Nonsexual mounting of other dogs is generally a dominance, control, or challenge behavior, although when practiced by puppies it’s primarily about play and social learning, beginning as early as 3-4 weeks. Mounting of humans is strictly nonsexual; it may be about control, it can be attention-seeking, and it can be a stress-reliever. High hormone levels and normal sexual responses to other unneutered dogs are different from the kind of “problem mounting” that embarrasses you in front of your in-laws or boss when they visit!
Mounting is perfectly normal social behavior, but can be problematic if your Husky is mounting other dogs to the point of provocation (and this causes a fight), or, as mentioned, it is upsetting to your guests.
Huskies will also mount inanimate objects. While some dogs do sometimes masturbate for pleasure, it’s usually a form of stress relief, for example if the dog is left home alone. In fact, if dogs did wait for some private time to engage in their mounting behaviors, most owners would be far less concerned about it. But dogs, having no shame, are far more likely to take advantage of your visitors to display their leg-hugging prowess. Regardless of how much you love your dog, it’s embarrassing to have him pay such inappropriate attention to your guests.
Like a good many canine behaviors that we humans find annoying, inconvenient, or embarrassing, mounting is a perfectly normal dog behavior. And like other such annoying, inconvenient, and embarrassing behaviors, it’s perfectly reasonable for us to be able to tell our Huskies to stop! Brief bouts that involve mounting of other dogs in canine social interactions might be acceptable, as long as they don’t lead to bloodletting. Mounting of human body parts rarely is. So, what can you do?
The longer the Husky has practiced his mounting behavior, the harder it is to change. So it’s logical that the sooner you intervene in your dog’s unacceptable mounting, the better your chances for behavior modification success.
Neutering is an obvious first step. A 1976 study found an 80 percent decrease in mounting behavior following castration. (This is far more often a male Husky behavioral issue than a female one.) The same study determined that within 72 hours of surgery, the bulk of hormones have left the dog’s system. Since mounting is partially a learned behavior as well as hormone-driven, the extent to which neutering will help will be determined at least in part by how long the dog has been allowed to practice the behavior. Just one more strong argument for juvenile sterilization, between the ages of eight weeks and six months, rather than waiting for your dog to mature.
You need to nip the behavior in the bud from a young age, whether you decide to neuter or not. Just bear in mind that you’ll need to work harder to convince your adult, well-practiced Husky to stop climbing on other dogs than you will a young pup, and there’s more potential for aggression if the recipient of unwanted attentions objects. Earlier is better!