Mounting behavior in dogs is one of those things that as a pet parent will make you laugh, irritated, or embarrassed. Regardless of how you feel about it, mounting is often misunderstood as an act of dominance. Mounting is actually quite normal for dogs and can be classified as a mating, play, or displacement behavior.
Outside the need for a male dog to mount a female dog during mating, mounting is seen quite often during play. It can be a way for dogs to stimulate themselves when excited and also used to establish rank among the others. Mounting becomes a displacement behavior when a dog is overly stressed and anxious about an animal, person, or situation. It would be similar to when we bite our fingernails or laugh when nervous or anxious.
Mounting behavior does not go away after spaying or neutering. It knows no boundaries as other animals, people, and inanimate objects such as your favorite throw pillow may fall victim to unsolicited mounting. Mounting may be triggered by certain medical diseases that affect estrogen and testosterone or scent profile. Specific medications can also alter behavior to trigger mounting.
Like any behavior, if it becomes obsessive or excessive, it is time to correct that behavior. Next time you see your dog about to mount, call them over with a delicious high-reward treat and have him or her sit by your side. You can also take them out of the “mounting” zone by playing with them.
Please be aware that if mounting occurs during specific situations or your dog mounts specific people, it is a way of letting you know he or she is anxious or overly stimulated. Following the aforementioned advice will help to reduce the behavior but you must be consistent and patient.
Lastly, should you find your dog mounting or being mounted out of the blue, there may be an underlying medical condition and you should speak with your veterinarian.