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My 13 weeks old puppy humps his bedding when I'm not around. I'm not sure how I should stop this behaviour or if I should even try to..? Is this normal?

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Yes it's perfectly normal for a young dog to hump things. Dogs hump for a number of reasons, both male and female, usually it's due to excitement - especially in such a young pup. But it can be sexual under a year, or in older dogs a sign of dominance.

You can stop the behaviour, it is possible he may or may not grow out of it, but it's not bad to stop the behaviour if you wish to no. It'll certainly be more pleasant / less embarrassing to have a pup that doesn't hump.

Usually if you want to prevent a behaviour like this just interupt, like you would do when they're peeing unwantedly. Startling a dog generally makes them pause their actions. Give a 'No' command, but not agressively, just to grab their attention. Get them to focus on you, with a Watch command, then reward it.

At 13 weeks some males already have descending/descended testicles, so it's worth having a check to see if that's happening/happened yet. You can consult a vet in regards to when your breed usually drops, and when it's best to neuter. Having your dog neutered will drop the testosterone levels and your dog will more than likely lose interest in this.

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This is a natural behaviour and is not a sign of dominance. The dominance theory has been disproved for many years now. Dogs, both male and female do this behaviour when playing and is only seen as wrong by humans as we sexualise it. It would be like pulling your friend's arm. Can I ask why you would like to stop it? What would you like your dog to be doing instead? I agree with Aravona about desexing as this may decrease the humping behaviour but there are no guaranties.

Since you have said that he is doing it while you are not around, giving him a "no" command when you are around will just tell him that I can't do this normal behaviour when the human is around so I'll just do it when they are not around.

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  • If it were true that telling a dog 'No' for something means they'll just do it when you're not there then peoples dogs wouldn't be toilet trained... You tell a dog No to interrupt peeing, then put them outside. Dogs don't just go peeing in the house because you're not there unless there's an underlying anxiety issue... you train the behaviour out of them when you're around.
    – Aravona
    Nov 27 '15 at 7:36
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    @Aravona This heavily depends on the individual dog. We've got two Huskies. For the first, "no" means "no". But for our youngster we have to train most stuff twice: once for when we are around and once for when we don't look/are away.
    – Mario
    Nov 29 '15 at 7:33
  • @Mario yes some dogs take more effort to get it, but you're still saying you say No for the dog to learn, aren't you?
    – Aravona
    Nov 29 '15 at 7:37
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    @Aravona I just wanted to say that some dogs indeed don't immediately consider a "no" to be ultimate no matter whether someone is around or not.
    – Mario
    Nov 29 '15 at 7:43
  • @Mario that's very true but I wouldn't have thought anyone would think a dog would understand the first time. Our trainer used to say they'll get it by the 20th time most of the time. The idea is to simple distract the process.
    – Aravona
    Nov 29 '15 at 8:05

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