The poor lady has bruises all up her legs.
 
Once Bertie latches onto her she can’t get him off. He occasionally humps one of their young daughters but never the man. He only has to walk into the room for him to stop.

Bertie humps the lady. She is his main victim

Bertie is an 8-month-old English Springer Spaniel. He’s been with them from 8 weeks old.
 
There are certain times of day that the lady can expect the humping. Immediately after meals is one of them. 
 
His worst was last week at their gundog training class. His relentless humping continued for most of the session.
 
He also sometimes grabs and humps her on the way home from a walk.

Getting to the cause

Trying to tell him to stop doesn’t work. It fires him up even more.
 
We need to get to the cause of why Bertie humps and deal with that.
 
It’s over-excitement mostly – for some reason after eating. At classes it involves fear of one dog in particular.
 
Bertie isn’t a barker so he doesn’t vent in that way. He has to find something that makes him feel better when his ‘stress bucket’ is full. So he humps.
 
Finding every way they can to calm him down will get to the root cause. Every little thing will help. They should drop the ball play when out as it’s too repetitive and arousing. Repeated ‘fetch’ may well have contributed to Bertie’s reactions at the class.
 
They have three little girls under the age of eight. This will contribute to arousal and excitement.
 
I suggested a gate in their kitchen doorway. Now sometimes Bertie can be separate from them. With a gate they won’t banish him either behind a shut door or in his crate.

Working for his food

We looked at Bertie’s diet, which seems excellent, along with how he’s fed – in a bowl.
 
It would help him to have to work hard for his food. In a Kong for instance or scattered over the garden. This would to fulfil him and calm him. I very much doubt whether he would hump the lady afterwards.
 
Dog training classes are outside, so when things get too much for Bertie that they can increase Bertie’s distance from the other dogs. 

How to  react

The lady asked what she can do to stop him when he humps her. She can tell when he’s about to start so should now interrupt immediately.
 
He’s very well trained so she could ask him to do something, lie down perhaps. Then reward on the ground where she wants him to be. Then what she does next is important.
 
This is where management comes in, particularly when out.
 
This may be a bit controversial. She has a harness with a ring on the chest where she can attach the lead – Perfect Fit harness. With the lead from Bertie’s chest, she can stand on it immediately. Not pinning him down but preventing him getting the momentum to leap and hump.

Giving Bertie different tools to help himself out

Now she will teach Bertie what to do. She can use a clicker or a replacement word. As soon as she sees Bertie relax even a little – click/food. If he continues to stay relaxed, continue feeding.
 
The clicker lets him know exactly what she’s feeding him for.
 
This is only half the process though. Now she needs to address either the fear or excitement that is driving the behaviour. To help him out.
 
What would be an effective substitute for him to redirect onto? It could be calming scatter feeding, it could be a soft toy to chew and possibly wreck; it could be a hole to dig.

Humping is his default behaviour when he can’t cope.

They can address the excitement and fear when out. They can add a little management. They will find Bertie an alternative to help himself. Then he will no longer have a need to hump the lady.
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NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help