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Q: Great Dane ears ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: Great Dane ears
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: alexinto-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 06 Jun 2005 17:44 PDT
Expires: 06 Jul 2005 17:44 PDT
Question ID: 530143
Ater our puppy had his ears cropped, then taped for over 5 months, one
of his ears is not as strong as it falls to the side. Our dog is now 7
months old.
Is there any method other than taping to strenghten the ear?
Subject: Re: Great Dane ears
Answered By: nenna-ga on 11 Jun 2005 07:49 PDT
Good morning alexinto-ga and thank you for posting your question.

I had my dogs ears cropped as a puppy and ran into the same problem. 
The vet told me that there are a variety of reasons why the ear wont
stand up, including the cartilage being too thin to support the weight
of the ear, the ear crop was too long for the size of the ear, the he
ears being "set too low" on the dog's head or scar tissue formed along
the ear margin.  There are all sorts of methods of taping the ears up
after the surgery and helping to support the pinnas while they heal. 
You can do everything right and yet in some dogs the ears will not
hold that erect posture.

Some  problems with cropping ears:

1.  "Broken ear" or "down ear". It is the number one cropping problem,
usually because of leaving too little bell on the lower part of the
ear (base), weak ear cartilage,  inconsistent taping, and poor
follow-up care are also culprits.

2.  "Fallen ears" usually tip one way or another, both will lean the
same way most of the time. This usually occurs when the taping is done
inconsistently or incorrectly.

3.  Incorrect/ uneven crop length, speaks for itself

Source:  Dog Logic

( )


= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

QUESTION:  My Great Dane's ears will not stand up, what can I do
myself to get them to stand?  He is 10 months old.

ANSWER:  This is a very frustrating situation, because, in fact, there
may be nothing you can do other than additional meticulous and
difficult surgery to get the ears to stand.  Especially by this age,
if the ears won't stand they simply are not going to.  NO AMOUNT OF
alone in this because many purebred dog owners have been disappointed
that their dog's ears would not stand.  The time to really get at
this, too, has long passed.  Generally, if the ears aren't standing at
4 to 5 months of age they aren't going to stand erect.  I wish I had a
better solution for you.?

Source:  The Pet Center

( )

I also spoke with a local vet in the area, Dr. Trost, and he told me
the same thing:  if they arent standing on their own by now, with
surgery and taping, they will likely never stand up.  There is nothing
an owner can do beyond what you have aleady done.

His contact information is:

Pittman Animal Hospital
4629 Dodge St
Omaha, NE 68132

(402) 556-2535

I hope this answers your question.  Should you need any clarification,
please do not hesitate to ask.

Google Researcher

Request for Answer Clarification by alexinto-ga on 13 Jun 2005 05:50 PDT
Dear researcher,
I wish to thank you for your prompt reply to my question, however, all
information provided came through a source which I have already
investigated myself. I indeed searched the web and obviously asked our
What I am interested in is the research of special cases or name it 
"outside the box" methods that have worked for other dog owners that I
can implement at home.
I apologize for not specifying this on my original question.

Thank you.

Clarification of Answer by nenna-ga on 13 Jun 2005 08:19 PDT
I am working on some more research for you and will get back to you by
the end of the day.


Clarification of Answer by nenna-ga on 13 Jun 2005 10:20 PDT
I looked all over the internet for ways to deal with the problem of
falling ears other than taping and in all the research I have done on
this issue, it is recommended that you retape your puppies ears.  
Most vets recommend taping the dogs ears until he is done teething (6
months or so) EVEN IF ears appear to be standing well. Many will
require taping until closer to a year, depending on the length of ear
and the ear texture.  According to your question, your Danes ear were
only taped for approximately 5 months.  Perhaps your dogs ears were
not taped long enough and need to be retapped.

A lot of people will also recommend calcium (it works in humans , why
not dogs, too, right?) however all the research I have seen says not
to give it to your dog as it may cause other problems.

?...Supplementing a pup's diet with extra calcium in the hope that it
will "build up" the ear cartilage is not scientifically or
biochemically valid.  Adding additional calcium above the usual
balance of that mineral with phosphorus and Vitamin D  has actually
been shown to cause growth problems in dogs.  Don't add calcium to a
dog's diet in the misguided hope that it will "strengthen the

Source:  The Pet Center

( )

Please be advised that all of the following Q & A?s listed below refer
to the breed of Doberman and Boxer, however, I think the information
would be universal for all breeds:

= = = = = = = = = = 

Q:   I worked as a vet tech and in the 70's and 80's the vet I worked
with would always place the Doberman pup on calcium tabs 2 weeks prior
to ear crop and then continue it there after. I have recently read
that some vets feel that calcium or supplements actually can cause
certain problems especially CVI. I have a 5 month old Doberman whom I
have had on calcium since 12 weeks and it has helped his ears
somewhat. I have also read where now it seems that calcium isn't
needed for cartilage like once thought. I am caught in the middle with
my thoughts on this could you give me some insight on the subject?
thanks. Am I hurting the health of my pup by keeping him on calcium?

A:  There is no longer a need for added calcium, particularly for
cartilage/ear problems and in fact, added calcium can and does cause
other problems.

You haven't hurt your pup for the two months that he has been on the
calcium but if I were you I would quit supplementing now so that you
don't end up harming him.

= = = = = = = = = = =

Q:  My most recent dog is a two year old blue male. He has the worst
ears that I have ever seen. First the crop was botched (they are way
to short and look like a pit bull's ears) and second they were pegged
poorly. As a result one ear flops on top of his head and the other
flops down. Do you know of anyway this can be fixed at his age? Can I
just try to re-peg them? He is a wonderful dog and I feel I owe it to
him to try to fix his problem.

A:   I think that problem will be hard to correct but it is worth a
try. What have you got to lose?

Here is a method that Dr. Tully told me of years ago and it did work.
You tape the ear down to the side of his head to stretch the pockets
out and leave it on for at least 3 weeks. You will probably have to
change the wrapping and because of his age you may have to tape it
down longer.

When you do take it down the ear should just hang there like the other
problem ear. You then tape the ear correctly, as if you were training
it stand upright all over again. To use your words re-peg them once
you have both ears hanging. When you re-peg them, pull the ear out to
about the 10 o'clock and/or 2 o'clock position and put tape around the
base of the ear, all the while stretching it up and out. You should
see the pocket pop out when you do this. When you do this make sure
that the tampon or whatever you use doesn't ride up the ear hole. Keep
it pushed down tight.

On the ear that is flopped down just re-peg and hope for the best. I
have a feeling that taping it may not work on that ear. You may be
able to fix that ear surgically but in that case you will need to find
a veterinarian (an experienced ear cropper) to take a look at it and
to guide you. Depending on where you live, maybe we can recommend one
near you.

= = = = = = = = = = 

Q:   I adopted a 12 month old male Doberman who had a "lazy" right
ear. I have continued taping it and it would stand for over a week but
then begin to droop a little again.  He is now 18 months of age, and
his ear is doing much better -almost perfect -just lazy occasionally. 
Is there any specific ear taping methods or nutritional/ herbal
remedies that might help completely fix his ear for good?  Has anyone
heard of the Aktivas tent up ear inserts?

A:  Yes I have heard of the Activa tent up ear inserts but have no
personal experience with them whatsoever. I suspect now that your boy
is 18 months what you see is what you're going to get. However, having
said that, it likely wouldn't hurt to keep on taping until he is two. 
 I knew a breeder whose boy had the same problem ... he was re-cropped
at 24 months (he had really heavy, thick ear leather) and believe it
or not, they stood.

= = = = = = = = = =

Q:  I have a 12 month male with show cut ear cropping.  His ears have
done reasonably well standing but periodically his left ear will tend
to droop.  I immediately re-tape both ears and leave for 2-3 days. 
His female littermate has had no problems and has not needed re-taping
since she was 6 months.  Am I fighting a loosing battle with my male
or will this get better as he matures?  Neither are on any supplements
per our vet's advice as we lost our last girl to CVI (Note from the
Google Researcher:  please see
for information on this disease).  I have noticed his ear tends to
droop when he is hot, sleepy, or very excited.  Thanks for any advice.

A:   It wouldn't hurt to keep taping them as needed but if he uses
them most of the time and he is over 6 months I'd leave them alone. 
Most will stand when they mature if they are standing except for a few
times like you mention.

A:   Try taping for a while longer but leave him up in the tapes for
longer than 2 or 3 days. When you remove the tape, re-tape the ears
(both of them) the moment that they fall or are not perfect.   There
are things that a vet can do to get them standing but you need a vet
that is really experienced with ear cropping.

= = = = = = = = = = 

Q:  I have an 8 month old Doberman whose ears were cropped at about 12
weeks. His ears were standing perfectly until about a week ago when
the right ear began to flop. This happens mostly at home or in the
yard. Sometimes he gets it to stand, but if he barks or jumps up the
ear will usually flop. Is this normal?  Will he out grow this? Please
help.  Thank you.

A:  If the ears have been standing normally until now it very well may
be a temporary thing.  I wouldn't do anything if the ears stand most
of the time. If he walks around all day and one is hanging down then
I'd take 2" tape and hold the ear straight up and tape it up.  No
plugs.  Leave it on for about 4 days.  If they stand after that, fine,
if not then re-tape.

= = = = = = = = = = 

Q:  I have a 5 month old female Dobe whose ear tips fall in a few
day's after being out of tapes. The ears don't fall to the outside but
the tips seem to want to touch. What have I done wrong?!. Thanks so

A:  From what I'm reading it sounds like the ears touch each other
when she is alert?  If this is so, I'm thinking she has "pockets" in
the base of her ears where it joins the forehead.  If so, you have to
do something right now or they'll stay for good.  What I've used
lately is taking a packing "popcorn" (the ones that are about one inch
in length ... possibly a little longer ... and reverse tape it like
you would a plug for ears.

Pull the ear straight up, and look on the outside of the ear for the
dimple which is about 1/2 inch from the head on the uncropped side. 
Stick the "popcorn" inside the dimple (on inside of ear) until the
dimple is forced out and put a strip of tape around the ear holding
the taped popcorn in place.  Leave this up for 5 days, take down and
see how ears look.  If they go back to the same, repeat procedure as
many times as it takes to straighten out ear.  Do not tape up much
higher than the popcorn.  Ears should look straight.  Don't use brace
between ears.  If done correctly, they should stand straight.

= = = = = = = = = = 

Q:  My Doberman is an 8 month old male. He had his ears cropped when
he was about 4 months. The ears are a relatively long-cut and we have
been taping religiously, however the ears are very soft and refuse to
stand properly. In normal situations, his ear is flopping outwards and
he looks like he is going to take flight. What should be done. Please

A:   Just keep taping the ears and try to leave them in tapes for as
long as possible (try for 10 days to 2 weeks, checking all of the time
for yukky smells). When you take them down, the moment that they fall,
tape them again and leave them up for as long as you can. It is best
that you tape them both, even though the one may be standing.

Are they really long? Taping long ears can be quite a lengthy process.
Be patient and if this doesn't work after a year of age there are
other methods to try. Where do you live?

A:  Please do as recommended above.  I have seen people taping until
the dog is well over a year of age. Is his ear leather quite thick?
Thin?  Are they really long? Is there anyone in your area that can
take a quick look at the dog and ascertain if you are doing anything
wrong? Someone such as a cropped breed breeder, preferably a Doberman,
Great Dane or Boxer breeder...

= = = = = = = = = = 

Q:  I am a new Doberman owner my boy is 5 months old now his ears
stand great except one ears seem shorter than the other one. I know I
must have posted wrong. Is there something I can do or will this fix
NOTE: a 'dimple, well, sink or pocket' is the same meaning  for the
problem you are attempting to correct...

A:  What you most likely have in your boy is a "dimple" which is
causing one ear to look shorter. There are several methods to use. I
like taking one of the "popcorn" from a packing box...reverse taping
it so the sticky side of the tape is on the outside. Hold the ear
straight up and where the indentation is near the base of the ear on
the inside nearest the head, have someone hold the plug in place while
you use a strip of one inch tape and wrap around the ear just like you
would if you posted the ear. Do not go up the whole ear, but just
slightly above and below the popcorn. Leave this on for at least 5
days. If dimple is still there, make it a bigger plug. If the ear
should fall down, re-tape but don't use the plug.

A:  It's hard to tell the reason for the difference in length from
your post.  Do both ears look the same except for length?  The
difference could be the ear crop or it could be because one ear has a
well in it.  If there is a well (one ear folds at the top of the head
and isn't held straight).  5 months is not too late to correct an ear
taping problem. If it's a well, you'll need really stretch that ear
when you tape it.

= = = = = = = = = = 

Q:  My puppy is 5 months old. Her ears have been standing great for
the last month or so but now at times, one ear breaks down and flops
over. I think its either due to teething or it seems to happen more
when she's tired. Any suggestions on corrective taping for this

A: I would put a strip of one inch tape at the base of the ear and
leave it on for abut 4 to 5 days.  Make sure when you wrap the ear you
hold the ear slightly towards the center of the head and tape close to
the base.  You don't need to post.  It's most likely due to teething
so this "lazy" ear just needs a little help. Take down and if it goes
back down again, re-tape.

A:  Just keep taping them until they stand. The teething process slows
down the ear standing process in order to put more energy into the
teething. It they are standing for any period of time they will stand
permanently eventually. Because of the length maybe, it will take a
little longer. Tape them and leave them up in tapes for as long as
possible and take down and tape them again the minute both of them or
even one of them falls. Always tape them both though.

= = = = = = = = = = 

Q:  If a Doberman (4 months old) gets his ears cropped but was not
taped, after 2 weeks have passed, can the dog's ears still be trained
to stand up?

A:  If the ears have been cropped and healed they must be taped until
they stand.  This may take as little as a couple of weeks to many
months.  Cropping a 4 mo. old is going to take more taping than
cropping one at 7 wks. would but if you are persistent you can get
them to stand.
Remember to leave tape on no longer than 5 days at a time.  Ears must
be taken down to air out, and to check for sores.  Then the ears
should again be taped.

Source:  DPCA Breeders Education
( )

Please visit ( ) to see the
different methods of taping ears.

= = = = = = = = = = 

?...Whenever you leave the ears down for more than 24 hours, you are
adding a week (or two!) on to your cropping time. The reason to tape
is to train the ear to stand up - if you allow it to fall, you're
defeating the purpose. We tape for 7-10 days (depending on how well
the tape is holding up), and generally take the tape off at night and
put it back on the next morning. It gives the ears a chance to air
out, but doesn't allow them to stay down for long. Once they are
standing very well after the tape comes off, we will extend the time
between tapings - but the instant they start to fall, the tape goes
back on...?

?...I agree about that if you leave them untaped for too long it will
set you back and take them longer to stand. I would say don't give up,
My first two boxers were a long process, I taped Dutch's ears for
almost a year and then finally they stood. Now Duke was cropped at
15weeks and I was warned that they may not stand perfect, his one ear
stood in a couple of months but the other ear flopped about 3 quarters
up. I didn't want to give in so the vet put a stitch at the base of
his ear and it pulled it up, not perfect but at least I felt I didn't
put him through it all for nothing...?

( )

= = = = = = = = = = =

In my opinion, after reading the advise of others re: floppy ears and
on the advise of Dr. Trost, mentioned in my original answer, I would
try retaping using one of the methods listed above in the Q & A
section or through the link  listed above re: methods of ear taping. 
I would also find a qualified Dane breeder in your area to see what
they would recommend.  If you would like me to locate one for you,
please let me know where you live and I will do my best to provide
that information.


Clarification of Answer by nenna-ga on 13 Jun 2005 10:36 PDT
Im sorry for adding another clarification but I forgot to add this to
my previous clarification.  There is a book that you might want to
read called  Ear Crop Aftercare. It is written by Bonnie Wittrock. 
This books talks mainly abour Dobes but there is also a great section
in her book about problem solving.  You may call Bonnie at
503-472-6688 or e-mail her at or find the
ordering information at her site, near the bottom:

( )

Subject: Re: Great Dane ears
From: pinkfreud-ga on 06 Jun 2005 17:47 PDT
This page may be helpful:
Subject: Re: Great Dane ears
From: zahirah-ga on 15 Jun 2005 14:59 PDT
Our vet mentioned something about silicone implants, a thin stick that
could be inserted in the ear to make them stand up. Both of our Dane´s
ears bent and never stood up.
Subject: Re: Great Dane ears
From: blazius-ga on 17 Jun 2005 01:45 PDT
Hm.  Why even consider cropping the ears of a dog?

veterinarian in Norway
(where ear cropping, tail docking and similar animal abuse has been
illegal for 17 years...)

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