Animals, in general, are famous for being equipped with a better sense of smell, so you might wonder why dogs usually like to greet other canines by sniffing their bottoms. And especially why, from all the available body parts, do they choose the bottom?
The anal glands
If we want to analyze this behavior, it is relevant to know that dogs possess two anal glands in their anus, which generate a sharp and characteristic smell, unique to each dog.
Fortunately, humans cannot sense the odor of our pup’s anal glands, but, having such acute sense of smell, other dogs detect it and collect a lot of information.
Greetings and exchange of information
Even if you are a dog owner or not, chances are you have noticed the ritual that takes place when two canines meet. They start moving around each other to catch the other’s smell, and then they sniff the back end of the other dog. This way, they collect information about each other. And this happens every time, even if they are familiar with one another or not.
The information collected by sniffing another dog’s behind consists of what the “sniffee’s” sex is, what he or she has eaten, the health condition, and even his or her friendliness or disposition.
Besides an astounding sense of smell, hounds have a fabulous scent memory. They can remember and distinguish the odor of another dog, even if they have not met over long periods.
Another reason behind the butt-sniffing is so that the pair can determine who is going to be the dominant dog. The fascinating thing about this ritual is that once this is settled, it is going to remain the same throughout their relationship and future encounters.
The anal glands offer a wide array of information about your dog. So, for example, if your Yorkshire has eaten dog food for pitbulls, his Bichon friend will know it! However ridiculous that might sound, dogs are capable of distinguishing such scents and will be able to tell at least what the one being sniffed had for dinner recently.
Leaving the joke aside, sometimes a dog restricts the quantity of information he or she allows a stranger to collect. This is easy to notice: when sniffed, the dog is maintaining his or her tail clamped down securely, and even tries to retreat from the other dog. This happens especially when the one being sniffed is not the dominant of the two.
Sniffing another dog’s behind might seem a primal thing, and one might consider there is no etiquette involved in this. Actually, there are many social ideas and behaviors associated with this process. There are dogs which are more excited sniffers than others. On the other hand, there are others more hesitant or uncertain, and will not accept another hound to get up close and personal with them.
This process, like so many others, takes time to master for puppies and young canines. However, they learn their lessons by trying and failing. This is why it is essential to socialize puppies appropriately with other dogs when they are young and more likely to be pardoned for any rookie slips or violations in etiquette.