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Why Do Dogs Like to Sniff Ears? A Pooch’s POV!

Woof! I know that people think that dogs have some peculiar habits! We like to chew on all sorts of things; and we investigate other dogs by sniffing their rear; and we like to sniff humans too, particularly their ears! These are just some of the ways that we experience the world around us! 

As a human, you might ‘smell the aroma’ of a plate of food before eating it – it’s a way of gathering information - and I know that humans use their eyes to gather a lot of insight. But for us dogs, because our nose is so powerful, we can learn lots more by sniffing things first. That’s why a lot of my doggie friends help humans to detect things like explosives, substances, money and even diseases!

Why do Dogs like to Sniff Ears?

I use my nose to sniff and smell lots of things around the home, but I particularly love sniffing my human’s ears and there are a few reasons for this:

1. I’m Gathering Information

We dogs have very powerful noses which help us gather information from all around.  Some dogs sniff all over a human’s body when they first meet - even in their belly buttons or crotches! But don’t worry, we’re not being overly familiar - it’s just our way of saying hello and gathering information about you.

Man sitting next to German Shepard in nature


 2. I Love the Smell of Natural Body Odours 

I’m not so keen if my human wears perfume or cologne, but I do like to smell their skin.  It’s a bit like humans liking the smell of their new baby - they are part of their family, or their pack, and I can smell my human even before I see them! 

3.  I’m Showing Them I Love Them

I get so excited when my human comes home, I run to the door with a HUGE welcome, wagging my tail, spinning around, and if they bend down to make a fuss of me, I sniff and lick their ears. I can also tell if my human is feeling a little down in the dumps and the best way I can think of to cheer them up is to sniff and lick them - it always takes their mind off their problems!

Woman sitting on couch with small girl in lap playing with a piggy bank that's being admired by golden retreiver

4. You’re Part of My Group!

My ancestors used to groom members of their group and part of this would be licking their ears, so when I lick my human’s ears I am showing that I love them being in my group - or family, as humans say.

5.  Ears Are Smelly Places

A human’s ear contains lots of oils, earwax and (yes, sometimes!) dirt! I’m sure my human washes and cleans their ears regularly, but I do quite like that salty, oily smell that I can detect when I sniff around their ears.  

6. My Human Might Be Under the Weather

It’s a well known fact that dogs can detect diseases, so if you find that your pooch is sniffing your ears more frequently than normal, they may have detected that you have an ear infection. It may be wise for you to visit your GP to get your ears checked out!

Small girl sitting on the ground being smelled by husky

7. I’m bored!

My human does get very involved working from home on their laptop but I do get bored if they are too busy to spend time with me, so I will reach up and sniff and lick their ears to get attention. It normally works, and then they will play ball for a while or make sure my Kong has some treats inside to distract me.

Rest assured, it’s not only human’s ears I like to sniff. When I meet other dogs, I like to sniff them from top to bottom and then I can gauge how friendly they are. It might not make sense to humans, but there are pheromones that only I can smell! These can give off a comforting message, much like ADAPTIL’s range of products. Whether it’s in the home or on the go, these pheromones are very important to me!

So if you meet one of my friends in the park and they start sniffing your ears, it could be that they are just being dogs and determining how friendly you are!

German Shepard puppy looking intently at hand holding out a treat

However, if you would prefer me not to sniff your ears when you visit, I do understand the word ‘no’, especially when I get a reward for good behaviour!


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