Why do dogs sniff each other’s tails? Reasons behind this behavior
Dogs sniff each other’s butts and you, astonished, may wonder why. Have you adopted a dog recently and don’t understand why it does something so inexplicable compared to our behavior? It is normal to want to understand why they behave so differently from us humans, like smelling feces, peeing, and even sniffing other dog’s rear ends.
Surely the explanation is not related to the fact that they are animals lacking education, but for this strange behavior, there is a perfectly normal explanation. If you continue to read this article you will find out what is hidden behind the smell of a dog.
Dogs Smell Each Other’s Tails: Why?
Our four-legged friends use their sense of smell to get to know each other: sometimes they do things that to us, humans, may seem indecent, these attitudes belong to the language of dogs and we would not even dream to imitate.
Among these unusual ways of behavior, we may find the tendency of dogs to smell each other’s tails. The sense of smell is very important, dogs develop their world perception through smell. The lips, ears, genitals, and the anus area are the key locations a dog smells to learn things about who is in front of him.
Dogs also try to find out about humans through sniffing. They do so to learn if a particular human can be trusted and to know who he is dealing with: we humans use words, in the canine world communication is done by smelling. When dogs sniff other dogs’ tails, they are “talking”. Dogs do not lack education, they follow their instincts since their sense of smell lets them learn about the world.
As unbelievable as it may seem, thanks to smell, they are able to know who stands in front of them: dogs cannot make up stories, the odor does not lie. To give you an idea, dogs are equipped with 220 million olfactory receptors, while humans only have about 5 million. A dog can recognize up to 500,000 smells (humans only 4000); they use their sense of smell as we use our sight. They can also know who has been in a particular place even after they are gone. We are not able to do that with our sight.
On the sides of the anal area are the anal glands, which secrete various types of pheromones, many of which are still unknown. These are chemical substances that may vary according to the mood. For instance, anal glands secrete an unpleasant odor when the dog is scared or frightened.
Dogs Sniff Each Other’s Tails: What Do They Find Out
Our four-legged friends have an excellent olfactory memory: they can remember the scent of another dog after some time, even after 3 years. You may have surprised your dog smelling other dogs’ feces; they do that since through smelling they are able to feel and determine if the dog that left the feces has a strong or friendly personality.
Why Do Dogs Sniff Each Other’s Tails?
Dogs “see” through their sense of smell, through butt-sniffing they capture important information such as the following:
- Strong character or submissive personality,
- If the female dog is in heat,
- What kind of food the smelled dog has.
During the sniffing ritual, whether they know each other from before or they are greeting for the first time if one dog backs up and stops sniffing, it indicates and suggests the other dog is the dominant one in their relationship.
In contrast, if the dog is not willing to communicate anything about himself, it will immediately react to the ritual by stepping back and keeping its tail down in order to avoid the other one from getting any information out of him.
When you walk your dog you may have noticed this scene, but you should know that it is just a part of the animal code. Dogs have a sense of smell that can be about 100,000 times more sensitive than that of humans. Through odors, they can determine the mood, gender, and also what the other dog eats.
Do not try to space out dogs sniffing each other’s butts, by yanking the leash, this is a normal gesture for them, like talking or saying hi; Even though in certain moments the dog may get negative pieces of information, which may lead to a fight, it is better to be careful because they certainly have not “hit it off”; so in this case, it is appropriate for the owners to call their dogs away.
Dogs Sniff Each Other’s Tails: What Do They Smell?
Each dog has a unique scent and sniffing is used to be recognized and to stand out. Plus, dogs have the Jacobsen’s organ located between the nose and the mouth. This additional tool is connected to the brain and is able to analyze big molecules, like some pheromones.
Depending on the dog breed, each dog may smell differently; for example, hunting dogs breath large amounts of air, smell an odor and follow it until they perceive the scent more intensely until they get to the source of that which they are smelling.
The following list shows dog breeds whose sense of smell is highly developed:
- Pointer: this breed originated in England, widely used for hunting.
- Colombian Fino Hound: a Colombian breed, very popular for its endurance and highly developed olfactory abilities.
- Dachshund (or Sausage dog): bred to hunt foxes and bunnies, to find wounded deers and even wild boars.
- English Cocker Spaniel: famous for its sense of smell, this dog can smell animals, even follow them into the water.
- Belgian Shepherd: with a highly developed sense of smell, they are widely used to help police forces.
- Labrador: because of their powerful sense of smell, they are trained to detect drugs, bombs, for sea rescue missions, or as a tracking dog to missing people.
- German Shepherd: it is a very intelligent dog that is also trained to detect drugs.
- Beagle: excellent hunting breed, but also used to detect drugs or for rescue missions.
- Basset Hound: finally, originated in England, this is an excellent dog for hunting, trained for rescue missions, and to find missing people.
In some occasions, smelling the scent of those who are in front of us can be useful to avoid unpleasant encounters. Who knows? Perhaps with your dog’s help, you might also detect the wrong people, from whom it is better to stay away.
If you have more doubts, you can consult with a professional near your house, who will provide you with the best service and answer all your questions.
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