The Art of Perfect Ears
Reinforce your puppy’s growing ears with tape, glue or bracing.
Magnificent ears are the crowning glory of many breeds. However, some of the most superb ears needed help along the way. Taping or gluing trains a dog’s ear muscles and cartilage into correct carriage; less-than-perfect ear sets can also be coaxed into a higher, lower, tighter or wider position. However, if performed improperly, these methods can worsen existing problems or create entirely new ones.
Many breed standards permit variation in ear carriage; none allow asymmetrical ear carriage. Miniature Pinscher breeder Kathy Helming notes that for Min Pins, both cropped and natural ears might require help. “Natural ears may not be set properly,” she says. “They may be too large and never be really strong without taping.” Helming doesn’t hesitate to tape ears to ensure good carriage, but also stresses the importance of selective breeding. “My puppies have good ear cartilage,” she says. “Whether or not [the ears] are cropped, they require very little taping.”
Knowledgeable breeders like Helming are often asked for advice too late. “If you have no experience taping ears, always get a mentor,” Helming says. “People have brought puppies to me with ears that look like coils because the supports came off too soon and the ear just coiled up.”
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