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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.

Puppy Mounting

Dear Bailey,

We have a 9 week old female Labrador Retriever.  I noticed today that she tried to mount my son when they were playing on the floor.  Also, she tried to mount my husbands leg when he was sitting in the chair.  

She's too young to come into heat, why would she be doing this?  Is this a normal behavior for a young pup?

B.C.


Bailey's Reply:

Dear B.C.,

Congratulations on your newest addition to your family!  Puppy behavior can be confusing at times, so let me help clear this up for you.

Your situation is not uncommon in puppies.  However, it's a myth that all mounting behavior in dogs is solely for sexual reasons.  Yes, some mounting is sexual, but in this type of case it's more an issue of status.  The mounting behavior is indicative that she's trying to assert herself in her new environment, figuring out where she ranks among the "pack".  The more successful she is in mounting you or your family, the more she will get the idea that she has a higher ranking. 

“It's a myth that all mounting behavior in dogs is solely for sexual reasons.”

So what can you do?  Get yourself and your puppy enrolled in a positive reinforcement Puppy Kindergarten class as soon as possible.  This will help all of you learn a common language with which to communicate.  It also helps clearly define the ranking system to your puppy without force or intimidation.  Integrate your obedience lessons into daily life activities.  In most cases, after a few weeks of PK, the mounting behaviors greatly diminish or disappear altogether.

In the meantime, I would ask that your son avoid any roughhouse playtime with your puppy as well.  Children have the ability to work up any puppy into a frenzy!  You don't want your son to create any scenarios where your puppy can get easily worked up until a well-established obedience plan has been implemented.  

Sniffs and licks, 

Bailey


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