I know this is quite a common doggie habit, but it is very embarrassing. How do I stop it?
Mr S. Stewart, Leicester
Karen Wild, behaviourist, advises…
I was once at a very select dinner party and the family’s Golden retriever raced into the room and shoved his nose into the crotch of the honoured guest, so I can imagine how this must be for you!
I think we know why dogs find this area so interesting, as they always learn such a lot from sniffing at each other, too. Nevertheless a bit of training will probably help you. For greeting guests, train your dog to sit for a ‘hello’ instead of a crotch-sniff-welcome. You may need to keep him on a lead at first so that he learns to keep his distance whilst you build up gradually, but keep it a fun and rewarding exercise. Use food to motivate him but eventually the greeting itself from the human can be sufficient motivation.
When on walks, teach him the heel command, which is a stay on the move. As you approach a person and walk past them, ask your dog to heel by holding a treat in your hand close to your leg. Your dog will sniff at the treat and ignore the distraction. If he does not, give him more distance between you and the passer-by, but keep training through each level of difficulty. Eventually you will have a very peaceful, if still vigilant, walk.