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Why do Dogs Smell Each Other’s Butts?

 
By Eduarda Piamore, Expert in canine and feline psychology, education and training.. Updated: June 2, 2019
Why do Dogs Smell Each Other’s Butts?

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Dogs are complex, fascinating and interesting animals that do things which sometimes, we as humans, do not quite understand. One of the most common dog habits which people tend to question is butt smelling. ‘‘Why do dogs sniff each other’s butts?’’ Did you know that the main reason dogs smell each other’s butts is to say hello? This, however, is not the only reason why dogs do this.

For more about why dogs smell each other’s butts, keep reading here at AnimalWised. Here, we aim to analyze this common dog behavior, as well as others which are related. Read on and let’s learn how to understand our dogs better!

You may also be interested in: Why Do Cats Lick Each Other?

Why do dogs sniff each other’s butts?

To fully understand why dogs smell each others butts, we first need to be aware that a dog’s way of communicating with humans is very different to a dog communicating with another of the same species. Dogs use smell, sound, facial expression and body language as their main pillars of communication.

Many dog behaviors which we may at first perceive as strange, are normal for dogs. For example, while dogs sniffing each other’s butts may seem bizarre to us as humans, for dogs this is a normal way of communicating and exchanging information. When it comes to canine social behavior, butt sniffing is a way of learning about mood, gender and functions as a way of saying ‘hi!’

Did you know that dogs have a special scent-detecting organ which we as humans don’t have. The vomeronasal organ in dogs allows dogs the ability to detect pheromones in other dogs. Not only does this play an important part when it comes to canine reproduction, but it also helps dogs understand each other better.

For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss why does my dog smell everything on the street.

Why do Dogs Smell Each Other’s Butts? - Why do dogs sniff each other’s butts?

Why do dogs smell butts?

Now, in order to fully understand and analyze this behavior, we need to clarify that a dog’s sense of smell is much more developed than a human’s. Dogs carry up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, while we humans only carry around 6 million. This is why dogs can smell hormones and non-volatile chemicals produced and secreted by glands of other bodies, such as dogs, cats and humans.

When two or more dogs meet and voluntarily decide to raise their tails and smell each other’s butts, they are carrying out a key step canine social behavior. This means that both dogs are interacting positively and have decided to openly exchange their "personal data," thereby establishing a cordial bond.

If your dog ​​smells the butt of other dogs, this is usually a very good sign that your dog has been properly socialized and has learned to relate positively with other individuals and their environment. When a dog does has not experienced an adequate socialization process, it may be fearful when encountering other dogs. This hinders a dog’s ability to enjoy a healthy social life. Is your dog scared of other dogs? If so, we recommend reading our article to find out why is my dog scared of other dogs, including tips to deal with a dog’s fear.

Therefore, it’s important to remember that socialization in dogs is key when it comes to a dog’s education. In addition, dogs that are well socialized are at a lower risk of developing behavioral problems. For more, we suggest reading our article where we discuss everything you need to know about socializing adults and puppy dogs.

Why do dogs sniff bums?

When dogs smell another dog’s anus, they establish a kind of "chemical communication" that allows them to collect data about age, gender, immune status, mood, diet and genetic inheritance. This is possible because dogs have anal or perianal glands which secrete a concentration of all their chemical information and/or canine identity. Therefore, it is common to hear that a dog's "fragrant signature" is found in its bum.

Additionally, as we mentioned before, dogs also have a highly developed olfactory system. When sniffing near the anal glands, two or more dogs can interact chemically. Thus, anal glands and smell play a key role canine communication and social behavior. This is why you should never reprimand or punish your dog when they smell another dog’s bum.

It is also interesting to mention that a dogs have an incredibly olfactory memory, offering them the ability to remember characteristic odors of other dogs, people and animals (for an extended period of time). For this reason, you may notice that your dog may interact normally with dogs or people they have met before, because they technically already ‘‘know’’ each other.

For more about dog smell, we recommend reading our following articles:

Why do Dogs Smell Each Other’s Butts? - Why do dogs sniff bums?

If you want to read similar articles to Why do Dogs Smell Each Other’s Butts?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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