Why Does My Dog Lick My Ears?
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Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

Has your dog been licking your ears quite often recently? Does this dog behavior gross you out and make you wonder the reason behind it? In fact, there can be more than one causal link behind ear licking. 

You have come to the right spot. In this article, we will go in-depth regarding the commonly seen causes of dogs licking your ears and what control measures you can apply. It is a good practice to identify the trigger factor first. Following this, you can customize the preventive strategy accordingly.

Dogs may lick the ears due to several reasons ranging from taste, reinforcements, attention-grabbing, and so on. Let’s discuss each of them in the upcoming sections.

Top Reasons Why Dogs Lick Your Ears

There is no single reason as to why your dog does the ear licking. Each case is different, and we will list the most commonly seen ones based on our team of professional dog trainers’ experience.

Reinforcement By Accident

Dogs tend to repeat behaviors when they receive positive reinforcements in the form of comforting words, pats, cuddles, or getting fed their favorite treats. The last time they licked your ears, you may have accidentally done one of these.

As a result, your dog inferred that ear licking was considered good behavior. Therefore, they will repeat the same to get what they want from the owner once again.

They Enjoyed The Taste

Your dog may have liked how your ear tastes while they licked it the last time. There is also a chance that they liked the scent of the ear wax.

This reason is more likely to be the causal trigger if they are only attracted to licking the ear and not your other body parts. Get your ears cleaned at the earliest and check for any possible signs of ear infections.

Attention Seeking Mechanism   

Have you been giving your dog sufficient attention recently? If the answer is no, they will probably go out of their way to get you to notice them. Dog licking your ears can be a possible way to achieve this exact objective. 

Spending quality playtime with your dog can help control this desperation for attention by your dog. Also, try to avoid rewarding this dog licking behavior when they repeat it further

Inherent Nature

Dogs, especially young puppies, have the natural tendency to sniff and like to lick all things around them. It is an “Explore” phase for them. So licking your ears can be a form of exploration for them.

They will likely continue this behavioral issue into adulthood. But you can always attempt to reduce it using obedience training methods.

Sign Of Affection

Licking is how dogs showcase their love, adoration, and respect towards another living being, such as their favorite human. If they are licking you, it means that they care about you and trust you as their guardian and owner.

Licking can be their go-to response when you try to pet them. In addition, dogs also lick to groom themselves and their loved ones.

Feeling Of Excitement

They may have missed you while you went to work, and your returning home made them ecstatic. The resultant excitement may be conveyed via the process of licking your ears.

To curb excessive licking, you can try to avoid the causal mechanism. In this case, keep them engaged with a cloth that has your smell or a chew toy to keep them distracted.

Let’s now glance into a few control measures to reduce the ear licking by your pet.

Ways To Control Licking Of Ears

Do you want to stop your dog from licking your ears incessantly, follow the steps given below:

Cut Off Reinforcements

Never reward this licking behavior in the form of food and comforting words/actions. This will only encourage them to repeat the same action.

Give them attention and treats once they have stopped or reduced the licking.

Obedience Training

First, make them understand that licking the ear is not considered acceptable behavior. The next time they indulge in the licking, turn away, leave the room if needed.

Teach them a few basic commands like “Stop” to prevent the licks. Reward them with treats once they learn it well or make progress.

Provide Them Distractions

Another clever tactic would be to distract your pup from licking your ears. For instance, you can offer them a nice juicy bone, a fun chew toy, or a dog puzzle. These items would keep them hooked for hours.

Additional Points To Consider

Apart from the above factors, you can also try analyzing a couple of parameters given below:

Identify The Preceding Event

Think about what happened at home just before your dog licked your ears. There might have been an event that set this behavior.

Once that particular event is identified, you can prevent it from happening again or stop giving unwanted attention to it.

Timing Of The Licks

Canines are creatures of habit, and they have an internal timetable when it comes to daily affairs. For example, if they start licking just around mealtime, it may be due to hunger. So, you can time their meals accordingly.

Concluding Thoughts

In this article, we discussed the primary reasons behind the dog owners’ query, “Why does my dog lick my ears?”. Once the causal trigger is recognized, you can then move on to the appropriate prevention strategy for favorable outcomes.