Belgian shepherd Malinois bitch with puppies Dog training 17.10.2023

My dog is ramming - what can I do about it and why does she do it?

Here come our tips and information, on the topic of why a female dog rams and mounts things.

A female dog that rams or mounts can often raise questions, especially if the behavior is not associated with typical male reproductive behavior. Here are ten frequently asked questions about this topic:

10 most frequently asked questions about why a female dog rams and mounts things

  1. Why does my female dog ram other animals or people?
  2. Is it normal for female dogs to ram even though they are not in heat?
  3. Can this behavior be associated with dominance?
  4. Should I be concerned if my bitch exhibits this behavior?
  5. How can I break my bitch of this behavior?
  6. Can this behavior be related to health?
  7. Does my bitch only mount other animals during her heat?
  8. Does spaying play a role in this behavior?
  9. Is ramming always a sign of sexual behavior?
  10. How does the ramming behavior of female dogs differ from that of male dogs?
Chihuahua und ihr gelber Freund (Liebe oder Sex?) Depositphotos / jonnysek

Why does my female dog ram other animals or people?

The ramming or mounting observed in bitches (i.e. female dogs) can be caused by several factors. It is not always directly related to sexual behavior. Here are some reasons why female dogs may ram:
  1. Playful behavior: While playing with other dogs or even humans, a female dog may ram. This is often seen in young dogs and can be considered part of normal play behavior.
  2. Dominance: In some cases, a bitch may mount other animals or people to show dominance or control. This is not necessarily meant to be aggressive, but may be a form of social communication.
  3. Sexual motivation: although less common, some bitches may ram when they are in heat or experiencing hormonal changes.
  4. Stress or arousal: Sometimes ramming can be a type of coping mechanism when the dog is aroused or stressed. An exciting event, such as visiting a new place or meeting a new dog, can trigger this behavior.
  5. Habit: If the bumping is not corrected or stopped, it may become a habitual behavior, especially if the dog receives positive reinforcement (e.g., attention) in the process.
  6. Medical problems: In rare cases, a medical problem, such as a urinary tract infection or other health condition, may cause a female dog to ram. If the behavior starts suddenly or is accompanied by other symptoms, it is advisable to see a veterinarian.

To find out why the bitch is ramming, it is helpful to consider the context in which the behavior is occurring and consult a veterinarian or animal behavior expert if necessary. It is also important to remember that punishment is usually not effective and can often be counterproductive. Positive reinforcement and distraction are usually better approaches to correcting unwanted behavior.

Is it normal for female dogs to ram even though they are not in heat?

Yes, it is entirely possible and not uncommon for female dogs to ram or mount even when they are not in heat. Ramming in dogs is not always a sign of sexual motivation or reproductive drive. It can be triggered by a variety of factors:
  1. Playful behavior: Many female dogs exhibit this behavior when playing with other dogs, regardless of their sex or age. It can be a part of normal play behavior and in this context often has nothing to do with sexual or dominant motives.
  2. Dominance or social structure: in some cases, mounting can be a way for dogs to express their social position or dominance over other dogs.
  3. Stress or arousal: Some dogs ram in response to stress or excessive arousal. It can serve as a coping mechanism.
  4. Habit: If ramming has brought some form of attention or reward (including negative attention) to the dog in the past, it could become a habitual act.

So, it's important to understand that female dog ramming is multi-faceted and not always related to sexual activity or being in heat. However, it's always a good idea to consult a veterinarian or animal behavior expert if there is a sudden change in behavior or if you are concerned about your bitch's behavior.

Can this behavior be associated with dominance?

Yes, roughhousing or mounting can be associated with dominance in some cases. Dogs communicate with each other and their environment in a variety of ways. Mounting can be a form of social communication where a dog is trying to express dominance or control over another dog or even a human. However, it is important to emphasize that not all mounting is a sign of dominance. Often it can simply be playful or out of habit. To determine the exact reason for a dog's ramming behavior, consider the context in which it occurs and seek expert advice if necessary. It is critical to be cautious about labeling dogs as "dominant" as this label is often misunderstood and does not always fully explain the dog's behavior.

Should I be concerned if my dog exhibits this behavior?

In most cases, a female dog's rumination behavior is harmless and can be considered part of her social or playful behavior. However, you should pay attention to the context and frequency. If the ramming starts suddenly, occurs excessively frequently, or is accompanied by other symptoms, it might be wise to consult a veterinarian to rule out health causes. If the behavior occurs in inappropriate situations or becomes disruptive, it may be helpful to consult an animal behavior expert to determine the best approach to correcting or controlling the behavior.

How can I break my bitch of this behavior?

Breaking the habit of roughhousing behavior requires patience and consistency:
  • Train the bitch's recall so that she comes to you on command.
  • If she starts to ram, distract her with a toy, treat or command.
  • Ignore the ramming behavior so as not to reward it with attention.
  • If the behavior is persistent, a professional dog trainer or behavior expert may be helpful.

Can this behavior have health causes?

Yes, in some cases, bumping can be a sign of health problems, such as urinary tract infections, skin irritations or other conditions. If the behavior occurs suddenly, is accompanied by other symptoms, or you have other health concerns, you should consult a veterinarian.

Does my female dog mount other animals only during her heat?

No, female dogs can ram regardless of their heat. While heat can intensify the behavior, ramming is often playful, motivated by dominance, stress or habit, and not solely due to sexual impulses.

Does neutering play a role in this behavior?

Neutering can reduce rumination behavior in some dogs, especially if it is caused by sexual motivation. However, it does not guarantee that the behavior will completely disappear, especially if it occurs for other reasons, such as play, dominance, or habit.

Is ramming always a sign of sexual behavior?

No, ramming is not always a sign of sexual behavior. It can be triggered by a variety of factors, including play, dominance, stress, habit, or medical problems.

How does female dog ramming behavior differ from male dog ramming behavior?

While both female and male dogs can ram, this behavior is often more strongly associated with male dogs. Male dogs may ram more often for sexual motives, especially if they are not neutered. Female dogs often ram for playful, social, or dominant reasons. It is important to emphasize that both sexes may ram for a variety of reasons, and it is not always easy to determine the exact motivation without considering the context.

Banner: Depositphotos / Taden1
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