Why Do Dogs Bite Each Other’s Ears When Playing?

How to stop dog chewing other dogs ears

Have you ever noticed how two playful dogs will mouth and bite at each other’s ears? It’s really interesting to watch, and there must be some meaning behind it.

I see it a lot when we have our friend’s puppy come stay with us. She loves to play with our adult Frenchie, Claude. The two of them really go at each other until they are completely worn out, with the main focus of their play attacks, being to bite and chewing on each other’s ears.

But why exactly do dogs bite ears, and should you be worried about the chewing, and is there a time to stop the behavior? I decided to find out, so researched as much as I could on vet websites and talking to our own vet.

Why do dogs bite other dog’s ears?

So, what does it mean when a dog chews on other dog’s ears? Well, from what I can gather it’s important to make the distinction between play and aggression, as ear biting can quickly escalate.

In most cases, I’d like to think you will see a dog biting another dog’s ear with just little pressure. This is the classic “mouthing” play where one dog attempts to exert dominance over another.

How to stop dog chewing other dogs ears
Our dog Claude will bite and chew our friend’s puppy’s ears when they are play fighting in our house.

Dogs chewing other dog’s ears when playing

When you see your dog biting other dog’s ear in play, that’s just what it is playful. Dogs learn from a young age how much pressure they can apply when biting, and are attracted to the ears because:

  1. Dog ears are an easy and accessible target.
  2. Dogs can be the dominant play partner by nipping at the ears show who is boss.

But, even in play, one or both dogs can become overzealous and bite too hard. It not uncommon for even play ear biting to result in injuries, so keep a close eye on how the play fighting is developing.

The thing with ear injuries is that they can look a lot worse than they actually ear. Just a small nip or cut can result in a lot of blood, which can get sprayed when the dog shakes their head.

It’s the stuff of nightmares, but often you will look and just see a small cut and wonder where all the blood came from. The reason ears tend to bleed heavily is because they are in a constant state of movement, making clotting take longer, which aids wound healing.

The bottom line is that if your dog bites another dog’s ear and there’s no blood, snarling, or yelps of pain, then it’s most likely a mutually beneficial relationship between the two; focussed on fun.

Whilst it looks rough and even painful, it’s perfectly normal dog bonding, sometimes even started up by one dog to bait the other into playing with them.

You know your dogs want to play with each other if they:

  • Bowing to the ground with the head on the floor and bum in the air with a tail wag.
  • Roll onto their backs and act submissive towards each other.
  • Running at full pelt towards, and then past each other.
  • Mouth biting without hurting each other.

If you are worried that one dog is biting the other dog’s ears too much, and think it’s not play, then there’s a quick trick you can use.

All you do is restrain the dominant dog doing the majority of the ear biting. If the victim of the ear biting approaches the restrained dog, then it’s game on, and you probably have nothing to worry about – it’s just play.

Dogs biting each other’s ears in aggression

This is when things go off the scale, and it can result in serious injuries. Dogs have varying degrees of bite force pressure, and those teeth can tear at thin ear skin creating very nasty injuries when things go too far.

Dogs will bite and chew at ears in serious fights, because ears are easily accessible, and it’s a case of ratcheting up the dominance they often display when playing.

Aggression and ear biting could be a result of:

  • Excitement
  • Fear
  • Pain
  • Possessiveness
  • Prey drive

As owners it’s our responsibility to make sure things don’t get to this point before it’s too late, by looking for the signs where play turns to aggression.

The warning signs to look out for to signal things are just about to turn nasty include:

  • Deep growling and snarling starts.
  • Teeth and gums are on display.
  • Hackles are raised on their backs.
  • Sharp yelps of pain are heard.
  • Staring with flattened ears.

If you see these signs of aggression and blood is evident on the ears, then you should look to separate both dogs immediately and work on correcting the behavior.

How do I stop my dog from biting my other dog’s ear?

Most doggy ear biting will be related to play, but there will be times when you need to put a stop to it before it escalates into something more serious.

Here are some tips on how you can get your dog to stop biting another dog’s ears, with inspiration from the excellent PetSit.com website.

1. Distraction technique

The best route to stopping dogs from biting each other’s ears is to distract them with a loud noise. This might be you clapping your hands or making a loud noise, but it works best if it’s a sound the dog isn’t used to hearing in everyday activities.

Some people carry a whistle, others might sound a car horn – providing they can act quickly enough.

Don’t shout or yell, as this can inflame the behavior and ramp the aggression up a notch.

2. The wheelbarrow technique

This needs two people to work properly and involves you both grabbing the back legs of each dog, and lifting the legs clear off the ground.

By doing so, the dogs will be forced to balance onto their front legs which completely limits their movement and ability to fight until they can be calmed down.

You can learn more about this technique my extensive guide to breaking up dog fights.

3. Place a barrier between them

Whilst this isn’t always possible, it can work if you’re in an indoor environment, where chairs and tables can be utilized as barriers between two aggressive dogs.

I’ve seen this done in an outdoor environment, where the dog owner used a large broom to separate dogs that had escalated from ear biting each other, to a full-blown battle.

Some dog trainers recommend throwing a blanket over the dogs can also work very well.

4. Spray the dogs with water

If you have a spray bottle to hand, then it can work wonders. Dog trainers say that vinegar or citronella can break up a fight, but for the best results a good old-fashioned garden hose works wonders.

Things you should never do when splitting up fighting dogs

You should never attempt the following, as you could be seriously injured:

  • Put your body or hands in-between two fighting dogs.
  • Put your face anywhere near fighting dogs.
  • Grab the dog’s tail and pull them.


Why dogs chew each other’s ears can usually be explained away as just play. It very rarely escalates into anything more serious.

Most dogs will try and bite ears when playing, and it’s usually a mouthing action or harmless little nips. It’s ingrained behavior that starts when they are puppies in the litter when they test the boundaries of what they can get away with and what’s acceptable.

You might also like…

  • Why dogs hate it when you blow on their ears
  • Do doggy ears pop when they go on planes?
  • Should you let dogs win tug of war games?

— Update: 25-03-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Help! How Do I Stop My Dog Biting Other Dogs Ears from the website dogcoachingacademy.com for the keyword how to stop dog chewing other dogs ears.

I remember a few years back when I started to notice my dog biting other dogs ears.

And while the whole fiasco seemed innocent enough (after all, dogs love to have the occasional nibble). Over time, it seemed that the usual rough play that my dog was engaging in was starting to border on aggression.

Not only that, but the behavior was becoming more and more frequent to the point where I eventually had to intervene.

Now, there’s a very fine line between biting for fun and biting with aggressive intent. And it’s ultimately our job as owners to keep a close watch to make sure it isn’t the latter.

And if yourself in a similar situation, then I know how you feel. I also know how difficult it is to keep under control, especially if you’re used to your dogs getting along.

So what did I do?

Well, in this particular situation, I did what most people would and did a quick google search to see if I could find any way to stop my dog’s unwanted biting.

Read more  Spayed Female Dog UTI Symptoms: Why Early Identification is Critical

A lot of websites seemed to teach the same old, rehashed information. While some even stated that I should just ignore the behavior and just hope it goes away (not a chance).

But eventually, I came across an interesting dog trainer called Dan Abdelnoor, who ran a video-based membership site called The Online Dog Trainer.

Better still, he was offering a 3 day trial of his entire training platform for the low, low price of one dollar.

Now, I often get kind of skeptical about buying into these kinds of things because I’ve been burned before.

But the offer seemed genuine enough, and I eventually came to the conclusion that in the worst-case scenario, I’d lose a dollar and maybe a few hours out of my day.

So I paid the dollar and quickly began implemented some of the initial calming exercises Dan recommended in a desperate attempt to restore control over my dogs.

Long story short, Dan gets my A+ seal of approval as some of the techniques I’ve learned have literally been a godsend when it comes to keeping the peace between my dogs.

Anyway, I can only speak from personal experience here. And can’t guarantee that you’ll get the same if any benefits from Dan’s training.

But if you’re hell-bent on nipping your dog’s unwanted biting habits in the bud (no pun intended). Then I’d highly recommend taking a few minutes to check out Dan’s Official Website over at The Online Dog Trainer by hitting the video link below.

(video will open in a new window)

Why Does My Dog Bite Other Dogs Ears?

Now, dogs bite; that’s a fact. But understanding why is the first step to getting it under control.

Again, sometimes biting can be of a playful nature, and this is totally fine.

But other times, it can slip its way into the unwanted type of biting that can end with an emergency trip to the vet.

So allow me to take a few minutes to highlight some of the more common reasons your dog may be biting other dogs’ ears.

Take note and see if anything looks familiar…


Dogs love to play, and while a little harmless mouthing and nipping can be innocent enough. Too much overexcitement can often lead to things taking a turn for the worst.

It’s kinda like when too many parents get together and let their kids run wild. Even though you know it’s not intentional, you know that eventually, someone’s going to get hurt.

And it’s exactly the same with dogs.

Rough Play

Similar to overexcitement, rough play is very common among dogs, especially in more dominant breeds.

Sometimes, however, things can get a little too rough if one dog pushes the boundaries or rough play and ends up taking things a little too far.

The end result? 

…A very unhappy dog with a very sore ear.


The constant battle for hierarchy and pack leadership is enough for any dog to take things a little too far.

Although this isn’t the case for all dogs, others thrive on dominant displays of aggression to ascertain that they are, in fact, top dog.

As you can imagine, this can become quite a handful to deal with, especially if you have two dogs fighting it out for the position of ‘leader of the pack.’


Dogs can become territorial or possessive for all sorts of reasons. Resource guarding, possessiveness over food or toys… you name it.

Even you can be seen as a possession if your dog deems it to be so.

And it’s this same possessive behavior that can ultimately cause your dog to have a biting frenzy if they think another dog’s trying to take what’s rightfully theirs.


Let’s face facts, not all dogs are going to get on, and it’s unreasonable for us to think otherwise.

Just like humans, dogs will often have a difference of opinion. Whether it’s what toys to play with, which food bowl is theirs…

…Even sleeping arrangements such as who gets the comfy dog bed is always going to be on the agenda when it comes to getting what they want.

In addition to this, dog breeds that are equally dominant are always going to find one or more reasons to challenge the other to prove that they are the superior ‘Alphha’ dog.

And while it can seem a little immature from where we stand, it’s ultimately what makes some dogs tick.

How to stop dog chewing other dogs ears

The Difference Between Playful & Aggressive Biting

Sometimes spotting the difference between playful and aggressive biting is relatively straightforward.

For instance, the dog on the receiving end yelps out in pain, then it doesn’t take a scientist to realize that things may have gone a little too far.

But how do you tell the difference between aggression and play when the signs aren’t so obvious.

Here’s what you should look out for…

Playful Biting

Nine times out of ten, playful biting isn’t really biting at all. Normally, it’ll just involve general mouthing or nipping of the other dog’s ears and won’t be something to get too concerned about.

Usually, these types of playful bites will be accompanied by a relaxed posture and even a wagging tail.

Even if it seems a little rough, these are all clear indicators that aggression isn’t on the menu, and you should breathe a sigh of relief.

Just be sure to keep a close watch and possibly intervene if things seem to be getting a little more heated.

Aggressive Biting

Aggressive behavior is usually more frantic as, most of the time, it’s your dog’s intent to cause some real damage.

Body language normally a great indicator of aggressive behavior, but sometimes the signs aren’t so obvious, so make a note of the following and see if anything looks familiar…

  • Does your dog demonstrate a low or deep growl that’s longer in duration?
  • Do they have a rigid posture, or are their eyes fixated on the other dog?
  • Are they baring their teeth?

If you spot any of the above, act ASAP and separate your dog from any more interaction before things get out of hand.

Now might also be a good time to visit Dan’s website, The Online Dog Trainer, and check out those 5 step-by-step calming exercises I was talking about earlier as well.

Because if you’re looking for an effective way to dial down your dog’s aggressive emotions and bring about a little calm. This is by far the best way to do it.

Related Post: Why Is My Dog Being Aggressive All Of A Sudden?

How to stop dog chewing other dogs ears

How To Stop Your Dog Biting Other Dogs Ears

Before diagnosing how to stop your dog biting other dogs’ ears, you first need to establish if it’s a real issue.

Again, the odd playful nibble isn’t too much cause for concern, but it should still be discouraged if your dog seems to be taking things a little too far.

At the end of the day, you know your dog better than anyone else. So it’s ultimately in your capable hands to make a sensible judgment call on what is and isn’t acceptable.

And once you make this decision, stick with it. There’s no point discouraging the behavior one day and then allowing it the next. As this will only confuse your dog and render all of your previous efforts useless.

Figure Out What’s Causing It

The first step towards dealing with any behavioral issue? …Figure out what’s causing it.

Really pay close attention here too, because if you can figure out why it’s happening, you’ll be in a much better position to stop it from happening in the future.

So ask yourself the following…

  • Which dog is causing the issue
  • Where is it happening (on walks, in specific places, or around particular people of dogs)
  • When is it happening (mealtimes, bedtime, etc…)

You really need to consider all of the options here because if you can figure out a regular pattern as to why it’s happening. You’ll be in a better position to either try and avoid those particular situations. Or better still, put into action an effective plan to address it.

For instance, if you happen to notice aggressive ear-biting in a specific room or around a particular person. You’re dog could be demonstrating territorial instincts and attempting to defend what they feel is rightfully theirs.

Separate And Monitor

Once you’ve established a route cause, now’s the time to try a little separation from these specific interactions to see if the problem persists.

Sometimes this will be more difficult than others, but it’s important to do your best nonetheless.

For instance, if you notice your dog biting your other dog’s ears around mealtimes. Consider separating their bowls and let them eat in different rooms. Or even at different times during the day.

Doggy gates can often be a useful tool for these kinds of situations, and although it might seem a little overkill at first. It will confirm if your initial suspicions about why your dog is biting to be correct.


Distraction techniques can work well as either a pre distraction technique or to stop your dogs in the middle of a scuffle.

So next time you notice the all to familiar sight of your dog about to jump in for a quick nibble or bite. Simply make a short sharp sound like a loud clapping noise or banging metal on metal.

If you have one to hand, an air horn is a great distraction technique to take your dog out of the aggressive zone.

Use sparingly though, as you probably won’t be thought of too kindly by the neighbors by blasting an air horn every 30 seconds.

Another quick yet very effective technique you can use is to simply throw a blanket or even a large towel over your dog as a visual distraction.

You’d be surprised at how well this can work, and it also gives you time to remove your dog from the situation before all hell breaks loose.

Teach Them To Be Calm

Calming techniques work great for overly aggravated dogs.

They’re also a great way to teach your dog emotional control, which in turn will help them naturally calm their aggressive tendencies in any situation that may trigger it.

Again, this is why I’d always recommend implementing the 5 step-by-step calming exercises into your dog’s routine on a regular basis to see a permanent change in their behavior for the better.

Read more  How to Calm Down a Hyper Dog: Full Guide and 24 Best Products

And while not an overnight fix for unwanted ear-biting. I think you’d be surprised at how a few simple exercises that take only minutes a day can have a long-term effect on your dog’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Related Post: How To Calm An Aggressive Dog – Simple Tips For Aggressive Behavior

How to stop dog chewing other dogs ears

Wrapping Things Up

So before we wrap things up, let’s just quickly recap on some of the more important points of this post.

Firstly, it’s essential that you understand why your dog bites as well as being able to spot tell-tale signs between both playful and aggressive biting. 

Second, figuring out the root cause is a must if you want any chance of getting to the bottom of the issue.

You can then go ahead and use specific techniques like temporary separation and distractions to get the situation under control.

And lastly, you should teach your dog how to be in control of their emotions for a long-term solution to the problem. 

Again, the 5 step-by-step calming exercises discussed will work wonders for here. So make sure to take a look before hitting the back button on this page.

At the end of the day, biting can be a pain in the proverbial, especially if you don’t know how to manage it effectively.

But by following the above advice and, more importantly, taking consistent action, you’ll be well on your way to a calmer (non-emotional) dog a lot sooner than you think.

— Update: 25-04-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Is Your Dog Biting Other Dogs’ Ears? All About Dog Ear Biting from the website pawsafe.com for the keyword how to stop dog chewing other dogs ears.

How to stop dog chewing other dogs ears

A dog biting another dog’s ears is quite common, albeit mostly in puppyhood. After all, puppies bite everything, and a flappy bit of cartilage from a mom or littermate is just too inviting.

But as they grow older, dogs biting the ear of one of your other pets may become a bit more of a problem. Worse yet, if they’re nibbling on your neighbor’s prize poodle!

Either way, as we focus more on the importance of our canine’s ear hygiene, we know the risks of excess moisture or damaging sensitive skin in a dog’s ears. This is why ear-cleaning wipes that protect the essential lipid barrier are vital.

Ear biting puts the other dog at risk of losing a chunk of hair and having a bad hair day, and nasty infections such as hotspots. So why do they do it? Let’s look at the main reasons.

Reasons For A Dog Biting Other Dogs’ Ears

Puppies and ear chewing

It is extremely common for young puppies to chew on their siblings’ ears. This is sometimes because of teething but also because puppies explore the world with their mouths. The general term for this is “mouthiness,” which manifests in many different ways.

Puppies may chew on anything nearby, such as your hands, and they will undoubtedly gnaw on any part of another dog they can reach, including the ears. Very excited puppies can get quite tenacious, and chewing may become active biting or nipping.

Behaviorist, James Serpell, calls puppies sucking or chewing each other’s ears (or navels and tails) “social vices” and feels it sometimes happens out of frustration. However, it is very much a simple developmental phase for all puppies.

But what happens when a puppy’s ear-nibbling habit irritates an older dog?

Older dog corrections

In the case of an older dog biting puppy ears, what often happens is what we call a “correction.” When an older dog, particularly an adult female, gets annoyed with an overexuberant young pup, they may nip them around the neck area and occasionally on the ears.

This usually leads to much heartbroken wailing, but in most cases, no harm is done. It’s natural for a senior to tell a young pup to stop that and settle down. As a pet parent, you can keep an eye on this but only intervene if your older dog becomes aggressive or intimidating.

In this case, remove your puppy immediately and get help from a professional, as an aggressive adult can do permanent psychological damage to a puppy. However, do not intervene for a normal correction, as this is your older dog’s way of setting boundaries for the new blood.

But this is not the only reason an older dog may mouth a young dog’s ears.

Grooming and affection

Dogs lick ears as a way of showing love and affection and as part of grooming each other. This is particularly common among females with strong maternal instincts but can happen with any very affectionate dog.

Dog ears telegraph a lot about health, and you will often see dogs and cats sniff each other ears. If they are closely bonded, a dog may spend time licking the inside of the other dog’s ear out, probably cleaning it from parasites like ticks in the ears or infections.

This can advance to a dog chewing lightly on the ear lobe with its front teeth. This is called “cobbing,” a sign of infection.

Biting ears when playing

The most common reason for biting each other’s ears is dog play. You can tell play biting from real aggression by watching the body language. Playing dogs have relaxed bodies; they play bow, chase other, and have relaxed mouths with lolling tongues.

Why do dogs bite each other’s ears when playing?

When dogs play together, they either mimic chasing prey or fighting. In the case of play fighting, grabbing the neck area or the area is all part of the fun. It’s the moment they pretend they have grabbed a vulnerable spot and are “winning the deadly battle.” However, as long as it’s a game, they should not draw blood or hurt each other.

Help! My dog bit my other dog and drew blood!

If your dog bit your other dog hard enough to draw blood, the situation has likely gone beyond play biting into full-blown aggression. Assess the wound for depth.

Apply pressure to any deep bleeing punctures and take your injured dog to the vet to have the wound cleaned, stitched, and to get the appropriate pain medication and antibiotics. If your dog’s ear is bleeding, see our article on what to do for bleeding dog ears.

Why do dogs bite other dogs?

Dogs typically bite other dogs for one of the following reasons:

  • Poor socialization
  • A genetic inclination toward dog aggression: aggression towards other dogs is common in breeds previously used for dog fighting or similar sports.
  • Fearfulness: Dogs fearful or anxious about another dog may bite because they feel threatened.
  • Possessiveness or Jealousy over a favorite person, food, or item.
  • Pack dynamics: A power struggle among dogs in a multi-dog household.
  • Redirected aggression: dogs who are frustrated by aggression at somebody passing but their house may redirect their aggression at the dog nearest them.

How To Stop A Dog From Biting The Ears of Another Dog

If ear biting is becoming a problem, you can take the following steps to deal with it:

  1. Apply a bitter anti-chew spray to your other dog’s ears. Spray a bit onto a cloth and carefully wipe it onto the ears to avoid getting any in your dog’s eyes.
  2. Teach your dogs other ways to play. If your dogs enjoy chasing one another, playing, and wrestling, introduce a tug toy and encourage them to play tug instead. Satisfy their urge to chase by having regular sessions of fetch.
  3. Interrupt overstimulated and overexcited play. It’s a good rule of thumb that dogs never get too excited, no matter what they do. Never allow a good romp to become frenzied, and teach impulse control from a young age. If you see your dogs getting too excited during play, use a loud noise to interrupt them. A whistle or a shaking metal container full of rocks should help. Give them time to calm down by separating them and diverting them into a calmer activity, such as a bit of obedience.
  4. Supervise older and younger dogs together. If a young dog consistently annoys your older dog, consider placing the pup in daycare during the day, where they engage with more dogs their own age.
  5. Separate the dogs. In cases of aggression, it’s best to keep the dogs separate the dogs and call in a professional to assess the problem. In many situations, a professional behaviorist can fix the fighting if you catch it early enough.

In some cases, dogs may have to be permanently separated. But never ignore any dog fighting, and hope it goes away. Unaddressed dog aggression usually escalates.

Should I Bite My Dog’s Ears To Show Dominance?

Biting your dog’s ears is a terrible way to show dominance or discipline your dog. Not only is it unhygienic to put a dog’s ears in your mouth, but if you break the skin, you can infect your dog since the human mouth is dirtier than a dog’s.

Besides, acting violently toward your dog only teaches them to distrust you. It does not encourage good behavior or give them a reason to respect you. No pet parent achieves discipline through forceful outbursts.

Instead, you achieve discipline through routine, consistent and clear rules, and plenty of structured activities that require your dog to pay attention.

The notion that dogs have to be dominated is also misleading. Yes, dogs are pack animals, and they benefit from calm leadership. Without clear leadership, they often develop behavior problems related to anxiety or aggression. But the idea of dominance fostered a generation of pet owners who confused leadership with force, bullying, intimidation, and aggressive actions, such as biting a dog’s ear.

A pet parent who is a true leader to their dog always acts calmly, shows self-control, and leads by creating a foundation of trust with their dog. They do not do this with force but by establishing clear rules and reinforcing training from the day they get their dog.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is my dog biting other dogs’ legs?

Dogs may bite another dog’s legs during a fight, particularly if one dog lifts their front leg to roll over and show submission. Herding breeds tend to nip at other dogs’ heels during play to “herd ” them. Finally, smaller dogs may bite larger dogs’ legs either during play or when aggressive, as they may only be able to reach the legs.

Read more  How Will Spaying Change My Dog?

What Does It Mean When A Dog Bites Another Dog’s Neck?

How severely a dog bites another dog’s neck determines what it means. Dogs will often nip each other’s necks during play. An older dog will often give a younger dog a more severe nip on the neck as a correction for bad behavior.

However, dogs in a high state of aggression will bite the neck to either force the other dog to submit or kill their opponent. This is because the neck is perhaps the most vulnerable part of the dog’s anatomy.

Final Thoughts

Dogs bite each other’s ears for various reasons, most harmless. A playful bite is a normal part of rough-housing for young and old dogs. Dogs may also groom each other and take to nibbling on the ear flaps. In extreme cases, the ears may be a target in a fight.

If ear biting during play damages the other’s ears, the best thing to do is to put a safe and effective anti-chew spray on their ears to discourage the behavior.

— Update: 30-04-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article How to Stop My Dog From Biting Other Dogs’ Ears from the website www.doghowto.com for the keyword how to stop dog chewing other dogs ears.

It’s playtime! The only problem: your dog won’t stop biting other dogs’ ears! So what are you supposed to do? Why is your dog biting other dogs’ ears? And why does your puppy bite your older dog’s ears? Will they grow out of this eventually or do you need to start doing something about this right now?

Today, we’re going to answer all of the questions you have, and even more importantly, we’ll tell you how to stop this frustrating and possibly dangerous behavior! Soon, you’ll be able to let your dog play worry-free. Won’t that be nice? Of course! So let’s not delay any longer and get to our article “How to Stop My Dog From Biting Other Dogs’ Ears.”

Why is My Dog Biting Other Dogs’ Ears?

How to stop dog chewing other dogs ears

Your dog is biting other dogs’ ears most likely because they’re just trying to play. Your dog is only applying a small amount of pressure when nipping ears like this and is trying to roughhouse or play fight with the other dog. It’s not something that should be painful at all to the other dog and is a normal part of playtime. As long as the other dog doesn’t seem to mind, you can allow it.

To be sure this is what’s going on, look for other signs of play from both dogs like high-pitched barking, wagging tails, and doing play bows towards each other. If you see these, you can be confident that the dogs are just having fun with each other.

There are other possibilities for why your dog bites other dogs’ ears that are less likely. If they don’t seem like they’re playing, your dog is probably trying to establish dominance over the other dog. A few clues for this type of behavior would be trying to take food or toys from that dog, or just generally being aggressive.

More signs include: is your dog also staring with a focused intent at the other dog? Are they growling or barking deeply? Do they attempt to head the other dog off if they try to leave the area? These would be clear displays of dominant aggression, and is definitely not a behavior that should you let continue.

If your dog is still a puppy under six months old, then they could be teething, or just testing out new things. While not a huge deal, you shouldn’t allow this because your puppy needs to find a proper outlet for their teething bites, and they need to learn that they can’t explore everything with their mouths just because they want to, or it could get them hurt.

If you feel that your dog is biting other dogs’ ears when the other dog isn’t playing along, or if they refuse your commands to stop, then you have a serious problem on your hands, and you need to do something about it immediately. Allowing it to continue will give your dog the idea that it’s okay, and the problem will only grow and escalate.

It won’t be long before your dog takes things further and is violently biting other dogs’ tails, biting other dogs on the legs, and even biting other dogs on the neck. You obviously can’t have any of these happening, so you need to act right away to stop your dog from biting other dogs’ ears by using behavioral training. Skip to the last section now where we’ll tell you how to do that.

Why Does My Puppy Bite My Older Dog’s Ears?

Your puppy bites your older dog’s ears because they’re trying to play. Nipping or biting ears is often how dogs will roughhouse, or try to encourage another dog to play with them. For puppies, it’s also possible that they’re teething (if under six months old), or just trying to explore something new in the world.

Most older dogs are familiar with this and will be tolerant of it, but you should still keep an eye on things for signs that your older dog is getting fed up or stressed. If your older dog tries to walk away, lightly growls, or bites back at your puppy, then you should separate the two for a while.

Keep doing this for as long as you need and your puppy should eventually learn that there are limits to what’s acceptable during play. This will let your dogs continue to interact and play when the older dog is up to it, without your puppy getting hurt.

Will My Dog Grow Out of Biting Other Dogs’ Ears?

Your dog will not grow out of biting other dogs’ ears. It’s possible if they are still a puppy under six months old, but even then there’s a good chance the possible behavioral problem will continue even as an adult. Puppies do bite ears as part of teething, but they also do it to try to encourage play, and this is something older dogs also do.

So generally, dogs biting other dogs’ ears is a possible behavioral issue and not one that is age-related, so you can’t expect your puppy to just grow out of it. Dogs biting another dog’s ears is often done to encourage play which is okay, but they’ll also do it to try and establish dominance, which is definitely not.

But regardless of whether your dog is biting other dogs’ ears to play or to dominate the other dog, it’s not something that’s age-related (only teething is), so it’s very unlikely they will grow out of it.

How to Stop Dog Biting Other Dogs’ Ears

To stop dog biting other dogs’ ears, you should immediately give a calm firm “no” or “stop” as soon as you see your dog taking things too far. Put your dog into time-out in their crate or a closed-off room with no toys for about 10 minutes.

You can then let them out to resume playing with the other dog, but should repeat this process as many times as necessary if they’re again biting the other dog’s ears too roughly or trying to dominate them.

But if your dog is playing or interacting with the other dog in an acceptable way, reward them with encouragement and praise. Moving forward, you should be sure that your dog has a proper biting outlet, like a chew toy. Also, make sure your dog is getting plenty of walks or solo playtime like playing fetch. A tired dog is much less likely to take things too far with other dogs.

Ensure that anyone else who spends time with your dog is also following these steps so that they’re getting consistent feedback about their biting behavior from everyone.

Still, you’ll need to address the fact that your dog was ever playing too roughly or trying to dominate other dogs — and especially so if they were refusing your commands. Acting in these ways is a definite sign from your dog that they don’t respect you as the leader of the family pack. They might even see themselves in this role rather than you.

But once you’ve shown them that you are not just their pack leader, but a capable one that they must respect, your dog will stop biting other dogs’ ears. They’ll stop trying to dominate other dogs. And most importantly, they’ll respect you as the leader of the pack and will happily listen to and obey your commands at all times.

You’ll be better off for obvious reasons, but so will your dog because they’ll be freed of all the stress that pack leader confusion causes them. You’ll also avoid the serious problems that could arise if your dog’s biting of ears provokes a fight from another dog.

So everyone will win. Sounds like a win-win, right?

“Of course, but how do I do this?”

You should watch an excellent free video series by a renowned trainer named Dan which is on this exact subject: how to be your dog’s pack leader. In the series, he’ll explain everything you need to know in ways that are very easy to understand and he gets right to the point so that you’ll start seeing these important changes in your dog’s behavior before something awful happens.

Start watching Dan’s free training series now by clicking here. And don’t stress or get anxious, because you’re not going to have to be mean or even raise your voice to your dog. Dan only uses 100% humane and loving methods at all times because it’s the right thing to do, and because it’s the fastest way — and the only way — to achieve permanent changes with your dog.

I’m sure you’re ready to not have to worry about your dog playing with other dogs anymore, so I’ll let you begin. Good luck with everything, and thank you for reading “How to Stop My Dog From Biting Other Dogs’ Ears.”