Why Do Dogs Sniff Under Each Other’s Tails?


What a strange ritual? Surely each of us has seen many dogs on the street, sniffing under each other’s tail. And how can you explain this slightly embarrassing action of your smaller brothers? What a strange ritual? What do they want to understand by this and why do they do it?

Physiology of smell and the effect of glands on health

From a physiological point of view, everything is pretty simple. Dogs are designed in such a way that the predominant sense they have over all others is the sense of smell. And the physiology is such that the brain sends a signal, giving the command to collect as much information as possible in a short time.

Seeing another dog, the first place where our “little brother” goes to collect information is down the drain. This is where the whole secret is revealed. The dog has paraanal glands under the tail. They accumulate a secret with a whole set of odors. This “scent” will most quickly tell the dog all the information by which it is possible to understand the age, sex, hormonal state and even the state of health of the “tailed friend”.

The dog’s brain is designed in such a way that all the smells that it smells every day are deposited for life and pop up in memory as soon as they are repeated. Therefore, a dog may not visually recognize another, but when sniffing, it will definitely remember it.

Dog Sniff Under Each Other

The condition of the glands is also important for health and behavior. In a normal state, they should be cleared of secretions on their own, during bowel movements. Usually, wild packs and dogs living on the street do not have problems.

There are practically no problems with dogs that eat a balanced and high-quality food. However, some people still have problems. Namely – stagnation of a secret in the paraanal glands. In this case, the dog feels discomfort, itching, and in advanced cases, pain. You can notice that something is wrong with her immediately. She will be restless, will often lick, bite the base of the tail, “ride” on the bottom. That’s when you need to take care of cleaning the glands. The procedure is simple, but the first time it is best to consult with your veterinarian and cleanse.

As practice shows, a dog that has already been cleansed of the glands needs this procedure regularly. Without this, the dog will be restless and irritable. Sniffing such a dog will do nothing, but only disturb or anger it.

If the dog is healthy, it is satisfied with the whole set of smells and does not feel a threat, then it begins to wag its tail happily and often, while spreading the smell even more strongly and over a greater distance. If the dog has sensed a more dominant scent, it instinctively clamps its tail under itself, preventing the smell from spreading, thereby saying “I do not want to continue communicating with you.” When two aggressive individuals meet, we can also observe the waving of the tail, only with a wide amplitude, which also releases a secret, and by this smell the dogs can decide who is more important without resorting to a fight.

In the same way, our pets behave towards us humans. You may have seen the dog repeatedly wag its tail happily at its owner, or fearfully tucking its tail when meeting a suspicious stranger. Instinctively, they spread their smell at the sight of other people and animals. If the glands are healthy, a person will not recognize this smell.

Dog Sniff Under Each Other

How important is socialization

Sniffing is a kind of doggy greeting etiquette. When dogs sniff, they exchange information. As a result, based on this information, everyone decides for himself what behavior to choose in order to avoid aggression or find a new friend.

It is very difficult for dogs that grew up exclusively in the human environment and never communicated (or rarely communicated) with other representatives of their species, it is very difficult to communicate with each other.

In most cases, they rely on the organs of sight and do not attach importance to sniffing. For example, a puppy might see a small adult dog and try to play without sniffing. Or, an adult dog may be very self-confident in relation to a stronger individual. Both in the first and in the second case, such behavior will be regarded as disrespect from the other dog and can lead to aggression.

This is why owners need to take their puppies to dog playgrounds and socialize as early as possible with their peers. At the same time, it is important to choose non-aggressive individuals for the first acquaintances. Without proper socialization, an adult dog will behave according to its character. The cowardly will be squeezed, and will avoid sniffing at the meeting, thereby annoying the one who approached to meet. This is fraught with aggression both from the fearful side (defensive aggression) and from the other side, which will be guided only by visual data and can interpret them in its own way.

Strong, dominant individuals develop aggression without socialization. At the same time, having met a stronger individual, such a dog may suffer. The owners of such dogs, in most cases, walk separately from others.

Dog Sniff Under Each Other


Do you want to walk in a noisy, fun company? Try to keep your pet cultured towards other dogs, develop it from puppyhood and socialize. It is better to spend five minutes and give the dogs a sniff than to try to take away your furry friend, provoking aggression and not being able to communicate with relatives.