Have you ever experienced one of those awkward moments when your dog suddenly becomes fixated on one person, shoving their nose anywhere they can to get a better whiff? Or better yet, have you been on the receiving end?
In situations like these, dog owners are quick to pull their dog away and apologize to the poor soul who just underwent the third degree by a wet puppy nose. But why exactly do dogs obsessively sniff some people but not others?
While we’re not 100% sure why exactly dogs do this, we do have three very probable theories.
1. The Dog Is Just Saying Hello
While it can sometimes be a bit intrusive, obsessive smelling may just be a dog’s way of saying hello and getting to know someone. We know that dog’s collect the majority of their information through their sense of smell, so it makes that if they really want to get to know someone it will require serious sniffing. As for choosing who to turn their nose on, it could simply be that one person smells more interesting than the other.
2. The Dog Can Smell Fear
It always seems that dogs make a beeline for the one person in the group who is nervous around dogs. In these situations, it’s likely that the dog is picking up on scents associated with fear, such as sweat and adrenaline, or body language cues that the individual is giving off. The combination of these two things might be too interesting for a dog to pass up.
3. The Dog Is Simply Showing They’re Happy To See You
The third potential reason why a dog’s nose may go into overdrive with some people is simply because they’re happy to see them. After time away from their favorite humans, it’s likely that a dog is just trying to collect all the information they can about what their two-legged friend has been up to. Plus, it gives them a convenient excuse for some spontaneous cuddle time, doesn’t it?
While we may not know why exactly dogs obsessively sniff some people but not others, there’s a good chance the reason behind the sniffing falls into one of these categories. So the next time your dog or someone else’s gets a little sniff happy, don’t feel embarrassed; it’s perfectly normal!
H/t to: Vet Street