Posted on: January 7, 2023 Posted by: Petsynse Comments: 0

I know that this is fairly normal, standard dog behavior (or maybe your dog engages in it more than most!), but don’t you wonder why your dog does not start a meeting face-to-face?? Surely there’s as much information to be exchanged with the front end as with the back?

To humans, nose-to-tail contact may seem discourteous, but humans are the exception here, not the rule.

It may look ‘intimate’ to you but to a dog it’s more polite to offer a modest butt-sniff by way of an introduction than to come boldly face to face.

Humans, brought up to meet a glance directly and to extend their hand, don’t usually understand the typical canine introduction. Dogs learn a lot from sniffing and new acquaintance’s rear end, because of the scent glands situated there.

 As a dog’s sense of smell is 44 times stronger than ours, it’s unsurprising that your Labrador will go by his nose rather than starting up a facial conversation.

If you watch a few group meetings of dogs, you’ll notice that some are considerably more polite than others with their introductory ‘sniff.’ The more polite dog will approach from the side, sniff briefly, and move on. A ‘ruder’ dog may move in intrusively, sniff long and hard, and sometimes offer much more exuberant examination than the dog on the receiving end is counting on! And may alarm the dog on the receiving end (no pun intended!).

Dogs, also, don’t look each other directly in the eye until they are well acquainted…and still, you won’t see prolonged eye contact with dogs, whether that be with another canine or a human. If your dog stares deeply into your eyes for long periods of time–take it as a HUGE compliment!!!

Think of the BUTT-SNIFF as the canine ‘handshake’, or a ‘how do you do,’ in which key facts are gathered. Nose to nose may unfortunately lead to a more aggressive stage of introduction, which most dogs are not willing to instigate.