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Ear Crops
Ear Crops are ALL about a good ear crop & an EXCELLENT maintenance program!  
If you don't think you can do both - then DON'T DO IT !

Here are 3 items I feel are vital to the consideration of doing an ear crop on a dane puppy.  Also ears should be done between 7-10 wks.  After 12 wks you should just NOT do them.
1. Ear leather quality (too thick will not stand easily)
2. Ear crop (and a vet that knows what they are doing)
I've sold dogs to vets and they've all told me ear crops ARE NOT something they learn to do in vet school.
3. YOUR MAINTENANCE during the growth stages of the puppy's development
this can take 2 wks post suture removal or 2 years and sometimes up to three!
Plan on the bigger the dog, the longer it will probably take.

Ears on young puppies may stand and fall during periods of growth.  Don't be surprised if you have to re-tape ears at older months and into young adulthood.  I taped Titan until he was 20 months and Gigi his litter sister was in tape 2 weeks her entire life.  The thickness of the ear leather can be a factor as well as ear set.  The thicker the ear the longer it will take to stand, also the lower the ear set the longer it will take to stand.

I hope this helps.
Read ON.
I regularly receive e-mails asking me how and what are we doing to maintain a cropped puppies' ears. Some of the e-mails are listed below as Q  & A's.

Our favorite brand of tape is called Kendall-Curity and costs us about $2.50 for a 1" roll. It also comes in 2" rolls.


Here is "Magnum" at 4 months old and the EAR TAPING IS NOT over yet. They will fall and need to be RE-TAPED. REMEMBER THIS: YOU MUST PLAN TO STICK WITH IT, or just forget it. EAR MAINTENANCE IS KEY to having EARS THAT STAND!! Good Luck.
 STEP BY STEP
PIPE INSULATION METHOD
MODEL: 7 1/2 month old Dagmar's Do A Double Take


Items to be used: here are 6 strips of tape
(1" wide), 4 long that will be used at the base of the ear and 2 short for the top of the ear. Also pipe insulation foam, any size diameter is about 99 cents at Home Depot. In the old days things like tampons or tongue depressors were used.  The pipe insulation is much easier to work with and much less expensive.
This is a strip of pipe foam cut 1" wide and about 7 to 8 inches long.  I've tapered the bottom to fit the inside of the ear. Note: You do not want the foam too wide where it become bulky or too narrow where it doesn't have enough strength to do the job.
The pipe foam is inserted into the ear (remember tapered side down. And the back edge of the ear should align with the backside of the ear post (foam). If you don't get the foam in far enough past the bell of the ear when the pup shakes it's head it will knock the bottom portion out and you'll have to start all over.  
I've taken the tape and began to roll it with the front fold of the ear.  As you are looking at the dog in this picture her left ear is being taped.  You would roll the tape clockwise starting on ear post.  Also stretch the ear slightly.

The pipe foam at the tip should be trimmed to match the ear tip.  

PLEASE BE CAREFUL TO NOT CUT YOUR DOG.
Now for the right ear.  Notice how I have started the tape on the post not on the ear.  Then the tape goes to the fold of the ear and continues around 2 times.  Once again don't forget to pull the ear up slightly while taping.
This ear will roll counter-clockwise.
Poor Dee Dee she's been stung by a bee today on her nose.  Anyhow this is what you are looking at with 2 ears that are independent of each other.  Some dogs will only require this after they've been past several ear tapings.  I forgot to mention the tips of the ears.  Those roll opposite of the bottom bracing.  Also it's the much shorter pieces of tape.
At this stage Dee Dee probably doesn't need the center brace but let me do it anyhow.
I am now pulling both ears up & high  where I want them to be when they are braced (they will fall slightly when you let go of course).  I first take the bracing tape and circle the bottom of the left ear.  It's IMPERATIVE that the dog's head be level and straight forward.  If your brace is crooked then the ears may result in pointing in slightly different directions.
THE END

1.) Nov. 7, 2000
E-mail from Russ > I was wondering what you were using as the ear brace on the fawn puppy's  picture on your site. I have a 5 mo old brindle male who's right ear constantly bends low on the ear and am trying to figure how to fix it. Any experience (this is my first Dane) would be appreciated.
> Thanks,
Russ A.

Hi Russ-
We use pipe insulation foam (about 99 cents for 6 ft section) from your local hardware store. Since it comes in 6ft sections I cut a piece about an inch wide x 8 inches long. Then I cut another little piece about 1in x 1in to be taped around the bottom of the first piece. This goes inside the ear and makes it a little hard to hear for the puppy at first. Then I make another one for the other ear. When placing the 'stay' in the ear, put it down far enough to be comfortable and where it won't pop back out. If you are looking at your puppy with the stay in the right ear (your left). You will take a strip of tape (I get mine from the vet because it sticks better) and run it counter clockwise. When wrapping it, I try not to go tightly on the first rotation. The second one gets a little tighter to keep things in place better. Then the other ear which is the dog's left ear and on your right is wrapped going clockwise. I say counter clockwise and clockwise to go with the natural fold of the ear. I also cut any remaining 'stay' at the top so not to make them too long. Then I put a little piece of tape at the top to keep everything in place. To me the most important part of the taping process other than being persistent is the brace part. When connecting the two ears you'll want your brace to be short enough to draw the ears up but long enough so that when the puppy works his/her muscles when listening to sounds you can see the ears work independently. I'll send you Gigi's picture enlarged to show you what I mean.
Hope this helps and if you need any further please don't hesitate to ask.
Penny Mikeman

Oh Russ I also forgot to mention to don't give up. We've had danes in the past who took 2 and 3 years to stand properly. However, typically is 6 months. Gigi's ears have only been taped 2x and for about 4 days each time and they are up perfectly. However, when she has a growth spurt I expect that they will fall. Likewise your 5 month old male will have growth spurts and you'll need to put his ears back up with each spurt probably.

Nov. 8, 2000
E-mail From Monika & "Gus"
> 1. You said you have a dane that is 12 1/2 weeks old, and her ears stand...> you also said they might fall, what does that mean?
Well, Gigi is 12.5 weeks old. Her ears do stand but I noticed this morning that they will probably need to go back up in tape. See these ears are by nature meant to lay down next to the head. We as humans are retraining the cartridge to stand as we want it *(them) to stand. Thus, no one or no dog ever learns a trick or behavior by doing it only one time. It takes repetition to be successful at anything. So, anyhow, when your dane puppy has a growth spurt /growing spurts it's body will not be concentrating on calcium in the cartridge of the ears, all that calcium is going to those growing bones. So it is our job as the ear cropper to continue to train the ears to do what we want them to do which is stand.
> 2. Should I tape a cup to his head?>> The primary purpose for the cup or brace when a puppy is first cropped is to keep the back side of the ear stretched and avoid kinking due to the scabbing. I used to do this but haven't in a long while. If your puppy is already out of his stitches I wouldn't recommend going with the cup. The cup is not training the ears to stand. In my method of taping- what actually trains the ears to stand is the brace that connects the two ears. I recently sent someone an e-mail about this I'll copy it to the bottom of this e-mail for you.
> 3. I have seen adult Danes that have cropped ears, and the tips of the ears touch when the dog is relaxed, is there a way to prevent this?
Yes and no. This is a hard one without actually being there to show you what I'm going to say. The ear set that your puppy is born with is the primary factor in determining if the tips are going to touch. I say primary but not the only factor. Ear sets on danes should be high and sometimes a crop can mask a low ear set. When the puppy is in his tape and is listening to a sound (that attention look) you'll notice how the ears stand, if they seem to lean in too much at the 12-15 or 16 week stage don't worry too much. It's when you don't need the brace between the ears that you can correct this. What I do is tape each ear independently and during the taping process I make the ear lean OUTwards slightly to correct the overcorrection of them trying to touch each other. ALL taping of my puppies is usually a 2 person job. This is because I find that the brace in the center is the most important part of the taping process and your puppy needs to be sitting or standing squarely looking straight forward, muzzle not up nor down, but just straight forward.
I'm glad to help anytime.
Penny

Here are various tape methods we happen to have pictures of. When I get a digital camera I plan to photograph each step-by-step to help you understand more clearly.
Enjoy,
Penny

"Gigi" is in stage 1 puppy tape and pipe insulation foam. Here she's had the tape on her head for about 3 days from suture removal. Notice the wrinkles on her forehead as her attention is drawn to something. See the middle brace bending on it's own --that is because she is using her muscles and this helps the ears stand.

"Ruger" is in a stage 2 tape with regular masking tape. His ears stood but needed something lightweight to maintain a shape. It is wrapped very loosely and not in a circle type but flat on the ear


"Emmy Lou" had an ear that wanted to flop down, so I first put a little strip of pipe insulation foam in and taped going upwards. After a few days I re-taped this ear with tape only and did not put anything inside the ear.

"Titan" is also in stage 1 of the tape process:
Notice how the brace is bent while Titan is looking at something.
This shows that his ears are working independently.

I've also discovered over the years that puppies who have their ears braced (as Titan's in the photo above) and are given something to chew on (supervised of course) like a raw hide that is too big, or a knuckle bone will exercise their facial and ear muscles.  In my opinion it offers good distraction for a taped puppy and exercise to help the ears become erect.

Good luck.

Danefully yours,
Penny