Having a furball companion comes with lots of love and sometimes behaviors that seem quite strange. At times he will opt to sleep on your clothes instead of his premium doggy bed or lay on your chest. Now, adding to the list of strange behaviors is “why does my dog sniff me so much?”
A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 times greater than a human‘s sense of smell, so he’s putting it to good use. When he sniffs you it can be anything that ranges from affection to food crumbs to new shampoo.
There’s no one universal reason as to why your dog sniffs you, so below is a list of 9 possible reasons.
Why Does My Dog Sniff Me?
09. Reassure It’s His Special Hooman
Your lovely pooch identifies you through scent. Have you ever noticed your dog sleeping or laying on your laundry? If so, it’s because he loves you! Your scent brings him feelings of bliss, safeness, and reassurance. Sometimes when he sniffs you, he may very well be missing your unique scent or just want to reassure it is you. This is especially true when you leave for a while and come home a few hours later.
08. Food Crumbs
You may not be able to spot teeny tiny food crumbs with your naked eyes, but that doesn’t mean Fido can’t with his adorable and powerful snout. He probably smells food particles on you and perhaps wants to help groom you while having some of the delicious bread crumbs. A win-win situation.
07. New Cologne, Lotion, Or Shampoo
Did you start using a new cologne, lotion, or shampoo? Fido knows what’s up. Yup, that may be the reason why he’s sniffing you a lot these days. He is probably intrigued by the new scent and is just investing. Once he gets used to it, this sniffing behavior should eventually stop.
Just finish working out? Dogs for some reason love the salty taste of human sweat. Does he sniff you every time you finish working out, coming back from the gym, or simply sweating? If so, this is most likely the cause. Human sweat is full of minerals and when sweating, it becomes more apparent thus your dog will sniff and lick you.
05. Contact With Another Pet
Did you visit a friend’s house where there are other pets? Yes, your furry friend can smell that too. When other pets come in contact with you, they leave behind their scent which can then be picked up by your dog. That is why when you come home, Fido starts sniffing you all over.
04. Separation Anxiety
When your dog keeps sniffing you and becomes clingy, it can be signs of separation anxiety. This is especially true when your pooch is overly attached to you and prevents the two of you from being separated, such as when you leave the house.
Other possible signs include: urinating when left alone, barking when you leave, digging at the door when you’re not home, and chewing on objects with your smell. If you suspect your dog has separation anxiety, consult with a professional dog trainer for advice on what to do.
03. A Physical Change
This one is quite extraordinary. Dogs have the ability to smell cancer. While this is the least reason why they sniff by a whole lot, it’s good to know as studies have shown just how powerful those snouts are. There are many experiments done to test how accurate they are able to detect cancer and most of the time the accuracy rate is surprisingly high.
Some signs to look out for is if the dog is sniffing the same area, pawing at a specific area, and when/if this sniffing behavior developed suddenly. Again, not saying you are sick, but rather a worthy fact to know.
02. Apocrine Glands
If your pooch is smelling your crotch area, it could be due to the apocrine glands. These sweat glands are located in areas where there is hair, such as the armpit and crotch. They produce chemicals known as pheromones which, when a dog sniffs, can relay a lot of information about an individual. For instance, it can identify sex, age, health, mood, menstrual cycle, and/or pregnancy.
01. Natural Instinct
It’s one of their natural instincts to sniff. That is why we often see dogs sniffing each other’s butt as a form of greeting. Just like humans shake hands and have conversations to know each other better, dogs do the same by sniffing each other’s butts.
Why? Similar to the above reason, most mammals, including dogs themselves have apocrine glands that produce pheromones. Given the fact it relays all that information, it makes sense why they are displaying such strange behavior.
Should You Allow This Behavior?
Even though the sniff is harmless, it can be a bit annoying and quite embarrassing. If the sniffing behavior is not consistent, but rather due to a change in your daily care or hygiene products, food crumbs, visiting a friends house with a pet, or sweating, he should eventually stop. In this case, it comes down to personal preference if you want to allow the sniffing.
On the other hand, if the behavior is consistent (assuming you know the cause of why he is sniffing), you might want to train your dog to stop inappropriate sniffing to avoid behavioral problems and accidents. Below are a few training tips you can apply to help your pooch know when sniffing is not permitted.
Tips To Stop Unwanted Sniffing Behavior
- Commands: Teach your dog commands such as “sit” or “no” so when he’s showing the behavior, use those commands, and offer praise and rewards only when he listens.
- Redirect: Redirect his attention to a quick game of fetch or anything that gets his attention. Never offer treats as this will only encourage the behavior.
- Be consistent: Just like any dog training, it takes time and patience. Make sure to be consistent and don’t let him off with the behavior. The behavior will only continue. Instead, continue to use commands and offer praise when he listens.
- Crate Training: If your dog has a habit of greeting a guest over at your house by sniffing, you can tell him to go to his crate in a nice tone, so he doesn’t feel like he’s being punished. Below is a helpful video on crate training your furball.
Sniffing is a natural behavior dogs have. It’s good to know your dog is sniffing and exploring because a non-sniffing dog is not normal. However, there are times when your pooch displays unwanted sniffing behavior that seems out of the ordinary. Whatever the reason, it’s all probably a variation of love.