The German Shepherd ear taping process - helping those stubborn GSD puppy ears up.
German Shepherd ear taping is something that many GSD puppy owners do not take seriously until it is much too late. German Shepherd puppy ears can come up on their own anytime between 8 weeks and 6 months. Puppy ear taping is often an important procedure in the development of the GSD puppy ear set.
If the GSD puppy ears are not up by 4 months I tell my puppy customers to get very interested in their German Shepherd pups ears and the whole German Shepherd ear taping process. One suggestion: help stimulate your GSD puppy to use their ear muscles to help bring their ears up faster naturally, not through touch of that tender ear tissue but by making interesting noises, etc. to your GSD puppy that cause the puppy to use those maturing ears.
It is not yet time to panic, however, it is time to sit up and take notice. When the German Shepherd puppy ears are taped after 7 or 8 months old it has very little chance of working. German Shepherd ear taping is an important process that does not need to be done with all German Shepherd puppies, but some GSD puppies do need the extra help.
First of all, it is very important to make sure that your GSD puppy is in good health. Make sure that the German Shepherd puppy is kept on the proper schedule of wormings and vaccinations. It is also very important to make sure the GSD puppy is on a good quality food. If you are unsure, check with your local vet or German Shepherd breeder for suggestions on a diet that would be appropriate for your GSD puppy.
It is not uncommon for the German Shepherd puppy ears not to be up until 3 1/2 to 5 months of age. It is also quite common for a GSD puppy who has his/her ears up one day to see them fall down again the next day - especially when going through the teething process and for this cycle to repeat as the German Shepherd puppy matures.
The process of teething in general takes valuable calcium from the German Shepherd puppies developing ear structure to those developing teeth and that is one good explanation for the whole process of GSD puppy ears being up one day, and then down the next.
It is very common for GSD pups to have ears that tilt and flop this way and that as they gain strength to stand on their own. The German Shepherd ears may take all matter of shapes (1 up, 1 down; 1 this way, 1 that way) until they come completely up. Do not panic when this happens to your German Shepherd puppy. It is completely normal. If you do have questions about the German Shepherd ear taping process, feel free to contact your German Shepherd breeder or the local GSD breed club in your area or your veterinarian.
Instructions on German Shepherd ear taping follow (it doesn't hurt to have a helper):
1) Buy the large pink spongy perm rollers (Goody's is one brand) from Wal-mart, etc. for the German Shepherd ear taping process. Take out the hard plastic clip out of the middle of each roller and discard. You only need to keep the spongy pink foam roller part. 2 inch pipe insulation tubing, Grey, I believe, from Home Depot works as well if you can't find the pink foam rollers. You will have to cut this to length, while the pink rollers are already the correct length.
2) At your local drug store purchase the thin white surgical tape (the kind that's paper thin and tears easily). The 3M Micropore tape, 2" wide works well. NEVER EVER even consider using any tape such as duct tape, electrical tape or the like for German Shepherd ear taping. If you don't have the right kind of tape it will do more damage on the GSD pups ears than good if you have to take the tape out for some reason if you use the wrong type of tape in the first place.
Also, purchase Skin Bond to use with the surgical tape and get one UNsharpened pencil to use in the German Shepherd ear taping process.
3) Insert the pencil (unsharpened end) inside the pink foam roller about an inch or so to make it easier to hold. Next, put the Skin Bond on the pink foam roller about 3/4s of the way around the roller, so it is well covered but not oozing or dripping off the roller in any way. You do not want the glue to drip off the roller into your pups ear canal when ear taping your GSD puppies ears. You do not want to get the glue on your hands either while in the middle of this process. That is where the pencil comes in.
4) While holding the pencil end, wrap the GSD puppies ear around the glued foam roller and then tape them into a fairly tight roll (but not too tight), in an upright position. Remove the pencil from the sponge roller.
Place the roller inside the German Shepherd's ear flap itself fairly deep, leaving about a two finger space opening above the German Shepherd pups head and the bottom of the roller inside the ear flap. Do not completely block the ear canal with the roller when ear taping the German Shepherd puppy. The GSD puppy will still need to hear with the roller inside its ear flaps.
Optional: Take a popsicle stick and attach it to the top part of both of the GSD puppy ears in a horizontal position. The German Shepherd puppy will tear the tape or stick off the ears several times. The key to this step is to continue retaping the ears using the popsicle stick as it gets torn down. Sooner or later the GSD puppy will forget about the tape all together and leave it alone.
5) Distract the GSD puppy with food or by playing ball, etc. for about five minutes until the glue stops itching and is well set. The roller will fall out on it's own in about a week or so if not taken out by you or your German Shepherd puppy. Continue the re-taping process until the German Shepherd puppy ears stand on their own.
Important: If the German Shepherd puppy ears are not up by 7 or 8 months of age they are probably not going to come up. When the GSD ears do not stand on their own there are ear implants that can be surgically added. I have no experience with this personally but if you are unlucky enough to have a German Shepherd whose ears will not stand on their own, this is an option. Check with your vet or GSD breeder with any questions you may have concerning German Shepherd ear taping.
Downed GSD ears are not the end of the world, however, erect ears are a part of the German Shepherd Dog breed standard. Upright ears are not only healthier overall for the dog but more so, they are handsome and again, part of the breed standard and the way the German Shepherd was bred to look.
Short note about the author
Debbie Ray, a lifelong dog lover and German Shepherd owner, has been a German Shepherd breeder for over to 15 years. For more information and articles covering other German Shepherd related topics, feel free to visit: http://www.total-german-shepherd.com.