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Ask A Vet: Why Does My Dog Turn His Butt Toward Me?

| Published on March 25, 2016

As human beings, we have a few societal issues (to say the least) with exposing our rears to other people, both new friends and old. We would much prefer to shake hands with new people and our idea of reaffirming family bonds does not include asking your friends to scratch your rear. But if you were a dog, you would see things differently.

We all know that some dogs really like certain smells that seem foul to us. Sometimes they roll in feces or smelly mud and seem to revel in it, so a smelly rear is not a bad thing to your dog. He is not trying to be offensive by walking up to you and placing his butt close to you. He is doing what is natural to him. Because of his anatomy and his ability to gain information from olfactory (scent based) clues, he is very comfortable with presenting his rear to you and he assumes that you are also. He trusts you or he would not show you his vulnerable back side so easily.


Dogs are very commonly affected by fleas and often suffer from a flea allergy. Flea saliva is one of the most irritating substances on the planet and a single bite can set off a violently itchy reaction in some dogs. The irritation seems to localize to an area vets call the “tail head” which is the space on the back end right above the tail. If your dog is itchy, this is a really good spot for a scratch and he knows that you are a willing participant in scratching his itch!

Even if your dog does not have fleas or flea allergy, many dogs seem to like being scratched, rubbed or petted in this tail head area. So if your dog backs up to you, don’t be offended. Just laugh and give him what he wants – a good scratch in a spot that he can’t reach!

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