When dogs meet each other, one of the first things that they do is smell one another. Dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell, using over 220 million olfactory cells to pick up and analyze odors. Dogs can smell about 50 times better than humans, so it’s no wonder that their sense of smell is one of their most important senses. Dogs use their superior sense of smell to get a lot of their information about the world around them.
Dogs use scent and the act of smelling other dogs as a greeting and a way to determine if another dog is friendly and receptive. Dogs can also pick up on other characteristics using their sense of smell, such as fear and sickness. A dog’s nose is so sensitive that it can pick up the faintest amount of scent floating in the air or buried deep underground.
The act of sniffing between dogs can be likened to a human handshake, as it’s a type of greeting and a way of establishing a relationship. In addition, dogs sniff when they are curious, stressed, or need to get more information about a situation. Smelling is a primal instinct that all dogs have, and they use it to orient themselves within the world and find their place within a larger pack of dogs.