If your dog will not let you touch its ears, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get it to let you touch its ears.
So, why won’t my dog let me touch its ears? Common reasons why your dog won’t let you touch its ears are that they are injured and hurt to touch, intimidation, bad previous experiences, you have inadvertently been rewarding the behavior or that it naturally does not like being touched.
There are actually multiple possible causes and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Reasons why your dog won’t let you touch its ears
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
The cause could be that it has injured its ears and it does not want you to touch its ears because it hurts. This would be more likely if your dog has started doing it suddenly and it has been showing other signs of being injured such as rubbing its ears a lot. It would also be more likely if it does not let you touch one of its ears in particular. In this case, it would help to take it to a vet.
The cause could also be that it becomes intimidated. This would be more likely if it does not like you touching in at all. It might be intimidated because of the way you approach it, how loud you are or how aggressively you touch its ears. Instead, it would help to be gentle with it and to be calm around it.
The cause could also be that someone mistreated it in the past, causing it to not like allowing people to touch its ears anymore. This would be more likely if you adopted it as an adult and it does not let you touch other parts of its body.
It might also be the case that you hurt its ears when you touched it before and now it does not want you to touch it again. This would be more likely if it stopped letting you touch its ears suddenly after you hurt it.
Encouraging the behavior
The cause could also be that it has learned that it gets rewards when it does not let you touch its ears. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it does not let you touch its ears, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Some dogs just do not like being touched and it could be the case that yours does not like it naturally. This would be more likely if it has always not wanted you to touch its ears.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog stopped letting you touch its ears
If your dog did let you touch its ears before, it would help to consider what else happened when it stopped letting you touch it. If it stopped letting you touch it suddenly, it could be because it injured its ears or because you hurt it when you touched its ears.
What is different when it does let you do it
If your dog does let you touch its ears sometimes, it would help to consider what is different when it does let you touch its ears. For example, if it does not let you do it when you approach it in a certain way, it might be because it is intimidated.
How old it is
It would also help to consider how old your dog is. If it is a puppy, it would be more likely that it does it due to being intimidated or not understanding what you are doing. Whereas, if it is an adult, it would be more likely to be due to past experiences.
What to do about your dog not letting you touch its ears
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to let you touch it more.
If your dog has started doing it suddenly and it has been showing signs of being injured, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By taking it to a vet, you should be able to rule out medical causes and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does let you touch its ears and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging the behaviors you want to see by rewarding your dog when it shows signs of displaying them. To use it to get your dog to let you touch its ears, you would make it seem like you want to touch its ears and reward it if it does not flinch, then gradually build up to actually touching its ears.
Often, dogs will behave more aggressively when they are intimidated. If it does not like having its ears touched, it would also be important to be careful when trying to touch its ears.
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