We love spending time with our dogs because they are always happy to see us, they make us feel loved, and even old dogs are usually ready to play. Dogs lower our stress levels, make us feel safer, and generally improve our moods.
Dogs can also be downright weird. They eat grass, chase their tails, and roll in smelly things. When you get a pet dog, you have to take the good with the odd.
If your dog starts up a weird behavior you’re unfamiliar with or don’t understand, it’s important to learn why your dog is doing what she is doing, especially if she’s being destructive or bothering you.
Your dog might be acting silly or it might be a sign of something worse. Ultimately, it’s important to understand why your dog is doing something before trying to change its behavior.
So, what about sniffing your ears? Why does my dog sniff my ears? The reality is many reasons could lead your dog to sniff your ears such as:
What Is The Meaning Behind Dogs Sniffing Human Ears?
I briefly went over the top reasons a dog might sniff your years. If you’re reading this article because the dog that you’ve had for a long time sniffs your ears, you probably already know which likely reason(s) is behind your dog’s behavior. If you brought a new best friend home who sniffs your ears, you may want to read through each reason’s explanation to figure out what is up with your doggo.
Your Ears Smell Good
When it comes to smells, dogs aren’t as discerning as humans. Or maybe it is us that are picky about what we smell? A lot of smells that we think reek to high heaven are aromas that dogs find lovely and interesting.
Your ears may have a natural scent that your dog enjoys or you might have used a product with a fragrance that your pup is trying to get a better smell of. If you recently put on lotion, perfume, or even just washed your hair, your dog might go for a good sniff.
Your Dog Wants To Tell You Something
You and your dog have likely developed some basic communication. You’ve trained her to understand basic commands and she has learned sitting by the door tells you she needs a potty break.
When your dog has something new to tell you, she might not have a clue where to begin. So, she’ll try something new and different like sniffing your ears. It’s not the most effective way of communicating, but for the moment, she’s experimenting.
Dogs learn a lot about their world by licking and smelling things. Maybe you were gone for longer than normal, or perhaps you embraced someone with a unique (to your dog at least) smelling perfume, and your pup is trying to understand why you smell different.
Sick Or Injured
Dogs can’t tell us when they’re not feeling well and often times they may even try to hide it from you. One major giveaway that your dog’s health has changed is that she is suddenly doing something out of the ordinary like sniffing your ears. If your dog has never been one to sniff your ears and suddenly starts, it might be a sign that something is wrong.
Pay attention to other changes in your dog’s behavior and if you’re concerned, call your vet for more personalized advice.
Playing and Excitement
An excited dog who is trying to play is a very happy pup indeed. Sometimes excited dogs get themselves so worked up that they start doing strange things. If you’ve been playing with your pup and notice her sniffing your ears more than usual but only while you’re playing (Or she’s trying to convince you to play!), it’s likely just excitement and nothing to be concerned about.
The saying is “A bored dog is often a destructive dog”. Really though, bored dogs can also be weird dogs. If your dog is bored for too long she might start finding ways to entertain herself,even if that means doing things you might not approve of, like…sniffing your ears.
Dogs need exercise, mental stimulation, and companionship to stay happy and healthy. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and has some fun toys to play with as well.
Your Ears Smell Like You
So many products we use have fragrances that our natural smell is often overpowered. While the scents of your laundry detergent, shampoo, and colognes probably don’t bother your dog, your dog wants to smell you. It is YOU that she loves after all! Your ears might be the spot your dog found where she can get a good whiff of what you naturally smell like.
Dogs have an acute sense of smell and can often tell when we’ve used a new product. If you’ve just put on lotion, perfume, or even just washed your hair, your dog might go for a good sniff.
Checking Your Cleanliness
Part of being a dog is making sure you and your pack are clean. While you likely don’t let your dog give you a good bath, it doesn’t mean that her instinct to do so isn’t there.
Your dog might give you a good sniff, around the ears, to make sure you’re clean. If she decides you’re not up to her standards (and you let her) she might even try to start giving your ears some licks.
You Have An Ear Infection
If your dog is constantly sniffing or licking your ear, it might be a sign of an ear infection. Some ear infections we humans get smell. Dogs with their excellent sniffing abilities will likely smell this on you from afar and when given the chance want to investigate.
Is it Okay For My Dog To Sniff My Ears?
This is really a 2 sided question, isn’t it? First is it okay for you for your dog to sniff your ears and second, is it okay for your dog.
So, is it okay for you to let your dog sniff your ears? One sniff here or there is likely going to be okay. The thing is, with your dog that close to your ears, bacteria from your dog’s nose can get in your ear. This could lead to problems for you. It’s best not to let your dog sniff your ears for your sake, but don’t worry if your good girl sneaks a sniff once in a while.
Is it okay for your dog to sniff your ears? As long as there isn’t anything on you (unlikely) that is bad for your dog, it is perfectly okay for your sweet pooch to get a good sniff.
How Do I Stop My Dog Sniffing My Ears?
So, we’ve established it’s not a great idea for your dog to sniff your ears a lot, but your dog has already developed the habit. What can you do to stop it? Fortunately, there are many things you can do to teach your dog that you don’t want her sniffing your ears.
Tried and true and basic command every dog should know anyway. If you see your dog getting close to sniffing your ears give the ‘no’ command. After a few (number may vary!) times your dog should start to learn that this is a behavior that will no longer be tolerated.
Your dog may still try to test to see if it is okay once in a while, especially if you let her get away with sniffing your ears for some time. Just keep firmly saying no each time she tries.
Don’t Encourage It
If we reward our dogs for behavior, even accidentally, they will likely continue the behavior thinking it is something we want them to do and something they get treats or love for.
Don’t talk sweetly to your dog, give her a quick ear scratch or do anything else that could encourage her while she’s sniffing your ears. There are plenty of other opportunities to let her know how much you love her.
Distract Your Dog
If you see your dog getting close to sniffing your ears, try to distract her with a toy or game. This will help her forget what she was originally focused on and give her something else to do.
Consult A Trainer
If you’re having trouble getting your dog to stop sniffing your ears, it might be time for some professional help. A trainer can help you work out a plan to get your dog to stop this behavior and give you some tips on how to keep it from starting again.
Summary: Why Do Dogs Sniff People’s Ears?
Dogs might sniff our ears for a variety of reasons, including trying to communicate, checking our cleanliness, investigating an ear infection, and smelling something new. Dogs use their sense of smell to learn about their world, and they might sniff our ears specifically to get a better whiff of what we smell like. Ear infections can smell to dogs too, so dogs might sniff our ears to try to understand why your ear smells different. In some cases, it might also be a sign that something is wrong with your good girl. If you’re concerned, it’s always best to speak with your veterinarian.
It’s probably not a good idea to let your dog sniff your ears though, as bacteria from your dog’s nose can get in your ear and lead to medical issues. If your dog does happen to get a whiff every once in a while, that shouldn’t be cause for alarm.
In the meantime, try to discourage your dog from sniffing your ears by saying ‘no’ firmly and consistently, and distracting her with a toy or game if she does start to sniff. If you’re having trouble getting your dog to stop, you might want to consult a trainer for help.