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Are Your Dogs as Obsessed With Stinky Things as Mine Are?

If it's foul-smelling, my dogs want it. What offensive odors can't your dog resist?

 |  Mar 14th 2013  |   33 Contributions


On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, after a walk through our local park, we visited our local dog boutique with our schnauzer girl, Dusty. This shop is one of Dusty’s favorite destinations because the staff members allow her full access to explore. They stock unique toys, fun clothing items, wonderful all-natural foods and treats. Each time we visit we leave with a bag full of wonderful items. The treats and chew toys are especially appealing to Dusty. She’ll sniff every nook and cranny of the shop, trying to find the most appealing items.

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Dusty with a smelly stogie.

She usually ends up staring at the shelves that hold the open boxes full of Yak bones, Bully Sticks and other chewable treats. We’ll take one item from each of the boxes, place them in front of her, and ask her which one she likes. Of course, like the proverbial kid in a candy store, she can never select just one. She usually narrows it to a few that she wants.

We’ll collect the chosen chew treats, allow her to put one in her mouth and carry it to the checkout counter. Of the few that Dusty has selected, they always end up being the smelliest and most pungent items you have ever smelled. But, to her, it’s the best thing she’s ever sunk her teeth into. Which leads me to ask, why does it seem that that the smellier something is, the more our dogs like it?

A dog's sense of smell might be as much as 100 times better than ours, making it the most sensitive and vulnerable part of the canine body. The human nose has only three square centimeters of olfactory membrane, while some dog breeds, including Bloodhounds, have as much as 150 square centimeters.

This might explain how powerful a dog’s “sniffer” is compared with a human's but, it doesn’t explain why they like the smelly stuff that will typically make us gag. If we smell something that reeks of a foul odor, we turn our heads quickly away from the item, make a face like we just ate a lemon, and promptly drop or dispose of the item.

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A Golden Retriever eats a bone by Shutterstock.

Better yet, we try to get a friend or family member to sniff the item so they can agree how bad it smells -- and we can laugh at them because we got them to join our “wow that stinks” game. A dog inhales the odor, collects the item in his or her mouth, and then seeks an exclusive place to hide the item or spend quality time with it.

Some other favorites of Dusty’s are smelly socks and shoes. She is especially fond of athletic shoes that have been worn after a long walk or exercise. The socks will be wet from perspiration, and the shoes smell like the gym or the trails that we’ve walked on. At the end of the workout, I can’t wait to take the smelly socks and shoes off to let my feet and toes have a breather.

Dusty can’t wait for me to take my shoes off so she can stick her nose inside and take a deep breath. She then removes her face from my shoes and looks at me with a euphoric smile. Then she shakes her head, grabs a stray sock or shoe and runs away dragging the item around the house until she finds the perfect spot to investigate the item further.

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Dusty loves a smelly shoe.

The range of smelly items that Dusty finds appealing go far beyond these items. She loves the smell of wild animal poop that’s been left in the garden, emptied cans of cat food that have been in the recycling bin for several days, and the toilet after we’ve had a large bowl of legumes. If it smells, it seems Dusty is never far away! What about your dog? What smelly things put your dog into fits of ecstasy? Tell us in the comments!

Check out these other great articles on Dogster:

• Does Your Dog’s Personality Match Yours?

• Does Your Dog Stick His Tongue Out in Photos on Purpose?

• This Sounds Nuts, But I Believe in Reincarnation for Dogs

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