All dog owners are aware that dogs are fond of displaying some unusual behaviors such as licking their feet, licking other dogs’ ears, and even licking their owners’ ears. It is agreed that all dogs can be a little weird, and there is little to nothing anyone can do about it. Dog owners may be confused regarding these behaviors; however, it is usually a way dogs communicate.
Dogs lick their owners’ ears for various reasons, including respect and submission, for grooming, to display love, for comfort and security, to enjoy the taste of ear wax, infections, longing for attention, accepting you as part of their pack, love for your personal care products, and boredom.
Advice for all aspiring pet owners; learn all you can about the pet you want to have before purchasing it. Only then can you know why your dog displays some weird and strange behaviors, and you will not panic.
Why Does My Dog Lick My Ears?
When dogs want to communicate with their owners, they can use different body language, including their tongues. Although, this technique could sometimes make owners uncomfortable. However, these behaviors all started when dogs used to live as pack members in the wild.
They often lick each other’s ears for grooming and to show submission. Some of the reasons ancient dogs licked their ears in the wild are why they still lick their owners’ ears. It is a harmless behavior that expresses a dog’s love and submission and grooms its owner. We will be explaining more detailed reasons why your dog licks your ear below.
For Submission And Respect
Dogs are pack animals, and they often consider their owners a member of their pack – the alpha. Back when they lived in the wild, lower pack members often licked the higher pack members to show respect and submission. Domesticated dogs still display this behavior.
So, since you are seen as the pack’s alpha, your dog will lick your ears to show that it respects and values you. This is the likely reason if you also notice other submission behaviors, such as your dog exposing its belly, flattening its ear, and wagging its tail low. As long as the dog considers any part of the family a member of its pack, it will lick their ears.
For Comfort And Security
Another reason your dog licks your ears is to communicate that it feels comfortable and safe being around you. Dogs are only loose and free when they are with someone they trust. This is more likely when you are seated, and your dog comes to lick your ears while having a soft face and staying relaxed.
So, if you ever notice this, understand it is a sign of comfort. What you can do to make the dog even feel more comfortable is for you to act very calmly and not chase or scold the dog. If you scold the dog, it may feel like it is not welcomed and heartbroken, making the dog begin to get nervous around you.
It Likes The Taste Of Your Ear
If you are very familiar with dogs, you would agree they like the taste of odd things like earwax. Do not be surprised to find out that the taste of ear wax is another reason dogs lick ears. Earwax is known to be bitter, oily, and salty, and one can only imagine why dogs like the taste. It sounds gross; however, that is just dogs for you. They enjoy the taste of ear wax.
This is a common reason why dogs lick each other’s ears. Since a dog cannot groom some parts of its body like the ear, it tends to rely on its other dog’s friend to help it out. So, this same instinct kicks in when they are with their owners. A dog licking your ear could be a way of the dog thinking it is helping you clean your ears.
A Sign Of Love
Another reason dogs lick their owner’s ear is to express their love and affection. Perhaps you just returned home after a long while; your dog could rush to you, wagging its tail and licking your feet. The moment you squat or bend to pat the dog and maintain eye level with it, it could begin to lick your ears.
This is more likely when your dog shows a delighted face while licking your ears. So, if you have been experiencing this, you need to understand that it is just a way of the dog expressing its love, and you should ensure you always reciprocate the love and affection. This proves to the dog that the feelings and love are mutual.
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An Attention Seeking Behavior
If your dog notices that licking your ears makes you happy and always gets your attention to play with it, it would likely do that more whenever it needs your attention. Perhaps your dog has been feeling bored and wants to play; it will probably come to lick your ears.
Giving your dog the attention it seeks is a way of reinforcing the behavior. However, if you are not cool with this attention-seeking behavior, do not reinforce it. Instead, what you could do is to stay calm. Afterward, you could get up and direct the dogs’ attention elsewhere.
What Does It Mean When A Dog Licks Your Ear?
As a dog owner, you should know that not all dog behavior has reasons; sometimes, your dog enjoys messing around with you. So, the fact that there are etiological reasons why dogs lick their owners’ ears; there are times when the dog wants to lick your ears.
When your dog licks your ears, it could mean that the dog is expressing its love for you; this is the dog showing you that it appreciates you for everything you have done to it. It could also mean that your dog is trying to understand what is around it, especially common with puppies.
Also, a dog licking another dog’s or human’s ears could mean that the subject has an ear infection. Dogs can sniff out various things; when there is an ear infection, the scent of the earwax is stronger, and dogs are attracted to it.
Why Does My Dog Lick My Other Dog’s Ears?
The reasons why dogs lick each other’s ears are similar to those we explained above. Monitoring and observing your dog well could help you determine the exact reason from those we already explained. However, the most common reason dogs lick each other’s ear is for grooming purposes.
Grooming is a way of helping dogs stay healthy. So, when dogs need to groom their ears, they often rely on licking each other’s ears for grooming. Another reason could also be because they enjoy the taste of ear wax. Just as explained earlier, dogs enjoy the taste of ear wax and could continue to lick each other’s ears to taste their ear wax.
However, it is always advised that you monitor your dog well, as excessive licking of the ear could indicate an ear infection. So, once you notice any excessive licking, ensure you examine your dog’s ear for symptoms such as discharge or redness. If you notice any, ensure you take your dog to a vet urgently to avoid further complications.
It is important that you do not scold a dog whenever it licks your ears. We have already explained the common reasons why it often happens. If it becomes excessive, you should take the dog to a veterinarian for a medical checkup and possible treatment. However, if you are not cool with the behavior, ensure you do not reinforce the behavior.
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Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.