Dogs can find lots of ways to embarrass us with their behaviorfrom digging our underwear out of the hamper to display for guests to barking incessantly at neighbors slowly making their way along the sidewalk in front of our house.
Their sense of smell is powerful enough to detect substances at concentrations of one part per trillionthats a single drop of liquid in 20 Olympic-size swimming pools! These glands produce a high-protein sweat, and when its mixed with the natural bacteria on our skin, it creates body odor.
Apocrine glands produce strongly scented sweat even when were clean, so its no surprise that a dogs nose can pick up on the smell, especially in people they dont live with every day. Many people use deodorant and/or antiperspirant products to prevent odor in their armpits, which means dogs are more inclined to sniff the crotch area instead. Even if they are old friends, the distinct smell of anal gland secretions can communicate important information, like where a dog has been and what theyve been eating.
Work up to your dog actually touching their nose to your fist when you present it, and then attach a word to the behavior.
Some dog behaviors are super cute: that confused semi-turn of their head when you ask them a question or when they nuzzle into your body on the couch. Other behaviors, though, can be embarrassing and borderline rude like when your dog tries to smell a strangers crotch while youre out on a walk. Awkward!
With a scent sensitivity many thousands of times greater than our own, dogs have a specialized structure within their nasal cavity called the olfactory recess. Research by scientists at Pennsylvania State University showed that dogs have the incredible ability to take a different odor into each nostril and analyze it.
The key to training away unwanted crotch sniffing is to offer an alternative region for your dog to gather the information they want and gently block the current go-to area. Setting a dog up for success in a controlled environment where you are unlikely to feel pressure or embarrassment goes a long way to change their behavior long-term. Tags Emma Bowdrey is an ISCP-trained Dog Trainer based in Prague, where she lives with her adopted greyhound, Swift.
Emma has worked with dogs since gaining her qualification in Canine Behaviour & Psychology and now runs her own business – Four Long Legs.
Does your pet have a behavior that embarrasses you? If your answer is no- youre in the minority. Almost every pet owner can be embarrassed by a pets behavior from time to time. A few years ago, I had a Jack Russell Terrier who invariably would attempt to mount our ever-so-docile cat whenever we would have company over. Our friends thought it was hilarious that our spayed female dog was mounting our neutered male cat. I laugh about it now, but would always cringe when this happened.
Sign up for The Wildest newsletter for updatesSome dog behaviors are super cute: that confused semi-turn of their head when you ask them a question or when they nuzzle into your body on the couch. Other behaviors, though, can be embarrassing and borderline rude — like when your dog tries to smell a stranger’s crotch while you’re out on a walk. Awkward!Your instinct might be to suppress this kind of behavior, but it’s important to understand that it’s perfectly appropriate in dog speak. Dogs are still dogs, even though you consider them part of your family. Understanding
Born to Sniff
As a canine behaviorist and trainer, one of the questions I am asked frequently is “How can I stop my dog from sniffing everyone’s crotch?” As with all behavior modification, the key is to understand the root cause of the issue.A dog’s most dominant sense is their sense of smell, and sniffing is one of their most natural behaviors. With a scent sensitivity many thousands of times greater than our own, dogs have a specialized structure within their nasal cavity called the olfactory recess. This maze of airways allows dogs to sniff odors that are undetectable to us.Research by scientists at Pennsylvania State University showed that dogs have the incredible ability to take a different odor into each nostril and analyze it. They are a species of superior sniffers. They make sense of the world through scents, much in the same way that people rely heavily on vision.