We often come across mischievous and playful behaviors in dogs, one of which includes biting the ears of other dogs. My dog love to play with its ears a lot…! Mostly, biting the ears of another dog is not a cause for concern, and it is a part of their playtime.
However, it is important to understand why your dog is getting involved in such behaviors if it is a recurring activity. Addressing the issue can help you learn about any underlying condition that needs attention.
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If you are someone who is constantly asking yourself, “why does my dog bite other dogs’ ears“, this article is just for you. In this article, we shall make an effort to shed some light on the ear-biting behavior of dogs and find possible solutions.
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When I first saw my furball obsessed with ears, it was alarming for me. But after digging deep and finding out that it’s natural for dogs to bite the ears of other dogs as part of their grooming instincts. This behavior is commonly seen in puppies, who often indulge in exploring new things and biting into various items during their teething stages.
However, when they are out of puppyhood and have effectively become adults, it could be a bit worrying if they continue with their ear-nibbling behavior. They may even damage or cause physical injury to other dogs if they leave without finding a solution.
Honestly, I first thought it was just the way dogs interact with each other, but there could be several reasons why your dog bites the ear of another dog. Here are some potential reasons to look out for.
1. You are Dealing with a Puppy
Chewing on the ears of their siblings is a very frequent behavior among puppies. As pups use their jaws to investigate the environment, this can occasionally be caused by teething. Commonly known as mouthiness, it can appear in a variety of forms.
Puppies may chew on objects they find chewable and enticing, and they surely will nibble on whatever they can, even the ears of a different dog. Puppy teeth-chewing may turn into aggressive biting or nipping when they are extremely active.
2. An Older Dog is Trying to Keep Young Ones Well-Behaved
If you find an older dog biting the ears of a puppy, it can often be a case where the older one is trying to control the behavior of the younger one. My one always disciplines its young ones like this; sometimes I, too, tag along for fun!
This occurs when the puppy is overly excited and makes some mischief that the older dog doesn’t approve of. In such situations, the older dog would simply try to get the puppy to behave by nipping their neck or biting their ear.
However, you must always keep a check on the older dog and not let them be too intimidating and aggressive towards the puppy. If they exhibit such behavior, you must take the puppy out of the scene and get some professional help for the older dog.
3. A Way of Showing Affection and Part of Grooming
Dogs are loving creatures who show their affection by licking, nipping, and having playful fights. A canine also indulges in grooming sessions where a dog licks other dog’s ears and lightly bites them. Since ears tell a lot about the health of a dog, sniffing and biting are common behaviors in dogs.
Closely bonded dogs may show this behavior more often and spend quite some time grooming their canine friends and family. They may lick the ears to remove ticks or ear infections that they may have sniffed out. In addition, a dog nibbles the owner’s ears to show his love.
It is important to instill socialization in dogs from a young age, as it helps manifest compassion and affection for other dogs. Proper dog-to-dog interactions can help them avoid aggressive behavior later in life when they have a canine confrontation.
Dogs biting the ears of other dogs can have warning signs that help you stop and revert the behavior to some useful activity. If you do not take proper measures, it can lead to serious consequences that can be life-threatening for your dog as well as others.
1. Signs of a Dog Biting Other Dog’s Ears
I learned it the hard way but make sure you take the necessary measure in the first signs. So, here are some signs to look out for to help you determine whether your dog will start an aggressive ear-biting fight with other dogs.
- Aggressive behavior in dogs often starts with a deep growl and snarl that feel quite frightening. If your dog is in this mode, make sure to find ways to calm him or take him out of the situation.
- If your dog shows his teeth in a threatening way while biting the ear of another dog and makes a grumbling sound, know that it is a result of dog aggression. You can try to get him to release the ear by using gentle talking and distracting techniques.
- Your dog is playing with another dog, and he bites his ears. Suddenly, you hear a sharp yelp from the other dog. This is another sign that the other dog is in pain because your dog bit him a little too hard.
- You can also understand aggressive behavior through a dog’s body language. Whenever my dog stares with his ears flattened, it’s often a sign that he is about to cause some mischief. If you find your dog in this position, know that it is in fight mode, ready to pounce and make his superiority known.
2. What are the Consequences of a Dog Biting Other Dog’s Ears?
We have seen many cases of ear-biting aggression in dogs, which may start as a playful activity and turn into full-on aggressive dog fights. Sometimes, your dog could be protecting itself from other potentially threatening dogs by biting their ears so they won’t attack them.
In such situations, ear-biting behavior in dogs can cause physical injuries with irreversible repercussions. My dog was adopted from a shelter. He was rescued from a street fighting episode where one of the other dogs injured one of his ears, causing him to lose his sense of hearing.
In some cases, aggressive ear biting can lead to drawing blood, biting with aggression, creating deep punctures, making other dogs wail in pain, causing deafness, loss of an ear, and other harmful results.
Therefore, it is important to intervene early on before the ear-biting fights get out of hand and cause irreparable physical injuries. Taking preventative measures is the best way to keep your dogs in check for such harmful behaviors.
Adopting prevention and management strategies to control the behavior of ear-biting in dogs can prevent your dog from getting involved in aggressive fights.
Here are some helpful tips to prevent ear-biting incidents and territorial aggression in dogs.
Use Bitter Anti-Chew Spray
Bitter anti-chew spray can deter your other dogs from biting their ears as soon as they attempt it due to its bitter nature. Carrying it around when visiting parks or meeting other canine pals can help prevent dog-on-dog attacks. However, you must ensure the sprays don’t get into the eyes of dogs.
Offer Training and Socialization Opportunities
Train your dog to refrain from biting the ears of other dogs and getting into fights with the help of professionals. Give him more opportunities to socialize with other dogs so he doesn’t get into fights as soon as he comes face-to-face with another canine.
Don’t Let Overexcitement Escalate
Whenever you see playful ear bites getting to the brink of a fight, intervene and stop the behavior right away. Get them to different locations and give them a timeout or engage them in other activities.
Use Distraction as a Go-To Tool
You can use various methods to distract your dog from the situation where it seems like your dog is about to get into an ear-biting fight with another dog. Making a loud noise often does the trick, as you can quickly get his attention and get him away from the other dog.
However, you must remember not to yell at your dog, as this may make him angrier, and he may not budge from the behavior.
Keep A Safe Distance Between Dogs
If you have multiple dogs in your household, maintain a safe distance between them to avoid unnecessary fights and conflicts. Have separate toys, bowls, and other dog items for each member. If you have puppies or adult dogs, keep a check on them to avoid canine dominance.
Positive reinforcement training methods can help your dogs understand the rewarding nature of good behavior. These methods are effective, I can attest to them myself, along with my pup, and address various aggressive dog behaviors, including ear-biting.
They incorporate rewarding techniques such as encouraging, praising, and snacking on treats whenever the dogs indulge in good behavior and ignoring them when they are bad.
You can try the following steps to implement the technique:
Step 1: Encourage and show affection when they don’t bite each other’s ears.
Step 2: Treating them with their favorite snacks and engaging them in their favorite activities can reinforce the positive effects of good behavior.
Professional dog trainers and behaviorists play a crucial role in determining the right methods based on your dog’s nature. They can come up with techniques suitable for curbing inter-dog aggression and manifesting good behavior in dogs.
When you find yourself in a situation where your dog got involved in a dog fight because of ear-biting gone too far, you can use some techniques to put a stop to the situation. Getting the dog’s attention by physically pulling him away to stop the fight could be one of the ways. You may also use any object to break the fight.
If you use any of these methods, ensure to keep your hands and face away from the dog’s mouth to avoid getting bitten or hurt. In addition, if one of the dogs gets hurt in the fight, you must tend to him immediately and make sure to take him to a veterinarian. Here’s how you can do so.
Step 1: First, move him carefully and safely to another location.
Step 2: Use a first aid kit to clean and wipe away blood from the injured part.
It is important to get the assistance of a veterinarian, as the injury may have infected the dog with microbes. This can potentially lead to serious issues and may threaten the life of your dog.
If you are unable to control ear-biting behavior in your dog, consider consulting a professional, such as a dog trainer or a behaviorist. They have immense knowledge and years of experience in dog aggression training.
They help dogs with behavioral issues and get them under control. This could be a viable option; however, it could be difficult when it comes to finding and selecting a qualified professional.
To make the right choice, consider posting an ad on social media and other online platforms. You may also get word-of-mouth recommendations from peers and fellow pet owners who got their dogs trained by professionals.
Before choosing a dog trainer or behaviorist, you must look for proper qualifications, credentials, and experience. Don’t shy away, I gained valuable experience from talking to professionals, and I’m sure you will too.
Getting expert assistance in training and controlling aggressive behavior can prevent a lot of trouble down the road. It will also help you create a lasting bond with your dog and get a deeper understanding of using canine communication signals.
In this article, we saw the various reasons why dogs bite the ears of other dogs, signs to look out for, the consequences, preventative measures, and tips that will help you refrain your dog from exhibiting extreme ear-biting behavior.
I tried to include all that I knew and learned about this dog’s behavior with my personal experience. As a dog parent, you must instill good behavior and reward your pets for preventing aggression. If you are facing dog behavior problems persistently, seek the help of a professional without delay.
1. Is it normal for dogs to engage in ear-biting behavior?
A: It is normal for dogs to engage in playful ear-biting behavior. In fact, it is quite common in puppies and young dogs who are getting to know their surroundings and fellow canine friends. These kinds of bites do not often hurt or cause any injury. However, it is not normal for a dog to engage in extreme ear-biting, which ends up hurting or drawing blood. You must seek professional help in such cases.
2. Are certain dog breeds more prone to ear-biting incidents?
A: Yes, certain dog breeds are more prone to ear-biting incidents due to their aggressive nature. Chihuahuas, pit bulls, and some mixed breeds are among the breeds that often cause biting injuries and fights.
3. What are the signs of aggression or ear biting in dogs?
A: Some of the signs of aggression or ear biting in dogs include snarling, baring teeth while biting, grumbling, growling, and excessive fighting.
4. Should I intervene if I witness one dog biting another dog’s ears?
A: You must analyze the situation before intervening when a dog bites another dog’s ears. If the dogs are making happy sounds and do not seem to be in pain, you can dismiss the situation as playing. However, if you hear wailing with pain, grumbling, snarling, etc., you must take immediate measures to stop the behavior.
5. How can I safely break up a dog fight initiated by ear-biting?
A: One of the safest ways to break up a dog fight initiated by ear biting is to make a loud noise like clapping or a sound that the dog is not familiar with. You may also use a whistle or other distracting devices that take away the attention of your dog and help the other dog escape. Make sure not to shout or scold them, as it can aggravate the situation.