4 min read


Can Dogs Smell Human Pheromones?



4 min read


Can Dogs Smell Human Pheromones?


We're going to start this article off with a resounding "yes" - your dog, in fact, can smell human pheromones. We're sure you've been in a situation where you've been in public, or in private, and your dog starts to sniff around in, well, let's just say inappropriate places on your body. The last thing you want is a doggo snout poking around in your private zones, but it's something that happens all the time. Your dog has no real idea that doing so might be inappropriate - instead, they are simply seeking some information about you. 

Dogs are led by scents - that's their dominant sense and for good reason. Dogs smell about 100,000 times better than humans do, and with about 25 times more smell receptors and a 40 times larger olfactory complex, it makes sense that they do. The blunt thing about people and dogs is that we all give off certain scents. 

Pheromones are a chemical substance that is produced and released by an animal (or person) in an environment that might affect the behaviors of physiology. They can trigger all kinds of behavior, sexual and not. 
Your dog, with their super-sensing nose, can certainly smell the pheromones your body is giving off, and often, they're game to investigate. This means they can stick their noses in places they certainly don't belong. 

Want to know some signs your dog might be giving you to let you know that they are detecting the pheromones you're giving off? Want to learn how to get your dog away from their instinct-driven-but-invasive sniffing?

We've got you covered. Check out our guide below for all things pheromone and dog related. 


Signs Your Dog Can Smell Your Pheromones

Often, if a dog can smell it, the dog is going to explore it. Dogs use their senses to guide their lives and they count sniffing as getting to know someone. In a way, your dog is getting to know you and what you're all about with a few well-placed sniffs. 

Humans release pheromones from all kinds of organs, but release large doses of them from their sex organs. That means your dog, who can smell in parts per trillion, by the way, is going to head straight to your no-no zones for a good whiff to get to know you.

That means your dog might exhibit behaviors like excessive sniffing and licking, and intrusive behavior that might result in some snouts in places you don't particularly care for them to be.

It's important that your dog gets a good read on you and how you're doing, so it's possible this will result in some anxiety and nervousness. And, if you refuse your dog a whiff, it's possible it might result in some uncharacteristic frantic behavior or even some stress and anxiety. 

Body Language

Here are few body language cues your dog might be giving you to let you know they can smell your pheromones:

  • Alert
  • Guarding
  • Jumping Up
  • Sniffing
  • Drooling
  • Nose Licking
  • Licking
  • Nose Wrinkled

Other Signs

Here are few more signs that your dog might be getting a whiff of your pheromones:

  • Excessive Sniffing
  • Anxious Or Nervous Behavior
  • Unwarranted, Pushy Behavior
  • Intrusive Snout Placement

History of Dogs Smelling Pheromones


Dogs are pack animals, right? When you take on a doggo and bring them into your family, they consider you a part of the pack, and that means that often, they don't quite understand all the distinct differences you two might have. 

Dogs may even treat you like a canine when it comes to understanding you. For dogs, sniffing is the dominant sense, and reading scents is much like reading a written status report about the target of its sniffing. So, your dog smelling and investigating your scent is a way for them to gather information about you, your well-being, and other driving factors.

Dogs treat humans like canines, right? Have you ever seen how two dogs greet each other? We're sure you have, and we're sure you've tried to get your doggo to stop sniffing at the other dog's butt in public. That's just dog behavior though, and they garner a certain amount of information about other canines by giving them a big ol' sniff. It's the same for people. Your dog is simply looking for information about you!

Science of Dogs Smelling Pheromones


Dog noses aren't just a little more advanced than human noses, they're about 100,000 times more advanced! Dogs have about 25 times more smell receptors than people do, and a 40-times-larger olfactory cortex to boot. Your dog smells in parts per trillion. 

What does that mean? Well, think about it this way. If we were to dilute an ounce of blood into 20 Olympic-sized pools, your dog would be able to smell that drop of blood. Amazing, right? So, it makes sense that with their intense sniffing abilities, they'd be led by scents. 

That's why dogs use scent to help them download certain information about people and other canines. Using scent to understand who they're dealing with, what they're like, and more information, is simply just a dog thing and it's because they're driven by their snouts.

Training Your Dog Pheromone-Smelling Manners


Like we said, dogs are led by instincts, so this one can be a tough habit to break. You shouldn't worry too much about dogs sniffing other dogs, but it might be considered impolite if you introduce your pooch to a new, human friend and they go snout-first into your company's crotch. 

Make sure your dog understands basic obedience commands like "no" and "stop it" so that even if they begin to participate in the un-welcomed behavior, they can be instructed to stop right away. Additionally, you'll want to reward your dog for positive behavior. 

Ensure that when your pup does sniff in the wrong spots, they're able to recognize that you consider it wrong and don't approve of this actions. Do this with a firm, verbal "no,' or send them to their cage for 5-10 minutes following the unwanted action. When they do greet people correctly, ensure they know it! Give them love, attention, and of course, treats!

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By a Great Dane lover Hanna Marcus

Published: 03/19/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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