If your dog keeps sniffing the floor, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get it to sniff the floor less.
So, why does my dog sniff the floor? Possible reasons why your dog sniffs the floor are that it is gathering information such as what other animals have been around, it smells food, it is anxious or it is being submissive.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the most likely cause, it should become a lot easier to figure out what to do about it.
Why your dog sniffs the floor
Below are a number of reasons why your dog might have been sniffing the floor and what would make each of them more likely.
To gather information
The most likely reason why it sniffs the floor and other things a lot is that it has a strong sense of smell and sniffing things allows it to gather information about the thing it’s sniffing.
For example, the urine of other dogs will tell it where it has been, its health status and what it has been eating. This is the case for humans too. They can even pick up on the ovulation of humans which is why they will sniff females more during certain parts of the month (source).
It smells food
The reason why it sniffs the floor a lot could also be that it smells food. This would be especially likely if it tends to do it more in places such as the kitchen or areas where food was recently dropped.
It smells other animals
Another possible reason why it might do it is to find out what other animals have been around. Knowing this would have helped their ancestors out a lot since it would have helped them figure out if prey or predators were nearby. Sniffing the floor will help it figure out what other animals have been around since they will likely have left a scent.
Anxiety or nervousness
Sometimes dogs will lower or try put their heads towards the ground when they are anxious or nervous. This would be more likely to be the reason if your dog tends to sniff the floor when it might be anxious such as when there are loud noises, someone shouting or when other animals are around.
Dogs will also lower their heads to the ground when they are being submissive and it could be the reason why your dog has been sniffing the floor. This would be more likely if it does it more when other dogs are around it and if it shows other submissive signs such as rolling on to its back or making itself appear smaller.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started sniffing the floor
If your dog did not always sniff the floor as often, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as something causing it to become anxious, food being dropped on the floor or a new pet being introduced to the house.
What is different when it tends to do it more
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to sniff the floor. For example, if it only seems to do it when other animals are around, it could be because it is being submissive. Whereas, if it does it more when it is in the kitchen, it would be more likely that it is smelling the smell of food on the floor.
What to do about your dog sniffing the floor
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
It might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewarded when it sniffs the floor. Instead, it would help to try to redirect its focus when it seems like it is about to do it, to stop rewarding int when it sniffs the floor and to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage your dog to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way. To use it to get your dog to stop sniffing the floor, as often, you could reward it whenever it is not sniffing the floor, stop rewarding it when it starts sniffing the floor and reward it again after it stops sniffing the floor.
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