My four year old Retriever wont stop 'humping'. Any ideas?

(25 Posts)
baileysmam Tue 26-Mar-13 14:33:30

Sorry people this may go on a tad! My beautiful Golden Retriever has (for a while now)been 'humping'. It's not even other dogs, it's their owners! I don't want to have him castrated as about a year ago both he and my son was attacked by an out of control pitbull and the vet, and two, yes two dog psychologists have said as he is now quite nervous due to the attack, taking away his bollocks, would also take away any fighting spirit in him he has, and because he's nervous with some other dogs he needs to have some. He's not a fighter, quite the opposite. It's quite sad as i call him the dog that's frightend of life. Sudden noises, bangs, hoovers, hairdryers etc. But back to the 'humping'. I'm demented with it. We can be out having a nice walk, he susses other dogs out, friend or foe. If he decides they're friendly off he goes to play. Foe and he trots off in another direction. However if he get's excited playing with another dog he almost always ends up trying to hump the owner. Most people are ok about it, some understandibly are not. But unfortunately i now dread taking him out for a walk and it's such a shame. I've had three other dogs, two which were retrievers and i've never experienced anything like this. Sometimes i cut the walk short, sometimes he does the rest of the walk on his lead. But whatever we do inevitably when we go back out and he see's a 'person' he's off like a greyhound and it's a worry what he's about to do. He's often run so far he can't hear us shouting, but truthfully even when he does hear us he ignores it, he's focused on one thing and bugger us!! None of us enjoy walking him anymore, thus it's become a chore. This dogs family needs help. Love the boy loads, gawd my mumsnet name is even after him, and not anyone else in the family. But after just having a confrontation with an angry lady who he tried to hump i've had enough. Incidentaly the vet and both dog psychologists don't think it's sexual, they all think, and i agree that he's trying to be "top dog" and this is how he's trying to show it. Any ideas gang?

idirdog Tue 26-Mar-13 15:21:26

Bollocks! (See what I did there) Change your dog psychologist straight away. Any dog psychologist that talks about top dog is unqualified and talking rubbish.

Humping is not always sexual however in this instance when he is humping everything in site it usually is. If he were just humping dogs I would look at behaviour but the fact he is humping owners etc then you do have a sexual driven dog.

I also agree about castrating a dog that is nervous as late as possible. However a four year old dog that is being driven crazy by the need to hump is not a contented happy dog.

You could try for your own piece of mind chemical castration, which of course would wear off and see if your dog is happier with less humping.

I would in this case seriously consider castration.

PS run away from anyone that calls themselves a dog psychologist - there is no such thing.

thegriffon Tue 26-Mar-13 15:39:44

Agree with idirdog, if he's running up to strangers and humping them it's not about him wanting to be top dog, more likely feeling sexually frustrated and would be much happier if castrated.
You could then find a good behaviourist (not a dog psychologist or anyone who talks about dominance) to help with his nervousness.

HelgatheHairy Tue 26-Mar-13 19:21:23

I have no advice with the humping but just wanted to say I have an 11 month male called Bailey as well!

HelgatheHairy Tue 26-Mar-13 19:22:27

That should have been male Golden Retriever! Around here Bailey seems to be a girl dogs name.

Floralnomad Tue 26-Mar-13 19:29:11

I agree with idirdog and TBH I'd be really annoyed if a golden retriever tried to hump me . If you can't stop him you need to keep him on a long line and then that is not kind to him either . If he was mine he'd be having the snip .

baileysmam Tue 26-Mar-13 19:33:54

Well HelgatheHairy you'll know what great dogs they are. (as long as they're not trying to hump)!! Sorry should have made that clearer don't think the two dog behaviourist i seen classed themselves as dog psychologists, but whatever the title they both seemed genuine guys with a love of a well behaved doggie! However i think they thought it wasn't sexual as it's only really happening after he's had a play with the dog then turns his attention to the owner.It's as if he's saying 'look at what i can do'. The only time he's showed the remote interest in humping a dog was when it was a bitch in season. Im reluctant to get him castrated as he is so nervous, especially when on his lead and a dog approaches. That does go back to the initial attack by the pitbull.I don't want to make him any more anxious than he already is. One thing i do know is that poor Bailey was fine until that bloody dog got stuck into both him and my son. It's very frustrating for us all it seems.Thanks

Floralnomad Tue 26-Mar-13 19:42:06

He sounds like quite a nervous dog in general and if he's happy to play with certain dogs I would question whether the dog attack is responsible ( I'm in no way a dog psychologist though) . But a dog attack wouldn't make him scared of hairdryers and Hoovers would it . My dog is scared of Hoovers , wheelie bins and dustcarts , he came from Battersea at 15 weeks I've no idea whether he was beaten with a vacuum cleaner hose and dumped in a wheelie bin or whether its just some odd reason why he's scared of those 3 things but he has to get on with life and put up with it .

thegriffon Tue 26-Mar-13 20:12:24

baileysmam - do other dogs just let him hump their owners without objecting? My dog went through a phase of jumping up and trying to persuade people to give him treats but he soon stopped after being told off by their dogs.

Imsosorryalan Tue 26-Mar-13 20:34:31

Sorry, I don't buy the don't snip it makes him nervous story. If he has been scared by another dog or nervous in general, you need to do some positive association training like BAT or clicker training like lots of other dog owners with nervous dogs. I have a very nervous and fear aggresive dog and with lots of time and patience are slowly getting over this. I don't mean to be sharp but you need to help him get over his fears in a positive way, not just hoping he can 'fight back'.

I'd also be very worried that he is chasing others and has zero recall. What if he catches a scent of a bitch in heat and runs off? Also how would you feel if he impregnated a dog. Are you willing to be responsible for the consequent pups?

Imsosorryalan Tue 26-Mar-13 20:36:00

Just to add, I'd take great offence at a dog trying to 'hump' me while I had my dog to control and my toddler in the buggy. You'd get some choice words grin

baileysmam Wed 27-Mar-13 07:02:03

Sorry don't think i've made myself very understood. I obviously haven't made it very clear that i have tried the above, hence paying not one but two behaviourists, who both give similar advice. As i also said i've owned other dogs who have behaved like a dream, i'm a responsible dog owner who has always trained and kept control of my dogs, also why i'm baffled and frustrated by this situation, which is why i was asking for help/advice/guidance from the mumsnet community. A vet agreed that at this stage the snip could potentially do more harm than good when i'd actually booked him in for the op, so it's not that i've not even got that far. But i had taken the advice i was given off someone i felt was more qualified than i. However i am going to look into that again. Floralnomad, your right about the long line and yes i have one of those also, though like you i dont feel it's very kind when he's a energetic dog who likes to run. But yes he has one, though at the moment i'm using a 'canny collar', also recommended!
I will reiterate though that on the original post i said some owners weren't happy and i didn't blame them, i dont. I too have pushed babies in a buggy, whilst walking my previous dogs, of course i wouldn't have liked it. I dont like it now when my dog behaves the way he does. So no doubt i would get choice words. Unfortunately the words i hoped for was some advice.

lotsofdogshere Wed 27-Mar-13 08:53:35

sorry to read about your dog's difficult behaviour baileysmam. I'd reconsider the castration - do you trust your vet because it's worth a long discussion on the dog's behaviour generally. I'm no behaviourist but it sounds as though castration would help him with the sexual urges. His fearful behaviour sounds like an issue that needs working with him. One of my labradoodles was a challenge on the training front. Despite me not having this problem with any other dog (before or since), her recall was dependent on whether she had a better option, like hunting or doodle dashing. Like you, I;d always had dogs and never had long lasting problems with them. I found a local trainer, who'd worked for Guide Dogs for 12 years before setting up as an independent. She was fabulous, assessed my dog and the family for a couple of hours before suggesting ways forward. We went back to a 30 ft training lead for about 6 weeks, and I used high value treats, which I varied lots, to praise every time she spontaneously came to me, and every time she came when I whistled/called her. Gradually I was able to let go of the long lead, because I could always stand on it if necessary. Alongside that, we did lots of play reward based training, right back to the stuff we'd done when she was a pup. She loved it, her confidence grew and she is now a very responsive dog. I also took her back to formal training classes when she was 3, not because I felt she needed it, but because I had 4 weeks left of a course one of the foster dogs had started. On reflection, I wish I'd done this earlier alongside the one to one work. It is always good to work on socialisation and building your relationship with your dog and that both the dog and I have really enjoyed the classes. I even decided to do the kennel club awards, and she is now officially a gold good citizen. Good luck with him - I learned such a lot from my challenging dog, great journey together.

baileysmam Wed 27-Mar-13 10:17:52

lotsofdogshere, thankyou for that. It's reassuring to hear despite having dogs you also had a challenging dog. It comes as a bit of a shock doesn't it when you've previously had well behaved dogs?
It's helpful to get constructive advice, i have tried alot of the above, but i think we'll be back to the training line also.Thanks also for the positive response. I asked for help/advice and it's nice to get it. Even if i have tried or am trying a lot of it i just wanted to pick peoples brains to see if anyone had some advice i hadn't yet had! I can well understand that people wouldn't like it as he's my dog and it pisses me off, but afternotes about how i'd get choice words don't really help as i'm very well aware that certain folks would be annoyed and wouldn't hesitate to let me know. It's not acceptable behaviour and i've acknowledged that point hence the original thread. The dogs a big challenge but thankyou for your advice, it was helpful and much appreciated smile

Floralnomad Wed 27-Mar-13 13:03:21

I don't think anyone has insinuated that you are not a responsible dog owner ,but we've all said the same thing , get your dog castrated and then deal with his other issues as a separate issue . As I said my dog is scared of vacuum cleaners and dustcarts ,you deal with it . There are many people on here who have dogs that are reactive on the lead and their owners are using various methods to deal with it ,but no one before has ever suggested that leaving them entire is going to make a difference . What happens if you have a bitch that is reactive on the lead , are we saying that a vet would suggest giving her male hormones as a cure ? If you don't castrate you are probably condemning your dog to life on a long line is that really what you want ?

gymmummy64 Wed 27-Mar-13 13:23:05

In your OP you said that your dog either runs off and plays with other dogs or keeps out of their way (oh HOW I wish my dog did that!), but you also say he's nervous around other dogs and the advice to keep him intact is related to this nervousness and to keep some 'fighting spirit' in him. So at first I thought you were saying you had a fear aggressive dog as a result of being attacked, but re-reading you post I'm not so sure.

However, if it is fear aggression, then the Doghouse has loads and loads of threads advising on this subject (many of them with my dog featuring prominently grin ) but in none of them have I ever read advice to keep a dog intact. I think that's why there's some surprise at this advice, especially as you seem to have had it from 3 separate sources. Many of the fearful dogs I've read about on here have been triggered by an attack (my dog too) so it seems it's very common. The advice on how to deal with it has seemed very consistent too and based on avoidance then distraction then BAT techniques, with everything being done very slowly and gradually. I'll try and find one of these threads and link to it for you.

Now, I am no behaviourist, but it struck me in your post that you said both your dog and your son had been attacked by the pitbull. Do you think there might somehow be a connection between your son's involvement and your dog's behaviour towards other dogs owners? Might his behaviour be some sort of very mixed up guarding?

gymmummy64 Wed 27-Mar-13 13:43:20
baileysmam Wed 27-Mar-13 15:32:29

That's a very good point gymummy64, and i suppose that could well be the case. The dog was attacked and when my son tried to get him away he was also then attacked.The pitbull was locked onto my dog and two grown men observing the attack only managed to get the dog off mine by repeatedly kicking and punching it! Perhaps mine is having issues such as you mention. You have mentioned fear aggression and i can definately relate to that as he was on his lead when he was attacked and now when he's on his lead if a dog approaches he starts barking and growling, as if warning them off, something he never did prior to the attack. However we are working on that and we deal with it, as we deal with his nervousness and anxiety with loud/sudden noises. As i've mentioned i actually had the dog booked for a castration, but was advised to leave it as it was thought it may make his problems worse. I don't think it was ment to be a 'forever' situation though. But the Bailey is going for his vaccinations next week so i'm definately going to talk to the vet again about getting him 'done'. When i told the vet the last time what the behaviourist had said about leaving the dog intact for the time being he agreed so i was guided by advice. Although obviously there is some confusion about that advice. I will definately have a look at the links you sent,that's brilliant thankyou very much, and the sort of thing i hoped for when i first posted.

idirdog Wed 27-Mar-13 15:52:45

There is a connection with delaying the castration of a young dog due to nervousness. Even then it would only be delayed until the dog is 14 months old as the fear stages are then dropping off.

TBH the testerone is meant to help the dog but in your dogs instance it is obviously not doing this as your dog is still showing fear aggression.

However once you have been told by professionals it is hard to make a decision you cannot reverse. So that is why chemical castration is an idea. You can get an idea of how it will affect your dog but it is reversible.

Personally I think castration will make no difference at all to a 4 year old dogs nervousness. However it will make him more comfortable and less stressed sexually which may help him to calm down generally. If not you can then approach the fear aggression with BAT which is fantastic and works a treat. You can also relax the dog by letting him off lead without the worry of him humping people etc.

Ask your vet about chemical castration.

I understand entirely about having a first reactive dog after having easy go lucky dogs. It was a major shock to me however I know choose reactive dogs by choice so have a lot of experience dealing with them. They are so rewarding to work with smile

gymmummy64 Wed 27-Mar-13 16:02:06

You're welcome Bailey, I didn't have long when I was looking earlier, but if you do a search on 'reactive' or 'aggressive' it should throw up more threads, as I said there are plenty of them and there are some really knowledgeable people on here.

Your attack sounds horrible and sadly it seems all too common. I think it takes a long time to get over stuff like that - for the owners as well as the dogs. I do hope your son was ok.

baileysmam Wed 27-Mar-13 17:54:42

Thanks for that gymmummy my son was as traumatised as the dog. Took the dog to the vets and only realised then my son had been injured as well so after having to leave the dog at the vets it was off to the hospital. Nightmare. Worst thing really was when my son a gangly 15 year old burst into tears 'cos he was worried about the dog. He said 'i thought that dog was going to kill Bailey'. We both ended up in tears. Honest to god i could kill that dog for the problems we're still dealing with. I have been told that castration may well not make any difference to a four year old but going to ask about it next week. Iridog, what's BAT? I realise this may be a really obvious answer, but hey ho!! Thanks folks, theres some nice folks on here!!

monsterchild Wed 27-Mar-13 18:06:39

I'm not sure why you are even allowing your dog of the lead if he has only selective recall. Life on a lead isn't the end of the world especially if it keeps your dog safe and limits his chance to make unwanted puppies.
I agree, castration, then work on basic training skills. He may actually become more confident if he does get more training. My nervous dog certainly did!
Good luck OP.

digerd Wed 27-Mar-13 18:28:11

I have owned 3 females and only 2 humped each other when on heat, and stopped whern it was over. Also had single females who never humped anything/body.

I now have a 2 year-old, coming up for 3 months, and from last week she has been humping her chosen stuffed teddy. Not all the time, but especially after her walks and during the evening. She is not even in season. Due to be spayed next month.

baileysmam Wed 27-Mar-13 19:54:54

Looking at other posts to do with this sort of problem it seems that i'm not alone in scanning the horizon when the dogs off the lead. Though It's heartning that people share their problems/compare notes! Interesting that some of the female of the species hump, i've only ever owned dogs and thought it was exclusive behaviour to them! Good luck with that smile

digerd Wed 27-Mar-13 21:50:37

I laughed at my 2 females humping away completely unaware that they couldn't possibly get pregnant as nothing was entering them. But they were really enjoying themselves , and that's all that matters.

We had visitors once at that time who were rather embarrassed and clearly found it a bit disgusting. We let the frolicking pair out into the garden for the rest of the time < grin face>. Oh, the dogs not the visitors!
At least with them it was only twice a year for about a week.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now