Dogs and Sniffing

Sniffing is a natural and important behavior for your dog. It helps identify people and other dogs, where they’ve been, determines another dog’s sex and position in the pack’s pecking order. In most cases, a dog can learn a lot by a quick sniff—and that’s normal, natural behavior that dog owners and their guests have come to accept.

However, sometimes a dog seems to become fixated on this behavior and their constant, prolonged sniffing becomes embarrassing for the owner and the people being subjected to the sniffing.

What to Do?
If your dog is an overzealous sniffer, the first thing to remember is that, to him, this is appropriate behavior. This means, of course, that it’s up to you to help him “understand” that he shouldn’t overdo it. Here’s how:

• When your dog meets someone and starts sniffing inappropriately, give your dog the “NO” command as you gently tug at his leash. If this behavior is happening in your home and your dog isn’t on a leash, gently pull him back by his collar. Next, give him the “sit” command. When he responds correctly, reward him with praise and, perhaps, a treat. (We recommend our grandma Z’s treats for an all-natural training treat that your dog will love!)

• To properly train your dog, you need to reinforce your role as leader of the pack. If your dog sniffs at you in this way, don’t back away from him, as this gives him the message that you are submissive and he’s in control. Instead, give him the “no” command and move forward into your dog’s “personal space”. As a result of doing this, he will back away from you. Be sure to reward him when he behaves appropriately.

Consistency is Key. Never allow any behavior from your dog that you don’t want to see again, and make sure that everyone in the household is sending your dog the same messages. Be sure everyone in your family understands the difference between appropriate sniffing and overzealous, embarrassing sniffing.

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