Let the Dogs Sniff Butts

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm


I’m in the pet store with my old boy, Benny, who is sniffing around while I crisis over dog treats.  A beautiful Australian Shepherd comes around the corner and happily ambles up to Ben.  She’s clearly giving signs of a friendly pooch, so I let him say hello.  He proceeds to her rear-end and puts his nose directly under her tail, where he knows all the good smells are.  The owner of the Aussie squeals “ewww! stop that!” and moves Ben’s head while telling both dogs “that’s icky!”

Ahhh. Ben and I are irked as the pair move on to the next aisle.  He’s trying to get a feel for his new lady and I hadn’t even gotten to pet her yet.  The owner of the Aussie was understandably turned off by Ben’s seemingly invasive behavior, but Benny was actually being quite a gentlemen.  Sniffing butts is the canine equivalent of exchanging business cards with a handshake.  It’s a quick rundown of what their new friend is all about and an essential part of a doggie meet and greet.

5 Reasons to Let the Dogs Sniff Butts

1.  Greeting another dog in the rear is passive and non-threatening.  When your dog goes right for the butt, it’s a polite move.  Greeting face to face can be threatening and challenging to another dog.  As long as your dog isn’t overstaying their welcome in the other dog’s nether-regions, he/she is essentially saying ” I don’t want to have a face off, just let me sniff you so I can understand more about you.”  Butt-sniffing is a peaceful approach.

a peaceful butt sniff

a peaceful butt sniff

2. Humans use Facebook to find out more about the people we meet and dogs use their noses and anal glands to do the very same.  A dog’s nose has 100,000 million times more receptors than a human’s and their anal glands (two glands around their anus) contain essential information about the age, health, sex and whereabouts of a new dog.  Why sniff anywhere else?

3.  “It’s gross!” Ohhh please! Get over it.  Dogs are gross.  They roll in mud, eat poop and sniff butts.  Rock on, pups.

4.  “My dog doesn’t like it.”  Really? Watch closely.  Many owners project this feeling onto their dog when the dog is actually fine.  Standing still and rolling over are both polite, submissive ways to allow other dogs to sniff.  Any dog who growls or avoids a dog trying to sniff their butt has some work left to do on their social skills, as accepting the sniff is just as important as giving one.

5.  Sniffing butts allows both dogs to cut right to the chase.  Once they’ve been able to get a thorough sniff down and get the information they need, the rest of the interaction should be more casual.  A lot of the pulling and eagerness that occurs when two dogs are separated by leash is really the dogs saying “I MUST MEET THEM!!”  Getting the great butt sniff out of the way typically calms everyone down.

Not all meet and greets go smoothly, however, and it’s important to read the dog’s body language when deciding whether or not to allow a greeting.  I’ll address this situation in a future post. In the meantime…let the dogs sniff butts!

  1. […] Let the Dogs Sniff Butts (clevelandbarks.wordpress.com) […]

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