Strap line

It started when two canine scientists decide to become pen pals in an era of digital media...

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A moment for humping

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Hellooooo!

You have editor friends? Such a big deal! I reference Grammar Girl often, but I always prefer live, personal feedback.
 

I was really taken aback by those photos you posted because logically, I know that when breeding for (1) physical health and (2) guide-dog "appropriate" behaviors, physical characteristics are not necessarily prioritized. And, as you showed, other physical characteristics can start coming through. I don’t think I’ve seen photos like that before. Pretty awesome.

It'
s a great example of the diversity within each breed, and the standards that are set are just one of many physical “breed standards” that could exist within any one breed. What if those colorings that you showed weren’t considered a “mismark” and were instead referred to as "Jackson Pollack" markings?

So, in our conversation of welfare, we’ve got working dogs and aesthetics on the table. Now I need to explain why I put up a picture of a dog humping a cat's head. I want to throw humping into the mix. 


Humping Time
Back in the Spring, I wrote an article for the magazine The Bark called, H*mping Why do they do it? (humping in dogs, of course). The piece covered (1) what people think mounting and humping is all about, and (2) when and (3) why do dogs do it. Much of the piece discussed contexts and emotional states. (To prepare for the article, I asked people on my Dog Spies Blog to share their thoughts on humping. I received 25 comments, meaning the most comments I have ever received were about humping).

This past weekend, Marc Bekoff put up a post called Why Dogs Hump on his Psychology Today blog. His post covers my H*mping piece, and he added his own experiences and perspectives as an ethologist.

I’m excited my piece is getting coverage because there’s lots of incomplete conversations about why dogs mount and hump (and to be fair, we’re still getting to know the behaviors better). It often seems like people just want to stop humping and mounting in their tracks and not think about why a dog might be humping or mounting in the first place. 

Humping can pop out during stress and anxiety; it could also occur during play, excitement, and stimulation. It can even be present during conflicted emotional states, to name a few. Given the complexity of this behavior, people should ask themselves, “What does mounting and humping mean for your dog?”

To help people when thinking about humping, I put together a list of Humping Resources written by applied ethologists and veterinary behaviorists.

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I'm also talking about humping because I want to throw humping into the welfare mix! Technically, humping is a normal behavior in dogs (not an abnormal behavior like flank sucking or tail chasing), but humping can still raise welfare questions and concerns. 

For example, some dogs can become obsessive about humping, and sometimes it can be associated with stress. So I was wondering, does humping come up in working dogs? And if so, is it discussed, and how does it play out?


Bye for now!

Julie


Some Humping Resources
Hecht, Julie. Humping Resources. Dog Spies, September 2012.

Hecht, Julie. “H*mping Why do they do it?” The Bark, June-August 2012: 70, 56-60.

Bekoff, Marc. Why Dogs Hump. Psychology Today, September 2012. 


References

Moon-Fanelli, A.A., Dodman, N.H., Famula, T.R. & Cottam, N. (2011). Characteristics of compulsive tail chasing and associated risk factors in Bull Terriers, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 238 (7) 889. DOI: 10.2460/javma.238.7.883

Moon-Fanelli, A.A., Dodman, N.H. & Cottam, N. (2007). Blanket and flank sucking in Doberman Pinschers, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 231 (6) 912. DOI: 10.2460/javma.231.6.907

© Julie Hecht 2012