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Butt, butt, butt!

A Woman Letting the Dogs Socialize

It probably goes without saying that taking your pup out for a walk is good for her and potentially a great way to socialise her with the other little butts... uh... mutts in your area. Yep, socialising - the holy grail of dog behavioural development, the words of advice offered by every doggy guru on the planet... just about.

Actually, it's true. Helping her develop her social skills is pretty important, not just for her own happiness around other dogs but indeed for your happiness as a family - it can be very difficult to have a pup you love who just cannot cope well with the presence of other animals or even other people. So try to put her in positive social situations regularly, and perhaps take a look at this to gain some insight on doing that (

However, there can come a time when your lovely little pup gets a little TOO intimate with her friends. You know what we're talking about, don't ya! All hail the butt-sniff! And what do you do when THAT happens? Well, you turn crimson, of course, and stealthfully start tugging at her leash to ease her from the scene. Seriously, what is it that smells so good about other dog-butt?!

Well, you already know how amazing a dog's nose is. Their strongest sense is their smell and they have the ability to detect minute levels of scent which are completely undetectable by us comparatively untalented humans. In fact, the part of a dog's brain that analyses smell is 40 times larger than that of a human's brain, which certainly goes some distance in explaining why dogs are the experts in search and rescue missions, as well as drug and contraband detection. Generally, humans have about 5 million scent receptors compared to the huge 125 million of the average dog - indeed, the very best sniffer of all, the Bloodhound, has around 300 million scent receptors packed into their not-so-little noses! And as an aside, did you know that the nose of each dog is believed to be completely unique? Just as a fingerprint is to a human, so is the nose of the dog. So much so that some companies and dog institutions are starting to register nose prints to help confirm ownership or help in identifying lost or stolen dogs! You gotta admit that's pretty cool! (And cute!)

So, now that you know just how good a dog's nose is, let's get back to the butt of the conversation (ah-hum) and why it is that dogs just can't get enough of each other's rear-ends. If a dog could handshake like humans, then they just might do that. But they don't have, do they. And so they don't, do they. And this leaves them with the obviously superior, good ol' dog butt sniffing as a way to introduce themselves. "Hey pretty lady, how you doin'? My name's Teddy, I'm 4 years old, like running in the park and have a lovely habit of chewing shoes." (Pretty sure that's exactly how the conversation goes, right?!)

Anal glands are located in a dog's rectum and these glands can produce some pretty potent (and delicious?) smells... buuuutt (he-he), these smells aren't just for the perfume factory. In fact, the anal glands can tell another dog all sorts of stuff, including what sex another dog is, when it was last in heat, its age and of course what was in their last meal (hmmm... chicken?).  Butt sniffing can also calm a dog and is the first step in making friends (thank goodness humans have opposable thumbs and can handshake)or checking up on another dog whom they may know or live with. Dogs especially like to investigate when another dog has been outside, which brings a whole other level to the idea of getting a breath of fresh air!

So don't be shy when your little princess starts sniffing the butts of others. Just remember, it's a dog's world!

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