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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 10861
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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sam 18 month male shitzu neutered at 6month is now showing

Customer Question

sam 18 month male shitzu neutered at 6month is now showing severe symptoms of being onheat with cushions toys getting veryworked up for long periods throughout the evenings
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.

Hello Eirlys, I'm Dr. Deb and I'll do my best to help you today.
I do have a few questions to ask first, if you don't mind:

1. Just to clarify, is Sam humping and mounting the cushions and specific toys?
2. Anything new in his environment or in his (or your) routine? Any females in heat in the neighborhood?
3. Are there very specific toys he mounts? A specific cushion?
4. What do you do when he does this?

There may be a slight delay since I have to type up a response to you.
Thanks for your patience. Deb

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

on a specific cushion he has a soft fabric ball which he also takes to this cushion andappears as if he is suckling onas though it is his mother

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.

I'm a little confused: is he humping/mounting the cushion and ball or is he sucking on them?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

takes this specific ball to the cushion and sucklesthe ball for varying periods following on with legthy periods of mounting the cushion to such an extent that he is panting heavely and is exhausted

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for the clarification; now I understand the concern:)))

There are several different motivations for mounting behavior and in this case, the interaction with the ball prior to it. And, it's not always easy to distinguish the specfic underlying cause for one particular dog:

1. Anxiety mounting is a form of displacement behavior which means that it's a behavior that occurs out of context in response to an internal emotional conflict. For example, a dog may be experiencing anxiety secondary to a scolding it received for getting into the trash several hours earlier.
2. Sexual even though he's been altered. Dogs can still maintain erections and "go through the motions" so to speak and masturbate.
3. Dominance..usually when mounting other dogs or humans
4. Play..again, usually with other dogs or humans
5. Self-soothing

I suspect that this is either #2 or #5 in this situation.

There are several different things you can do if you want to stop or discourage this behavior, especially since he's getting so worked up to the point of exhaustion.
And, since it can become learned behavior over time, it's best to try and address it now which you are doing.

1. The easiest approach would be to remove the ball; don't let him play with it at all. If this is what triggers his mounting behavior, then if he doesn't have the "foreplay" with the ball, then he may not engage in the subsequent mounting behavior.

2. As soon as he starts to engage in the sucking or mounting behavior, redirect his attention elsewhere. Immediately take him for a walk, for example, or engage him in play with another toy. If he's obedience trained, then get him to sit or lay down for treats. Completely take his mind off of what he was going to do.
3. If you think he might be anxious (for whatever reason) which is triggering the behavior, use of DAP collars or diffusers (LINK) may be useful.
These are natural pheromones which are designed to instill a sense of calm and reduce anxiety.

I hope this helps and provides explanations for what he's doing and ways to prevent him from doing it. Deb