Why Does My Dog Sniff My Legs

Why Does My Dog Sniff My Legs?

Have you ever walked in the door only to have your dog’s nose immediately be glued to your leg?  If you have a dog you have probably experienced this and wondered why does my dog sniff my legs?  This article will go into the reasons why dogs sniff our legs and what those reasons mean.

Why Do Dogs Sniff Our Legs?

Dogs sniff our legs because they are easily accessible to them when we are standing up.  In addition, our legs touch a lot of things when we are out and about.  Whenever we sit down somewhere our legs touch the chair and pick up the scent of whoever was sitting there before.

Although dogs like to sniff and lick, our faces, hands, and feet, if you just walked in the door, they can’t reach those locations as easily, so they will key in on your legs for a good sniff.

You’ve been around someone new or just another person

Dogs sniff our legs when we have been around someone new.  Whenever you spend time with another person, some of their scent particulars end up on you and your clothes. 

Since dogs have a strong sense of smell, they can tell that you were around someone else, and are smelling to investigate if it is a scent they know or not.

You’ve been to a new place

Dogs may also sniff you after you have been to a new place.  Different locations have different scents just like other people have different scents.  So, if you go to a new location, some of the scents linger on your clothes when you come home.

Dogs are really intrigued by new smells.

You have something on your pants or skin

Another reason why dogs sniff our legs is because there is something on your pants or skin.  When you go out and your clothes touch things, sometimes something get on them.  Since dog’s have such a keen sense of smell, they will find even the smallest particles on our clothes.

You just put lotion on

For some reason, dogs like the taste and smell of the lotion.  If you notice your dog is infatuated with your legs after putting on lotion this could be the reason. 

You’ve been around other dogs or animals

Your dog will definitely sniff your legs if you went to a place with other dogs or other animals.  Whenever you are around another dog or animal, their scent gets on your clothes and body. 

Dogs sniffing each other

As soon as you walk in the door, your dog will be able to smell the other animal immediately and will be anxious to sniff your leg to get more information about the other animal.

Your dog likes the scent and taste of your skin

Sometimes dogs sniff our legs just because they like the taste and scent of our skin.  You may have noticed that sometimes your dog will sniff your leg then lick it. 

Our scent is comforting to our dogs, and our dogs love us, so sometimes they will lick our legs to be close to us and get a taste to go along with the scent.  Just like some dogs like to steal their owner’s clothes for comfort, other dogs like to lick and smell you to be closer to you.

To learn about you

Another reason why dogs like our legs is that they can learn more about us.  A dog can tell where we have been and who we have been around just from a little scent. 

They can tell if you’ve been to the same location you go to everyday or if you went to a new location.  They can tell if you were around someone they know, or a new person they’ve never met before.  When you get home, sniffing you is like your dog getting a run-down of everywhere you have been.

Should You Worry About Your Dog Sniffing Your Legs?

Generally, no.  Your dog sniffing you, especially after you have been out and about is totally normal.  The only way you should be more concerned is if the sniffing gets to be excessive.  If your dog is sniffing your legs for hours after you come, you may want to talk to your vet.

Things to do to keep your dog from sniffing your legs

As said in the above section, you really shouldn’t have to do anything about your dog sniffing your legs.  Sniffing is a normal behavior and shouldn’t be anything concerning.  However, if this behavior bothers you, you can try the following things to reduce the behavior:

Change your clothes when you come inside

Our clothes hold a lot of smells from the outside world, so one of the things you can do to prevent your dog from sniffing you too much is to change your clothes as soon as you come home. 

Although you will still have some foreign smells on your skin, it won’t be as bad as having scent on both your clothes and your skin. 

Take a shower upon arriving home

Another good thing to do is to take a shower upon getting home.  This will reduce the outside smells on your skin as well.  Taking a shower and then putting on different clothes is the best way to remedy the leg sniffing bandit.

Use a non-scented lotion

If your dog tends to lick and sniff your legs after you apply lotion, consider changing to a non-scented lotion.  It could be the smell of the lotion that is causing your dog to lick and sniff your legs.

Be aware, this option probably won’t fully prevent the behavior.  Even if a lotion is unscented to us, it probably isn’t to our dogs since their sense of smell is so much more heightened than ours.  But you can always give it a try and see if it reduces the sniffing.


There are many possible reasons why your dog could be sniffing your legs, and the reason probably varies every time it happens.  Once you know the potential reasons it is easier to tell why it is happening. 

Look at who you were around, the places you went to, and if you were around any other dogs or animals.  Usually, there is an obvious reason why you have different scents on your legs that your dog is interested in. 

Remember dogs learn about their environment through smell.   Their sniffing you up and down is their way of keeping up with where you’ve been and who you’ve been around and nothing to be concerned about in most cases.