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Ask Amy: What To Do With Sniff-A-Holic Dogs

by | Nov 20, 2013 | Ask Amy Videos, Dog Training & Care | 6 comments


I’m traveling today and may not be able to reply as quickly. But I wanted to share this fun new ASK AMY and find out how y’all handle your “nosy” dogs.

Dogs are lead around by the nose throughout life, and it starts early–as in this Ask Amy “rude” puppy behavior! What about your furry wonder? Has your dog’s nosy behavior ever gotten him or her in trouble? Created embarrassing moments? (Once our Magical-Dawg puppy stole underwear from the laundry basket and brought it out to show guests…sigh). Your turn, do tell!

In my forthcoming thriller HIDE AND SEEK, the dog hero character has been trained to track lost pets. So Shadow’s nose actually saves the day–with the help of Macy the Maine Coon cat. In these cases, savvy dogs may detect very important info that humans miss, and it’s up to the person to trust the dog’s nose. Shadow even laments the fact that scent-blind humans should pay closer attention to good-dogs able to smell important stuff. What do you think?

Here’s an article about a dog’s nose structure and sense of smell that explains a lot of what’s going on. What have I missed?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter.


  1. Wayne Borean

    Oh, yeah. Doggie noses are central to the way our four footed tail wagging fiends interact with their environment. Everytime someone comes home from work or school, the dogs absolutely have to sniff them. Everytime we have a visitor, the dogs have to sniff them.

    Some sniffing seems sex linked. It was always the male dogs who raided my wife and daughter’s close hampers, and yes, they always went for the undies. The female dogs don’t do this.

    All dogs have a tendency to sniff fence posts… Only the boys mark them in response. Walking a female dog after walking a male dog is a confusing experience. With a male dog you can tell where the other male dogs have been. With a female you can’t.

    An employer of mine had a golden lab. Charlie would come to work with Roland, and lie down enjoying the sunshine from the floor to ceiling windows. But she’d freak out, and go into paryoxms of barking, if anyone walked by on the outside. As soon as they opened the door, she’d stop barking, and try to meet them. We guessed that Charlie thought they were ghosts until they opened the door because she couldn’t smell them on the other side of the glass.

    When I was little, Dad had a Black and Tan Coonhound named Pancho. He was an affectionate beast, who happened to be strong as an ox (I used to ride him like a horse). Pancho was a hunting dog, and hunting was his favorite thing. If he smelled something interesting, he’d follow it anywhere. We woke up more than once to find that Pancho and his dog house were missing. Dad would start up the tractor, hook up a wagon, and follow the drag marks. He managed to drag his dog house over a mile a couple of times. I’d tend to consider that getting into trouble!


    • Wayne Borean

      Oh, and as to what to do with them…

      If you have male dogs, make sure they can’t open clothes hampers. Either put them on the counter, or bungee cord them shut.

      For Pancho, we ended up having to staple his dog house to the ground, because he started disappearing more and more often, and we didn’t want him to get hit by a car.

      Training dogs so that they sit, and wait to be introduced to strangers, is a necessity. Even a small dog can scare people who don’t know dogs. What looks like an absolute fury is most often an attempt to gain attention.


      • Amy Shojai

        Great tips, Wayne! At my house, waste baskets on countertops became a decorating statement when Magic came to live with us!

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Wayne, sorry for the delay, got home late last night. Pancho sounds like my family’s first dog, Toby. He was a Malamute/Shepherd mix (I was told until recently, when folks said actually he was a wolf hybrid, yikes!). My little brother rode him, too. He also towed his dog house around the yard…those were the days of dogs chained to dog houses. *sigh*

      IF you have dogs, nosiness is a part of life, indeed! Thanks for the comments–you always have such great insights to share!

  2. Anna Coffin

    I had a dog that would stick his nose in people’s crotches any time someone would come over to visit. Most people were surprised, some offended or embarrassed until I told them that was his way of giving a “hug”.

    • Amy Shojai

      Anna, LOL! I love that! “Giving a hug.” Wow, I am so going to borrow that. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!


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