Why Do Dogs Bite Other Dogs’ Ears? 11 Reasons + 8 Solutions
In my opinion, dogs are the best pet companions you can ask for. They offer friendship, protection, and unconditional love that is hard to compare to any other pet you might get.
That said, owning a dog does take responsibility. It’s important to understand how your dog communicates and why he may sometimes act strange or unpredictable – it comes in handy when you need to know how to best take care of his needs.
Understanding your dog also means being able to read when he is happy, frustrated, or anything in between. This can usually be done by simply watching his body language and facial expressions and listening to his vocal cues.
So, what about when a dog can’t seem to leave another dog’s ears alone? Why do dogs bite other dogs’ ears? There isn’t a quick and easy answer, but it likely comes down to one or more of these reasons:
Your dog is being playful, he’s a puppy dealing with teething. He could also be being affectionate, grooming his buddy, or just extra excited about something. He could be trying to be dominant or trying to get the other dog to leave or even being aggressive.
Finally, there could be something yummy on the other dog’s ear, he could be trying to communicate or there’s the possibility that your dog was never properly socialized.
Reasons Your Dog Bites Your Other Dog’s Ear
If my brief summary of the reasons above helped you narrow down why your dog is biting your other dog’s ears, then feel free to jump to that section. Don’t forget to look at how to stop the behavior if necessary, too.
Otherwise, look through the more in-depth explanations below. Hopefully, one or more reasons will stand out to you so you can get to the bottom of why your dog insists on going for his buddy’s ears.
Most of the time, when dogs put their mouths on each other’s ears it’s simply a sign of playfulness. The bites (more like nips or nibbles in this case) are usually gentle, will rarely be very hard, and aren’t painful.
You’ll need to observe both dogs’ body language to be sure they are playing, but if they are this kind of behavior is perfectly normal amongst canine buddies.
If your good boy does this sort of thing while playing with another dog, there’s likely no need to worry!
It is not uncommon for puppies to experience teething during which their mouths ache and feel weird which makes them want to chew on anything, including the ears of other dogs.
This biting can hurt your other dog, but if your biter is still a puppy, most dogs will be sure to ‘tell’ the pup to knock it off. Of course, if the dog being bitten is an old grump or if your puppy won’t quit, then this behavior should be managed and monitored closely by owners.
Believe it or not, it’s quite common for puppies to show deep affection and connection toward their friends in unique ways. Okay, Okay…I’m sure if you have had a dog for more than an afternoon you know that that isn’t very hard to believe.
Back to the subject at hand: Biting the ear of another dog is a gesture that may appear strange to us but is actually quite endearing in their world. It is a way of expressing their love and trust for one another.
Whether your furry friend does it out of playfulness or as an expression of adoration, it can be interpreted as a sign of true puppy love! Just be sure that the dog whose ears are being bitten is okay with it!
Grooming is one way dogs show their social connection. When two of our furry friends are close, they’ll likely engage in mutual grooming sessions that may involve lightly biting each other’s ears.
It’s not like they can clean their own ears very easily!
Not only does grooming strengthen their bond, but it also helps puppies learn more about controlling how hard they bite when they want to be friendly, which is an important part of how dogs express and maintain strong relationships with other canines.
Dogs can be very exuberant when they are feeling excited. My dog Duke can’t even sit still when he’s excited! He sits on the ground with his butt wiggling, staring intently at whatever or whoever has him excited. It’s comical to watch!
For some dogs, this excitement may manifest itself in the form of playful nibbling on a pal’s ears! Though it might slightly annoy the other dog, he or she probably won’t pay much attention to it as they’ll probably be excited too.
Before I go into this reason, I first want to say a bit about dog behavior, dominance, and us humans interpreting our best friend’s behavior.
Some people like to jump on ‘dominance’ as a reason for any of a dog’s odd behaviors. While it is a possible explanation for many things, it’s usually lower on the list of probable reasons.
Keep in mind, if your dog is trying to be dominant over another dog, you’ll see it in more ways than just ear biting.
In your dog’s world, there is a hierarchy. And being at the top can come with benefits. Some dogs accept how a hierarchy naturally develops (maybe the new dog is one step below the dog you’ve had for years) while other dogs will actively seek to put themselves on top.
When it comes to establishing a pecking order, sometimes it may involve biting another dog, including the other dog’s ear to show dominance.
It can be an important part of how canines interact with each other but if both dogs want to be head of the pack or one dog insists on constantly dominating another dog, it can lead to unwanted problems.
To Make The Other Dog Leave
Dogs are social animals and will help guide each other’s behavior if it suits them. One dog might use biting another dog’s ear to show that he wants his space; he’s letting the other dog know it should move away.
This could be particularly true when treats are involved! Maybe the biting dog wants first dibs on incoming snacks!
Or, if the dog that is being bitten excessively playful pup, the biting could be seen as a way of saying “hey now, slow down, I’m done playing”.
Well, maybe not to me and you…but dogs love to taste and eat all sorts of less than delicious things (by our standards at least!).
So, is it really surprising if your dog caught a whiff of something in your other dog’s ear that he thinks might taste good? Of course not!
It’s important to keep an eye out for any aggressive behavior in your dog, such as unprovoked barking or growling. If you see any signs of aggression, take immediate action and address the issue before it can escalate further.
Remember that aggressive behaviors, if left unchecked, can lead to more serious issues down the line. With the proper love, guidance, and training, however, you can prevent your good boy from becoming an aggressive dog.
Be careful not to confuse the other reasons for ear biting with aggression though!
Talking might be a bit of a stretch…but did you know that our furry friends have their own language? Even though they can’t speak with words like we do, dogs have a wide array of ways to express themselves including body language and vocalizations.
They use these to communicate with one another and us. From the look in their eyes to the wagging of their tail, your dog can tell you a lot without saying anything at all!
Similarly, yelps, bites, and growls can play an important role in the dialogue between two or more dogs.
Above I referenced some reasons your puppy might bite another dog’s ears, and how that other dog will probably react. That’s all part of learning and growing up in dog world. But sadly, not every pooch gets this opportunity.
When puppies don’t have the right opportunities to properly socialize, all sorts of problems can arise. For instance, they may become scared or overly aggressive when exposed to new situations or animals. Or, they might actually be trying to play and simply not realize just how hard they are actually biting.
This is why puppies need to get plenty of constructive experiences with other dogs, people, and environments early on in life.
Is It Okay For My Dog To Bite My Other Dog’s Ears?
While it might not seem natural to us humans, biting each other’s ears can be totally harmless or even healthy behavior among dogs. The key is to pay close attention to what else is going on with the dogs.
If there are no other signs of aggression like angry growling or posturing, then the act of dog ear biting could simply be a way for them to interact playfully, groom each other or communicate.
When it comes to their relationships and social interactions with each other, our canine buddies communicate in ways that we as humans don’t fully understand. If your two furry pals are getting physical and you catch one biting another’s ears, take a deep breath.
As long as there are no signs of conflict or aggression, then your pups are probably just enjoying a friendly interaction between themselves, and it’s nothing more than that.
So, is it okay for one dog to bite on another dog’s ears? Yes, as long as it is done in the course of playing, grooming, or in another loving way and neither dog is getting hurt or annoyed.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Biting My Other Dog’s Ear?
When it happens for reasons like poor socialization or dominance, a dog biting another dog’s ear can be distressing. Even if your dog has good or playful intentions but the dog he is biting wants him to stop, the situation can get quite tense.
If this is the case with your best friend, you’ll want to put a stop to his ear-biting ways. Here are some tips to help you stop your dog from biting your other dog’s ears in a calm and friendly way.
Keep in mind that punishing your dog won’t get you as far as proper training with positive reinforcement and rewards.
Find the Cause
Before you can effectively tackle this problem, it is important to understand why it is happening in the first place. Is one of your dogs being too playful? Maybe it’s the opposite and he’s being aggressive toward the other pooch?
Once you’ve determined the cause, you’ll be able to effectively stop the behavior.
Play Biting and Grooming
There are times when allowing your dogs to still bite each other’s ears might turn out to be not so bad for them. If the reason for biting isn’t harmful and they’re not being destructive then it might have a good purpose that you don’t necessarily want to interfere with.
Provide Chew Toys For Teething Puppies
As I mentioned, young puppies are still trying things out and will often try chewing on anything they can get in their little snouts. Provide your pup with safe chew toys that he can bite to his heart’s content.
With a little work (and likely guidance from your other dog), your pup will stop biting the other dog’s ears and learn that his toy satisfies his needs.
If you notice that one of your dogs is about to start biting his buddy’s ears, try distracting him before he gets there! Whistling or clapping can break his focus and showing him a toy could do wonders in diverting his attention away from his canine companion’s ears!
Break Them Up
If they seem too excited or just playing too rough with each other, it may be best to break them up. This should be done in a calm but firm voice and without any harshness or punishment.
If your dog is biting another dog’s ears for dominance or aggressive reasons, it’s important to stop him immediately.
Keep in mind, physically separating dogs that aren’t getting along (and even dogs that are only playing) comes with risk. Don’t attempt this without knowing how to keep yourself safe – which isn’t always possible.
Keep Them Separated
Sometimes keeping two dogs away from each other for short periods may be necessary. Figure out what starts the ear biting and intervene before it happens.
For instance, if when one of your dogs is trying to get rid of the other when it’s dinner time or maybe is much older and becomes annoyed after just a few minutes of play, try putting the dogs in different rooms.
Basic Obedience Commands
Using the basic commands your dog already knows, such as ‘no’ or ‘go to spot’ will help reinforce that ear biting isn’t something that he can get away with.
Be patient and consistent, as you’ll likely have to tell your dog ‘no’ during more than one ear-biting incident for him to realize you never want him to bite ears, not just this one time.
But stick with it and he will learn what is expected from him; it will pay off in the long run!
Make The Ears Unappealing
You can also try putting something that tastes bad on their ears if your dog that gets bitten. Just make sure not to put anything that stinks or burns or otherwise aggravates the victim. Otherwise, you’ll end up punishing the wrong dog!
Summary: Why Does My Dog Bite My Other Dog’s Ears?
If your dog bites your other dog’s ears, you might be wondering what is going on. The short answer is, your dog is biting your other dog’s ears because of one or more of the following:
- Being playful
- Teething issues
- Shooing the other dog away
- Something tasty
- Poor socialization
As long as your dog isn’t biting ears for a negative reason and he’s not doing any harm to himself, the other dog, or anything else, then it’s probably okay for your dog to keep on doing it. However, if you don’t want your dog to be an ear biter, there are methods to stop it.
Remember, when your dog is biting his companion’s ear, the most important part of understanding why it’s happening is to watch your pup’s body language and behavior as a whole. Once you’ve determined the ‘why’ you can use anything from basic obedience commands to feeding the dog’s in separate rooms to remedy the situation.