Posted on: January 19, 2023 Posted by: Petsynse Comments: 0

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black lab sniffing between a person's legs while standing

As dog owners, we know all too well that our furry friends aren’t skilled in the art of social graces. And crotch-sniffing tops the list of their faux-pas behavior. After all, when your pup shoves his snout in someone’s crotch, this intrusive behavior is downright embarrassing and usually disconcerting for the recipient. So, why do dogs sniff humans’ private areas? It turns out our pups have a perfectly good reason. Still, it’s unwanted behavior for all humans involved, so we’ll give you tips on how to curb this natural canine instinct.

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Is Crotch Sniffing Normal Behavior For Dogs?


In short, yes, it’s normal canine behavior for our furry friends to smell crotches. Rest assured, if your dog occasionally cops a sniff, you don’t have a perverted pup. Almost anything, including the human body, is a wonderland for dogs to explore through smell. Why?

Unlike humans, who rely most heavily on sight, our dogs use scent as their primary sense to inspect the world around them. It’s their way of saying hello and sizing up people and other animals they meet.

What Makes Dogs Such Amazing Sniffers?

Fun fact: Dogs are biologically far superior to their owners regarding the olfactory system. For one thing, dogs have over 300 million olfactory receptors in their snouts, compared to our six million. These extra receptors make their sense of smell 10,000-100,000 more sensitive than humans.

Canines’ brains also have an upper hand with the ability to analyze various odors — nearly 40 times greater than ours. On top of these biological benefits, dogs also have a second olfactory system powered by an organ called Jacobson’s organ, which allows dogs to detect pheromones and other chemicals secreted by the body.

Furthermore, these two canine olfactory systems have separate nerve pathways leading to different brain parts. This anatomical advantage allows dogs to distinguish and separately analyze odor molecules from pheromones and other bodily chemicals.

Why Do Dogs Sniff Your Crotch?

What is it about the crotch area that’s particularly enticing for dogs? Chalk it up to apocrine glands, a type of sweat gland that releases pheromones unique to each person and of special interest to dogs. In humans, apocrine glands are prominent in the genital area and the armpits, with more concentrated body hair. And since dogs can’t reach your armpits as easily as your nether region, they go for the crotch.

So, when canines sniff a groin, they simply gather information relayed by these pheromones. Think of it this way — to dogs, the scent of a crotch is like an ID card containing information such as a person’s age, gender, mood, etc. It’s simply their way of trying to get to know you.

Are Some People’s Private Areas More Appealing To Dogs?

Yes, some people are more likely to attract curious snouts than others. That’s because certain situations cause humans to produce higher levels of pheromones, and dogs are trying to investigate what’s happening.

  • During menstruation
  • Women who have recently given birth
  • Those who have recently had sexual intercourse
  • Possibly during ovulation

Why Do Dogs Smell Human Bottoms?

Some dogs explore people by sniffing their rear ends. This could be because it’s close to the groin area, and they’re picking up some pheromone scents. Or it’s simply another part of the body they’re exploring with their nose. After all, some dogs sniff everything.

You may wonder if that’s the same reason dogs smell one another’s bottoms. Well, yes and no. Dogs sniff each other’s butts to learn more about each other. However, dog-on-dog butt sniffing involves different pheromone-secreting glands, specifically their anal glands. This behavior is generally the same as why dogs sniff human genitals. Learn more details about why dogs sniff each other’s butts.

What Breeds Are The Best Scent Dogs?

While all dogs have an exceptionally heightened sense of smell compared to humans, some breeds are especially proficient in using their scent instincts, and many are trained as detection dogs. Some breeds are commonly “employed” to sniff out illegal narcotics or for suspect apprehension by police.

Others serve as natural detectors for search, rescue, and recovery operations, explosives and land mines, certain cancers, and even conservation efforts, such as antipoaching and invasive animal and plant species. Some of the best scent dogs include:

  • Beagles
  • Bloodhounds
  • German Shepherds
  • Basset Hounds
  • Coonhounds
  • Labrador and Golden Retrievers
  • Dachshunds
  • German Pointers
  • Belgian Malinois

How Do I Stop My Dog From Sniffing Human Private Areas?

There are a few things you can do to help prevent your crotch hound from going for the groin when greeting people.

  • Teach your dog to sit and stay whenever she meets a new person.
  • Ask your guests to hold their hand out for your pup to sniff. This can help your dog explore your visitor without the awkward crotch-sniffing encounter.
  • Redirect your dog toward your fist, then reward her with a treat from the other hand when she moves her head toward it. You can repeat this training until your dog consistently sniffs your fist when you present it.
  • You can even take a further step to train your pup to touch her nose to your fist whenever you use a verbal command, like touch, hand, fist, etc. This is the best way to keep your pup from unwanted crotch sniffing consistently.

Does Your Dog Demonstrate Other Unwanted Behavior?

If your furry sidekick needs to work on her manners or other problem behaviors, you may want to consider getting help from a professional dog trainer. Instead of paying a fortune for an in-person dog trainer, see our reviews of the best online dog training courses and dog training apps to find affordable training assistance. Some of these options even give you virtual access to professional dog trainers.

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