How to Fix a Floppy Ear on a German Shepherd

German shepherds are known for their strong, erect ears.
German shepherds are known for their strong, erect ears. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

German shepherds gain much of their handsomeness by their upright, sharply pointed, wolf-like ears. If your German shepherd puppy’s ears are still floppy by the time they are six months old or after they have finished teething, it's time to correct the problem by taping the animal’s ears. Wrap the dog’s ears before it reaches eight months old, while the ear cartilage is still hardening, to train the ears to stand up. Training your dog's ears requires consistent rewrapping for up to three months or until the ears effectively take shape.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • White vinegar
  • Cotton balls
  • Pipe insulating foam
  • Scissors
  • 1 1/2-inch surgical tape
  • Duct tape

Clean out the inside of the dog’s ears with a cotton ball dampened with a solution of 1 part rubbing alcohol and one part white vinegar.

Cut two sections of a foam pipe-insulating sleeve to a length just slightly smaller than the height of the dog’s ears, measured from the insides.

Place the foam pieces inside the ears so the run from the bases to the tips of the ear, but do not plug the ear canals.

Secure the first foam piece to one of the ears with surgical tape. Start taping at the base of the foam piece. Begin wrapping toward the outside of the ear, behind the ear, and back around to the front. Fold in the dog’s earflap (pinna). Wrap the tape tightly enough to secure the foam piece but not so tight that the ear becomes overly constricted. Continue spiraling up the ear, stopping just short of the tip, then cut the tape with scissors.

Tape the other ear in the same manner.

Stand the taped ears straight up and down. Wrap a piece of duct tape horizontally around the two ears, keeping them in straight positions. Wrap the duct tape around the ears two times. The tape will brace the ears so they stay standing up. Pinch the tape together between the ears so it sticks together.

Remove the tape after five days. Allow the ears to relax and breathe for one day then clean and retape the ears in the same manner every five days thereafter. Continue this process until the ears stand up by themselves. The ears should strengthen in time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Optionally, use surgical glue to help keep the foam pieces affixed to the insides of the dog's ears.
  • Pet calcium supplements will help strengthen cartilage in the ears.

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