Dogs know where you’ve been

Our 7-year-old black Lab is always at our mud room door waiting for us when we come home from an outing.

Teddy is always excited to see us because if he was a “good boy” and didn’t burn the house down, he gets a couple of cheddar cheese cubes.

After he’s gobbled those, he gives us the once over. Starting with his fearless leader, my husband Ed, Teddy smells our shoes, lower legs and sometimes our hands.

As I wrote about earlier, Teddy’s sniffer is far more sophisticated than mine or Ed’s. Depending on the breed, a dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than that of humans, according to Allie Wall at

Wall writes, “Thanks to their acute sense of smell, they are able to distinguish individuals and gain a better understanding of the world around them.”

Simply put, Teddy knows if we’ve been out running errands like grocery shopping or something more interesting like visiting our friends, Melissa and Sean, whose Sully and Smarty are his best dog friends.

Sully, a mixture of Rhodesian Ridgeback and Labrador Retriever, loves Ed. When we stop by, the caramel-colored, 88-pounder jumps up and down, covering Ed with lots of sloppy, wet kisses.

By sniffing us, can Teddy know which dogs we were around?

Jennifer Coates, DVM, writing for, says dogs not only can separate between dog and non-dog odors, but they can even gather detailed information, like the dog’s sex, age, diet and reproductive and health status.

Wall concurs, writing, “And the tell‑tale sign your dog can smell another dog on you? They are sniffing you like they’ve never sniffed before!”

She says that if dogs sense their “person” was around another dog they may jump, sniff, twitch their whiskers or drool. Teddy definitely jumps more and his sniffing intensifies but he has never drooled and I’ve never thought to watch his whisker movements.

After reading both articles, the first thing I thought was, boy are we in trouble. My second thought was, shoot, I wish I would have known this when our daughter, Jordan, was growing up. Lucy, then our dog and Jordan’s baby, could have been a great informant on her high school antics. A few treats and Lucy would have spilled the beans. Jordan laughed when I told her of my hypothesis. “Nah, Lucy loved me best.” She was probably right.

So if Teddy knows, in general, where we’ve been and who we’ve been around, does the information stress him or make him jealous?

Teddy does linger around us more when we’ve been to places where dogs have been. At those times, he has brought us a toy to engage us to play or rolled over for tummy rubs. All of those “tactics” are his way of re-inserting himself into our family’s top dog status.

Overall, Teddy is happy to see us, so a few additional tummy rubs or tosses with a toy has always sent him off with his butt wiggling and his tail wagging.

If you feel your dog is routinely troubled by the dogs it smells on you, Coates advises that changing clothes or thoroughly washing hands before coming home can lessen the smells considerably.

When your dog senses another dog on you

1. Stay calm and let him do his thing

2. Don’t discourage these actions

3. Give your dog a lot of love and attention

Source: Allie Wall,‑dogs‑smell‑other‑dogs...

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