If your dog keeps sniffing your clothes, this post will show you a number of possible reasons why and what you can do about them.

So, why does my dog sniff my clothes? Possible reasons why your dog sniffs your clothes are that they have a strong scent on them, it naturally likes to smell smelly things or that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded.

Your dog might sniff your clothes for a number of reasons and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Reasons why your dog sniffs your clothes

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog sniffs your clothes and what would make them more likely.

They have a strong scent on them

Your scent and the scent of other people and animals will be on your clothes. The reason why your dog sniffs your clothes is likely to be that they have a strong scent on them. This would be especially likely if it tends to sniff them more when you have recently arrived home.

It calms it down

Another possible reason is that smelling your scent causes your dog to calm down. This would be more likely if your dog tends to smell your clothes more at times when it might be anxious such as when you are leaving home. It would also be more likely if it smells other things with your scent on such as your shoes or pillows.

It naturally sniffs smelly things

Dogs will naturally sniff smelly things a lot because dogs gather information about things through their sense of smell. The reason why your dog smells your clothes could also be that it naturally likes to sniff things that are smelly. This would be more likely if your dog also sniffs other smelly things a lot around the house such as dirty washing.

Encouraging the behavior

It might also be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it sniffs your clothes, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

If your dog has always sniffed your clothes

If your dog did not always sniff your clothes, it would help to consider if anything changed when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be because it learned that the behavior gets rewarded or because you started leaving your clothes in a more accessible location.

What else is different when your dog sniffs your clothes

If your dog seems to smell your clothes more at a certain time, it would also help to consider what else is different when it does it. For example, if it does it more when you have been to someone else’s home, it could be the case that it is picking up on their scent on your clothes.

What to do about your dog sniffing your clothes

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Keep them out of reach

One option would be to keep your clean clothes in a location that is out of reach and the dirty clothes inside a box or bag. By doing so, it will not be possible for your dog to sniff your clothes.

Avoid encouraging it

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.

Redirect its focus

Another option would be to redirect its focus towards something else whenever it seems likely to start sniffing your clothes. Things to redirect its focus towards could include toys, bones, or something else that is smelly.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.