Tush Sniffing

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Dear Barkley,

I was hanging out at the kennel after my dad dropped me off for a day of playing. I think he had errands to run and I wasn’t looking to frolick too much or play too hard since I’d been saving my energy to chase down this squirrel that keeps lounging around in my backyard. He’s really getting on my nerves.

Anyway, while I was minding my own business, I suddenly feel a noticeable nudge on my tush only to turn around and see this beagle giving the hindquarters about my nether regions more than a few good long sniffs. If you catch my meaning, it more than felt like my space was being invaded with each passing second.

Afterwards, the beagle sort of wanted to start playing with me, but I wasn’t in the mood. Was I wrong, or was he getting a bit fresh with me? What gives with the sniffing of my backside and why did this beagle do it with such intent that you’d think it was his mission in life to do it?

Butt Pug in Bartlett

Greeting my little Puggy friend!

You’d think that beagle couldn’t have possibly controlled himself, no doubt, but this actually couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it’s in our nature as canines to introduce ourselves in this way similar to how you might see your dad shaking the mailman’s hand instead of chasing him down barking like he should be doing!

What’s actually happening when that beagle was giving your backdoor a once over with a few sniffs is a wonderful processing of chemicals that allows dogs to speak to each other quicker than barks ever could. It’s the equivalent of getting a quick glance at everything on your obedience school diploma, FaceBark, MyPaw, and InstaWoof all at once.

Unlike humans, our noble noses can, as the wonderful folks at the American Chemical Society put it, “detect scents up to 10,000 to 100,000 times better thanks to our large olfactory membrane.” What that means is, we have this bit of mucousy, membraney tissue about the size of a napkin tucked way up in our noses that allow us to pick up smells with about 225 million olfactory receptors. By comparison, your human dad only has about 5 million receptors.

In a way, it will always pay dividends to stop and smell the roses on a walk!

Thanks to these scent pheromones and molecules tucked into sacs near our tushies, these glands give you, me, and every other dog with a inquisitive schnoz the ability to proffer just enough about ourselves to a curious canine companion to get the Reader’s Digest of who we are. Feeling slightly under the weather after getting into the garbage last night and upset about it? A fellow sniffing dog would be able to find that out about you pretty fast.

If you have a chance, check out this video on YouChew for more about just how much sniffing power that nose of yours really has so next time a furry friend sneaks up behind you, you’ll feel comfortable knowing they’re just trying to get to know you.

Pugs and kisses,

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