Dogs use their nose to communicate and to understand the world around them. According to an article in Psychology Today, about 5 percent of the human brain is dedicated to the processing of information that has to do with smells. In dogs, the percentage is 33. Smelling other dogs is a great way to get information -- except that male dogs smelling other dogs can result in a world of trouble. If your doggie can't keep his nose from going into overdrive every time other male dogs approach, it might be time to intervene.
Tip #1 - Decide when it's OK to let dogs smell each other and when it's not. You can't completely eliminate the need to smell a newcomer, but you can keep it under control -- especially when the meeting is between two male dogs. If both dogs are on a leash, you can allow them to get closer together so they can smell each other -- as long as you're sure you can pull back at the first sign of growling or aggression.
Tip #2 - Neuter your dog. While this might not completely stop the sniffing -- dogs smell each other to get information and this need doesn't go away -- it will diminish it. Intact males smell each other to determine information, especially pertaining to their social role and ranking in the pack. This is more important when hormones are at play, so having your dog neutered could help diminish these feelings considerably.
Tip #3 - Provide a distraction. Let the dogs smell each other the first time they meet, and only for a short time. If the behavior becomes a bit obsessive, be ready for it. Bring some toys, a bone or a couple of chew sticks. Then call the dogs apart -- you don't want to start a fight over a treat -- and then get them to enjoy play time or chew time.
By Tammy Dray
Psychology Today: Why Do Dogs Sniff Each Other?
Best Paw Forward Dog Education: Dog Mounting, Humping, Offensive Sniffing
Perfect Puppy Care: Why Do Dogs Sniff Everyone?
Scientific American: Sick People Smell Bad: Why Dogs Sniff Dogs, Humans Sniff Humans, and Dogs Sometimes Sniff Humans
About the Author
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.