Why Does My Dog Nibble My Ear? How To Stop It?

Dogs have peculiar and fascinating ways of showing their affection. They communicate with their owners in odd and endearing ways that come naturally to them. Dogs may nibble on their owners’ ears as a form of grooming behavior, mimicking how they would clean their pack members. It can also be a way for dogs to show their affection and bond with their owners through gentle nibbling.

Well, that’s how I learned that dogs nibble our ears for various reasons, but typically it just means they love us and want to play with us. So, if you are wondering why does my dog nibbles my ear, this article has the answers to all your questions. So, come, let’s begin exploring!

Why Does My Dog Nibble My Ear

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Is it normal for my dog to nibble on my ear?

Dogs nibbling on their hoomans are completely normal, and it is most often considered a form of affection. Ear nibbling is a typical canine behavior seen in puppies and adult dogs alike. When your dog nibbles on your ears, it may mean they want your attention and have some fun with you. However, it could be a bit more common in puppies in their teething phase.

Simpler yet, dogs could still be acting like puppies, especially if they are young, or they might just like the flavor. Play biting is quite normal for a puppy in the first six to eight weeks. Moreover, when dogs are in their puppy phase, they discover that acting aggressively can get them the attention of other people and get them to play with them.

I recommend you speak with a veterinarian or certified dog trainer if you don’t know why your dog is chewing on your ears. They may help you in finding out the issue’s underlying causes, if any. You can then develop a strategy to deal with the excessive ear nibbling.

What does it mean when my dog nibbles my ear?

It often made me wonder why my dog sniffs my ears and research about it. Turns out dogs have a strong sense of smell, and they find the smell of your ear or earwax fascinating. Humans’ sweat contains a lot of salt, and our earwax may smell particularly intriguing to our dogs because of their strong olfactory communication.

Though you might not realize it, your dog may simply enjoy the taste or smell of your sweat or earwax. Their biology and genetic makeup also indicate that they may occasionally nibble on your ears. It can be considered dog grooming habits.

As part of their grooming behavior, they often engage in nipping and biting during this stage. Dogs may be trying to groom you while also submitting to you if they are chewing on your ears.

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As a symbol of appeasement, dogs often engage in licking and playful fighting with each other, and nibbling on ears is not an exception. Sometimes a dog licks the base of his tail and licks his coat as part of its personal grooming, which it may do to other dogs. Since ear nibbling includes gnawing away any potential irritants, such as bugs or leaves, it can also be a useful step in their personal grooming process.

If your dog is nibbling at your ear, it could mean that they think you are part of their pack and an important individual to them. If you have gained this respect from your canine friend, give yourself a pat on the back for making your pup feel loved and cared for.

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Why Do Puppies Nip So Much?

Young puppies nibble because of teething, and it can be itchy as the new teeth come in. In addition, puppies pick up the skill of playing with their tongues as a dog’s sense of touch begins with their tongue, which eventually teaches them about limits.

Mouth play is crucial to the behavioral development of infants throughout the first eight weeks. Their mother and littermates train them on appropriate boundaries, such as when to stop biting or not biting too hard. Young puppies nibble because of teething, and it can be itchy as the new teeth come in.

How can I tell if my dog’s ear-nibbling behavior is playful or aggressive?

You can know that your dog’s ear nibbling behavior is playful if they do it without making any grunts. They will also want to have a cuddle and some playing which comes with their natural canine social interaction.

Dogs’ most common way of playing with other pups is by biting them lightly and nipping them. When my dog is in a playful mood, he is always relaxed, with his tongue lolling out. Dogs also chase each other, play bow, and do all kinds of mischief when they are playful.

However, if they are grunting, snapping, and snarling more than usual and the ear nibbling does not seem like they are kissing you, it means they are being aggressive. This is quite rare and can only happen in extreme situations.

Moreover, if you don’t control the nibbling in the early stages, it can turn violent when you try to stop it later on. Even though occasional nibbling is generally not a cause for alarm, frequent nibbling can lead to more aggressive nibbling. This can occasionally result in a bite.

Can ear nibbling be a sign of affection from a dog?

Yes, ear nibbling can be a sign of affection from your dog. These canine companions are known for their various forms of showing affection. They can sometimes be endearing and other times too slobbery. Affectionate behavior in dogs includes cuddling, tail wagging, nudging, licking face, and of course, ear nibbling.

If your dog consistently nips at your ears, it can simply be their way of showing their love and devotion. When I arrive home, my dogs like sniffing me and licking my cheeks to show their appreciation and affection. As dog parents, you may enjoy it and feel loved in return.

Moreover, some dog breeds are known for their overtly affectionate behaviors. Chihuahuas lick so much that you will probably be covered in slobber whenever they want to show their love. Likewise, some dog breeds get so excited they start barking non-stop.

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Why Does My Dog Nibble My Ear

How can I train my dog to stop nibbling my ear during grooming?

Nipping is a dog’s instinctive behavior, and it can be hard to control. Nipping is also a healthy part of their grooming and keeps their jaws and teeth healthy. However, nipping your ears may not be healthy for you as it can hurt your skin. So, it is necessary that you help your dog stop their nibbling behavior directed at you.

If your puppy is still in their early stages, nibbling on your ear might simply be a way for them to explore you and get to know you better. If you observe them nipping too often or too hard, be careful to set limits to stop the undesirable behavior early on.

It is preferable to take action right away if your dog’s nibbling is starting to annoy you or others. Because dogs enjoy sniffing, nibbling, and licking, it is important not to completely discourage them from these natural curiosities. Just do not let them nip on your ear.

Although you can’t stop your dog’s nibbling behavior, you can divert it to other appropriate objects, like a toy, instead of your ears. You can easily train your dog to stop nibbling your ear during grooming by following some simple techniques. Additionally, make sure to give them a playful and interesting environment that is full of toys and aromas to keep them occupied. This will also promote canine health and wellness.

Whenever my dog seems to be in a mood to nip my ears, I simply put some chewy toy in his mouth to divert the behavior. You can use this method if you want to avoid your dog nipping other people who visit you that it likes. Simply keep some chewable toys near the door and offer one whenever you have a guest.

Do dogs use ear nibbling to communicate with humans?

Ear nibbling can be a part of dog communication to let their human parents know they love them or want something from them. Nibbling may be a way for them to let you know what they need since they cannot communicate in any other way for obvious reasons.

This could also be the answer to why your dog only nips at your ear when it’s time for them to get something. Dog body language can easily give away when they are trying to communicate with nipping.

Is ear nibbling a sign of dominance or submission in dogs?

Another possibility of your dog chewing on your ear is that they are showing you respect or submission while trying to love you. My dogs like to lick and nibble whenever they see me after a long day.

Grooming is one of the primary ways that dogs show submission and respect for others among dogs which includes nibbling. It’s possible that nipping at another dog’s ear indicates dominance in some situations, depending on the dog’s breed characteristics.

However, nibbling can also be a symptom of stress if your dog keeps chewing on your ear and you are unable to stop them. Be sure to address any possible sources of stress in your dog’s life.

How can positive reinforcement training help with ear-nibbling behavior?

If your dog has trouble controlling their urges, it may not realize that its nibbling is harming you, which might have serious long-term effects. If you have young kids, these effects could be dangerous. So, it is essential that you set boundaries and let them know at the right time.

Positive reinforcement training is an effective way to put a stop to nibbling behavior. Without being too harsh or aggressive, you can train your dog or pup not to nibble you to show their affection.

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If you want to stop your dog from nibbling things that aren’t supposed to be eaten, start by rewarding positive behavior with treats or other objects, like their favorite toy. Praise them if your dog complies with positive reinforcement and your preferred reward.

Make Noise When Your Dog Nibbles You

Make a loud shocked noise when your dog nibbles your ear, like an injured puppy. When you stop moving and remain still, your dog will stop nibbling. Don’t touch or talk to your dog for around 30 seconds to let them know that you don’t like the behavior.

When you return to your dog, be composed and talk gently. Remember to compliment if your dog resumes playing without nibbling your ear to let them know that you don’t like the behavior. Repeat it as many times as needed till your dog stops nibbling. Practicing it regularly can train your dog not to nibble your ears.

Give Treats and Rewards When They Stop Nibbling Your Ear

Whenever your dog nibbles your ear, don’t scold them or push them away. Never yell, strike, or chastise, as these may not resolve the situation. If your dog is still too young, they may even consider this as a challenge or a way to grab attention and start nibbling even more.

Instead, tell them you don’t like it and ignore them for some time. If your puppy behaves well, either praise them or give them a reward. Play with them, give her snacks, or simply snuggle. You can reward them in any way that will encourage positive behavior. You can have great time bonding with your dog in this way.


Ear nibbling can be a normal way of showing affection and playfulness in dogs. However, you should take note when it becomes too much and train your dogs not to do it in certain situations. Divert their nipping to other objects by giving them something else to chew on.

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1. Why do puppies nibble on their ears more than adult dogs?

A: Chewing on ears is typical behavior, whether it is in the early puppy stage or adult dog phase. As puppies use their mouths to explore the world, they may nibble more than adult dogs. This can occasionally be caused by teething as well. It’s possible that your dog is nibbling on your ear to express their gratitude to you. The majority of the time, a dog will nibble when he feels comfortable around you.

2. Can teething cause dogs to nibble on ears?

A: Your dog is likely nibbling out of pain if he is still in the early stages of teething. Teething is an unpleasant stage, after all, for puppies. Your puppy goes through several hormonal changes while it is teething, which may cause it to start chewing and nibbling excessively. Your dog could gnaw on things like books, shoes, furniture, and even you.

3. What are some other signs that my dog is showing affection?

A: Your dog will undoubtedly wag its tail and may leap up on you and lick your face. One way to know your dog loves and misses you is by their excitement and joy when they see you. They want to be touched. This may manifest as a brief nuzzle, a snuggle, or a lean.

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