Two strange dogs meet. In seconds they are sniffing each other’s hind ends.
While this behavior may cause us humans to flinch, it is perfectly normal for canines. Butt sniffing is a way of learning a lot about the other dog in a very short period of time.
The aroma emitted from a dog’s hind end tells other dogs all they need to know. The main reason for this is that dogs have two anal glands that are located in the rectum. These glands give off a strong scent that holds the key to vital information about them. Dogs can tell the sex of another. They can discern whether or not a female is in heat. They can detect stress, anger and fear. Butt sniffing even yields environmental information about where the dog has been and what it had consumed for its last meal.
The butt sniffing routine works for dogs because they have a heightened sense of smell. Canine noses are thousands of times more sensitive than are humans’ noses so they are able to pick up details that we would never detect.
Experts believe that at least 33 percent of a dog’s brain is devoted to processing olfactory information. We humans can claim only five percent of that ability, so we know that dogs are able to glean a lot of information from one small sniff.
Butt sniffing is a lot like handshaking among humans. It can be a social form of greeting. It is a way of checking out the other being.
We human beings rely on eye contact for information about another person. Eye contact among dogs can lead to problems because prolonged eye contact among dogs is perceived as a threat or a challenge.
Columbia University researchers have come up with another theory on canine butt sniffing. Scientists now believe that dogs have a butt sniffing brain receptor known as BS3.
During research, scientists learned that dogs whose BS3 brain receptors were activated were much less likely to sniff butts than those dogs whose BS3 receptors were not activated.
The research could lead to the development of medications that would be able to affect the brain receptors. Thus, dogs who take butt sniffing too far could have their desires controlled, reducing the risk of dog fights due to the fact that some dogs are less receptive to aggressive butt sniffing than others.
It is best to let your dog’s nose work for him or her. Humans generally should not interfere with the butt sniffing greeting procedure. Allow the dogs to act naturally. Human intervention often upsets the process, causing dogs to become stressed. Stand back. The dogs usually have it under control.
Some dogs will try the butt sniffing routine with humans. While it can be annoying behavior, it is their way of trying to learn all they can about those they are greeting. It is their way of trying to befriend you.