Why do dogs sniff your crotch and private areas?

It seems almost a given that as soon as you meet a new doggo, it makes a b-line for the most private areas of your body, like a bee to honey. Why might this be, though, why do dogs like to smell your crotch?

Dogs love to give you a good sniff, but why in that place?
Dogs love to give you a good sniff, but why in that place?  © Unsplash/Sara Kurfeß

As if it were meant to be, dogs seem infinitely attracted to the stinkiest and mustiest areas of your body, poking their muzzles where they don't belong and taking good long whiffs in the most uncomfortable of places.

It might be "normal" behavior, but that doesn't make it any less confusing. What the heck is going on?

It's time to settle the question once and for all, and guide your way through the reasoning behind one of the world's most curious of queries: Why do dogs smell your crotch, and what can you do to stop them?

Let's sniff this one out.

Why do dogs smell your crotch?

Dogs predominantly smell the human crotch due to the sweat glands located between the legs and the pheromones released.

Our canine companions love not only the smell itself, but the hormonal and emotional reaction that the chemicals released by our nether regions produce. It's not something to be embarrassed about, and you're not going to be able to stop their behavior with a simple shower.

The reality of the situation is that dogs have a sense of smell that is about 10,000 times stronger than that of a human. In the same way that we use our eyesight as our predominant sense, dogs navigate their way around environments sniffing anything they can get their noses near.

Now it's time to mention the baby elephant in the room: dogs smell other dogs' butts, and dogs smell our various private parts as well. It is a form of information gathering, as dogs detect pheromones and scents that then provide them with knowledge about their human.

As Alison Gerken, a veterinarian from San Francisco, told Daily Paws in 2022: "Dogs sniff other dogs' rear ends and human crotches because sweat glands there release pheromones and scents... No one knows for sure what information is communicated through pheromones, but they may convey an individual's sex, age, emotions, and health."

While other factors will influence the intensity at which a dog will sniff your crotch - if you have had recent sexual intercourse or had a particularly intense meal or workout, for example, you'll be especially stinky - these factors simply increase the pup's curiosity, but doesn't change its intent.

It all comes down to pheromones, information, and communication in the end. A dog doesn't mean anything bad when it sniffs your crotch. Quite the opposite: in fact, it is showing interest.

Why do dogs sniff your crotch when you're on your period?

You might notice that your dog will increasingly sniff your crotch and pay particular attention to you when you are menstruating.

Don't worry, this is simply because you are giving off higher levels of pheromones during your period. Simply go along as usual and don't worry too much about what's happening.

It's also worth noting that you may notice the same phenomenon when you have recently had sexual intercourse with your partner, or just after you have given birth. This is for the exact same reason: it all comes down to hormones.

Just take a deep breath and try not to feel embarrassed by your pup's antics!

Attention, attention! This doggo needs attention.
Attention, attention! This doggo needs attention.  © Unsplash/Darinka Kievskaya

How to stop my dog from sniffing my crotch

There is no real biological-based method to stop your dog from sniffing your crotch. Nor are there any sprays you can use to reduce the stink, no strange medieval techniques to try out, and not even a prayer worth uttering.

Instead, it all comes down to behavior and training.

As with any dog, training from a young age is extremely important. Teach it as many words as possible, keep it exercised through clicker training and agility training, and make sure that its mind is kept busy with plenty of stimulating puzzles. Once it is old enough, and disciplined enough, you can get more specific with what you teach your four-legged friend.

Here's how best to train a dog to stop sniffing your crotch:

Step 1: Start verbally responding to your doggo's crotch-sniffing behavior, using a command that you have already taught it. For example, "Stop," "No," "Sit," or similar.

Step 2: Turn your entire body away from your dog, facing the opposite direction, and trying your best to ignore it. This will avoid giving your dog attention or positive reinforcement for the behavior.

Step 3: Start placing your hand directly in front of the crotch and safely pushing your dog away whenever it starts to sniff your crotch.

Step 4: If your dog stops sniffing your crotch and responds well to your actions, give it a reward and reinforce good behavior.

As you can tell, it all comes down to discipline for your dog to change their behavior. If your dog knows that it isn't okay to sniff people down there, and that you'll be unhappy if it does, it'll be less likely to continue the behavior.

Dogs will always keep sniffing private areas

Your puppy is possibly the most curious of creatures and will be endlessly attracted to smells and scents that interest it. While there are steps to reduce the sniffing that inevitably comes with an "inappropriately mannered" pooch, there is no way to completely mitigate the risk of unwanted attention.

Dogs can be strange creatures, and are not for everyone. Still, if you can get over their bizarre tendencies, dogs are some of the most curious and sweetest pets to have ever walked the face of our Earth. Sometimesn they're just... a little too curious.

Cover photo: Unsplash/Sara Kurfeß

More on Dog Guide: