So, why does my dog nibble my ear? We love our dogs, and often the things we love most about them are their funny behaviours. What we consider to be cute or quirky, very often are a means of communication for our dog. Below we will answer the burning question… Why do dogs like licking ears??
Why Do Dogs Like to Lick Ears?
One such behaviour is when your pet licks the ears of another dog, another animal, or person. To some, this behaviour is hilarious, while others find it a bit gross. Regardless of your opinion on it, it is typical behaviour for dogs. But, have you ever asked your why dogs do this?
6 Reasons Your Dog Licks Your Ears
A show of affection is the most likely reason why your dog will lick your or someone else’s ears. This behaviour has roots back when dogs lived in packs. Licking another dog’s ears showed that the recipient dog had been accepted into the pack.
So, if your dog is licking your ears, it means that it is comfortable and feels safe in your presence. You’ve been accepted into your dog’s family, so to speak.
Your dog might also lick your ears to show you a mark of respect. Licking or grooming you are submissive signs that your dog recognises you as the boss. The same applies if your dog licks your face or your feet.
Of course, there could be a more straightforward explanation – your dog is bored, and they want to tell you it’s time for play! If your dog is not getting sufficient stimulation, they may resort to this behaviour. Keeping them active, with plenty of toys and treats, usually averts ear licking.
As already alluded to, grooming is a mark of respect that stems back to pack-animal behaviour. By licking your ears or face, your dog thinks it is helping you keep yourself clean. So, no more need for those bottles of scent in the bathroom!
We’ve all experienced our dogs having a nibble at something pretty gross. Well, licking your ears might be your dog trying to get hold of some tasty earwax! Dogs can smell even the slightest trace of food, so any smear left around the chin or face area will immediately get them salivating.
6. Infection or Compulsion
If another dog is licking your dog’s ears, you may want to take a closer look. Smells attract dogs, and those smells often originate from an ear infection.
Inspect your dog’s ears and look for swelling, inflammation, mites, or overly dirty ear canals. If you notice any of these, then it is advisable to get them addressed immediately, as ear infections can be incredibly painful for your dog if left untreated.
If you know that your dog has got an ear infection, keep them away from other dogs to discourage ear-licking, which can worsen the condition.
How to stop dog licking ears
You may well adore having your ears licked by your pet, but other people might not find it quite so attractive. So, how can you stem this behaviour before it turns into an embarrassing situation?
One solution that many experts recommend is to put your dog’s food inside a toy. Your dog has to focus and work to get its tasty reward.
Occupying their mind this way will take their attention off your, or anyone else’s, ears. This distraction method has proved to deliver exceptional results.
Another way to distract your dog’s attention from the boredom that often causes ear-licking is to take them for a short walk. Do this as soon as they start licking, or, even better, just before they start if you identify the behaviour early enough. The mere mention of a walk, or reaching for your dog’s lead is more than enough to get them excited and forget about your ears.
Either putting food inside a toy or a brief walk is usually enough to get your dog to stop licking ears, but you might not get the results you want immediately. Like forming or reforming any other habit, it takes time and repetition to get the lasting effects that you want.
Whichever method you choose, keep at it, and eventually, you should see some positive results. You may not remove the behaviour entirely, but it may happen less frequently than before.