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When humans first meet, we shake hands, make eye contact and ask questions to get to know each other. This greeting usually gives us enough information to make some safe assumptions about a person’s approximate age, health, and current mood. Dogs do the same thing, but in a much more crude way—they get their information by sniffing each other’s butt.
If you have a pup, you know how unappealing this can be to watch. Luckily, evolution is on their side! While dogs can sniff 10,000 to 100,000 times more than us mere human beings, they have a special super organ, called Jacobson’s organ, in their naval cavity that prevents the smelling of poo and enhances the smell of everything else. Does your dog also eat its own poop? Here’s why they do.
OK, so why is the dog butt so special? Fair warning: I’m going to get anatomical on you. Every dog has two anal glands from which come secretions that, while masked to the human nose by the pup’s stool, tell an entire story to dogs who sniff it. With a couple inhales, any dog can ascertain if another dog is an old acquaintance or a new one, if they’re male or female, and if they’re aggressive or passive. Most dogs are aggressive or bark around vacuums—this is why they are scared of them.
The next time you see your dog go in for a sniff, just allow it to happen because if it gets cut short it can leave a dog confused and crazy with curiosity. But (!), keep that dog “greeting” to no more than three seconds because any longer and it can be a sign of dominant dog behavior and no one wants a bully on the puppy playground. If you’re unsure how long it should be, just think of the length of a handshake. Handshakes or behind sniffing… aren’t you grateful you’re a human being? If this the reason for this sniffing habit shocked you, you’ll love these 50 other secrets your pet won’t tell you.
Plus, check out our tips on how to clean the carpet after your pet has an accident in the video below.