Why Do Dogs Smell Your Crotch? A Complete Guide!

why do dogs smell your crotch

What’s more embarrassing? Introducing your pup to a friend and your dog making a beeline for their crotch or someone else’s dog doing it to you? Whichever, it’s pretty uncomfortable. But it’s not actually that uncommon. In fact, it’s pretty natural for dogs to do this behavior without thinking twice about it.

So why do dogs smell your crotch? And more importantly, how can you stop them? Here’s everything you need to know about pups and this odd behavior (which actually isn’t odd to them at all)!

Why Do Dogs Sniff Human Crotches?

Dogs have no idea about human boundaries. That’s why they don’t mind pooping in front of you, are happy to lick themselves (and others), and love sniffing another dog’s rear end. It doesn’t make much sense to us but it does to them.

Pups sniff human crotches because it’s a great way for them to find out more about us. That’s thanks to the sweat glands we have down there called apocrine glands. It might be strange to think about, but when a dog sniffs your crotch, it can find out your mood, sex, age, and if a mammal is in its mating years. That’s all thanks to the pheromones released by the apocrine glands.

What’s So Special About a Dog’s Nose?

A dog’s sense of smell is amazing. They can have up to 50 times more scent sensors in their nose than humans do! They also have a special organ called the Jacobson’s organ which helps them to interpret and read more into smells. They can even detect undetectable smells such as pheromones. In case you’re interested, that’s also the reason why dogs lick our feet!

Do Dogs Have Apocrine Glands?

Yes! Dogs have these glands all over their bodies. Most of them, however, are in their genitals and butts which is why dogs smell each other’s butts too. When they do this, they’re finding out a huge amount of information about the other dog including where they’ve been, if they’re ready for sexual intercourse, whether they’ve recently given birth, age, and much more!

dogs smelling each other

Do All Dogs Sniff Crotches?

It’s common for many dogs to sniff crotches as it’s a great way for them to learn more about the new and exciting humans they’re being introduced to. Some breeds, however, such as scent hounds like the Beagle, Beagle Dachshund mix, and the Puggle are more likely to be attracted to the smell of pheromones and might do it more often.

Is Crotch Sniffing Ever Not Normal Behavior?

It might be awkward but smelling someone’s crotch is usually normal and natural behavior for your pooch. But it can sometimes get a little too much. So when is it not normal behavior?

Excessive crotch sniffing might be the result of learned behavior. This can usually happen when pups get attention from doing it. Whether it’s a laugh and a pat on the head or a scolding, dogs might associate this behavior with a particularly big reaction from you. Which means lots of attention.

If you don’t want your puppy to learn this behavior, try not to react to it from the beginning. They’ll soon get bored and won’t think it’s something you like or dislike or pay any attention to!

Dogs smelling crotches excessively can also be a sign of boredom or stress. This could particularly be the case with separation anxiety. Getting your pooch a puzzle toy could help to keep them entertained. If you’re worried, contact your vet or a dog behaviorist.

How To Stop Your Dog Sniffing People’s Crotches

There are a couple of ways you can deter your pup from doing this kind of behavior. Here are some of the best ones.

Keep Them Entertained

Dogs love smelling things. It can lead pups to do all kinds of odd things like eating cat poop and rolling in the stinkiest thing in the park. Really. It’s part of their natural instincts and is a big way they communicate. Your dog learns to smell their environment from a young age.

So you don’t really want to stop sniffing. You just want to direct it to the right places.

Scent work classes can be a great way to entertain and train your pup. They nurture their natural instincts and train them to smell all types of different things. In some cases, pups have even been known to sniff out ovarian cancer and other illnesses!

Make Sure They Have Other Things to Smell

Dogs are going to go for your crotch if it’s the most exciting thing in the room. An interactive snuffle mat is a great way for them to use their noses to sniff out something exciting. It keeps them engaged and when your dog smells something exciting they also get rewarded (usually with their favorite hidden treat).


As we mentioned, not attracting this kind of behavior with a big reaction will help. But you can also train your pup to go for people’s hands rather than their crotch. Hold a healthy treat in your palm, such as a small piece of pineapple, cucumber, or kiwi, and reward your pooch when they touch your palm with their nose.

Repeat this until they start to go for your hand rather than your crotch. Stop doing it with a treat and reward them with lots of praise and affection instead.

dog sniffing

Final Thoughts – Why Do Dogs Smell Your Crotch And Should You Be Worried?

Pups sniff crotches and other dogs because they can get so much information about the person or animal thanks to the pheromones released by the apocrine glands. They’re much better at smelling than us and it’s a kind of way of communication for them.

It is awkward though, so we understand if you want to minimize this behavior. Not reacting to it and making sure they’re entertained with toys and mats will help. You can stuff toys with treats which, even to a dog, will smell better than your crotch!