Dogs Sniffing Butts
You may have caught Fido sniffing out another doggy’s butt in the dog park or generally when out and about. To us humans this may seem like a naughty or embarrassing behavior, but for dogs, this is perfectly normal and an integral part to their socialization. But, why do dogs smell butts? Why is it so normal for them?
Why Do Dogs Sniff Butts?
Dogs sniff butts to learn all sorts of information about the dog they’re meeting and getting to know.
A dog’s anal glands contain particularly odorous fluids that emit a strong-smelling compound full of pheromones; aerosolized hormones. Each dog’s scent is unique to them and tells the dog that’s sniffing them things like their sex, health status, what they eat, their reproductive status, their temperament and beyond! Dogs also remember this information, so they’ll be able to tell if they’ve met particular doggos before because of what they smell like.
You may notice that your dog might try and smell other animals and even human rear ends or crotch’s. As we’ve established, this isn’t a rude way to conduct themselves – to them it’s natural, but this may be unwelcome behavior to many people! Kindly redirect this behavior as best you can and reward them for following your command to ensure they learn that this isn’t appropriate with anyone else other than a fellow canine.
Dogs sniffing butts is considered a polite way of interacting with each other. So, you should let your dog sniff another dog’s butt, unless the receiving dog appears stressed, is trying to get away or tucking their tail. Then, you should call your furry friend away.
If your dog is the one that’s getting stressed at having their butt sniffed, ask the owner of the intensely-sniffing pup to call them off or try a common command like “sit” or another distraction technique to encourage the unfamiliar pup to stop.
Try and read all the dog’s involved body language to best gauge how they’re all feeling about it and call your dog away if you’re concerned – particularly in large groups of dogs, as overexcitement can potentially escalate to more aggressive behavior when they’re in a pack.
Author Stregowski, Jenna “Why Dogs Sniff Each Other’s Butts” The Spruce Pets, Mar 22. 2022 https://www.thesprucepets.com/why-do-dogs-sniff-butts-1118302
“Why Does My Dog Sniff Butts?” The Farmer’s Dog, Feb 24. 2021 https://www.thefarmersdog.com/digest/dog-sniffing-butts