Why do dogs lick people's ears? Usually, it is a sign of affection, but sometimes it is a sign that something is wrong.
Usually, your dog licks your ears because it likes you and respects you. If you dislike your dog licking your ears, you can train your dog to stop. It will get the message that it should not lick you if you discourage it repeatedly.
Dogs and wolves groom each other in the wild for many reasons. When your dog licks your ears, it may be a gesture of respect, love, or submission. The dog is telling you that you are the leader of its pack and that it accepts your leadership.
Sometimes, your dog might lick your ears for another reason. Possibly, you could have an ear infection that your dog might notice before you. Dogs can often detect illnesses in humans before they experience any symptoms.
I have had pet dogs for my whole life, and I know a little about their psychology. If your dog is not only licking your ears, but always following you around trying to get attention in general, something may be wrong. Your dog may need more exercise, socialization with other dogs, or games that make it feel like it has a role and helps your family.
How Dogs Communicate
Dogs can communicate with other dogs with their tongues, and they may try to communicate with humans in the same way. A dog communicates in a few ways:
- Communication through eye contact: a dog is more likely to get whatever message you are trying to send them if you look them right in the eye. Whether you are trying to encourage or discourage a certain behavior, look your dog in the eye.
- Tone of voice: dogs can use voice tones that a human can understand even though they lack words. They can act scared, complain, act aggressive, or act excited by making different sounds. Dogs can learn more than a few words, but you can communicate with them better using different tones.
- Body language. If you stand up straight and act like you are in charge, your dog will accept you as a leader. Otherwise, it may not accept you.
How does a dog use its tongue to communicate? Mother dogs lick their pups to clean them and show them affection. Dogs also show affection and submissiveness to their peers and elders using their tongues.
Grooming in Animal Packs
Most animals keep themselves clean. They do this by licking, but it is not possible for a dog to lick itself everywhere.
Dogs help each other groom hard to reach places. When your dog licks your face, it might be trying to get your face clean, strange as that sounds.
Your Dog Sees You as a Leader
A dog may lick your face because it loves you and also because it sees you as its leader. Among wolves, grooming is a way of showing respect to a wolf of higher social rank.
When your dog licks your ears, it may be telling you that it sees you as a higher ranking member of the family and that it will obey you. When you have a dog, you should act like a leader - your dog expects and prefers that. A dog can also roll over and show its belly or tuck its tail behind its legs to show that it sees you as the leader.
Because Your Dog Feels Safe Around You
Dogs also groom each other to calm down and to calm each other down. If your dog licks your ears, it may be saying that it loves you and that you make it feel safe. If your dog also acts relaxed and calm when licking you, it may be showing you that you make it feel safe.
Dogs Like the Taste of Strange Things
Sometimes, a dog likes the taste of something that a human wouldn't like the taste of. This might include your ears.
Exploration and Curiosity
Dogs also have a lot of curiosity about the world. They like to explore the world with their mouths and noses as much as with their eyes and ears. This makes everything interesting to them.
You Might Have an Ear Infection
Usually, it is not a sign that anything is wrong with either your dog or you if your dog licks your ears. However, in some cases, your dog might notice a health problem that you don't notice yet.
You might have an ear infection but haven't started experiencing symptoms yet. If you get an ear infection shortly after your dog starts licking your ears, your dog might have noticed it before you.
Dogs can notice many illnesses before people do. Dogs can even be taught to detect cancer reasonably well. Dogs can also detect your emotions as well as or better than humans.
Dogs Can Get Bored
Dogs and other animals can get bored just as humans can. If your dog isn't getting enough stimulation or activity, it might lick your ears to indicate that it wants to play. Dogs also need attention, and licking your ears can indicate that.
Doggy boredom can make your dog unhappy and can lead to bad behaviors sometimes. Your dog might behave badly when you are away if it is bored. If your dog does something like unroll your toilet paper or chew your furniture, it can be due to boredom.
Your dog may need more exercise than a few short walks each day. If you throw your dog a frisbee or give your dog somewhere to run around freely, it will calm down. You might also give your dog tasks that test its mind - for example; you could hide treats around the house and have your dog try to find them.
Teach Your Dog Tricks
If your dog is always trying to get your attention, whether by licking your ears or following you around, or barking more than usual, it may need to learn something new. After your dog learns basic obedience, you may want to teach it some tricks.
A dog can do a lot of things with practice. You might teach a dog to climb a ladder, walk around on its hind legs, spin around, shake your hand with its paw, unroll a yoga mat, jump over something, and more.
Socialization With Other Dogs
On its own, your dog licking your ears doesn't indicate that anything is wrong - your dog is only showing affection. However, if it is combined with other behavior that makes your dog seem bored, understimulated, or lonely, it may need to be around other dogs.
Many people give their dogs the opportunity to socialize as puppies but not nearly enough as adults. Adult dogs also need to socialize. You can give your dog the opportunity to interact with another dog on a walk, or you can arrange playtime with other dogs.
If you know other dog owners, it is easy to arrange playtime. Don't pair your dog up with another dog that it wouldn't get along with. For example, an aggressive dog should not play with a timid dog.
Your Dog May Need to Feel Like They Have a Job
Many dogs were historically used more for helping humans do certain jobs than as pets. Dogs pulled sleds in the arctic, herded sheep, guarded houses, and helped hunters. Some dogs still perform some of these roles today, but they are primarily pets.
Again, a dog licking your ears, on its own, might not mean anything. If you put your head near your dog, it may lick your ears simply as a way of greeting you.
However, if it seems like your dog is starved for attention, something may be wrong. You could give your dog something to do that makes it feel like it has a job. For example, you could bury toys in a sandbox and have your dog dig them up.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright