Some sensitive dog owners become very embarrassed when their dog insists, when meeting another dog, on shoving its nose as far under the tail of the newly met dog as it possibly can as soon as the face-sniffing greeting is over.

“I’m sorry that my dog is so rude.” I’ve heard some people say.

Rude? Anything but (no pun intended). This is how dogs learn about each other.

The anal glands, one either side of the anus, secrete a combination of odours that are unique to each dog and, as dogs have excellent scent memory, they will always recognise a dog they have met even once.

The scent includes information about maturity, sex, diet and whether or not a bitch has been spayed. The receptiveness of another dog to being sniffed also provides your dog with important information about how friendly they are.

A more dominant dog will make the decision when the sniffing session is over, so there is additional value in that social order is quickly and easily established.

There will still be checking to be done on subsequent meetings, as things change over time and the scent will change as a result, so I’m afraid you’re just going to have to get used to the process.

Puppies can sometimes be a little over-enthusiastic about sniffing, but the lesson of when they must stop is best taught to them by older dogs, which you’ll find are usually quite tolerant of puppy inquisitiveness.

Bottom-sniffing, I’m sorry to have to tell you, is such an important part of dog socialisation that you’re just going to have to grin and bear it if you want your dog to learn about the world.

PS – If you think your dog spends an inordinate amount of time licking his own bottom he may have a problem with his own anal glands. Sometimes they can become infected, inflamed and blocked.


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