Most people's experiences with sheep is meeting a groomed pet at someone's hobby farm or seeing them at the fair. Sheep that aren't pets can get a bit whiffy when their wool gets wet from the rain or when they get sick and suffer from diarrhea. In ancient times shepherds weren't always welcomed at the finer establishments because they smelled like their sheep or to speak plainly, they stank. When a priest or a bishop or a pope says go be among the people and smell of your sheep they're saying in a roundabout way that the laity are so dumb and sinful that we actually stink of it and that's okay. Our Lord never said "Go right along with the stinking, dumb sinner and don't hold them to any standard or ask them to mend their ways." He really didn't.
Dearest, clergy, how about washing the sheep with the sacraments and cleaning yourself while you're at it?