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  1. #1

    My dog licks his, uh....

    Hi, there. I'll start by saying that I'm a new dog owner. My bf and I recently adopted a poodle mix from the shelter. We've had him now for about a month. He hasn't always done this but the past couple of weeks we've noticed an increase in his licking himself. Sometimes he has a full blown erection, other times we only see the tip. I understand he's cleaning himself at times, but sometimes he's really going at it and also seems quite excited.

    Obviously cleaning himself would be normal but "pleasuring" himself wouldn't be, right? We were told by the shelter he's about 1.5 years. He was also neutered there. We also haven't seen him "hump" anything either, not stuffed animals or our legs or furniture.

    We have not reprimanded him at all for doing this. But if this behavior is abnormal, then we will start doing so.

    Any advice, anyone? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    I know it seems for us, as humans, to imagine him "pleasing" himself, but dogs are not hardwired that way. Few animals have the intelligence to comprehend pleasure through sex or masturbation. Dogs are not one of them. My dog had obsessive licking- it happened after neutering. I believe it may have been because he was neutered too early and he never wore a cone, which meant he was able to lick the stitches and probably develop a habit of it.

    There could be a number of things here. He could actually have something wrong with him if this isn't normal, like a scar or infection. Or it could be a behavioral issue. I have read obsessive licking can be done out of nervousness or boredom. Either way, a vet is best sought. Then they can evaluate what may be the cause of it.

  3. #3
    Arazante, I'm interested to know how you came to your conclusion? I respectfully disagree thoroughly. For one, I don't think it has an iota to do with intelligence, but I think dogs have a fair bit of that anyway. Why do you need intelligence to know when something feels good? Hey, I even know of an emu at the local sanctuary, who sits at the fence waiting for unknowing victims to scratch his chest.... until he gets excited & they're horrified(yes, I've been one of those people :oops: ) If that emu, for eg is not doing it for pleasure, then what??

    Wip, I would think he probably is doing it for pleasure(oh to be so uninhibited! :shock:), but I agree that it *could* be physical, or an obsessive thing, so I reckon a vet's visit would be on the cards to rule it out at least. It is not abnormal however, just embarrassing to the humans in his life :roll: Especially if he was neutered at 1.5yo, he's probably had quite a bit of practice by now, getting self reinforcement for the behaviour. Reprimanding him will at best stop him doing it in your presence, which might be all you care about. I wouldn't expect to break the habit completely tho....

    Respectfully
    champ

  4. #4
    Other then this being an older post, I agree with Arazante, dogs don't really have the capacity to understand pleasuring themselves. I have a rott that obsesive compulsive licks whenever she is stressed. I too would suggest the vet visit, either something is bothering him or it has become a learned behaviour while he had his stiches in. Either that or I would chalk it up to compusive behavior, in which case a reprimand would only make the situation worse. Try teaching a command like, 'okay, thats enough' after a couple of licks so that they get out the need to do the licking, but you have control over how long it lasts.
    The reason dogs are great is they wag their tails, not their tongues.

  5. #5
    I have to chime in here, though I think I'll be blushing the entire time I'm typing.....lets hope I find proper wording..

    Blue, my now passed on Weimaraner used to for lack of a better way to say it..hump his own head. We thought, ya know..extreme itch or something :roll:

    Then we noticed any time he was very excited or stressed he would do this and at the end of his lil "sessions" he would in fact ejaculate :shock: Talk about embarrassing when he's "going to town" in front of company. I talked to the vet and he really didn't have an explanation for me other than he knew it wasn't completely uncommon.

    We thought nuetering would help. It didn't. Granted the ending of his "sessions" weren't messy anymore (so sorry for being too graphic here) but he continued this behaviour up until the week we had to have him PTS.

    I've asked some Dane breeders and mentors I know and they say it's not uncommon behaviour in their studs dogs..especially the younger and inexperienced.

    Whether they do it for pleasure or not...I haven't got a clue and I don't even try to speculate that....I just know that I've dealt with it personally and it is perplexing to say the least.
    "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." --Roger Caras

  6. #6
    The only animals recorded to have sex for pleasure are dolphins, bonobos, and chimpanzees. Dogs do things based upon instinct, including mating, and thus have no concept of sexual pleasure, so they wouldn't have the concept of pleasure in masturbation- a behavior done with the intention of sexual pleasure.

    Masturbation, as unusual as the habit/behavior is, is a very complex one and intelligence is linked with complex behaviors, in which the presentation of complex behaviors in animals is the result of the development of the neocortex, which, in comparison with animals like dolphins and primates, a dog's is relatively primitive. You will find that the most intelligent species participate in the most complex behaviors. This is mainly caused by the fact we are aware of our own existence and question it. So we are capable of differentiating instinctive behaviors and why we should or shouldn't do them.

    Dogs don't question their existence. If I'm not mistaken, dogs are not even aware of it because they do not react in the manner a human or dolphin or primate reacts when they see their own reflection. Often, dogs see another dog- they are not aware it is themselves. Since they aren't aware of their own existence, they don't possess the intelligence to question their biology or habits. So, dogs won't act outside instinct. When humans engage in behavior, we often don't find the reasoning to. We ask ourselves- why am I doing this? Dogs do not ask themselves why they do things.. they just do them.

    We can see that dogs will still mate after they are neutered or spayed, and this is because they aren't aware that mating is no longer successful. If they were, they would question their own sexuality and what is done with it, but as far as they are concerned, males mount and hump and females get pregnant- this is their sex life, and unless their brains evolve, they will never begin questioning why it should change or if sex should do more than create offspring.

    I love dogs and yes, dogs have their share of intelligence, but they simply aren't that complex and nor are their sex lives.

  7. #7
    I completely agree.......dogs just do not have sex for pleasure. Like it was said earlier, they just aren't hardwired that way. Hormones play a big role in a dog's life and when it comes to sexual behavior, the natural "feeling" is simply to reproduce.

    Consider an infant boy. I've changed my share of diapers on a boy and the simple wipe clean of a baby wipe has at times given the child a hard-on. In no way do I believe this was caused by sexual pleasure......it was simply nothing more than the body's natural reaction. The infant boy just does not understand the concept.....the body might, but not the brain.

    Stands the same with dogs, in my opinion. They just don't understand or incorporate that with sexual pleasure.

    Nonetheless, I agree it is either boredom or a learned behavior.

  8. #8
    Thanks for letting me know where you're coming from Arazante. Given me some food for thought. I have never studied this particular area of behavioural psychology & only have my own experience & heresay to go on (of a variety of animals, not just dogs). But I'm still not sure I can agree. Based on your argument, here're some considerations to ponder - & maybe set me straight on, from my end...

    Quote Originally Posted by Arazante
    [color=dodgerblue]The only animals recorded to have sex for pleasure are dolphins, bonobos, and chimpanzees. Dogs do things based upon instinct, including mating, and thus have no concept of sexual pleasure, so they wouldn't have the concept of pleasure in masturbation- a behavior done with the intention of sexual pleasure.
    Yes, I appreciate that(theoretically) the above animals are the only ones to do this, but why, just because other animals (theoretically)don't have sex with another party, does that mean they(esp males??) can't enjoy it? They can certainly enjoy other sensations, so why not sexual?

    Since they aren't aware of their own existence, they don't possess the intelligence to question their biology or habits. So, dogs won't act outside instinct.
    I appreciate the lack of ability for abstract thinking like this in nearly all animals. I also agree dogs don't have the capacity to question their biology or habits, but to a degree it depends on your perception of these terms, as dogs are certainly able to 'question' their behaviour. They certainly can & do act outside instinct. Otherwise how would they ever make good pets, be trained, for eg?

    Whatever the level of intelligence of the animal, I can't think of anything, at least significantly more than an amoeba, that operates purely on instinct without learned behaviour playing a significant part. Surely it's not instinctive anyway for animals to waste all that... viability? I just haven't heard a reasonable explaination for animals masterbating(or being masterbated, in the case of studs), to the point of... what countrychic said, if not for enjoyment.

    We can see that dogs will still mate after they are neutered or spayed, and this is because they aren't aware that mating is no longer successful. If they were, they would question their own sexuality and what is done with it, but as far as they are concerned, males mount and hump and females get pregnant- this is their sex life, and unless their brains evolve, they will never begin questioning why it should change or if sex should do more than create offspring.
    This is not really consistent with what you've said previously. Seeing as we've established dogs don't understand abstract concepts, how would they know about mating viability & pregnancy in the first place? Especially considering there are even sexually active humans that don't know where babies come from. How does that tally with the uncommonness of sexual behaviour in animals desexed before sexual maturity? How do you explain masturbation in animals at all(eg. stallions & other animals who are 'teased' by a human or 'collected' from for IVF)?

    Considering that they can't understand the ideas you've given above, doesn't it seem more likely that it is just something they have learned is enjoyable and so therefore, just like other behaviours, are likely to continue even without continual trigger factors, such as hormones and instincts?

    Respectfully
    champ

  9. #9
    I think it may be time to agree to disagree on this topic. But may I add, that any dog that is nuetered before maturity dose not have a tendancy to mount except when displaying dominance, so without the hormones to influence the dog, the need to have sex is just not there, or so it seems. Please everyone just take a deep breath and agree to let this topic go as it seems to be raising alot of emotion that is starting to make people very upset.
    The reason dogs are great is they wag their tails, not their tongues.

  10. #10
    Yes, I appreciate that(theoretically) the above animals are the only ones to do this, but why, just because other animals (theoretically)don't have sex with another party, does that mean they(esp males??) can't enjoy it? They can certainly enjoy other sensations, so why not sexual?
    I can't really answer this. DogMom kind of said it. I mean, why can fish not feel physical pain but clearly show fear? Some might accredit the differences in what animals do, feel, and behave like to God. Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution states every animal was created with an indefinite and complex design- meaning it was the way it was and is meant to be, only evolving if their survival depends upon it. That apparently means many animals, such as dogs, are simply incapable of feeling certain emotions such as sexual pleasure, self-awareness, and spousal love, among the most complex emotions because it is not necessary to their survival. Dogs have no reason to evolve at this time. So their design won't, either.

    I appreciate the lack of ability for abstract thinking like this in nearly all animals. I also agree dogs don't have the capacity to question their biology or habits, but to a degree it depends on your perception of these terms, as dogs are certainly able to 'question' their behaviour. They certainly can & do act outside instinct. Otherwise how would they ever make good pets, be trained, for eg?

    Whatever the level of intelligence of the animal, I can't think of anything, at least significantly more than an amoeba, that operates purely on instinct without learned behaviour playing a significant part. Surely it's not instinctive anyway for animals to waste all that... viability? I just haven't heard a reasonable explaination for animals masterbating(or being masterbated, in the case of studs), to the point of... what countrychic said, if not for enjoyment.
    When you teach a dog tricks, it's not acting abnormally -the tricks are abnormal- but the ability to listen, obey, and do things on command is not abnormal. Once a pet owner has established that they are the alpha, dogs, being the pack animals that they are, will take orders. And in wolf pack society, lower ranking pack members are trained by the alphas to do things the alphas want. Put a human in that situation and it's possible to keep that human trained and submissive, but because of our intelligence, you'd find many who would fight against it.

    Dogs can be trained for terrible things. People beat dogs and those same dogs will still obey their every command. Many people will question why they're being beat, and what they can do about it. Dogs just blindly obey and again, that is their nature. That ought to tell you something about not only their behaviors, but their intelligence and the extent it can reach.

    I also don't agree that they're masturbating. As a human, you possess amazing intelligence. But you have to understand that just because you're familiar with how masturbation is done, doesn't mean all animals are. We can watch a dog lick another dog and, as humans, would associate that behavior with some form of love because if WE did such a thing to another human, WE would consider it a "kiss" or a sign of affection. But we have also come to learn dogs do that as a sign of submissiveness to get approval from a more dominate dog. In a nutshell, because humans have such complex thoughts and behaviors, we seem to assume all animals are just as complicated as us. Sadly, they're not.


    This is not really consistent with what you've said previously. Seeing as we've established dogs don't understand abstract concepts, how would they know about mating viability & pregnancy in the first place? Especially considering there are even sexually active humans that don't know where babies come from. How does that tally with the uncommonness of sexual behaviour in animals desexed before sexual maturity? How do you explain masturbation in animals at all(eg. stallions & other animals who are 'teased' by a human or 'collected' from for IVF)?

    Considering that they can't understand the ideas you've given above, doesn't it seem more likely that it is just something they have learned is enjoyable and so therefore, just like other behaviours, are likely to continue even without continual trigger factors, such as hormones and instincts?
    Mating, solely having the act of sex for offspring, isn't complicated. All animals do it- that's why it's not complicated. Humans are the ones who have made it very complicated because we have such a vast array of emotions, we question why we should only have sex for children. Dogs just do it. They don't ask themselves if they should, they don't ask themselves if they should use a condom, if they should love the one they're mating with, if they should even know the one they're mating with. Dogs have no attachment to their partners when they mate. They're only doing it to procreate- that is how they are programed. Most animals in this world are programed to breed, breed, breed. Sex for love is an abstract concept, sex for pleasure is an abstract concept. They just don't understand it.

    What I was trying to emphasize was that dogs that have mated before they were fixed don't realize it doesn't work anymore, that's why they keep doing it.

    There is a HUGE difference between "fixing" a dog and a human being. When a human woman goes through Tubal Ligation or a human man gets a Vasectomy, it does not destroy their sex drive, even if it was done before the person ever had sex. They merely can't get pregnant or get someone pregnant. People can still be completely sexually active and that is because as human beings, we have discovered more than one reason for sex. We have discovered that not only does sex feel good, but even after we are "fixed", it doesn't take the fun out of it.

    I know it's going to seem like that because dogs do it after they're fixed, too, they must enjoy it, but dogs do mostly or completely lose their sex drive after they've been fixed, especially females. With male dogs, they don't want to go outside as much, mark their territory, and are less aggressive. Females stop going into heat. This isn't the case with humans. Female women still get their menstrual cycles after TL.

    I want to touch up upon males, particularly. Male animals, of all species, have an obvious advantage to sex. I believe it is cats where the male has a barbed penis and mating hurts the female. Most female animals get NO pleasure from sex. But the human female has a found a way. Penetration alone does not please us, but we have found other methods to have as much fun during sex as men. It's a huge display of our intelligence and understanding.

    The only other thing I can really think to point out is when DogMom gave the example of wiping a baby and he got an erection. Even in human males, a simple touch or rub will give an erection, but it doesn't necessarily mean they are sexually aroused. There are many cases of men "leaking", but it has nothing to do with the fact they were masturbating or aroused. I don't mean to objectify the penis here, but it's like a full faucet- tap it or rub it the right way and it's going to leak, regardless of what the owner is feeling. It happens to women, too. We tend to get "wet" or distill fluid right before our menstrual cycle takes it's course, and even when it happens and it isn't our cycle, it doesn't mean we are aroused- many times it happens due to simple temperature in the room, the way our muscles have flexed or how our body reacts to stress.

    Edit: I did not see your post before I finished this, Celtech, but I will discontinue from here.

 

 

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