Why Do Dogs Sniff the Crotch? The Nose ‘Knows’

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Author: Jeanette Hampton

Dogs have many peculiar habits and sniffing crotch is one of them. But why do dogs sniff the crotch?

It may be strange or embarrassing to humans but in the world dogs sniffing crotch is common! The scent is their primary sense, they don’t see the world they sniff it!🐶

So, by sniffing crotches they are getting to know others, isn’t that amazing? let’s understand this behaviour in more detail.

Why Do Dogs Sniff the Crotch

Why Do Dogs Sniff the Crotch?

To dogs, sniffing crotch is like reading someone’s entire biography just from one sniff! The sex, health status, diet, identity and even emotional state of the other dog can be detected through this odour.

According to the experts at Purina, “Dogs have an incredibly powerful sense of smell, with estimates ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 times better than humans. Dogs can distinguish smells somewhere between 1,000 to 10,000 times better than humans.”

dog smelling a female

It may seem strange to us but they are just greeting us in their way, let’s look at the reasons:

Exploring Their World

Dogs experience the world through their noses. When they sniff a crotch, they are getting a big whiff of a unique scent.

Each person has their own special smell, and dogs are curious about it. 🧠

They’re like little detectives, trying to figure out who you are and where you’ve been. Dogs sniff to see if the other has marked territory with urine. This signals if they “own” an area.


Dogs communicate with each other through scents. When they sniff a crotch, they can detect things like your mood and health. They can even tell if you’re nervous, happy, or unwell. It’s like they’re having a secret conversation with their nose.

A dog’s bottom scent lets others know how they’re feeling: happy, anxious, afraid, etc. It’s like reading their emotions.

dog smelling a male

Getting to Know You

Your crotch is an interesting spot for a dog because it’s full of sweat glands and pheromones (chemical signals). 📶

This area gives a dog a lot of information about you. They might be trying to find out if you’re a friend or a stranger[1].

A dog's behind contains unique scent glands that release pheromones. By sniffing there, they can identify who the other dog is.🐕‍🦺🐩 It's like recognizing someone by their face.

Social Signals

Dogs live in a world with a social pecking order. Sniffing each other’s private parts is a way for them to understand who’s in charge and who’s part of their group.

When they do it to humans, it’s not about dominance, but more like checking if you’re part of their “pack.”

Medical Insights

In some cases, dogs can smell changes in our body chemistry. This means they might detect if you're unwell or pregnant[2].🤰 It's not that they understand the details, but they sense that something is different. A dog can smell illness or if a female is in heat. 🔥
dog trying to smell a female crotch

Their nose gives them lots of information about the other’s health status. Next time you see dogs greeting this way, you’ll understand why!

Can You Stop Dogs From Sniffing the Crotch?

It’s not uncommon for dogs to be naturally curious and sniff around, including people’s private areas. While it’s a normal dog behaviour, there are ways to gently guide them towards more appropriate sniffing spots. Let’s explore how to do that:

1. Training and Positive Reinforcement

Training your dog is the key to shaping their behaviour. When you notice your dog trying to sniff someone’s crotch, use positive reinforcement. ✅

This means giving them a treat or lots of praise when they sniff elsewhere, like a hand or a toy. This helps them learn what’s acceptable and what’s not.

2. Use Commands

Teaching your dog simple commands like “leave it” or “stop“🚫can be very effective. When your dog starts to sniff they shouldn’t use the command to redirect their attention. Make sure to reward them when they follow your instructions.

3. Distract and Redirect

Dogs are easily distracted, so if you see them going for a crotch sniff, quickly offer them a toy or a treat. This can take their mind off it and redirect their curiosity to something more appropriate.

Dogs Sniff the Crotch

4. Socialization

Socialize your dog with different people and dogs from a young age.

This can help them become more familiar with different scents and reduce their desire to sniff private areas. Socialized dogs often become more polite in their interactions.

5. Spaying and Neutering

If your dog’s crotch sniffing is due to sexual curiosity, spaying or neutering can help reduce this behaviour, as it lowers📉 their hormone levels. Consult with your vet for advice on this.

6. Make Your Dog Sniff Somewhere Else

It’s natural dog behaviour, so you can’t fully prevent it. But you can redirect your dog’s sniffer (Fortunately!). When greeting, don’t let the dogs freely interact. Keep them at a distance on leashes first.

  • Get your dog’s attention with a treat or toy when they go to sniff the other dog’s private parts. Praise them when they look at you instead.
  • Use a command like “Leave it” when they try to sniff the other dog’s rear. Reward them for obeying. If they do start sniffing there, gently guide them away using their collar🐕‍🦺 and leash.
  • Ask them to sit and stay focused on you during greetings. This keeps their nose from wandering below.
female redirected a dog to smell a hand
  • Sniffing is OK, just not excessively at the other dog’s crotch. Let them greet by sniffing chest and shoulders instead.
  • Dogs take their cues from us, so remain calm. If you tense up, they will too and be more excited to sniff.

Be patient and keep redirecting! With time, they’ll learn more suitable sniffing when meeting other dogs.

Scientific Reasons Behind Dog Sniffing the Crotch

The main scientific reason behind your dog sniffing the crotch is the special organ vomeronasal in the dog’s nose. This organ works by processing the scents present in the environment.

This vomeronasal organ is directly connected to the dog’s brain. Along with other functions, the brain is also responsible for the social and sexual behaviour in dogs. When the dog sniffs the crotch the vomeronasal activates and sends a signal to the brain.

This helps the dog to identify potential mates, friends and even enemies. Dog sniffing the crotch is normal and you may need not to worry about the same.


❔Can Dogs Sense When You’re Sad?

Evidence shows that some dogs are clever enough to tell if their owner or even a stranger is sad, happy, stressed, pregnant or ill. Research shows some dogs can sense your mood and health condition.

❔Can Dogs Tell if a Woman Is Pregnant?

When a person is pregnant, the hormones in their body are likely to alter their scent somehow. So, can dogs sense pregnancy? Because of their keen sense of smell, it’s believed by many that a dog can detect a change in a pregnant person even before they do — but it’s mostly conjecture.

❔Why Do Dogs Sniff the Crotch?

Dogs sniff other dogs’ rear ends and human crotches because sweat glands release pheromones and scents that give canines information. No one knows what information is communicated through pheromones, but they may convey an individual’s sex, age, emotions, and health.

❔Is It Normal for Dogs to Smell Your Private Parts?

It turns out that when dogs do this, they are just using their keenest sense, smell, to gather as much information as possible about their new friend. A dog’s superpower-level sense of smell explains why it is normal for dogs to want an extra-close smell of our nether regions.


In conclusion “Why do dogs sniff the crotch?” Sniffing is a common dog behaviour, by this, they are just trying to learn about the person. They use it as a communication method and so much more, as dogs rely on their sense of smell a lot.🐶

So the next time you catch your dog nose-deep in another dog’s rear, don’t be offended. They’re just learning everything there is to know about their new friend. And give that nosy sniffer some sniffing space!


  1. Staff, S. A. H. (2018, March 20). An embarrassing truth: Why do dogs sniff crotches? Schertz Animal Hospital.
  2. McAndrews, M. B. (2023, September 22). Why does my dog love sniffing my crotch? American Kennel Club.
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Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

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