Hey Adam, my precious dog Scout is amazing and so smart! I spend a lot of time with him just telling him how smart he is and he loves giving me kisses which is super sweet! Can you tell me how to stop Scout from smelling poop of other dogs when we go for a walk? I can't tolerate it that he does it, because I believe this poop is full of pathogens and will make him sick. I am also afraid it would make me sick later when he give me kisses.
You can teach your dog not to smell poop, but in order to do this you would have to teach Scout to be afraid of doing something that his body wants to do. So, I wouldn't do that. Your dog is investigating other dogs and animals by smelling their poop. Asking Scout not to smell the poop of other dogs would be similar to someone asking you to never smell your food again. Imagine having a bowl of strawberries that for some reason you guardian doesn't want you to smell.
That would suck. Although, how can you compare strawberries to poop?
When you smell the strawberries you are investigating them. Do they smell sweet? Bitter? By smelling what you eat, you get information about your environment. Dogs and many other mammals are the same: they get information about their environment through their sense of smell.
But why poop???
There is a long scientific answer to your question. Feel free to google it. The short answer is that there is a great deal of information that is contained in the poop. By smelling it, dogs can learn about health, emotional state, fertility... They can also recognize if it's a friend or an enemy etc.
I don't like it, but I get it. Your answer makes sense. Although, it doesn't resolve my issue with harmful bacteria that is in the poop. I am really afraid that Scout or I will get sick.
There is a rare possibility that simply smelling poop can lead to illness in your dog, and even more rare are the cases where that passes on to a human.
I base my decision on whether or not to let my dogs sniff or run free on the health of the environment.
For example; if I'm walking through a dried out lake bed and there are several rotted fish carcasses in the area, the health of the environment is poor and I keep my dogs close. Or if I know I'm in an area where a family of raccoons live- as their droppings can carry a nasty kind of air born worm, and so I keep my dogs close.
So basically what it boils down to is knowing your environment. It may be helpful to ask your local vet what kind of sicknesses are common in your area and then make an informed decision about where it's safe for Scout to smell poop of other animals or where it's not.
Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are intended for informational purposes only. The contents are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your vet with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition of your dog/s.