Why Do Dogs Smell Your Crotch? (And How to Get Them to Stop)

man in blue shirt hugging black and white short coated dog

If you’ve ever had to defend your groins from a dog that sniffs your crotch and wondered Why do dogs inspect your crotch? It’s embarrassing and awkward. And what happens when your guests arrive and your dog’s gun-like nose is focused on the bums of everyone? It’s awkward. We talked to Alison Gerken, DVM, an animal veterinarian who manages behavior disorders in dogs with San Francisco SPCA. San Francisco SPCA What does it mean when a dog snatches your bum and how to stop it?

Why do dogs sniff human Crotches as well as Bums?

The dogs love smells. They can smell everything from clothing to garbage to people’s crotches. They possess a scent sense that’s between 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than human beings. The smell is their main sense and they use it to locate food, and companions and to learn more about their surroundings. It’s so precise, scientists say that canines are able to detect the scent of a teaspoon of sugar in one million gallons of water (two Olympic pools worth!). This is why law enforcement agencies use canines to sniff out drugs as well as bombs and criminals who are fugitives.

In addition to the noses of dogs, they possess an additional organ that aids detect scents. This organ is called the organ of vomiting. It’s situated between the nose and mouth’s roof. It is able to detect the body’s odors and pheromones which are invisible chemical compounds that animals release to aid in communicating with each other.

“Dogs look at the rears of other dogs and human crotches due to sweat glands release scents and pheromones that provide dogs with details,” Gerken says. “No one is certain what information is transmitted through Pheromones. However, they could be able to convey a person’s sex and age, as well as emotions and even health.”

Does it make sense to have normal dog behavior?

brown and white long coated small dog lying on green grass

It’s normal for dogs to sniff their crotches–it’s an effective method of communication as well as information gathering. In the dog world sniffing is the principal method dogs learn about their environment as well as the animals and people within it. Consider it this way A common greeting between people is “Hi How do you feel?” If it’s a dog, a small sniff of an animal’s hindquarters could suffice to let you know that Fido may be feeling a little off, as he munched down his parent’s food while she wasn’t watching the other night.

RELATED: How Can Dogs Communicate With One Another? Words are louder than actions

If you notice a crotch-sniffing sign, it’s Flag

Although crotch-sniffing is an acceptable canine behavior, it could be an issue if it’s over the top, Gerken says. The dog might have learned that this behavior attracts attention from others who are either the result of positive reinforcement (getting praise or a pet) or something else (getting punished). This is the reason why punishing your pet often gets the desired results.

“An excessive desire to smell individuals or their surroundings could be an indication of frustration, stress, or boredom too,” Gerken says. “Especially when dogs are involved in unintentional interaction with other people, for example, being a nuisance to or chewing on people. If this is the case with your pet, speak to your veterinarian about the behavior problems you’re experiencing.”

Can You Teach Your Dog to Not Sniff the Crotches of your guests?

There are a variety of ways to stop your dog from sniffing at your guest pet’s crotches (thank goodness! ).


The most popular method of training is to train dogs to concentrate on the hand’s palm instead of the bum or crotch. Dogs still can smell interesting scents from the palm of a hand. To accomplish this, according to Gerken take these steps:

  1. Apply a sweet treat that smells delicious onto the palms of your hands.
  2. Hand out your hands to your pet. When your dog’s hand touches yours and it is a good sign, you can respond with “yes!” and praise the dog by praising them or dropping treats from your other hand.
  3. Once your dog is able to rub their noses against the palm for the treat, stop smearing the food onto the palm and then say “touch” before handing your palm out.
  4. Repeat the exercises until your dog will automatically put his paws on your palm every time it is said “touch.”


When your puppy is working on hand-targeting there are some strategies you can apply to prevent the crotch-sniffing embarrassing moment. The first is to keep your dog on a lead from any guests that come in until they’ve settled into your house. You can also keep your dog when they approach by throwing treats on the floor.

Allow Your Dog to sniff a different place

Snuffling around can be a stimulating activity for puppies. And, according to Gerken the process of exploring their environment by scent is a vital need for dogs. Even if you’d like your pet to lie off his crotches, you can indulge your dog’s need to explore the world in other ways.

“Let your pet be a bit more active on walks. It is also possible to take classes in scent work at local dog-training establishments,” Gerken says. “Or attempt simple training for noses from home with a selection of food items in the outside or inside the empty containers and paper towel rolls as well as empty food containers.” If you offer your dog many other opportunities to sniff and opportunities to sniff, it could help your dog not stick his nose into places where it doesn’t need to be.

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