This is one of those
common dog behaviors that dogs regularly perform but that offends humans or
grosses us out.
While there is still much
research to be conducted in this area, the reason why dogs do this is largely
believed to be a means of getting information.
Since a dog can’t walk up
to another with a, “Yo, what’s up? My name is Rufus and I’m a Leo” comment, it
becomes crucial for them to gain familiarity with other dogs in a manner that
is acceptable and effective. And the most useful method appears to be sticking
their noses up another dog’s rear end. This much we know for certain.
What information they glean
from such behavior is the part that is still up in the air, although we have
some educated guesses.
The data gathered is
largely thought to be related to the age of the other dog, its sex, whether or
not the dog is in heat, and even its most recent meal.
You may be wondering,
what’s the point? Other than being nosy (pun intended) why do they need to
gather any information at all? Why not just start playing?
First, learning as much as
they can may help a dog determine if the interaction is likely to be a friendly
one or not. Second, the mating rituals of dogs also indicate that this is part
of the process of mating since it allows a male to determine if a bitch is
ready to mate.
Another benefit (if you
can call rump sniffing a benefit) is that the act of smelling or sniffing can
have a very calming and soothing effect on the dog doing the smelling and it’s
not uncommon for a dog to be slightly stressed upon meeting a new dog.
Because sniffing rear is
such a crucial part of introduction it’s not always advisable to discourage
your dog from doing it, as many of us do. A dog that has not had the
opportunity to meet a strange dog properly can be weary of any interaction with
that dog and this may not be a good thing.
However, not every dog takes
well to being sniffed out. Sometimes the dog doing the sniffing can be a bit
overzealous and come on too strong, like a drunken date. It’s always a good
idea to keep an eye on your dog when he or she goes through this routine,
whether your dog is the smeller or smellee.
By the way, when you come
across a dog who tries to sniff your crotch he’s likely trying to gather the
same information about you. Try not to be too embarrassed.
Also, if you found this helpful please share it. Others may benefit from the info. Thanks.