Most German shepherds will have their ears up naturally before 4-5 months. Many GSD owners start worrying about floppy ears when their puppies are 3 to 4 months old. This is the time when the pup is teething. You should wait to tape your GSD’s ears until he is done teething.
Some people don’t take floppy ears too seriously and wait until their pup is 7 -8 months old. Taping GSD’s ears too late doesn’t always work.
You should consider taping/posting your German shepherd’s ears after he is done teething. This usually happens between 4 to 5 months, but it is different for each dog.
Posting German shepherd’s Ears
You can post GSDs ears using the tape method or glue method. Let’s read about both.
- Large pink spongy perm rollers (grey pipe insulation tubing also works fine)
- 2 unsharpened pencils
- White surgical tape – 3M micro-pore tape (Do not use duct or electrical tapes)
- Tear Mender fabric glue (skin bond works fine too)
- Popsicle stick
- Work with a friend or family member so they can hold and entertain the dog during taping.
- Remove the plastic clip from both rollers. You only need the spongy part of the pink roller.
- Cut the rollers to the length of your GSD’s ears. You can also thin them with a scalpel; thinning helps fit the roller easily in the ears.
- You can also use grey pipe installation tubing. However, rollers are recommended for home posting.
- Insert the unsharpened end of the pencil in the roller for 1-2 inches.
- Apply glue around the roller for about 3/4 of its total size. The roller must be covered with glue but must not have extra glue that is oozing or dripping out. Extra glue can enter your dog’s ear canal or cling to your hands during taping.
- Place the glued roller inside GSD’s ear flap in such a way that you leave around 2 fingers of space between the puppy’s head and the bottom of the roller. This step is critical as misplacement can block your dog’s canal. Press the roller gently so the glue touches the ear and holds it firmly.
- Hold the pencil end and wrap the puppy’s ears around the roller. Tape them to make a slightly tight roll but not too tight to hurt your dog. The taping must be done in an upright (vertical position). Remove the pencil before you are done taping.
- Hold the popsicle stick and place it on the back of both ears at the top side. Use tape or glue to secure it with both ears. The stick acts as a bridge between both ears, holding them upright and stabilized when taped.
- Some vets sedate puppies during taping. If you are taping at home, distract your puppy for 5-10 minutes until the glue and tape are set up. Distract them with food or a few minutes of playtime to stop them from messing with taped ears.
- It usually takes up to 2 weeks for the ears to stand up. Hence, ensuring that your GSD doesn’t remove tape or popsicle sticks is important. Most pet owners report such problems after 24-48 hours of taping.
- Make repairs if your puppy removes tape or popsicle, and don’t let them wet the ears.
- Educate your children and family to be careful with the puppy’s ears.
- You can remove the tape after 7 days to see if the ears have posted. Re-tape if the ears are still floppy.
- Foam padding for ears
- Skin bond
- Adhesive remover
- Cotton balls
- It is also a two-person job; make sure you have someone to hold and entertain the dog.
- Cut the ear foam so that you leave a 1-inch space at the top and a 1-inch space at the bottom of the ear.
- Insert cotton balls into the ear openings to avoid any problems.
- Apply skin glue on the internal side of the ear and one side of the ear foam. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes, so it is slightly wet and not too dry.
- Place the foam deep inside the ear. Check it is 1 inch away from the ear canal and the ear stands up without being floppy at the base.
- Check the ear’s outer side and ensure there are no wrinkles or folds.
Important Things to Consider Before Posting GSD’s Ears
- Thin ears don’t have too much cartilage and may not stand up on their own compared to thicker ears with more cartilage.
- Smaller ears stand up more quickly than larger ears.
- Upright ears are a breed standard for GSDs, but it is not necessary that your puppy may meet the standards.
- Upright ears have certain benefits over floppy ears. They are less susceptible to infections, retain less moisture, and require less frequent cleaning.
- Consult a vet or breeder if unsure about taping your German shepherd’s ears.
Other Ways to Ensure that Your GSD’s Eat Stand Up Naturally
Chewing on toys can help your dog’s ears stand up naturally. Dogs have a fully developed temporalis muscle that helps in giving dogs upright ears. Chewing on toys makes this muscle and other muscles linked to the ears.
Supplements and Vitamins
Various supplements can help your puppy during teething and early stages of growth. Some also help floppy ears. However, consult a vet before adding supplements to your furry friend’s diet.
Some people support that dairy can help GSDs to achieve upright ears. This may be true but there is no research supporting this claim. Dairy is rich in calcium. It may help dog during teething.
Get Rid of Health Problems & Parasites
Keep your dog fit and free from parasites. Medical problems, specifically caused by parasites, can cause growth problems and affect the ears.
Stimulate your Puppy’s Ears
Motivate your GSD to use their ear muscles by making interesting noises and calling their names.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Remove Tape from GSDs ears?
It is a much simpler process than taping the ears. You’ll need a medical adhesive remover or baby oil (don’t use alcohol, thinner, or nail polish remover), scissors, cotton balls, a washcloth, and a towel.
- Cut the tape on your GSD’s ears carefully and gently using scissors. Do not cut the tape with scissors if it is sticking directly to the skin.
- Dip a cloth in adhesive remover or baby oil, apply it on the taped part, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Try removing the tape gently. If it doesn’t come off easily, don’t pull or yank it off, as it may damage your dog’s skin. Add more adhesive, let it sit for another 10-20 minutes, and try again.
- Make sure that adhesive doesn’t get into your puppy’s ears. You can also consult a vet if you fear you may hurt your dog.
- Place cotton balls into the ear openings of your puppy and apply some adhesive remover over the roller. This will loosen the glue. Let it sit for 10-20 minutes and wait until it comes off gently. Don’t try to pull too hard.
- Once all the tape and glue is removed, clean the area with warm water and dry with a soft cloth. Remove cotton balls. Observe your dog for the next few days to ensure no signs of discomfort.
How long should the tape stay on the puppy’s ears?
It takes 10-14 days for ears to stand up after being taped. Ensure you observe your puppy so he doesn’t remove the tape or popsicle stick. The tape may sometimes stay on if the ears aren’t standing up. A GSD’s ears may never stand after he is 8-9 months old.
Why do my GSD’s ears go up and down during teething?
It happens because of calcium diversion from other body parts to teeth. The process is common, and almost all GSDs experience it. Do not panic and let nature takes its course. You must not tape your GSD’s ears unless he is done with teething.
Can extra calcium help my GSD during teething?
Yes. It may help your dog during teething. However, it is recommended to consult your vet before giving him supplements.
Why are my German shepherd’s ears floppy?
Your GSD’s ears may be floppy for various reasons, such as genetics, teething, trauma, and health issues. Many breeders breed GSD for longer ears for beauty and demand. Larger ears are less likely to stand independently than smaller ones.