Attraction can mean a different thing to different people.
Do dogs have an innate need to be around us and do they develop preferences for certain people? Absolutely.
But can dogs be sexually attracted to humans? No, not really. Dogs do not experience sexual attraction like humans do.
However, when our dog mounts us or humps us, we may worry that they are sexually confused. Read on to learn why you don’t need to worry about your dog proposing marriage any time soon!
The Human-Animal Bond
Dogs and humans have co-existed as companions for many centuries now. The theory goes that dogs saw us cooking around the campfire and decided they wanted in on the action. They accepted scraps while we used them to guard our property and hunt for us.
Through time, the relationship grew and a strong bond developed. Humans and animals learned to communicate and even show each other affection. These domesticated animals now rely on us to care for them; something which we should see as our duty.
Dogs now look to us to help them and to offer reassurance. They place great trust in us and we should respect this and not take advantage of it. In turn, we are provided with a loyal and unwavering friend.
Do not confuse this friendship though. Dogs are well aware that we are not dogs and they do not see us as the same species. We look different, we act different and we smell different.
Even the dopiest dog knows humans are not their blood relatives. Despite this, both species can have a sincere and meaningful relationship; one that both parties benefit from.
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Do Our Pets Love Us?
This is more of a philosophical question than anything else, and not one that is easily answered. A cynic may be quick to say no, while a life-long dog lover will assure you that every single one of their dogs has loved them wholeheartedly.
It is difficult to know how much of the concept of love dogs can understand. We know they are loyal and can be kind and gentle. However, are they capable of both feeling and displaying love?
What we can say is that they experience increased levels of oxytocin (the ‘love’ hormone) when around humans they like. Studies have also shown that spending time with their owners causes neurons in their brain to fire in their ‘reward centre’.
So, whatever they are feeling about us, we can be sure it is positive. For most of us, our love for them is so strong that it is hard to imagine they don’t feel the same back.
Can Dogs Be “In Love” With Their Owner?
At this point, most scientists and experts would agree that this is not something that happens. As a species, dogs are hard-wired to be attracted to other dogs, allowing for the species to reproduce and survive.
Both evolutionarily and biologically, it simply would not make sense for a dog to feel attraction to a human. In the wild, it is very rare indeed for one species to ‘feel attraction’ or want to mate with another. However, it can happen; as is seen with the horse and the donkey.
But for a dog to fall in love with and to feel attraction to a human? It is a step too far. The species are just so vastly different and communicate in such different ways that it is not something that happens.
As our pets can devote themselves to us and are often very affectionate, it is easy to see where the confusion lies. Similarly, some dogs will even mount or hump their owners, which can cause them real concern.
Why Is My Dog Humping Me?
Dogs do not see humping as the ‘big deal’ that we do. For them, it is something they do when they feel like it as it feels good at the time. Remember, they’ll quite happily hump a bed or blanket; it doesn’t even have to be a warm-blooded animal.
5 Reasons your dog humps you
1. Many dogs will hump when they are feeling anxious or afraid and have nervous energy to burn. This is typically seen during a fireworks display or a storm, in a dog who has a noise phobia. It can also happen when walking in a new place with a dog who has been poorly socialized.
2. Sometimes, your dog will mount you because you have been around another dog, particularly if they were a female in season. This lingering scent may confuse your canine companion.
3. Your dog can see it as a game. This is especially true if previous ‘amorous encounters’ with you have resulted in lots of shouting and moving about. If they are bored and want something to do, it is something to keep them occupied.
4. Those who crave attention may go to extreme measures to get it. If you’re consumed by a riveting novel or TV series and haven’t paid much attention to your dog all day, they may try to bark, whine or scratch at you. However, if you continue to ignore them, they may search for something that won’t fail to grab your attention.
5. If your dog is really worked up and full of energy, they might suddenly begin to hump. This occurs more often in young, un-neutered males during a game. They are simply acting on a sudden surge of energy.
Humping people is an annoying behavior that needs to be dealt with promptly. If we don’t nip it in the bud, the dog may think it is acceptable and will continue to do it.
Moreover, if the dog is a large breed, it could actually be dangerous. This is especially true of they are lunging on and mounting small or young people, who could get seriously hurt.
How To Stop Your Dog Humping You?
Make sure you have a ‘zero tolerance’ rule when it comes to humping, even when your pup is little. If they try to hump you, immediately tell them ‘No’ and push them off. You can then walk away and place yourself in a position where it is not possible for them to mount you.
Try to distract your dog with something else they love to do like a game of Frisbee or a quick training session. As mounting is typically a means of burning energy, your dog will usually be happy to have an outlet.
For intact males, it can sometimes help to have them neutered. However, this should not be seen as the cure-all, as it may not have any effect on your dog’s desire to hump.
It can help to give your dog something else to do if you sense they are about to hump. This can be as simple as asking them for a ‘sit’ and rewarding them when they do so. For some dogs, a distraction technique is all that is needed.
What If The Humping Persists?
Sometimes, excessive humping can be a sign of a medical issue such as an enlarged prostate gland or a urinary tract infection. It is sensible to have your dog checked over by the vet, especially if they are older.
If a medical issue is ruled out, it is time to call in the big guns. A canine behaviourist can help you formulate a plan, after determining what is triggering your dog to behave in this way.
The Take Home Message
While your dog almost certainly cares for and loves you, they will not be physical attracted to you. Certainly, they will show affection in physical ways such as licking and nuzzling, but this is just their way of showing they appreciate you.
Though dogs will sometimes mount and hump their owners, this is not caused by a physical attraction. As this behaviour is tiresome and can be dangerous, be sure to let your dog know it is not acceptable.