You are awakened from your sleep by a warm and sticky trickle in your ears.
Upon opening your eyes, you see that your dog is passionately looking at you, licking your ears.
You stroke his head and wonder if he does that just to show his love or for other reasons?
Your dog is licking your ears to do his investigation as he finds a strong foul odor emitting from there. He likes the taste of earwax in your ears. You have positively reinforced his licking behavior. He is doing this out of his affection for you, grooming you, or he is trying to seek your attention.
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For The Strong Odor Of Your Ear
Various parts of the human body, such as the back of your ears as well as your armpits, secrete hormones, and that could potentially attract your dog’s curiosity.
You see, a dog explores his world through his sense of smell and taste.
The sweat and oil glands on your face and ears are certainly going to be an alluring scent to him and trigger him to do some investigation.
By licking your face and ears, he gets to “gather” all the information he needs to know on the arousing scent.
It could also be the case that you have got an ear infection, causing your ear to emit a foul smell.
Your dog can easily pick up this unusual smell and that leads him to carry out his investigation.
For the Salty Taste Of Your Earwax
As you probably know, dogs like to eat and lick things that we find to be disgusting and smelly, such as feces and mud.
So it is of no surprise that your dog could be attempting to clean up (eat) your earwax as he finds it to be enticing.
You should keep your ears clean and dry and remove any excessive earwax from your ear drums regularly.
That way, your dog will not be able to sense any foul odor and will stop licking your ears out of curiosity.
You Have Positively Reinforced His Behavior
Have you ever petted and praised your dog when he is licking your ears as you have found that to be a warming and comfortable experience?
This simple action of appraising him will make him believe that you LIKE him doing that, and he will start to associate that behavior with something positive.
When he feels that his actions are valuable, he will keep on doing it.
You see, your dog’s love is based on your behavior towards him.
The more encouragement you give to him, the more willingness he will repeat the behavior that you have reinforced.
So, give a moment of thought when you are going to praise your dog.
Is that the behavior that you want to reward for?
If that is not your intention, do not let your dog lick your ears.
You can gently pinch him whenever he does that licking and this will send a strong message to him that you are not happy with his action.
Act Of Affection
Your dog is trying to show you his affection through his body language.
Some of the common ways that dogs show their love for their owners include rubbing up against them, pushing their head into them, licking their legs or ears, wagging their tails, or rolling over on their backs.
This licking action will be more prevalent if you have been away from home for a long period of time and your dog is lonely and misses you a lot.
You will also likely see him lying at your feet as he wants to be sure that you are still there when he is asleep.
He Is Seeking Your Attention
You find your dog pushing his head against your ear and start licking it and wondering what’s going on?
What does your dog want from you?
You see, your dog is likely trying to seek your attention and has something important to tell you.
He could be feeling hungry, bored or need you to take him out for potty.
So, it is important that you keep a lookout for his body language to find out what he needs.
For example, if he keeps whining or pacing, he could be feeling hungry and if he keeps licking his groin or going round in a circle, he needs to go potty.
To ease his boredom, you should always plan some physical and mental activities for your dog to help keep him entertained.
Physical games such as tug of war, playing fetch or flirt poles and hide-and-seek are great ways to stimulate your dog’s mind and body and help him to release his pent-up energy.
It would also be a good idea to make his favorite toy easily accessible for him to play with so that he would not feel bored when you are asleep.
He Is Grooming You
Dogs often help each other with their grooming in areas that they have difficulty reaching, such as the back of their ears.
So, when your dog sees you as part of his pack, he will want to do you a favor by grooming you.
It is a way for him to say “I love you”.
He wants to please you and make you happy.
Submissive Respect For You
Your dog sees you as his pack leader, and he exhibits his submissive respect through relaxed facial and body expressions, along with his licking behavior.
You will find him licking your face, hands, legs or ears to show you that he trusts you and wants to be near you.
He wants to give you his affection and also to express his respect for you.
This is what dogs will do in the wild to show their trust in their alpha (through licking).