Why Does My Dog Sniff My Crotch?

Dogs not only like to butt sniff other dogs, but also crotch sniff their humans. Often it can be quite embarrassing and annoying (for the humans).

It’s about gathering information and saying hello. We have sweat glands, apocrine glands to be precise, which release pheromones that convey all different types of information (eg. age, sex, mood, health). These glands are heavily concentrated in the armpits and genitals. Well… since they can’t reach the armpits, so crotch it is…

I’ve got a serial crotch sniffer (aka Bowie) and he sniffs me a lot, but not my husband. I always say that Bowie finds me more attractive and interesting, or maybe he’s just trying to figure out what mood I’m in…

Joking aside, some human crotches are more likely to attract a dog’s curious nose – eg. those who just had sexual intercourse, those who are ovulating/menstruating, and those who have recently given birth. Males/Females aside, dogs are certainly interested in the potpourri of odours emanating from this area.

Not all people like to be sniffed in that area, esp. if you have a persistent crotch sniffer. There’s no need to punish the dog though, it’s their natural behaviour, and what we want to do is NOT to eliminate the behaviour but redirect it.

Here are some suggestions:

  • If you see your dog makes a beeline to (say) your guest X area, call your dog, or distract and lure them with a squeaky toy/treat
  • Basic commands such as Sit, Drop or Stay when greeting guests
  • Teach your dog a hand-nose target training so that you can redirect them to another activity
  • Train your dog to go to their bed/crate/mat when the greeting’s a bit too exuberant or intrusive
  • For a persistent crotch sniffer, tell your guests to turn around the moment the dog sniffs inappropriately, and then turn back again and offer their hand to sniff instead. When they do, praise and reward your dog. You can do this exercise to yourself too if you don’t fancy being crotch-sniffed by your dog.

There you go, our dogs don’t mean to be rude when they stick their noses into human groins (much to our own embarrassment). They’re not perverts, they’re just detectives…