You might have been wondering why your furry friend would choose to play and nibble on your ear, sometimes randomly, and sometimes during certain periods.
Your dog might not only be gnawing on your ear lobes but also extend the gesture to your family, friends, and even visitors! This could be quite embarrassing for you as a pet owner, especially when the person being licked is not a dog lover at all.
So, why does my dog nibble my ear? One common reason is your dog might just be trying to show you emotions like love and care. He might also be trying to draw your attention to something, do it out of instinct, need some bonding time with you, or enjoy your ear wax.
Top Reasons Your Dog May Be Nibbling Your Ear
1. Love and affection.
As you know, dogs are emotional animals. They feel happiness, love, anger, and even jealousy and love to express their emotions, especially to their owners. Ear nibbling could be a way of your dog telling you he absolutely loves, and adores you since he can not say those words out loud. Dogs often do this to express their love for each other, so it is no surprise he might just want to carry out the nibbling on you too.
2. Grooming you up.
Another reason why you might find your dog’s teeth and tongue on you is the fact that he is trying to clean you up, in a typical animal way. Other animals like cats also clean each other up by licking , so your dog may naturally want to do so.
However, it does mean your dog is cleaning your ear because it is dirty; it is just a normal and safe cleaning procedure unless you are worried about bacteria and saliva getting into your ear canal. You can then run a check on your ear afterward.
3. Smell and taste of your ear wax.
This particular reason is really gross when you think about it. Why would my dog like the taste of my bitter ear wax? Remember that dog taste buds are very different from ours (they enjoy raw meat) so, the taste of ear wax might be pleasant to them after all.
Dogs also have a very sharp sense of smell and might derive pleasure from Picking up your ear wax. As previously mentioned, ear nibbling could be a free grooming session for you and also a chance for your canine to grab a snack lodged deep in your ears.
4. Acting on instinct.
To understand your dog sometimes, you have to remember that some of the things it does are deeply rooted in its brain and are just a matter of instinct. As humans feel the need to sleep from time to time, dogs also feel the need to lick and nibble on each other and you sometimes. This habit is seen especially in puppies and younger dogs, and while some outgrow it as they get older, some carry it on to adulthood.
5. Showing respect and submission.
As strange as it might sound, your dog could also be nibbling on your ear to show his submission to you, acknowledging you as his leader.
Dogs are pack animals by nature, and the subjects of a pack usually nibble on the alpha’s ears (in this case, you) to show respect and subordination to whoever is in authority. You might also notice this in a group of dogs where the ‘weaker’ dogs nibble the ‘stronger’ one’s ears.
6. Nibbling out of boredom.
Dogs get bored too sometimes and may want to keep themselves busy with your ear, especially if it is very close to them at the moment. If you notice your dog does this a lot, try engaging him in fun activities; that way, he does not get to gnaw your ear every time he is bored.
Other times, your dog might need something to chew own to occupy his time, so he enjoys the chewy feel of your ear. Getting him a chew toy would also distract him.
7. Greeting you and expressing excitement.
If you have been away from your fog for a while, say, you went out on a long journey or just vane back from work, you might notice your dog runs towards you, licks your face, and nibbles your ear out of pure joy, and as a form of greeting like a ‘hello.’
Dogs can do this when they see someone or something they are pumped up about, like a new toy or a sign that you will play with him.
Read also: Why Does My Dog Lay His Head Over My Neck
8. Trying to get your attention urgently.
When you realize your dog suddenly starts nibbling on your ear vigorously, it could be an indication that he wants your attention immediately for something. It could be something about your environment, body, or something about his own body too.
He could even be doing it to express his anxiety to you or show you he is under stress. If you pinpoint this as the reason for his nibbling, then try to find out what the matter is as soon as possible.
9. Being curious about what is on you.
Whether it is a new aftershave, cologne, or cream you are eating, a fig will often nibble your ear when he thinks something has changed about you. Your hound might also notice something unusual about your skin or face and is trying to get your attention to it.
Dogs are naturally curious and want to find out everything they can about their environment. Shiny ear accessories like ear cuffs and earrings can also cause your dog to chew on your ear, to find out exactly the foreign object.
10. Expressing puppy behavior.
Puppies are adorable little creatures, and of course, baby dogs. They usually try to chew anything they can get their paws on, including your ears.
Nibbling could also happen because puppies often play with each other like this, so he might want to do the same with you. Nibbling also helps them exercise their growing teeth, which usually causes them pain, and learn how to bite.
So, how to stop dog nibbling your ears?
When trying to stop your canine from nibbling your ears, please don’t get aggressive with him as it can turn ugly. Here are some ways to go about it:
Direct his attention to toys:
If your dog nibbles your ear, you should redirect his attention to a toy. Chew toys are ideal for this. The dog will begin to associate the toy as a target for biting, not your ears. And he would be able to discharge that energy already built up.
Interrupt and Don’t make it more fun:
It is very common that when the puppies start to bite their owners, they find it cute. Try not to make it more fun for the dog.
When you keep pulling your ear, laughing, moving your ear in front of the dog’s muzzle, all of these make him want to nibble and play. And he will bite harder and harder, as he will be growing and excited about the game.
When the dog bites your ear hard, you must react quickly with “Ouch, it hurts!” and immediately stop playing and walk away. Interruption is punishment itself, as dogs love to play. Play again only when the dog is calm.
Use commands to relax the dog:
Use the commands “Calm” or alternative commands like “Sit.” You can use these commands to calm the dog during play. This allows the dog to relax and prevents the dog from becoming progressively more excited. Do not use them in response to negative behaviors as they may start to be associated with it.
From the reasons above, you can see why your dog nibbling and chewing on your ear is not a problem at all; in fact, it is beneficial to you and your dog.
I hope the tips above satisfy your curiosity and help you understand your furry friend better!
In conclusion, understanding your dog’s ear-nibbling behavior is an essential aspect of responsible pet ownership. It can signify affection, playfulness, curiosity, or a need for attention and comfort. By observing, training, and ensuring your dog’s ear health, you can create a loving and nurturing environment for your canine companion.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):
Is ear-nibbling a cause for concern?
Ear-nibbling is typically harmless and may have various motivations, including affection and playfulness. However, if it becomes excessive or painful, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian.
How can I stop my dog from nibbling my ear excessively?
Positive reinforcement, training, and redirecting your dog’s behavior toward more appropriate activities can help curb excessive ear-nibbling.
Can ear-nibbling lead to ear infections in dogs?
While ear-nibbling itself isn’t a direct cause of ear infections, it’s essential to maintain your dog’s ear hygiene to prevent such issues.
Are there any specific breeds more prone to ear-nibbling?
No specific breed is more prone to ear-nibbling; this behavior can be observed in dogs of all breeds and sizes.
When should I seek professional help for my dog’s ear-nibbling behavior?
If you notice persistent or painful ear nibbling, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.
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