Disclaimer: Our content is always reviewed and approved by a professional veterinarian. However, we recommend always reaching out to your dog's vet for any advice regarding your pup.
Dogs are notorious for licking their owners’ ears.
It’s a behavior that many dog lovers find cute but, it can be annoying and even painful to the person on the receiving end of this tongue bath.
Among other reasons, dogs might lick their owners’ ears because they like the taste, they want to groom them, or they’re showing respect.
In this post, we will go through 5 reasons why your dog licks your ears and what you can do to get him to stop.
Why Your Dog Licks Your Ears
It’s the weirdest feeling! Your ear gets wet and soggy… urgh! But as much as you hate it, your dog seems to love it.
Why is that? Are dogs just weird?
I mean… there are plenty of dog behaviors that certainly baffle us and leave us wondering what the heck is going on in our furry friends’ minds.
This is definitely one of those behaviors! But while we can’t pinpoint, exactly, why dogs lick their owners’ ears, it’s possible to narrow this behavior down to 5 possible reasons.
Let’s get into them!
1. Your Dog Likes You Clean
Remember that dogs are pack animals.
They’re used to grooming themselves, but there are always those spots that are impossible to reach without a little help from friends.
That’s what happens in a pack: You groom me, I’ll groom you.
This instinct is still present in your dog, even if he lives in a single pet household. He’ll groom you as a way to help you get clean, and that includes licking your ears, those hard-to-reach spots from your dog’s point of view.
2. Curiosity Gets The Best of Him
Dogs are curious animals by nature. They love exploring and discovering new objects, smells, and tastes.
And how do they explore the world around them? By using their noses and their mouths.
Your pup can learn a lot about you by sniffing you, and your ears are a source of interest because they have that waxy smell (no matter how well you clean them!).
So licking your ears could be your dog’s way of exploring you and this new, interesting smell.
3. Wax is yummy!
You know dogs like eating nasty things, right?
The smell of your ears might attract your dog to them, but the waxy flavor is part of the reason why he loves licking your ears.
Earwax has a bitter taste that your dog finds incredibly appealing. Gross but true!
4. Your Pup Loves And Respects You
Let’s go back in time again to when dogs lived in packs.
If you know anything about packs, you know that they have hierarchies that have to be respected.
To show their respect for the dogs higher up on the pack hierarchy, submissive dogs would often lick and groom them.
So when your dog licks you, he could be trying to tell you how much he loves and respects you.
5. Your Dog Feels Safe Around You
In multi-pet households where dogs get along really well with each other, you might notice that they groom each other often.
Aside from everything else we’ve touched on above, grooming another dog can also be a sign that the dog feels comfortable and safe around his companion. A sort of “thank you for being my friend” kind of thing.
Your pup might be licking your ears for the exact same reason: to let you know that he feels safe and comfortable around you, their companion.
How to Get Your Dog To Stop Licking Your Ears
While ear licking is completely harmless behavior and might actually be your dog’s way of communicating with you, it can be kind of gross and bothersome.
If you’re ok with the behavior, then, by all means, let him lick away. But if it bothers you, it’s more than natural that you would want it to stop.
In this case, you must address the behavior as soon as it starts, either by moving away from your dog or distracting him with something (a toy, food, etc.).
Also, consistency is key in training dogs, so don’t reject the behavior once and allow it the next time. Your pup won’t understand what he’s supposed to do or, in this case, not to do.
It turns out that ear licking may actually have a cute reason behind it and be a way for your pup to show you how much you mean to him.
But if the behavior bothers you, and no one would blame you if it did, all you have to do is train your furry friend to stop doing it.
Dogs exhibit funny behaviors all the time, and it’s up to us to guide them through what’s ok for them to do and what’s not. So be your dog’s guide and show him other ways to show you love.