Pheromones are scent cells that trigger certain physical responses in a many creatures, including dogs. Although humans cannot smell dog pheromones, dogs can. Pheromones can help dogs communicate with other dogs. Just how pheromones work on the brain is still mysterious, but dogs are able to smell them with the help of the vomeronasal organ, or Jacobson's organ, located far up the nose close to the brain, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Dog pheromones can be reproduced to help train dogs.
These pheromones are present in a dog’s urine, one of the reasons why dogs mark their territories with urine. Female dogs in heat release strong pheromones that can be detected for miles by male dogs. Female dog sex pheromones have not been reproduced for the general market but are important to dogs.
The testosterone in male dogs helps to produce their territorial pheromone. Male dogs will mark prominent places like fire hydrants, fences or tree trunks in order to advertise their presence as the territory owner. Male dogs will also diligently urinate over the urine scents of any other dog that happened by in order to obliterate the previous dog’s pheromones. A male dog uses pheromones to mark his territory and may announce his virility and health to any other dog that happens by. This lets other wandering dogs know that they better get out of the particular territory or they may risk getting into a fight with this male dog. This type of pheromone has been reproduced to use in commercial sprays to keep dogs away from flower beds, yards or other areas, Dr. Amy Wolff writes on Pet Place.
Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP)
Dog appeasing pheromones mimic the pheromones produced by a mother dog as she nurses her puppies. This scent can help calm a dog down during stressful situations like going for a ride in the car if they usually get car sick, thunderstorms or living in new and stressful areas like an animal shelter, according to New Scientist. DAP products come in plug-in diffusers, sprays and collars.
Before dogs urinate or defecate, they will sniff around in order to find the best place to go. In order to discover these places, they are sniffing for traces of previous dog urine or feces. Pheromones that encourage dogs to eliminate in certain areas have been infused in housetraining products like pads and posts.