VIDEO. Camille’s column: why do dogs sniff each other?

CJAMY. Camille Gaubert’s column is broadcast daily on the program “CJamy”, presented by Jamy Gourmaud, from Monday to Friday at 5 pm on France 5.

If dogs sniff each other to get to know each other, they are looking for specific scent-mediated information.

Dogs sniff sex, ears, anus and mouth

Dogs are indeed macrosmatic animals, a word derived from the Greek “osmê”, which means “smell”, which means that they have an extremely fine sense of smell, explains Emmanuelle Titeux, veterinarian at the Veterinary School of Maisons- Alfort, and that they therefore condition a large part of their communication. In humans, we would instinctively look for odors in Swedish gym locker rooms or under armpits. But dogs have other favorite areas. They sniff the anus, the penis, the ears and the mouth, four places where there are odor-producing glands, which have meaning. We don’t know exactly which one, though, since we humans are microsmatic animals, meaning our sense of smell is rudimentary. It is difficult for us to study a world of smells that we are incapable of perceiving. “The instruments and methods used to compensate our rudimentary organ are still in their infancy; just like research in this sector“, specifies Emmanuelle Titeux.

Fluctuating olfactory information

However, it is assumed that dogs sniff the age of their congeners, their physiological state, or their sexual status: is he castrated, in heat, or in gestation for example. However, we know that this information is not always very clear: it fluctuates. The proof is that dogs spend 10 to 15 seconds sniffing each other, during which they come back several times to the different scent areas. Of course, smells aren’t the only information dogs sniff out, which also collect auditory and visual data, such as the dog’s posture and face.

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