Showing posts with label american chemical society. Show all posts
Showing posts with label american chemical society. Show all posts

6 Nov 2018

Olfactophilia: Reflections on Canine Arse-Sniffing

Illustration from the Dog Decoder smartphone app by Lili Chin

I got a smelly rear / I got a dirty nose
I don't want no shoes / I don't want no clothes
I'm living like the king of the dogs 

Someone once told me that the reason that dogs like to conduct anal inspections of other dogs is because they are looking for a long-lost message hidden by the King of the Dogs, containing the secret of how to overcome their human masters and be free once more to live their own lives.  

Part of me would still very much like to believe this story to be true. Unfortunately, I'm also familiar with the scientific explanation for such behaviour and this more factual account in terms of glandular secretions released from the dog's anal sac makes me doubt the veracity of the above.  

However, even the American Chemical Society conclude that canine arse-sniffing is essentially an exchange of information. Only what's being communicated concerns sexual status and dietary habits, for example, rather than how to regain the freedom of revered lupine ancestors.    

Finally - since we're discussing this subject - it might be noted that dogs are not enjoying the smell of shit when they stick their noses into the behinds of other dogs.

Indeed, thanks to the presence of Jacobson's organ located inside their nasal cavities, dogs are able to pass subtle chemical information detected in the glandular secretions directly to the brain without being distracted by other more powerful odours. 

Musical bonus: Iggy Pop, King of the Dogs (Lil Armstrong / Iggy Pop), from the album Préliminaires (Astralwerks, 2009).