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Pawsitive Training for Better Dogs

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Bailey reserves the right to edit any posting for spelling, grammar, length, and inappropriate content. Only one question per person will be considered. Your question may or may not be posted with Bailey's reply. Bailey can take up to several months to reply to questions. He is extremely busy being a dog.

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Disclaimer: The material provided by Bailey on this web site is designed for educational and entertainment purposes only. The information presented is provided with the understanding that Bailey is not engaged in rendering medical or professional behavioral services. Such information should not be used as a substitute for behavioral advice provided by a qualified canine behavior therapist.

Please remember that Bailey's advice, comments, or opinions are solely Bailey's, and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff here at Pawsitive Training for Better Dogs.

Pawsitive Training for Better Dogs is not responsible for actions taken based on the advice provided herein.

Overly "Friendly" With Stuffed Animal

Dear Bailey,

My ten month old shih tzu, Steffi, has started really humping her stuffed animal, which is approximately the same size as she. Steffi has been spayed, so it seems like an unusual behavior. Should I get rid of her favorite friend, or is this activity going to stop soon?

Hoping to hear from you soon,

E. Farmer

Bailey's Reply:

Dear E., 

Well, first, it's wonderful that you have provided such a great stuffed animal for Steffi.  She seems to have taken quite a liking to it!  This kind of behavior isn't necessarily a problem for Steffi.  But, as I understand humans, it can make most people uncomfortable to see a dog this way.  As a dog, I don't think I'd want to see my human like that.  Yuck!

“Mounting stuffed animals is not uncommon for a dog.”

So relax.  Mounting stuffed animals is not uncommon for a dog.  Generally this is a behavior which occurs when a dog is either extremely aroused, such as during a rough play session, or insecure, as when a group of people come over for a party.  Sometimes a dog feels the need to "outrank" something, even if it's just a toy.  You have a few options:

  1. Do nothing and let Steffi do her thing.  It's not going to hurt anyone, but it may embarrass you in front of your friends.
  2. Avoid events that will trigger Steffi's mounting.  If you can't avoid these events, then see 3.
  3. Increase Steffi's exercise.  This can be very effective if you can give her a lot of exercise right before an event that will trigger a "friendly encounter".  A tired dog won't have the excess energy to mount her stuffed animal.
  4. Get Steffi enrolled in positive reinforcement training, either with a group or privately.  This exercises her mind (tired mind= tired dog).  It can also help build her confidence if this is an insecurity issue.  A confident dog rarely needs to assert herself to others.

Good luck to you and Steffi.  Oh, and if she's ever looking for a single dog, don't hesitate to send her my way.

<sniff! and wags!>


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