Mount Up!

doggie-lover-dollA few days ago, one of our friends sent us a link to a website that introduced a new product to the dog toy market – the “Doggie Lover Doll“, touted as the world’s first sex doll for dogs. This is the kind of bizarre internet phenomenon that tends to disappear  in the blink of an eye, so in case the link stops working we’re including the contents of the press release below:

The world’s first sex doll for dogs will be launched at the 8th Pet South America (July 22nd to 24th, 2009), at the Transamerica Expo Center, in São Paulo.

You may know or have probably heard about these dolls for men that are very popular in Sex Shops around the world. There are inflatable ones, full-body, silicone, as well as other models. So now the first doll for dogs has been launched in Brazil. That’s right, a doll for dogs to practice safe sex. The majority of non-neutered dogs spend a good chunk of time looking for something to hump. They try pillows, furry creatures, people’s legs and even other animals.

To put an end to this nonsense and improve the little ones’ lives, the enterprise PetSmiling, headquartered in Miami, United States, and in São Paulo, Brazil, is bringing to the market the DoggieLoverDoll: a female canine manufactured in soft rubber with a silicone vagina and an easy to clean reservoir. The product also comes with a tube of water-based intimate lubricant, to increase the useful life of the doll.

This doll comes in three sizes: small, medium and large, to satisfy all existing races. “I had the idea to make this doll when my Maltese started to grab everybody’s legs. I did some research and couldn’t find anything like it, anywhere in the world. I decided to make it!”, reveals Marco Giroto, owner of the PetSmiling company, responsible for this worldwide novelty. This product is exclusive and has been patented in the major countries of the world where it will be sold. Soon after it was launched, PetSmiling already got orders from several countries, including the United States, Germany and Japan.

During the doll’s test period with a few canines, including the Maltese Flock (responsible for the idea), the pets showed a better quality of life based on less anxiety, less barking, and less territorial demarcation. In other words, the dogs live a better life, satisfying their repressed sexuality, in some cases for many years.

When a dog tries to hump legs, stuffed animals and other objects, he cannot reach an ejaculation. With the DoggieLoverDoll he can. Human beings have their hands to masturbate themselves, now the domestic animals, which have practically no contact with females in heat, can alleviate themselves with a toy designed specifically for them. Dogs have a great sexual appetite and this novelty, surely will better their lives.

Soon this novelty will be found at the best pet stores around the world. It will be on sale starting July 22nd on the site The pet store owners desiring to sell this novelty, which will surely shake the PET market (forever growing), can contact our company by calling +1 (305) 728-6404 in USA  or via the e-mail

Lest it be thought that we are somehow promoting this “toy”, first let it be said that this concept is full of crap on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to begin. On the surface, this short promotional blurb could (and should) be taken as little more than a joke, and certainly with a boulder of salt, but it does contain a lot of clues to widely held beliefs on the subject of canine sexual behaviour and its relationship to the activity known as mounting or humping. We regularly get queries from people who have observed this in their own dog(s) so an article on the subject has been percolating for months. Receiving the link to the “Doggie Lover Doll” was the final motivation we needed.

Before we start writing on a subject, particularly one that is as fraught with entrenched misinterpretation as anything thought to be connected with sex and sexuality, we often begin by mining for the kind of information that would turn up if someone researching the subject hit the internet seeking knowledge. We do this to bring ourselves up to date on what kind of information, good and bad, is floating in the cesspool that passes for knowledge and popular wisdom in the 21st century, and thereby better wrap our minds around where the public head is at. In this case we found that just bringing up Google and typing in “dogs humping” will give you hours of entertainment along with a wealth of authoritative sounding advice, much of it contradictory and a lot of it completely out in left field.

So what’s wrong? Why has the last word not been written on a subject our ancestors have no doubt been observing for the last 14,000 years? Unfortunately, it’s because humans insist on involving their own sensibilities on the subjects of sex and sexuality when trying to understand a pattern of behaviour that is far more complex than a simple desire to “get off”. After all, humans have been engaging in the full range of their own sexual activities for a lot longer than 14,000 years; we hold up the fact that this article was written, and you are reading it, as proof of that. By now one would think the world would be full of sexually enlightened and completely fulfilled people, and yet it sadly is not. A quick scan of the self-help section in your local bookstore, movie and TV show titles, even the browser history on your best friend’s computer, will bring you to at least a suspicion that, if anything, the waters of sexual understanding are even muddier now than they ever were. Humans do tend to overthink things.

Well, we can’t do anything about that here, but we can do something about sifting the sediment out of what’s going on with dogs, so here we go.

There is a saying that you should never suggest to a woman that you think she might be pregnant unless she happens to be giving birth at that very moment. A similar rule needs to be applied by people who are seeking to understand the mechanisms that are at work when one dog mounts another. Dogs mount other dogs for a lot of reasons, only a few of which have anything to do with the actual physical act of copulation. You will know with certainty when sex is the point because the dogs involved will actually be copulating. Dogs also mount animals of other species, including people, as well as inanimate objects. This has nothing to do with sex, but is regularly seen as being connected with “love” or the acting out of sexual frustration by people who are filtering what they are seeing through their own sexual mind geography.

Not long ago, we were visiting a friend and had our German Shepherd Gunner with us. Our friend has no dogs of his own, but has a neighbour with two spayed females, both of which were running around loose at the time. A young male  Boxer belonging to a young couple who were friends of the neighbour was also present along with his owners.

In the course of letting the dogs engage in some healthy supervised socialization, the young Boxer licked Gunner’s penis a few times. Gunner showed no reaction to this, but the same can’t be said of the male half of his family. When asked why he objected to this so much his reply was, “He licks my face! I don’t want him licking me after doing that!”

An interesting chain of reasoning, one that he didn’t seem to apply to what parts of the two female dogs the Boxer had been licking, what parts of himself, or what kinds of detritus lying about the neighbourhood he may have licked or eaten before licking his owner’s face. No, this was pure human homophobia transferred to canine behaviour by a person uncomfortable with being associated with any hint of gayness. While this is a relatively low key example, more extreme cases have been documented in which male dogs have been beaten or killed by their owners after having been observed mounting, or worse, being mounted by, another male dog. This kind of excess grows directly from the acquisition of a dog for the specific purpose of using it as an outward expression of the owner’s sense of his own masculinity. It becomes an extension of his penis, and in the mind of its insecure owner, where the dog goes so goes that most precious of his possessions. In truth, what these people are reacting so strongly to has as much to do with dogs being gay as seeing one eating grass makes it a cow.

Something we regularly remind people of is that Nature saves time and resources by re-using specific behaviour patterns in  widely varying situations. Modern human society shields most of us from the pure primal fact that, at its basis, survival is largely an energy management problem. At its most fundamental level, the game is all about resources: getting them, keeping them, and ensuring their future availability for you and yours. Social animals like humans and dogs give themselves a leg up in these endeavours by living in organized groups where a lot more is going on than simple strength in numbers. “Resources” here is an all encompassing term that refers to all the components necessary to maintain the species including food, water, and yes, sex, since that’s the only mechanism for making more of the species. Within its environment, the group will be competing against other groups, including those of different species, for such items as food and water. Sex though is for the most part competed for within the social group, the pack, against other members of the same pack. If dogs were little more than humping machines blindly looking for their next sexual encounter, they would have little time for anything else and the pack would be paralyzed by internal competition. That this doesn’t happen points to the fact that something else is going on here, and that’s before we even address the additional point that, as often as not, female dogs mount others of either sex at least as often as males do. That’s Nature reusing a behaviour pattern again, and this time for a clearly non-sexual purpose.

When someone consults people like us about anything their dog is doing, it’s a safe bet they consider the behaviour to be a problem. Some mounting behaviour is indeed a cause for concern, first and foremost because it can be symptomatic of a medical condition that will require a visit to your vet. This is a particularly important consideration if the behaviour represents a sudden departure from what has always been considered normal for the dog, and where there are no extenuating circumstances such as recent introduction of another dog into the equation, the coming to sexual maturity in either sex but particularly of an intact male, or if the dog is prone to obsessive behaviour in other areas of its activity.

If you have any doubts, eliminating an underlying and possibly serious medical condition as the cause of the unwanted behaviour by first having the dog checked by your veterinarian is never a bad idea. Some dogs will turn to mounting pretty much anything as a response to the sensations associated with urinary tract infections, incontinence, and some allergic reactions. It can also present in male dogs suffering from priapism which is a painfully persistent erection that men taking viagra and similar medications as treatment for erectile dysfunction are always warned about. This condition has nothing to do with sexual excitement or stimulation and, while rare,  can occur in both intact and neutered dogs. A dog does not experience erections that last an hour or more, and priapism must be addressed as a veterinary emergency.

Very commonly, dogs of both sexes will exhibit some level of mounting or covering behaviour during play. It is well known that two dogs of widely different positions in the pack hierarchy can play in a healthy and happy manner without either getting upset that the play will somehow overturn the proper order of the universe and precipitate Armageddon. It surprises and puzzles many to see how a more dominant dog will engage in play with a lower ranking pack mate, and willingly roll onto its back while the other stands over it play biting its throat. In truth, there are many gradations on the road to complete mounting of one dog by another, and the response of the dog being mounted will vary from complete indifference to shrugging the offender off to warnings of escalating severity up to and including the delivery of a bite. When done in play, owner intervention is not generally warranted, but this changes when the dog doing the mounting either misreads or ignores signals from the other and is persistent to the point where there is a risk of blood being drawn, or of injury to a smaller or weaker dog, if the actions are being prosecuted as a bullying tactic against an injured dog or one that is older and infirm, or the behaviour is one of exerting overt dominance. Be careful of being lured into seeing this as some variation of childhood school yard behaviour, and consult a professional if you are in doubt or feel out of your depth.

A day with our own pack will yield a wealth of examples of play mounting in all its complexions. Gunner, our German Shepherd is our youngest dog at 3 1/2 years followed closely by Milo, our Beagle/Black Lab mixed breed who is about a month older. Minnie, who joined our pack a little over a week ago, is the next in age at 5 years, and being a Min Pin is also the smallest. The oldest at 12 years of age is Dusty, our Lab/Shepherd mix. In order of physical size from largest to smallest, the list would be Gunner, Dusty, Milo, and Minnie. We have a stable pack in which there is an established and healthy hierarchy among the canine members. At the moment, and we say that because it is normal for the established order in packs to change over time, Milo is top dog, and this fact is comfortably accepted by all the other dogs without contention. Dusty and Gunner each outweigh Milo by more than 30 pounds of muscle, and Gunner can fit Milo’s entire head inside his mouth, yet this is not about who can take who in a fight. Fighting wastes energy and saps the valuable resources of the pack so, unlike people, dogs have evolved the ability to be exceptional at quietly sorting out who leads and who follows, and in fact need to do this.

At the time we adopted Milo in March 2007, Dusty had been an only dog for the months since the death of Cinders in December 2006. Milo required a lot of rehabilitation and he and Dusty were relatively disinterested in each other; a situation that persists to this day. They will playfully chase each other in the yard, with play bowing and eye contact, but there is never any physical touch. Gunner on the other hand can’t get enough of wrestling with Milo, something that for the most part is returned in kind. Gunner also solicits play with Dusty and getting Dusty to reciprocate was something of a project for him that he pursued to success. Minnie is still establishing her position of comfort. Among the dogs she holds her own and has primarily shown a preference for Gunner. While there has so far been no play between them, Gunner enjoys giving her full body tongue baths that she often solicits and clearly enjoys receiving. They also routinely swap beds, a situation in which Minnie is getting the better deal considering the beds are sized for the dogs.

Dogs don’t play tennis or golf, they don’t go out to bars, so their play is made up of behaviours that are modified from those used in everyday life. Fighting, predation, claiming, dismembering prey, and posturing for dominance; all these and more are brought into play. There’s Nature reusing things again. People who are used to watching dogs play fighting, and who understand what it’s all about, accept it for what it is and without fear that it will end in injury or death, yet when one dog mounts another, for the humans it becomes all about sex. This says more about people than dogs.

A great deal of mounting behaviour in dogs is done to incite a response from the one mounted. We mentioned earlier that there are gradations on the way to one dog fully mounting another. Most of the time these are missed by human observers who only recognize what is happening when the hip thrusting starts. As a visual example, following are a couple of video clips taken by Diana that show dogs from our own pack playing. In the first clip you will see Dusty (the white dog) and Gunner playing in our kitchen. Before reading further, watch the clip and only then read the explanation that follows. After that watch the clip one more time and watch for the behaviour described.

You will notice that there are many occasions in which Gunner places his chin on top of Dusty’s neck. When Dusty reacts Gunner dashes away only to return a few moments later to do it again. This is covering behaviour that would normally be an expression of dominance but because it is done in the context of play, with appropriate body languange exchanged between the participants, nobody gets the wrong idea. Near the end of the clip, you will notice that Dusty loses interest and stops reacting to the level that Gunner desires, resulting in a lot of excited barking on his part. Left to their own, there is a high likelihood that Gunner would have escalated the play trigger he has learned works well on Dusty, and attempted to incite him back into the game by fully mounting him if he was upright, or standing over him and hip thrusting if he was lying down. If in the end this failed to work, he would move on. It is also interesting to note that Dusty also incites Gunner by standing over him while he’s lying down, arching his back, and hip thrusting the air. If there is no response he walks away.

In this second clip you will see Milo and Gunner  playing.

While Milo is the higher ranking dog of the two you will notice in this clip that he regularly throws himself onto his back and reacts to Gunner clamping his throat in his teeth by simply putting up playful resistance. What is most interesting here is that Gunner only covers Milo when using his mouth. Gunner has never mounted Milo even in play, although Milo will regularly incite Gunner to play by placing his chin on top of his back and pressing down, or by placing both his front paws on Gunner’s back.

In recent days we have also seen Minnie attempting to incite Dusty who has so far pretty much ignored her beyond sniffing her now and then. This has mostly consisted of her approaching him when he is sleeping, swatting him with her paw, and then if there is no response, standing over him as much as a Min Pin can to a dog of his size, arching her back, and hip thrusting. As recently as yesterday, she did have some small success. She approached him from behind while he was sleeping on his side, placed one paw on his back, sat down and thrust her hips a few times. When there was no reaction, she placed both paws on his back and thrust a few more times at which point he lifted his head to see what was going on. When he did that, she jumped back and play bowed but that’s as far as it went. At least she got him to lift his head.

So you see that dogs will commonly execute varying levels of pseudodominant covering behaviour during play to solicit a response. They will also do something that is remarkably similar when testing the response of a dog they either don’t know or that they are trying to figure out. In this case it becomes an exercise in determining how far you can go with that dog, and once again it is part of normal dog to dog social interaction.

Simply put, a healthy dog that shows a tendency to jump up on people, place its paws on people, lean into people causing them to relinquish the place where they are standing, or exhibits mounting behaviour directed at people requires correction. All of the described behaviours are about establishing position, and that cannot be permitted if the dog is to accept human leadership as the proper and normal order of things. Once again though, while the behaviour requires correction, this does not mean there is anything wrong with the dog. Dogs need clear communication from their Pack Leaders of exactly what the rules are and where the lines of behaviour are drawn. This mechanism is at the heart of why Gunner never attempts to mount Milo, and it’s not because they had a meeting to discuss the rules or that Gunner is afraid of what Milo will do. A properly harmonious and balanced dog pack is built on a foundation of mutual respect and support that comes from its human  Leaders on down before coming right back up again from the bottom. Fear is instability and does not foster respect.

So we’ve dealt with mounting that results from physical illness, normal social interactions, and vying for position, but we’re still not done. There are also dogs that, like some people, will fixate on a particular activity to the exclusion of all else. This is not a healthy mindset because it is not conducive to the harmonious, balanced, and natural state that any animal must adopt as its base line of existence if it hopes to survive, let alone attract a mate (another lesson dogs can teach humans, who seem to have little aversion to mating with less than optimal candidates nor to following unstable leaders).

For some dogs it’s rocks, or obsessive destruction of chew toys. For others it’s barking at every tiny sound or digging holes, and for some it becomes all about mounting anything that will hold still long enough. While no dog behaviour can be absolutely defined and quantified in a written article, and every case we see requires its own unique set of solutions, there are some usual suspects that are often at work when a dog is exhibiting obsession, and usually they point to a dog that is unfulfilled. For example, and as we’ve stated in previous posts, a hunting breed that was genetically groomed to work the field all day will not be fulfilled by being told to keep quiet and lie down, nor will an hour of unstructured free play at the dog park be of any more than marginal relief. In this case the dog requires daily doses of structured activity that feeds and fulfills its need to work, and failure to do so will quickly create an unhappy, unbalanced dog. No matter what the breed, a dog that spirals into obsessive behaviour will draw from some aspect of its nature and fixate on that alone. For some that aspect is everything that ends with humping something else.

Fixated or obsessive dogs need rehabilitation that restores them to balance. Anything less will ensure that the imbalance remains.

Lastly we’ll mention the least likely reason one dog would mount another. Sex. First and foremost, it cannot be stressed enough that, with few exceptions, dogs must be spayed or neutered. To not do so in domestic dogs is to cultivate an atmosphere of frustration and a potential for creation of unwanted litters. So many aspects of life with dogs become smoother for the entire pack through the performance of these simple acts of responsibility that we could devote an entire article to this alone. Suffice it to say that in unaltered males within smelling distance of a female in heat, the drive to mate is incredibly strong and can lead to problems that it is far better to prevent than attempt to manage.

This article was never intended as a comprehensive treatise, but we hope it has served the purpose of enlightening our readers to a better understanding of what is most emphatically not a simple matter of misdirected sexual hyperactivity.



  1. I knew it wasn’t about sex…but I had NO idea just how much humping can be about! Great article!


Leave a Reply