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Why do dogs smell each other’s butts? It may seem weird and gross to us but butt sniffing is how dogs gather information about each other and it’s not only normal, it’s a necessary ritual that dogs do during greetings. Still grossed out and still wondering, “Why do dogs do this?” The hormones excreted by the glands surrounding their genitalia offer a lot of information about the dog and we need to get over it. It’s a dog’s version of a hand shake.
A dog’s nose is much more sensitive than ours, to the tune of between 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive. Greetings are how dogs communicate and that sometimes involves smelling each other’s butts and inguinal (groin) area, offering very important information, such as, another dog’s diet, gender and emotional state.
So, when your dog is smelling another dog, we need to allow them to do their thing. Not allowing them this necessary and informative behavioral ritual is robbing them of their instinctive and habitual nature. This can be one reason that dogs become reactive or aggressive when meeting other dogs on leash.
However, some dogs can go overboard in their zeal for getting to know another dog. Keen observation and knowledge of the body languages of both dogs, the sniffer and the sniffee, will go a long way in making our dogs more comfortable. In these times, following the 3-second dog greeting rule can keep everyone safe and happy.
The bottom line (no pun intended) — next time you’re tempted to stop your dog from greeting another dog by sniffing their butt, please remember that doing so could create undue stress and anxiety when meeting other dogs in the future. Then, be thankful next time someone politely offers you a handshake, instead of a sniff.
Article content provided by Jill Breitner.
Denise O’Moore of Mighty Dog Graphics shares her insights on 3 second dog greetings – image above, click to enlarge.
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