The very act of sniffing can tell your dog a lot from a behavioral standpoint. When done appropriately, a well-performed sniff of the bottom can signal good social skills among the pup population, telling the other dog whether they are “behaviorally competent versus awkward,” Stelow noted.
If a dog is unwilling to sniff or be sniffed, this can be a clear sign that something is wrong. “A dog that won’t let another dog sniff it may be afraid of that dog (or all dogs); owners should watch for how comfortable their dog is about that interaction,” Stelow added.
This behavior may also occasionally happen to dog owners, though our pets cannot glean the same amount of knowledge about us with their nose. “I have had female owners tell me their dogs sniff them more at certain times in their cycles,” Stelow said. “We use fragrant detergents and body soaps; so we’re probably not generally as interesting to sniff.”
So next time you see that doggy yin-yang forming, know it’s just your dog doing a little detective work before making friends.