An Embarrassing Truth: Why Do Dogs Sniff Crotches?
You bring your new love interest home to meet your dog, only to be mortified when your dog immediately plants his nose in between your new friend’s legs. Or, your dog-averse in-laws are seated at the dinner table when Fido decides to take a quick whiff from below. Although most of us consider a dog investigating our private regions an uncomfortable or embarrassing experience, it continues to be an almost universal practice among canines.
Here at Schertz Animal Hospital, we don’t shy away from life’s tough questions, which is why we’ve decided to tackle this age-old curiosity: Why do dogs sniff crotches?
Why Do Dogs Sniff Crotches?
So far, we aren’t exactly sure why dogs sniff crotches, but scientists and animal behaviorists have some ideas, including:
- Olfactory overload – A dog’s sense of smell may be as much as 100,000 times more sensitive than ours, leading them to follow their nose wherever it takes them. This often includes the sweaty or more odorous areas on the human body.
- Pack mentality – Dogs in the wild routinely inspect the crotch and rectal areas of other dogs they come into contact with, so it may be that they are simply indulging in their natural instincts.
- Background check – Dogs have a series of scent glands near the rectum that communicate various tidbits, including the dog’s age, sex, what’s recently been eaten, mood, readiness for mating, and more. Your dog may be seeking information about the humans he comes into contact with.
- A friendly hello – Some experts argue that crotch sniffing among dogs is a form of greeting, much like two humans shaking hands.
What You Can Do
Dogs have successfully adapted to living with humans, but it seems that certain behaviors simply can’t be changed. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to completely accept the fact that dogs sniff crotches, but you can encourage your dog from crotch sniffing, especially in situations where it may be particularly embarrassing for you or the other party.
Asking your dog to sit and stay upon greeting another person, and redirecting them to something more interesting, such as treat, is the quickest way to put an end to unwanted investigations. In some cases, a leash may be necessary as you train your dog to respect these boundaries.
Do you have questions or concerns about your dog’s behavior? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the friendly staff at Schertz!
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Schertz Animal Hospital
Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!