Yahoo! gets to the bottom of why dogs sniff other dogs’ butts

Once again, Yahoo! goes where other media outlets fear to tread. “Why do dogs sniff each other?” wonders a recent Ask Yahoo! question. A perfectly reasonable question for Yahoo!’s crack team of experts to sort out. And they do: “Such behavior would not go over well in the human world,” they helpfully point out, “but in the canine community, it’s standard operating procedure. … A sniff of the rear tells a dog all sorts of things, including what the other dog likes to eat,”—ugh, grody—“its general health, and if a female pooch is pregnant.” (A “related link” goes to another fascinating topic: “What is the worst-smelling thing in the world?” The Yahoo! people wonder if it might be burnt human hair, rotting cadavers, bodily excretions or possibly a border collie’s stale breath. There’s no mention of Grey Advertising’s reel.) There isn’t much of an advertising angle here, but we’ll force one. A few years ago, Animal Planet in the U.K. took advantage of dogs’ sniffing habits in an outdoor campaign. It attached dog-piss-scented ads to the foot of lampposts, and when pooches came over for a sniff, their owners saw a larger ad posted at human-eye level promoting a dog-awards show. Ah, the smell of success—so often more acrid than sweet.

—Posted by Tim Nudd