Why Do Dogs Bite Each Other’s Ears?

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Is ear-biting normal in the canine world? Is this something that every dog goes through? Read on and discover.

Dogs do unusual things. From their point of view, everything they do is pretty standard, no matter how strange it may look to humans.

There are probably some things that dogs find strange in human behavior, as well.

Have you ever noticed your dog doing something unusual? Like, chasing his tail? Or biting other dogs’ ears? Dogs love to chew things.

In fact, this is something that they do in different situations, and most commonly with other dogs.

Why do they do it? Are they just weird, or there is a big explanation behind this unusual habit?

Dogs are great when it comes to body language. Since they cannot talk to humans, their brains had to evolve in a manner to understand people better.

This is why veterinarians cannot stress enough just how important it is to know your dog’s common behavior.

By knowing a dog’s body language and common behavior, you can faster notice any unusual symptoms and behavior that might be a sign of an underlying health issue.

Now that we all can agree that dogs do unusual things, we can elaborate further on why dogs chew and bite on other dogs’ ears.

Some reasons behind this behavior will surprise you and make you go ‘aha, I knew this one’, or ‘aaa that is why they do it’, or ‘oh, that makes sense’, while some reasons will be a big surprise.

Keep on reading to learn why your Fido bites on other dogs’ ears.

It Is Often A Playful Bite

Dogs are playful beings. Dogs are also huge pack lovers, who love nothing more but to eat and play. This is why it’s important to know the difference between play and aggression.

When a dog is aggressive there are certain symptoms to follow to recognize that behavior, while playtime looks just like that… like a playtime.

It’s common for dogs to playfully bite other dogs’ ears with a little pressure while playing.

Playful biting is easy to recognize: it may be easy to spot some kind of pressure when the other dog responds gently.

If there is no forceful manner from the other dog, you can be sure that your dog is just playing. This nipping, among dog lovers also known as a playful nipping, usually happens when a dog wants to show who is in charge.

If you see your dog biting another dog’s ears, know that he is trying to tell the dog who the boss is.

Why ears? In dogs, ears are very sensitive and the easiest target to access.

It is hard to separate the playful nipping from aggression when a dog is young.

While puppies, dogs cannot know the best what is the appropriate amount of pressure that they can apply. This is why they tend to get into trouble with older dogs.

To avoid any unpleasant situation, you should supervise your puppy whenever your dog plays with another dog.

Signs that Dogs Want to Play Together

It’s helpful to know how dogs act in different situations. This is why you should focus on mastering the dog’s body language and know when your dog is in the mood to play.

This way you will let your dog enjoy his playtime, and you will have more peace knowing that your Fido is on the play mode.

Here are the most common signs that your dog is in the mood to play with other dogs:

  • Tail wagging
  • Biting at each other’s mouths
  • Back rolling
  • Bolting toward each other
  • Sticking their butt in the hair

There is also another way for you to test what is happening. All that you have to do is the following:

  • Hold onto the collar of the more dominant dog, as your first move
  • Let the dog that’s getting its ears bit walk away
  • If the dog stays on foot he enjoys the playtime

Also, if a dog goes and returns it is another sign that he enjoys the playtime.

It’s A Sign Of Affection

Dogs are social beings. Since they do not communicate as humans do, they must rely on their body language to communicate with the rest of the world.

To communicate with other dogs, dogs use their body language. One form of body language is chewing.

In some cases, chewing the ear may be a sign of affection.

In a way, ear chewing is a dog’s invitation to another dog to play. This is why you usually won’t see dogs getting angry at each other for this kind of behavior.

Dogs Biting Each Other’s Ears In Aggression

When the situation escalates, dogs may bite each other ears.

As mentioned earlier, ears are sensitive and easy to reach, which makes them a perfect target. This is also when the majority of serious injuries may happen.

Dogs are individual begins and they have different degrees of bite force pressure.

When i’s hit really hard, a dog’s ears can be seriously injured because ear skin is very thin.

Even when in serious fights, dogs will attack ears as they are the easiest place to grab. Plus, through ears can make significant damage to a dog.

Aggression and ear-biting could be a result of:

  • Fear
  • Pain
  • Prey drive
  • Excitement
  • Pssessivness

Never forget that dogs are highly territorial begins and they do not like for anyone to flood their territory.

This is why it’s up to =owners to understand the psychology of a dog, educate their children on how to behave around dogs, and introduce visitors to their house dog rules.

Only with the right knowledge of why dogs act the way they do, there could be a really calm atmosphere.

Make sure that you can recognize the warning signs and act before your dog harms.

Here are the most common signs of aggression:

  • Deep growling
  • Snarling starts
  • Teeth on display
  • Gums are on display
  • Hackles on the back
  • Sharp sound of pain
  • Staring with flattened ears

If you recognize any of these symptoms and you even notice blood on the ears, you should do your best to separate dogs.

Once you separate the dogs, make sure that everyone is fine, and think about your next step. This means that you should work further on your dog’s behavior.

Correcting the behavior in dogs is possible, but it demands a lot of time, planning, research, patience, training, and overall investment in many areas.

Think about hiring a professional dog trainer or enrolling your puppy in puppy classes to work on correcting the behavior.

Once again, this will be time-consuming, but it will be worth your time and money because a well-behaved dog is the best dog to have.

It Could Be A Sign Of Grooming

You may be used to seeing cats grooming themself often.

Cats are known for being extremely clean animals, while dogs are differently wired. There is a reason why professional groomers mostly deal with dogs.

Some dog breeds, such as Basenji, have cat-like grooming habits and will lick themself to groom their coat and skin while this isn’t the case with other breeds.

This is why dog owners usually don’t think about eat biting as a way of grooming.

It’s not uncommon for dogs to bite each other ears as a way of ‘grooming’.

Your Dog Might Enjoy the Taste

Another option, usually not that popular, is that your dog just likes the taste of the other dog’s earwax.

In a way, this shouldn’t shock you much, because dogs are commonly attracted to odd smells and textures.

After all, they won’t think twice before they eat… well almost anything. What we find disgusting, dogs usually adore.

If your dog loves the taste of another dog’s ears, you shouldn’t stress too much about it.

Also, dogs do like to roll into nasty things, so there just might be something on the other dog’s skin and he just wants to try it.

You know that dogs lick their owners as well, right? It’s just what they do.


If you are a new dog owner, you should know that teething in puppies is a big deal.

When puppies start teething, they will bite on almost anything. This is why they chew on shoes, walls, furniture, and anything else that they find interesting – it just helps them to survive the teething phase.

This is why novice dog owners stress so much because they miss doing a throughout research on a breed of interest, and overall understanding of every dog phase.

Just like humans, dogs are growing and they go through different life stages.

When teething, dogs are in some kind of disturbance, and teething helps them temporarily relieve pain and pressure in their teeth.

Is this similar to teething that toddlers experience? It is. If you have a teething puppy, make sure that you provide enough toys that your dog can easily chew on.

A teething ring is commonly the best option when it comes to helping your puppy relieve his teeth pain.


Dogs show their dominance by using their bodies. How dogs interact with each other, tells them (and you) how they feel about other dogs. This is why some dog experts believe that ear biting in dogs occurs as a form of dominance.

Dogs are very social beings who follow rules. Although they are domesticated, they still have a social hierarchy, that can be seen even today if you look closely.

How does their hierarchy work? In the wild, the top males and females are the alphas, while omegas are below them.

Naturally, omegas are subservient only to the alphas. Betas are located at the bottom, which is subservient to both the omegas and alphas.

If your house is a multi-dog home, you have probably noticed certain structures among dogs. There may not be full structure, which depends on how many dogs you have inside your home.

Still, no matter how many dogs you might have inside your household, there will be that one dog who will act as an alpha.

Should You Stop Ear Biting?

How often does your dog bite other dogs’ ears? Is it something that leads to undesirable situations later on?

If you are deeply concerned about this kind of behavior, and you want it to stop there are some ways to do it. But… Before you jump on stopping this behavior, you should really ask yourself – Should you stop it?

Think about ear-biting… What makes you uncomfortable about this situation?

Does it make you or your dog uncomfortable? Was any dog ever harmed? Is it just something that leads to aggression?

If the dog bites each other’s ears while playing, grooming, or in a form of affection, your dog should be fine.

You shouldn’t force it to stop, and all that you have to do in this case is just to monitor dogs while playing.

If aggression or an accident happens, you should think about stopping your dog to bite other dogs’ ears.

Here is how you can do it:

  • Let the dogs work it out. Dogs are more than capable of fixing stuff. They know how to communicate with each other, so just let them work it out.
  • Distract him. This is a commonly used technique, also known as the startle technique. Loud noise can do wonders when it comes to stopping dogs from doing wrong.
  • Use a spray bottle. This technique is something that cat owners know well. To stop felines from jumping all around the place, a spray bottle can do wonders. It can work similarly with dogs as well. This is something that works as negative reinforcement. Make sure that you talk with a professional dog trainer about how to implement this technique.

The Bottom Line

Why dogs chew each other’s ears can often explain as a way of them expressing their playfulness.

Most dogs will stop doing it over time, while puppies will bite other dogs’ ears more frequently, as a way of playing around.

If it turns out to be a form of aggression, do your best to stop it. If it sounds like a lot of work, talk with a professional dog trainer for more tips on how to train your dog.

You will be surprised to learn just how much you can learn from professionals.