Dog is a Crotch Sniffer – Pet tip 245
Most dog owners are aware that dog noses are extremely sensitive. This is due to the quantity of olfactory or ‘smell’ receptors in a dog’s nose. Whereas humans have around five million olfactory receptors, dogs have two hundred and twenty million. This makes their noses exponentially more sensitive than a human’s. Most times a dog’s sensitive nose works to our benefit. All kinds of dogs are used as service dogs to help humans find missing people, sniff out explosives, drugs etc. They can smell people coming from quite a distance and alert us to their presence. There are some embarrassing occasions however, when a dog’s nose is just too sensitive from our human perspective. Most notably this occurs when dogs try to sniff humans in their private areas.
This behaviour is a common one in dogs and equally common is the fact that it upsets most dog owners. The reason some dogs sniff at human crotches is the same reason they sniff the private parts of other dogs. We know that when they smell other dogs in this way they can tell the sex, rank (is the dog more dominant or submissive) age and other information about the dog. When they see a human (even one that they know well) they can take a sniff just to make sure everything is ‘OK’. It’s just a natural way for them to gain information from the environment around them.
Despite all the important ‘information’ that they may garner by sniffing a human in this fashion, it’s a behaviour that most dog owners like to discourage and it’s really not necessary for a dog to get ‘that’ close. A dog’s nose is sensitive enough so that it can get all the smelling information it needs without invading our personal space. It approaches us closely because that is what it is used to doing with other dogs.
All the dog needs is some basic obedience training and this problem should be fairly easy to solve. When the dog approaches a human’s groin, a sharp “No!” is usually all that is needed to prevent the dog from actually sniffing further. Then, get your dog to sit and reward your dog for the good behaviour of sitting. The reward should come immediately after sitting, not 10 seconds later. The reward can be a treat, some good petting, but it must happen immediately. Given that smelling in this fashion is so natural for a dog, it does not make sense to punish your dog severely for this behaviour if it falters. If this is a problem that you are unable to solve yourself, ask your veterinarian for a referral for a professional dog trainer.