Can dogs get sexually attracted to humans? Of course, we dog owners love our furry, four-legged friends. And the feeling is mutual—dogs have a way of signaling affection that leaves no doubt as to whether their excitement at being around us comes from a genuine place.
Sometimes, though, that excitement can take some pretty embarrassing forms. If you’ve ever caught your dog leering at you in a way that made you feel like you needed a shower, you might have found yourself wondering whether it was thinking what you thought it was thinking.
To put your mind at ease, the short answer is no, although you could be forgiven for making such a misreading based on some of your dog’s cruder habits. So join us as we mull over the uncomfortable but scientifically fascinating question: can dogs get sexually attracted to humans?
Reasons You Might Suspect Your Dog Has the Hots for You
Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite subject of private contemplation—sex. Approximately 99 percent of all living things on this planet that are large enough to be seen with the naked eye are programmed to pursue sex. That includes dogs. That includes your dog.
Dogs may be like surrogate (or additional) children to some, but they’re animals first and foremost. And like all animals, they’re driven by instinct—chief among them the instinct to reproduce.
As natural as this instinct is, it often expresses itself in ways that can seem shameless, inappropriate, or downright immoral to our refined sensibilities.
It can be easy to confuse your dog’s normal, healthy biological impulses for misplaced sexual tension, mainly when it exhibits one or more of the following behaviors.
1. It Tries to Hump You
We’ve all been there-you’re posted up on the couch minding your own business, and the next thing you know, your canine companion has mounted your thigh like an alpha stallion and begun thrusting away in a mindless frenzy.
You try desperately to get it to stop but to no avail. So instead, it’s determined to enact its lustful compulsions on your unoffending limb.
2. It Sniffs Your Crotch
On more occasions than you can recall, your puppy has trotted right up to you and stuck its nose directly into your most intimate region without so much complimenting your outfit first. In the worst-case scenario, this shameless probing may be accompanied by panting, whining, or other indications of lecherous intent.
3. It Becomes Aroused in Your Presence
Now and then, you may notice that a certain part of your male dog’s anatomy is—ahem— at attention. This observation isn’t unduly troubling until you remember that there are no females around and that the two of you are alone together watching The Great British Bake Off. Talk about awkward.
Why Dogs Can’t Be Attracted to Humans
Before you start Googling pet therapists to treat your pet’s interspecies perversions, you should know that the love it feels toward you is nothing other than platonic, somewhere between the kind that a young child has for a parent and the kind that best friends have for one another.
This is simply a case of mistaken motives. Not only is your dog not into you like that, but it lacks the cognitive and chemical equipment to be.
All the insights we’ve gained in the fields of zoology, evolutionary biology, and canine psychology over the past hundred years or so suggest that dogs are incapable of being turned on by their Homo sapien owners.
Why? Because nature doesn’t permit it. You see, dogs (and pretty much all other animals, for that matter, with the possible exception of human beings) are hardwired to be attracted exclusively to other members of the same species.
Contrary to what you may have read in more questionable corners of the internet, there’s little to no evidence that any animal—be it a dog, cat, chimpanzee, dolphin, elephant, seahorse, barn owl, or horny toad—has ever engaged in sexual relations with another species out of sheer lust.
While unlikely couplings have been known to occur in the animal kingdom, these instances are so rare and so opposed to the norm that scientists have a special designation for them: reproductive interference.
According to researchers, reproductive interference probably has more to do with an overabundance of hormones than with a kinky inclination to get it on with unrelated critters.
Animals in their reproductive prime have to do something with all their pent-up sexual energy, they theorize, so they act them out on whatever happens to be around. See where we’re going with this?
What’s Going On With Your Dog?
As much as we want to believe that humans are always rational, objective, and unbiased, we have a decidedly human way of viewing the world. Too frequently, we attempt to use our understanding of human nature to try to explain the nature of animals with which we share select traits.
If we get the urge to hump another person, it’s generally because we find that person sexually desirable. It makes sense, then, that we might apply the same logic to our pets and assume that they find us irresistible despite the many apparent incompatibilities.
To wrap our heads around the weird and offputting things our dogs do, however, we need to consider the ways they’re different from us as well as the ways they’re similar. So, with that in mind, let’s revisit some of those distressing behaviors we highlighted earlier.
1. Your dog is in heat.
When female mammals become fertile, they enter a state of heightened arousal known as estrus. Even if you’re not familiar with that term, chances are you’re familiar with its telltale symptoms—most of us are used to referring to animals in this condition as being “in heat.”
Girl dogs in heat follow an unspoken command to seek out sexual partners, a chemical response that helps make sure they’re able to pass on their genes in the wild.
If they can’t find a suitable mate, they’ll start looking around for something, anything, with which to satisfy their impulse to procreate. This may include couch cushions, stuffed animals, furniture, household appliances, and, yes, even their owners’ legs.
The good news is that although dogs don’t go through menopause the way human females do, they do tend to cool off and become less sexually motivated as they age. So, thankfully, there will come a time when you won’t have to worry about your precious angel transforming into a libidinous she-devil every few months.
2. Your dog is investigating you.
Unlike humans, to whom evolution has given five separate senses and the capacities for abstraction and reasoning to make sense of their surroundings, dogs have to rely almost entirely on the scent.
It’s by far their most acute and well-developed sense—a couple of quick whiffs can tell them all they need to know about whether another creature is friend, foe, food source, or candidate for making the beast with two backs.
In other words, when your dog shows an olfactory interest in your diamond zone, it’s not making a pass at you. It’s gathering information (albeit in a highly invasive manner).
It could be that it detects the faint scent of another dog of the opposite sex on you or picks up traces of the male and female hormones your body produces naturally.
It’s even possible that your dog can tell that you have recently gotten some, and the lingering odor has a stimulating effect on its reproductive system. A dog’s actions and reactions are influenced by smell the way ours are by physical, verbal, and social cues.
3. Your dog is sexually frustrated.
We all know what it’s like to feel the lure of the biological imperative and not be able to do anything about it. It can be incredibly vexing, causing an already strong desire to become overwhelming and reach the point where something has to be done to alleviate it.
As it turns out, unconsummated lust is every bit as maddening for dogs as it is for people. A party foul like indiscriminate humping is essentially your dog’s way of blowing off sexual steam. It serves the same purpose as masturbation and wet dreams in humans—to provide an outlet for sexual energy that would otherwise go undealt with.
The key difference is that people are more or less capable of practicing restraint and therefore don’t generally have to resort to gratifying themselves in the company of others. It’s an unwelcome thing to witness, no doubt, but it’s a struggle we can all relate to on some level.
Conclusion For “Can Dogs Get Sexually Attracted to Humans”
While it may appear that your dog has misidentified you as a potential mate, it’s much more likely that it’s simply heeding the sexual instincts it’s acquired through thousands of years of evolutionary success.
It just so happens that you’re usually around to witness the moments when those instincts become unignorable. Rest assured that the only kind of bone your dog wants from you is the kind it can play fetch with.
If you find this guide, “Can Dogs Get Sexually Attracted to Humans,” helpful, check out these other questions:
- Why Does My Dog Only Eat At Night?
- Why Does My Dog Stare Into Space?
- Why Does My Dog Act Like a Cat?
You can learn more about your dog’s behavior by watching “How Dogs Love Us” down below:
Andy is a full-time animal rescuer and owner of a toy doodle. When he’s not saving dogs, Andy is one of our core writers and editors. He has been writing about dogs for over a decade. Andy joined our team because he believes that words are powerful tools that can change a dog’s life for the better.
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