When it comes to embarrassing dog behavior, crotch sniffing is at the top of the list for many of us. Dogs rely on the sense of smell to identify other dogs and use the same principle to identify new people. While other dogs expect a little sniffing, people might not. Fortunately you can train your dog to skip the embarrassing sniffing with a little practice and patience. If your dog doesn't know the "sit" and "stay" commands, teach him.
Introduction of New Behavior
Ask a friend to serve as the target for your training exercise. Choose someone who doesn’t see your dog every day.
Place a collar and lead on your dog. This will allow you to retain control of your pet during the training session.
Ask your friend to walk toward your dog. If the dog tries to sniff your friend’s crotch, order him to sit and stay.
Give your dog a treat if he follows your command. Make sure he focuses his attention on you, rather than your friend, when he responds to the command.
Repeat the process. Practice at least five minutes every day for a week or two to reinforce the new behavior.
Designated Greeting Area
Designate a greeting area that your dog will use to meet visitors. The greeting area can be a separate area of your home, a dog bed or a crate.
Teach the dog to go to the greeting area when you give the command word, which might be “greeting” or “visitor.” Say the command word and lead your dog to the greeting area.
Give your dog a treat at the greeting area and tell him to sit. Your dog should remain at the greeting area until you approach him to meet a guest. The Dog Academy website notes that your dog will be most tempted to sniff a visitor’s crotch when she first enters your house. When you tell your dog to go the greeting area, you disrupt the sniffing behavior.
Ask a friend to approach the dog in the greeting area. Tell your dog to sit and ask your friend to pet him. When your friend finishes petting your dog, release him from the command. If he tries to sniff your friend’s crotch, ask him to sit again.
Work on the greeting command four or five times every day for a few days. It will take time for your dog to associate the new command with going to the greeting area. Eventually, your dog should go to the greeting area on his own when you give the command. Give him a treat when he does.
- Ask several people to help you train your dog. If you use the same person, your dog might become so familiar with her that he might decide that it’s unnecessary to sniff her.
- A favorite toy can distract a dog intent on his embarrassing sniffing behavior. Keep the toy hidden until friends or family members visit. Give it to your dog as the guests enter your home.
- Don’t hit or punish your dog for his sniffing behavior. The Dog Health website advises that your dog will learn better if you reward him for exhibiting the desired behavior, rather than punishing for a behavior that is instinctive for dogs.
Working at a humane society allowed Jill Leviticus to combine her business management experience with her love of animals. Leviticus has a journalism degree from Lock Haven University, has written for Nonprofit Management Report, Volunteer Management Report and Healthy Pet, and has worked in the healthcare field.