Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Hump in the Road

Here’s a dog that’s supposed to be protecting his fallen comrade from vehicular danger: 

At first glance, this doesn’t seem too unlikely. After all, dogs do form relationships with one another, and have even been known to guard each other. That would kind of make this video true, right? 

However! If we look more closely, it becomes clear that this dog isn’t guarding at all. He’s humping. Right at the start we can see the tell-tale way he’s moving his hips. He’s not entirely got the whole “what goes where” question sorted, but that’s really a side-issue. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean the dog is actually trying to mate with roadkill, although it is a possibility. It could also be that dog is feeling really anxious and confused; something scary just happened, and now his companion isn’t moving. 

Humping is one of a suite of displacement behaviors we see when dogs are stressed about something they can’t escape from.  They’re the canine equivalent of picking our nails or chain smoking before a job interview. Not exactly noble, but understandable. 


  1. I see the humping motion in the first few seconds only...after that, there is no hip motion at all...I am confused why you would still consider that to be humping...

    1. When dogs hump, they often make thrusting movements for a fewer seconds and then grab with their front paws, catching with their dewclaws, and push. Sometimes they lay their head and neck flat across their mate's back at the same time. That's what you're seeing.