Well, it’s really simple, once you root around a bit...
One - If you start by observing how two dogs (who have not been taught not to be dogs!) greet each other...they do so with their noses. They sniff each others rear ends.
Two - A dog’s noise is its most powerful sense - more so than their hearing, and sight. Dogs have +/- 300 hundred million olfactory senses in their nose whereas we humans have a paltry 3 million olfactory sensors.
Three - In addition to their heightened sense of smell, dogs have anal sacs which emit scent (under their tail).
So having read the above, you can start to understand why dogs 'sniff a person's butt and/or crotch' right!
A dog uses its sense of smell to understand who you are! When a dog sniffs it receives a plethora of information...it is a feast for their senses, for their mind. It is a normal and natural thing for a dog. Scent to a dog is like another type of sight layered with additional information. Each dog, each person has their own unique scent - kind of like a finger print (the equivalent for a dog is a nose print).
As long as the sniff is not too intrusive - i.e. a gentle sniff - rather than prodding you with his nose there is nothing wrong with allowing a dog to greet you like this. If the dog prods you - don't be angry just turn a little to your side and lean or move a little into the dogs space (be calm) and the dog will normally back-off. Don't withdraw as when you do so, you yield your space to the dog - that is giving it permission to take over your space.
I always try to put things in terms of human understanding so it is easier to grasp the impact of what we do to our dogs...
If you are fearful, nervous or angry you are confusing the situation for the dog - telling it that what should be normal and natural is not. This can really upset and even traumatize the dog, it can also make the dog reactive.
Look at it this way, what if you reached up to give a handshake to a person you just met and they recoiled in horror or anger - you would be shocked and confused too!
To help you understand a little more on the subject you can read these two short articles...
If you require additional support and guidance I would be pleased to assist you via my In-Person or On-Line Services…
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Please note - this article is for information purposes and is not a substitute for an in-person Session with me. When working with dogs I use many techniques - it is important to note that this article may touch on one or several techniques but not all. I select the technique that I use for a particular dog based on my observations of the dog and an intuitive, instinctive assessment of that dog's and its human's individual requirements. For example when I am working with a dog that is hyper sensitive and very physically reactive I will not use voice or touch. I use a lot of therapeutic touch on some dogs, others require the use of herding techniques and so on. Each and every technique must be combined with:
- an understanding of the real intelligence, sensitivity and capability of dogs;
- an understanding of how to read a dog's face and a dog's overall body language;
- an understanding of the full spectrum of ways that humans communicate and dogs communicate;
- understanding and recognition of the individual that is each dog - no two dogs are the same...taking a 'cookie cutter' approach to techniques is not the way to work with a dog;
- a complete recognition and understanding of all the elements that feed a behaviour and create an issue:
- the vast majority of people can only identify one or two elements...which vastly inhibits the ability to resolve behavior issues;
- behaviours do not exist in isolation - there are always many elements that feed a single behaviour, there all always multiple behaviours that create a behavioral issue;
- self-restraint and discipline on the part of the human who is directing the dog;
- sensitivity, awareness, intuition, instinct and timing on the part of the human who is directing the dog;
- to understand, connect with and adapt quickly and effectively to a dog's learning requirements you must be able to employ the same tools a dog uses - acute sensitivity, awareness, instinct, intuition and timing;
- kindness, endurance, consideration, patience, persistence, perspective, the ability and know how to let the past go, the ability to set realistic expectations at any one point in time;
- the creation of structure, rules, boundaries and limitations for each situation at the macro and micro level;
- understanding of all the elements that make up an instruction and direction to a dog...there are multiple steps involved in an instruction - not just one!
- absolute honesty - if you cannot be honest with yourself you will not be able to communicate clearly with a dog.
These are just some of the techniques that I teach my clients - it is a holistic, all-encompassing approach. If you are missing any one element of the above mentioned your success rate will be affected to one degree or another in implementing the techniques offered in the article presented above.