Dogs are incredibly loyal and friendly animals; however, sometimes, they exhibit peculiar behavior, like nibbling your ear. Nibbling is not only odd but also can hurt some people.

You may ask yourself, why does my dog nibble my ear? There are many reasons why your dog nibbles your ear. For example, he is trying to show affection, love, submission, or respect; he might be stressed or wants to say something, smell a strange scent, or like your sweat.

Yes, some dog owners, especially new owners, might find this bizarre, but they don’t know dogs want to communicate with us through their actions. It is their way of telling us things.

Let’s discuss in detail why your dog nibbles your ear.

Why Does My Dog Nibble My Ear?

dog nibbling ear

One of the most widely accepted reasons for a dog nibbling your ear is that your dog wants to communicate affection and considers you one of his own and part of the pack. Licking is primarily common in puppies, and submissive dogs, such as puppies, play by scratching their owners’ ears or other puppies with teeth.

Simultaneously, submissive dogs accept you as the pack’s leader since a dog is a pack animal.

Moreover, nibbling is congenital also. As in the primitive time when dogs were not living with humans, they licked each others’ ears for grooming. For them, it is not possible to clean their ears themselves. So, the behavior is genetic too.

Well, whether you like it or not, but there are many things you will know about that why your dog nibble, lick, or tickles.

Keep scrolling. In the following lines, we will share exciting information and more reasons to know why your dog nibbles your ear.


1. Your Dog Wants to Show Love

Dog Nibbles Your Ears

In the dogs’ world, love and affection are communicated through nibbling and licking. So, if your dog nibbles your ear, he shows respect. He, through licking, imparts their scent to make a bond with you, which is a sign that he is comfortable around you. Likewise, puppies consider you the pack’s leader, so they don’t mind showing some love.

2. Your Dogs Like Your Skin Taste and Sweat

It is unusual, but some dogs like our skin. Your puppy may nibble your feet or ear after you come from working out, as dogs like licking salt. As mentioned above, dogs groom each other, so he may groom you, too, to ensure that you are clean! You are his best buddy, so he thinks it is his job to keep you clean.

3. Your Dog Is a Puppy

If you bring home a new adorable puppy, and he nibbles your ear or another body part, it is OK—it’s just a puppy thing. During the teething stage, puppies feel pain and discomfort, so biting and nibbling comfort them.

Also, puppies usually nibble since they are young and energetic and take everything in their mouth and play with it. Puppies, while playing with each other, nibble, so he does the same to you. However, this habit must be discouraged in a positive manner before it becomes permanent.  

4. Nibbling Is a Sign of Submission and Respect

As discussed before, dogs nibble to show submission and respect. It is strange to know, but your dog nibbles your ear as a symbol of respect.

Dogs live in packs, and the pack member nibbling the Alpha’s ear signifies respect and submission. It has been observed that weak dogs nibble and lick those dogs’ ears whom they consider more powerful than themselves. In the dog world, respect is shown by nibbling the Alpha. Thus, your dog might consider you as his Alpha.

5. Your Dog Is Under Stress

Dogs get stressed like humans; when they get stressed, they will nibble you or their skin. If your dog nibbles you incessantly, it may be the symptom of stress licking. It would be best if you could pinpoint why your dog is stressed and then deal with it accordingly.

6. Your Dog Wants Something

When dogs need something or want to say something, they usually nibble their owner’s ears. So, if your puppy nibbles your ear, he is hungry, wants to go washroom, or needs to go outside. Therefore, try to comprehend why your dog nibbles your ears.

You can comprehend the gesture by looking at your dog’s routine. It is time you usually take your dog for walks, but you are still lounging on your sofa? Well, your dog may remind you about playtime by nibbling your ear. The same could happen when it is mealtime, but the meal is not there.

If you are doing everything right as per the routine, see your dog’s mood when he comes nibbling your ear. If it is cheerful and welcoming, your dog just wants to show affection!

7. Your Dog Smells an Unfamiliar Scent

We know that dogs have a stronger sense of smell. If your dog smells something unusual coming from you, he may start nibbling you. So, if you use any cream or perfume, he might sniff the scent off your face and ears.

Moreover, your dog may like the scent of your ear wax, or licking it may delight him.

8. Your Dog Wants to Play

Dog Nibbles Your Ears

Nibbling is more common in puppies as compared to adult dogs. They are more energetic and playful; sometimes, they want to explore the capacity of their mouth by nibbling and licking. Likewise, in the teething stage, they feel pain in their teeth, so to get comfort, they try to bite or nibble things.

If you have a senior dog, you must discourage the behavior as the nibble may shift from soft to hard.

9. Your Dog Is Excited

Dogs get excited due to various reasons. Such as, when you come home from the office or after a long time, your dog may jump at you and start licking your face and nibbling your ears. It’s their style of welcoming and show of extreme joy.

Similarly, if he sees you wearing shoes, he will get excited and start nibbling you as he thinks you are taking him outside for a walk.

Is It OK if My Dog Nibbles My Ear?

Nibbling means when your dog bites you gently without applying pressure. Is it OK to allow the dog to nibble? Generally, nibbling is not harmful; however, it is not encouraged due to the following reasons 

In light of the above, one should not encourage the behavior but rather dissuade puppies from nibbling in childhood.

What Is the Difference Between Nibbling & Mouthing?

There is a slight difference between nibbling and mouthing. Mouthing is done without using teeth, like grabbing and chewing through the mouth, not with the teeth. Nibbling is done with the teeth, but it is a gentle and playful bite without applying pressure.

How to Stop Your Dog From Nibbling Your Ear

As we discussed above, nibbling is harmful in the long run. Thus, dogs must be discouraged from licking their owners’ ears. To train your canine correctly, never get physical with him, as it can lead to hostile behavior.

The below suggestions may help in training dogs not to nibble.

Positive Reinforcement Must Be Applied in the Following Manner

  1. Redirection of your dog’s behavior; for example, if he nibbles your ear, give him a toy or bone to chew on.
  2. Dogs nibble ears when they want something, so if your dog nibbles, you give him any food or whatever he wants, and accordingly, he will stop.
  3. Dogs nibble due to stress, too, so single out the reason, and he will stop the unwanted behavior.

If you are still not sure why your dog nibbles your ear, consult your vet.

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