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We have a one year old Labrador retriever named Jenny. She's wonderful, but we're confused about something she recently did. The last time we took her out to the dog park, she tried to hump another female dog. Does this mean that she's gay?
By the way, Jenny was fixed when she was six-months old.
<name withheld on request>
Los Angeles, California
First of all, it's wonderful that you spend time taking Jenny to a dog park! It's one of my favorite places to go with my human. I get to play with other dogs, and she gets to socialize with other humans. I think this is very good for my person.
It's good that Jenny has been fixed. Dogs that have been fixed tend to live longer, healthier lives. She also doesn't have to worry about unplanned puppies!
“You see, dogs that hump (or mount) other dogs--male or female--are often just trying to assert their position in the pack ranking system.
It isn't always about sex!”
But is she gay? Nope, I don't think so. You see, dogs that hump (or mount) other dogs- male or female- are often just trying to assert their position in the pack ranking system. It isn't always about sex! Ever heard of someone trying to be “top dog”? It's true in this case, and quite literally. If you watch dogs at a dog park, you will see variations of this, such as a dog putting its head on the shoulders of another dog or a dog putting its paw on the shoulders of another dog. These are ways of one dog telling another “I'm superior to you, just thought you'd like to know!”.
When dogs get together, they tend to quickly size each other up, and a hierarchy is formed as to who is Alpha, or leader, of the group. This sizing-up process can be very subtle, such as averting eye contact and lowering of the head (submissive), or obvious, such as mounting (dominant).
When I get over-excited playing, sometimes I can't help but try to mount the most excited dog in the group. When I do that, my person takes me out of the play session, and asks me to sit for 30 seconds, or until I've calmed down. Once I am calm, she lets me go back out into the group. After that, I don't try mounting any other dogs because I don't want to stop playing.
Gotta go chase a squirrel now...
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