Why is my dog licking my ears? What to Know

Why Does Your Dog Lick Your Ears?

Dogs can become infatuated with ear licking for a variety of reasons. All dogs, whether they are a hairless Chinese crested or a stocky Neapolitan mastiff, are descended from wolves, which are pack animals. Wild animals that live in packs or family units often have complex social structures and just as complex social behaviors to reflect that structure. Oftentimes grooming one another is one of these behaviors that helps give the unit structure.

Dogs show obsessive licking in a variety of ways. They can be licking themselves (most often their paws, leading to actual raw spots), objects (such as your carpet, furniture, doors etc.) or you.

There are different explanations for this curious behavior. Your dog might be licking your ears for one or several of the reasons below:

As with all behaviors, if you don’t like the licking you should stop it immediately, not after it has gone on for some time. The sooner you interrupt the behavior, the faster your dog will move on and the less likely he is to repeat it.

Letting your dog lick your baby’s ears can easily turn into your dog covering your baby’s whole face with his tongue and mouth. This is unsafe and your dog should absolutely be discouraged from doing so. Lift the baby out of his reach and proactively use baby gates or exercise pens to separate baby and dog.

If your dog has an underlying behavioral problem such as reactivity or separation anxiety, this needs to be addressed in separate training sessions. Once you help your dog overcome his behavioral issues, the licking will decrease as a result.

Ear Licking is a Complex Canine Behavior

Dogs are pack animals, meaning that most of their day to day activities are some form of communication. The ever changing social structure in a pack makes it necessary that dogs are good communicators.

Two dogs who are close friends or family members often engage in mutual grooming. The ears are a place that can get pretty dirty, and dogs are unable to groom them on their own. If you see a dog licking ears, whether they belong to another dog, a cat, or even you, he or she is saying two things:

  • I am comfortable with you and accept you as part of my pack.
  • I respect and love you.
  • Many times the more submissive dog of the two animals will be the one doing the licking, as it is a sign of respect and admiration. Next time you get an earful of tongue from your pooch, remember it just means he adores you!

    Why Do Dogs Lick Ears: The 7 Reasons Behind This ( Weird ) Behavior

    My pit bull, Bunker, loves being the center of attention and works hard at achieving that status every chance he gets.

    He enjoys playing fetch, simply being petted and licking people’s ears — especially my husband’s. I suppose part of the reason my husband is his “chosen one” is that he is much more willing to allow Bunker that sort of pleasure than I am.

    I will go along with a little lick or two, but Doug will sit there as long as Bunker wants him to. I truly believe this is a way of bonding for the two of them, since it is done regularly.