Often enough, you may find your dog walking between your legs. This simple behavior can mean many things.
So, why do dogs walk between your legs? The reason is either attention seeking or anxiety. Or, he may be having an alarming medical condition. Here, we’ll discuss the most common causes.
A Phenomenon That’s Confusing, but Often Justified
Why do dogs walk between your legs? The shortest-form answer would be: Your dear dog is just expressing an emotion or venting a need.
What need? And what emotion? These are the right questions, as dogs aren’t as eloquent as men when it comes to self-expression.
It’ll need some figuring out on your part, and that’s what we’re here for! So here you are, the top four causes why dogs walk between your legs.
1. Dogs Long for Affection, Too!
More than often, your dog will be walking between your legs as a way of showing affection. There are ways to ascertain that your dog’s behavior is a sign of affection. Usually, you’ll be captivated by a stirring look from their eyes.
Eye contact with your dog allows you to reciprocate the affection. However, It can also be a red flag.
A dog’s eyes sometimes can blaze with excitement and anger. If you ever see that look in a dog that’s not yours, keep a safe distance. You may want to do the same, even if it’s yours!
2. Anger and Excitement: How Do They Fit Into That Puzzle?
Anger is often confused with two other terms: Rage and aggression. These three cousins each play their role in your dog’s behavior.
The First Cousin: Anger
Anger differs from aggression in the fact that it’s fleeting. A dog can get angry at you and start messing with your feet in a fit of its anger. In this case, there may be even humping.
It can also get angry at another animal and pick up a fight. That’s when it may come back for you to patch it up emotionally if it lost the battle. In all the preceding cases, the dog will likely walk between your legs.
The Second Cousin: Aggression
What distinguishes aggression from anger is that it’s a pattern. It’s not a fit, nor it’s fleeting. Another thing that it’s not is that it isn’t wholly groundless.
Signs of Aggression
The signs of aggression your dog might show aren’t necessarily outright biting. It can be several things:
- Growling and snarling
- Humping and jumping
- Getting between your legs and knocking you over!
If your dog is walking between your legs while doing another one of the signs, it’s your cue to step away and fix the situation.
If you were able to detect aggression in your dog’s early puppyhood, fixing it would be much easier. So first and foremost, heads up for the signs!
The Third Cousin: Rage
Rage is the most extreme and difficult-to-handle among the three, and it too causes the dog to walk between your legs. Unlike aggression, rage won’t necessarily have certain triggers and can be utterly groundless.
Rage is a medical syndrome. Certain breeds can be predisposed to it more than the others.
Rage syndrome isn’t that common. But when it does exist in your dog, you’ll need professional help to deal with it.
Rage and its other two cousins are only one answer to the question of “why do dogs walk between your legs?”. There are two other cousins, or in this case, two inseparable brothers that provide an answer to that question as well.
These two brothers are none other than anxiety and its subsequent dependence!
3. Dog’s Anxiety and Its Subsequent Dependence
The upbringing of a child largely determines how he handles stressful situations. With dogs, it’s no different.
According to behavioral psychology, not only does your dog behave as if it was your child, you tend to behave as it was as well.
In children, as in puppies, those early years are what makes them grow dependent on their caregivers. Anxiety and dependence on another are two closely related concepts, especially when that anxiety is totally uncalled for.
Your anxious dog will hang around you more often, with that being manifested as walking between your legs. To deal with that properly, you’ll have to spot the cause of your dog’s anxiety.
What Might Spike Your Dog’s Anxiety?
Often, your dog can get threatened over something that doesn’t really qualify as threatening.
A change of scenery can do that. If your dog has been stationary at home for a while then gone somewhere else, chances are he’s going to get anxious and rub his body between your legs.
The same effect occurs when it gets away from you even for a short time, and that’s what’s known as separation anxiety.
Encounters with strangers can also spike anxiety in your dog.
Not all kinds of anxiety are pernicious. There’s the milder type that can sometimes be justified. But more often than not, when the behavior gets patterned, that may signal a problem.
It becomes up to you to distinguish and act accordingly. Based on which, you’ll know when and how to discourage or encourage. Plus, you’ll be able to know if your dog walking between your legs needs medical attention.
4. Hypersexuality: One More Reason to Look Out For!
If you notice that not only does your dog walk between your legs but also humps it, then that might nudge the issue in another direction.
Causes of Humping
Providing that hypersexuality is the cause of humping and not something else, then probably this won’t be a behavioral disorder. Instead, it’ll be an underlying organic issue.
Namely, the underlying medical condition could be Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. This disease is relatively common, affecting 80% of male dogs over five years of age.
Besides that disease, humping can be due to a surge in hormones. In either case, you’ll need to take your dog buddy to a vet, especially in the case of prostate disease.
You need to know, though, that humping isn’t necessarily attributed to hypersexuality. It can be due to stress or anxiety. It can also be a form of attention-seeking.
Neutering as a Proposed Solution for Humping
To solve humping, you may need to resort to neutering. That simply means sterilizing your dog. Don’t worry, though; that isn’t as bad as it seems. Neutering is a reasonably standard procedure.
This procedure aims at preventing pet overpopulation, which is a problem on the rise, much like humans.
It also keeps your dog from getting many diseases, including:
- Tumors in the testicles
- Prostate problems
- Perianal tumors
Neutering can help as well in correcting behavioral issues like aggression and anger. That’s due to the plummeting of sex hormones, manifesting in a much calmer dog.
How to Encourage Certain Behaviors, and Discourage Others?
If your dog keeps walking between your legs with no apparent reason, that may indicate that there’s indeed a danger looming around.
When noticing that your dog acts this way in inappropriate situations, you might want to encourage your dog for his good call. So how to encourage and how to do the opposite?
Here are ways of encouraging:
- Positive reinforcement training
- Consistent practice
- Praising: both verbally and with nonverbal cues
- Spend more time with it
- Play more often!
Here are ways of discouraging:
- Withholding attention and ignoring the behavior
- Stifling laughter even if it seemed funny
- Steering them away by providing a distraction
- Removing the trigger for the behavior
- Again, practice! Maybe even with the help of a trainer
Dogs walking between your legs can be their way of singing the blues, or it can be a scream for help. It also can be a disease, either behavioral or organic.
How you should act ranges from turning a blind eye to visiting the vet. Whatever’s best for your beloved pet!