Why Does My Dog Keep Sniffing My Legs: 5 Possible Reasons

Have you been wondering why your dog keeps sniffing your legs?  Has your dog been doing this more frequently that it's making you wonder what your dog might be sensing on your legs? 

Common reasons why your dog might be sniffing your legs are your dog is trying to find out where you've been, he is gathering information about you from your scent, likes how you smell, you have encouraged the behavior or an instinct.

This post would provide you with all the important information you need to know about your dog's new habit, why your dog might be doing so if it should bring you concern, and how to get your dog to stop.

1. Your dog loves your scent 

Dog's sense of smell is much different from ours. Their nose sensitivity is much higher

In fact, it is with this ability that they can easily tell people apart as every individual has their own scent. One that's unique to them alone, almost like no two individual has the same fingerprint.

Hence, your dog can tell you apart from someone else just by your scent. Your dog might be sniffing your legs because it loves your scent.

After all, it's the scent of its owner and with it comes a sense of safety and trust. You're your dog's favorite person, hence it will always look to sniff parts of your body including your leg.

2. Your dog senses your emotions 

Studies have shown that dogs can pick up your emotional state using their sense of smell. Dogs can sense when you're sad, afraid or anxious just by sniffing you.

When we're scared, we release adrenaline, an hormone and an essential part of our flight and fight response. This hormone is odorless to us, but dogs can smell it effortlessly.

Also, anxiety and fear are accompanied by an increased rate in our blood flow and heartbeats. These reactions send specific chemicals to our skin surface that dogs can easily sense.

So, you can trust that your dog can tell how you feel even if your facial expression doesn't give it away and even when you might be trying hard to mask it.

Hence, your dog might be sniffing your legs because it senses certain emotions from you, and this might have picked at its curiosity.

3. Your dog is trying to know about you

a dog sniffing his owners legs

Your dog might be sniffing your legs because it is trying to gather information about you.

Your dog can tell where you have been just by sniffing you, and they can tell who you spent your day with, if you cuddled another dog, and even what you had for lunch.

Studies have shown that dogs can detect cancer in people.  

They can also sense medical conditions like low blood sugar, seizures, narcolepsy and migraines.

4. You have an injury 

It is the natural instinct of dogs to sniff the wounds of anyone in their "pack". Your dog might be sniffing your legs because they can smell your blood and wound.

Of course, this would most likely be the case if you recently had an injury. Your dog might just be trying to tend to your wounds and keeping tabs on your general wellbeing.

This is a pack-preserving habit and is one that served dogs well in a wild way before they were domesticated.

Notice, what your dog does when it sniffs you, does it try to lick at your legs too?

If so, then this could mean your dog is only doing so because you have an injury and is trying to keep your cuts clean.

It could also mean that your dog can smell that bacteria and microorganisms have infected your wound, hence if you do have a cut, it would be best to have it checked.

5. You have encouraged the habit 

The fact is that many dog owners actually encourage certain behaviors in their pooch without really knowing they are doing so.

If you smile, laugh, start talking softly, or give a treat after your dog acts in a particular way, then you have encouraged that behavior.

Dogs are easily influenced, especially by their owners and would always act the way they believe you want them to.

Hence, if your dog senses that you love something that it has done, then it is sure to act that way again in the future.

Other things to consider

The key in figuring out why your dog might be sniffing your legs so you can know the appropriate steps to take is to analyze event that happened around when your dog started the habit. 

  • What happened around the time your dog started sniffing you? 
  • Did you start going to a particular restaurant, such that your dog might be catching different scents of food from you? 
  • Did you recently volunteer in a pet store and have to carry different pets occasionally?

Asking yourself vital questions would help you better pinpoint the root of the behavior. 

Do you perhaps have an injury in your leg that your dog might be sniffing at?

Are you pregnant or on your period?

As dogs tend to sense that, due to the various hormones that our body produces during such periods.

If you don't think any particular event triggered your dog's sniffing habit, then it's most likely that you unknowingly encouraged the behavior in your dog.

How to get your dog to stop sniffing your legs

Some dogs are more discreet in their sniffing habit than others.

So, maybe your dog is one that isn't so polite about it, and tends to get all personal, sniffing your legs such that it becomes little embarrassing when a visitor comes around.

Correcting a habit in your dog can take several weeks to months, depending on how interesting and self-rewarding this habit was to your dog.

If your dog started sniffing your legs because you encouraged it, then start by ignoring him whenever he does so.

It is important to know that any attention is considered attention, whether it is good or bad.

Hence, yelling at or speaking gently to your dog might have the same effect. Your dog would have had your attention, and it would be pleased, and still continue thinking that sniffing is the way to get what it wants.

When you continue to ignore your dog, however, it would come to understand that this behavior would not earn him the attention he seeks.


Dog's love to sniff. Their nose "sees" things that their eyes may not, so its almost completely impossible to get them to stop entirely.

However, what we want to stop is their being nosy with it and poking their nose where we would rather they did not.

Remember, retraining your dog would take patience and consistency on your part. If your dog gets continually aggressive

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