Why Does My Dog Love Sniffing My Crotch?

Dogs aren’t familiar with human boundaries, especially when it comes to utilizing their nose. They frequently greet a new dog with a brief sniff of the back end, and this applies to how they meet a new human. Dogs have no qualms about sticking their noses into a human’s groin. However, why do dogs smell your crotch?

The Influence of a Dog’s Nose
While invasive sniffing might be humiliating, especially if your dog does it to a visitor, it is your dog’s way of saying hello and learning about them. The nose of a dog is a formidable tool. Dogs’ nostrils contain up to 300 million scent sensors, but humans only have 6 million. That is, their sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than ours.

Dogs also have a particular organ specialized to smell processing called Jacobson’s organ, sometimes known as the vomeronasal organ. The organ, which is placed above the roof of the mouth, is vital in how a dog interprets smell. It is linked to the scent-specific section of the dog’s brain, which is around 40 times larger than the human brain. This is why dogs are trained to detect drugs, bombs, cancer, insulin levels, COVID-19, bed bugs, and other threats.

What Makes Dogs Sniff Your Crotch?
But how does this relate to a dog’s desire to sniff a human’s crotch? It all comes down to sweat glands, or apocrine glands as they are known in the medical world. These glands secrete pheromones, which carry information such as age, sex, mood, and whether or not an animal is able to mate. Apocrine glands are present throughout the body of dogs, but the highest concentration is found in the genitals and anus (this is why dogs smell other dogs’ buttocks).

Siberian Husky sniffing a Pug in a sweater outdoors in the snow.

When looking for a mate, intact male dogs are considered to be extremely keen sniffers because they want to know if a female dog is ovulating or pregnant. Apocrine glands are found in most mammals, including humans. These glands are prevalent in the armpits and genitals of humans. Because a dog can often only reach a human’s genitals, they go there to get information. Scenthounds, such as Bloodhounds, Basset Hounds, and Beagles, have a more sensitive sense of smell and are more inclined to sniff at crotches.

What Can a Dog Tell You By Smelling Your Crotch?
Some human crotches are more likely to pique a dog’s interest. If you’ve just had sexual intercourse, given birth, or are menstruating, dogs may sniff at your crotch. These persons emit a higher degree of pheromones.

Even if a dog is familiar with their owner, if that owner is menstruating or has recently given birth, they emit a different odor. The dog will be curious as to why. This could also explain why dogs frequently steal underwear, as the undergarment carries an owner’s fragrance.

Because dogs can smell pheromones, they may be able to detect when a woman is ovulating. Stanley Coren, PhD., DSc., FRSC, talks in his book “How Dogs Think,” about how Australian Shepherds were trained to pick out cows that had just ovulated. This procedure, which is said to be easier than previous methods of predicting ovulation in livestock, has assisted ranchers in breeding cows within their limited breeding window. While it has yet to be established that dogs can detect ovulation in humans, they can smell changes in their owners. The capacity of a dog to detect ovulation may also include the ability to identify ovarian cancer.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Sniffing Your Crotch
While a dog’s scent-driven curiosity is about acquiring information and greeting visitors, you and any visitors may wish to avoid the unpleasant scenario.

French Bulldog puppy sitting on the floor at home alone.

If your dog is a crotch sniffer, make sure that when a visitor enters the house, they offer your dog their hand or fist to sniff first. This diverts the dog’s attention away from the crotch. The dog can still gather information on the new human by making a fist without getting too close and personal. You can also teach your dog to sit when someone enters the house for the first time.

Utilize Your Dog’s Scent Sense
You may also use your dog’s nose to create enjoyable activities for both you and your companion. The AKC Scent Work is a sport that simulates the task of working detection dogs to discover a smell and transmit its location to the handler. Any dog, purebred or mixed breed, is welcome to participate.

Training can be done at home or in the community because the searches imitate real-life settings. Check out local clubs as well, and many dog training facilities may provide classes or instruction.

Looking for a fun way to entertain your dog? Give your dog a sniff or snuffle mat. Finding sweets buried in these toys is a lot of fun and brain activity.

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