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Copy Cats

We have often said in these pages that dogs are very social animals, to the point that they will copy each other’s behaviors just to copy them. To wit: Franklin never used to shake his whole body out (unless he was wet from rain or snow and I had just put on clean clothes and didn’t want to get spattered with water). But then Rosie came to us with the habit. She kind of uses the shake-out as a transition from one activity to another — going from inside the house out to the driveway; going from the woods back to the car; and so on. And now, Franklin shakes, too. He doesn’t know why he’s doing it. Best I can figure is that he thinks, “She’s shaking — I should also.”

Rosie has also picked up a move from Franklin — humping. Franklin doesn’t do it often. He is, after all, a major coward despite all his bluff. But once in a while he comes across a dog who’s “ripe for the picking,” shall we say, and goes at it.

Like brother, like sister. Rosie does it, too, although she didn’t arrive at our house a humper. Over the last couple of years, however, I’ve watched her follow in her “big brother’s” footsteps once in a while, sometimes mounting very large dogs with all 28 pounds of her bravado and nonchalance. It’s quite a sight to see our skinny tube sock, as I call her, having her way with hulking Labs and retrievers and other willing dogs. They kind of look back at her with a bit of a Winnie the Pooh “Oh bother” expression but let her do what she wants.

I should note that Franklin is neutered and Rosie is spayed. This is not sexual behavior. What is it, then? And should I be more concerned about it? Should the owner of a dog who gets humped be concerned? To find out, click here.

Happy tails to you,

Lawrence Lindner

Executive Editor


This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Tufts Your Dog