This is Marcus, and I have a quick question for you. My German Shepherd girl, Kaya, (age 2 years) has started licking other dog’s ears when we see them in the park. I was wondering if this is normal dog behavior, or if my dog is a weirdo?
Honestly, I think she is a bit weird, but I’d like you to ease my mind.
Thanks a bunch!
Oh, this made me laugh!
Hey, Marcus, and hey all you other PupViners!
Liam here with another fun question to answer.
I gotta say, this one really cracked me up in a good way.
Don’t worry – it’s nothing too unusual, and it happens occasionally, depending on the dog you have. German Shepherds aren’t normally goofballs like Huskies, but even they can act silly if they want to.
Here’s what might cause your GSD to lick other dog’s ears!
1. A Form Of Greeting
We might not hear them, but dogs communicate with each other. And, no… I don’t mean by barking, exclusively.
Dogs love to communicate with their body language. Ear licking is one of those forms.
Pack mentality still lives inside our dogs. They have a hierarchy, and they know exactly who is the alpha and who is a follower.
If your dog is licking other dog’s ears as a form of greeting, we can say she’s showing off submissive behavior, making sure the other dog knows he’s in charge and she’s below him.
These kinds of licks are short, and they definitely remind us of our greetings.
2. They Love The Taste Of Earwax… Eww!
Have you ever tasted earwax, even as a kid? Gross, I know! But, some people have tried it (not me) and they say it’s a bit salty. Most dogs, if they crave salty food, will try licking other dog’s ears to get a taste of it.
It’s unpleasant, awful, and makes us puke. But, it’s a delicious treat to our dogs.
Yeah, they can be such weirdos from time to time.
In the case of a really bad ear infection, the earwax will change its smell and taste, and thus, become more appealing to dogs. No wonder they love the smell of feet straight out of shoes worn for the entire day! It’s the same!
It’s not the best idea to allow your dog to lick unknown dog’s ears. Infections can be transmitted from one dog to another, and it’s better not to risk it.
3. They Want To Groom The Other Dog
If your dog spends a lot of time with other dogs, they might bond really tightly. Dogs that are considered friends (in hooman terms) love taking care of each other. Grooming is just a way of showing how much they care.
Ears are an especially tricky part to groom. Most dogs can handle their entire body and lick it clean if needed, but ears… Oh, ears are always so hard to reach, whether they’re pointy or floppy.
That’s why it’s no surprise to see dogs grooming each other, licking their ears clean, and thus, creating an even tighter bond.
If I were you, I wouldn’t allow my dog to get licked by other dogs because ears, as much as they need cleaning, don’t need excessive licking. Otherwise, it might cause severe infections.
4. A Sign Of Affection
All dogs love attention, whether they want to give it or receive it. They’re social creatures and they love spending time with other specimens of their breed. German Shepherds, in particular, love the company of other German Shepherds.
Since Kaya loves licking other dog’s ears, I can only assume she’s an affectionate girl that loves spreading love.
Am I on the right track, Marcus? Isn’t Kaya the sweetest girl ever? That could be the reason behind her quirky behavior.
5. Compulsive Behavior
Compulsive behavior of any kind isn’t normal, and it’s quite easy to spot the difference between something that constantly repeats and something that happens occasionally.
For example, if Kaya licks another dog’s ears right upon seeing them in the park, that’s a form of greeting. But, if she keeps on licking them during playtime and during the entire time she’s there, that’s a form of compulsive behavior.
Compulsive behavior can also manifest itself in the form of licking different surfaces around the house, running in circles, staring at objects, braking excessively, etc.
If you notice similar patterns of behavior, it would be best to contact your vet and get to the bottom of it. Such behavior might be a sign of neurological problems, and those are not to be played with!
Should I Encourage This Behavior?
I see nothing wrong in occasional ear licking, but beware if it becomes a force of habit.
In the case that Kaya is simply licking other dog’s ears as a form of greeting, that should be okay. But, monitor her during playtime. Does she keep on licking ears? Does she lick other surfaces, too?
How does she generally behave?
Everything is normal if it’s done in a normal amount. Anything extra could mean deeper issues linked to the dog’s health, and that’s not good.