this can confuse other dogs. Likewise, cropping ears or docking tails hampers a dog’s ability to communicate clearly.

 

Some small and large dog breeds have specifically been bred to incessantly yap at strangers because they were selected to be alarm dogs to warn of intruders, so understand this and don’t blame the dog – humans bred for it! (Humans also actively select certain traits in other animals like cattle and sheep too.) A naturally noisy dog could possibly be trained to bork less though.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

There are videos posted online of kittens and puppies meowing or woofing in distress but they’re popular because people think ‘aww that’s so cute’ :(.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

It’s upsetting :(.

 

…So a dog’s ill behaviour, such as destructive behaviours or urinating inside the house, communicates things – if only people would learn to understand what they really mean rather than misunderstand them and punish dogs for them. It’s crucial to understand what a dog or cat is trying to tell you, especially subtly, otherwise it’s like you trying to softly tell someone to stop doing something but they won’t, so you must resort to escalating the message until they do.

 

There is a ‘ladder of aggression’ that indicates the step-by-step escalation of aggression, which – for a dog towards a human or another animal – starts from yawning, blinking, nose-licking or sometimes showing the whites of the eyes, to turning the head away from the source of anxiety, to turning the whole body away, sitting and maybe lifting a paw, to sensibly walking away, to gaze-averting with the ears pointing back and maybe the body going down into a creeping stance if the dog cannot get away from the source of anxiety (perhaps because a child won’t stop following the dog), to standing crouched with the tail tucked under, to lying down with the legs up and showing the belly (the dog isn’t asking for a belly rub here), to stiffening up the body and staring, to growling (you really should’ve stopped what you’re doing by now!), to snapping, and then finally to biting.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Wow! So there are plenty of warning signs before biting ever happens!

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

A dog may have learnt that some steps are pointless though because they’ve been previously repeatedly ignored hence why they’re skipped now. Hence because humans frequently fail to read and obey the signs of fear in even their own pets, these animals may learn in the future to jump straight to biting because they’ve learnt that appeasement doesn’t work to get people to leave them alone.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

It’s like humans don’t innately go straight to shouting, sizing up then Falcon Punching each other! But may have learnt through experience to skip straight to shouting if signals like polite words, turning away or trying to walk away hasn’t worked for them in the past.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

It’s important to note that showing the belly is inherently about signalling anxiety – it’s not inherently an invitation to rub the belly. Some dogs who’ve been brought up being belly-rubbed, and enjoy it, may ask to be rubbed but this’ll need to have been a personally learnt response rather than is innate.

 

Check the rest of the dog’s body language – if it’s relaxed while the belly is up then it’s probably okay to rub the belly but if it’s stiff then it’s definitely not.

 

Presenting the belly out of anxiety is normally an appeasement behaviour (so things could still escalate if this signal isn’t heeded) rather than a submission behaviour (when the animal is submitting no matter what happens to them) – and this is why it’s not about dominance and submission. An appeasing dog could still become aggressive towards a louder dog or intrusive human if the appeasing dog’s limit breaks (perhaps by unleashing an Omnislash)!

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Learning about these signals will reduce the number of bites that happen each year, and will in turn reduce the number of dogs that end up in shelters or are euthanised.

 

A person punishing you for escalating your fear and aggression is as short-sighted as punishing a cat or dog for it! It’s similar to understanding the perspective of a young child who hasn’t developed the ability to verbally communicate efficiently yet – the child gives you signals but you constantly ignore them so the child eventually gets frustrated and the behaviour eventually escalates into a tantrum before you pay them the attention they want! Parents often misperceive that the tantrum is ‘all of a sudden’ when a gradual escalation was presented.

 

And only paying them enough attention when they enter a tantrum is to reward their tantrums too, hence they’ll learn that tantrums are the way to go.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Rather than reward or punish such behaviours (or communication) – people must find out the root causes of their distress and address these instead. For example, ensure every dog has their own bone so they don’t need to fight for one.

 

Well first check with a vet to see if your pet has any underlying injuries, diseases, medical or mental health problems, especially if there’s genuinely a sudden and extreme change in behaviour.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

It’s again like if a child seems to be misbehaving or doing poorly at school – first check if she/he has excessive earwax, needs glasses or has some other underlying medical or mental health problem?

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Now there are many different reasons for why a dog might hump other dogs or even humans, and it’s not always about sexual urges, it’s seldom about dominance when it comes to humping other dogs, and it’s never about dominance when it comes to humping humans. After all, we also see dogs humping inanimate objects, take turns humping each other, and both puppy and fully-grown, male and female, and neutered and un-neutered, dogs can hump!

 

It can be due to play, over-excitement, anxiety, boredom, poor socialisation or medical problems like skin allergies or urinary tract infections. Although some humping is normal and natural, some owners giggle or otherwise reward their dogs with attention whenever they see their dogs humping human guests, rather than do things to reduce this behaviour – such as firmly telling them to stop, distracting or luring them away, and rewarding them when they’re not humping guests.

 

If it’s stress-related then one should try to relieve the root source of stress. A guest should try turning away, disengaging from the dog and adopting a position that won’t allow mounting.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

I suppose giggling at the situation would be similar to a parent laughing when seeing their child trying to mount human guests(!) It reflects on the owner, or parent. Although some guests are fine about it, there’ll be some guests who won’t find the funny side of being humped, whereas there’ll never be any guests who wished they were being humped by a dog that isn’t humping them(!) (I hope!)

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Some other dogs will be okay about being humped too, but if not then this might eventually escalate into a fight. If any inanimate objects being humped are yours then that’s your own call, but if they’re someone else’s then they mightn’t be happy about that.

 

Based on all this logic, it’s overall best to train your dog so that he/she does not start humping other dogs, people or things out of habit. Whenever you see a behaviour that you don’t want a dog to continue doing as a lifelong habit – whether it’s humping, barking at passers-by or whatever – then the dog needs to be trained out of it as soon as possible, even (or especially) if they’re still a puppy. Give or allow them an alternative behaviour that’s more desirable, such as a more appropriate style of play or stress-relief.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

I’ve learnt a lot here.

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

We just want catto and doggo owners to have knowledgeable, and in turn happy and truly healthy, relationships with their pets.

 

Fluffystealthkitten says:

 

Which can only be a good thing. Meow!

 

Furrywisepuppy says:

 

Woof!

 

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