Shiba Sephy seems to really like interacting with other dogs but greetings do not always go well.
After carefully observing how Sephy meets dogs, I realized that he does not like new dogs sniffing his butt.
Butt sniffing can actually be taken as a dominance move – the one getting his butt sniffed is submitting to the dog doing the sniffing.
This actually makes a lot of sense. The sniffing dog has all his teeth near to a vulnerable part of the other dog, while the other dog has his teeth farthest away from his hind area.
The dog being sniffed is putting himself in a vulnerable position, thus dogs only allow butt sniffs with dogs they trust and are comfortable with; or as a sign of submission.
For example, my Shiba has no problems with my Siberian Husky doing all sorts of things to him. He is also very tolerant with his regular playmates … but strange dogs poking their noses up his butt is a big no-no.
I really do not blame him.
Nowadays, I make sure that during dog greetings, my Shiba’s buttockal region is well protected. By using body blocks, I keep the other dog away from my Shiba’s hind area.
When greeting other dogs, I try to stay calm and interrupt the greeting as soon as I notice any signs of stress or discomfort on either dog. I walk away to create space and call Sephy to me. Creating space is important so that neither of the dogs feel crowded or trapped.
When Shiba comes, he gets treated, and then he can go back for another short greeting if he wants.
The butt sniff is not for every dog.
Protect your dog from other dogs if necessary. Make dog greetings a fun and low stress affair by staying calm, creating space, using positive interrupts, and body blocking unwanted butt sniffs.
By consistently making dog greetings into positive events, we help our dog build self confidence and associate other dogs with fun and rewards. This will make our dog into a social butterfly, improve his quality of life, and allow us to take him to more places without worrying about dog-to-dog aggression.